Student Sample Essay #2 Literary Analysis


This student sample essay is based off of
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall Paper.” And it has both some really excellent
aspects to it, but it also has some problem areas that need some revision. There were
some elements of it though that I felt were really good for you to model, to get an idea
of what I am looking for, but also the problem areas that need revisions are ones that I
think are important to bring your attention to so you don’t do the same thing. Alright,
so first I feel they did a great job with their title. I love the title it captivated
me. And then their very first sentence is an effective hook. It subtly introduces what
the topic is, and then they provide good background information, and then their last sentence
is their thesis which I feel is very strong. It indicates that they’re going to be talking
both about the setting of the manor, as well as how the wallpaper represents her sanity.
I though this was an excellent thesis. But notice that right off the bat there is no
thesis map. The thesis itself kind of sets up the development of the paper. The student
should first start talking about the setting of the manor and then move in to talking about
the narrator’s sanity. And they are going to have to rely on effective transitions in
order to do so. So let’s take a look at the first topic sentence: “Gilman makes a point
of not naming the narrator for the explicit reason to tie the narrator’s personal description
of the bedroom to her own mind and combine them into a single entity.” So the student
did a good job here. They are sticking to what they said they were going to talk about.
they are talking about the actual description of the bedroom. They use effective AXES format
throughout the paragraph, and if you look at this last sentence : “Much like the barred
windows serve as a viewport out into the beautiful nature, she has beauty outside of her but
is barred within herself by her own stresses and manic depressiveness.” And then the student
goes to the very next topic sentence: “Gilman implies the beauty of the narrator by the
love and concern that she has around her as well as the great lengths that her family
has gone to make sure she gets better; however, the narrator’s actual words which she journals
describing the wallpaper in her bedroom give a clearer picture of how she is slowly losing
her grasp on her sanity.” This is a nicely written topic sentence assertion because previously
they had been talking about the beauty outside and they begin the topic sentence with the
mention of that beauty so it transitions nicely into their next point. They use a powerful
signal word, “however” to alert the reader that they’re going to start talking about
their next point. SO this was a really nicely written assertion and it also stays on track
with their development. Notice here we have a block quote. this is the correct format
for a block quote. Typically if a quote runs more than four lines in your essay, it needs
to be put in block quote format. And that is one of the things that you are going to
be working on in your integration of quotes assignment that is also due this week. But
notice that the first thing the student did was they introduced the quote and they used
a colon. And then the entire quote is blocked in. They tabbed it in one inch and notice
that there is no quotations marks. And the other interesting thing about a block quote
in MLA is the period goes here, at the end of the sentence and notice how at the end
of the parenthetical reference there is no period. And then we they go to do their explanation
of the quote they left justify and line the paper back up again so that we know that this
is now the student talking again. So this is a really god example of what a block quote
should look like. When we get to the end of this paragraph though, you’ll notice we have
the conclusion. So, one thing to point out was that there were only two body paragraphs
in this essay. There is one assertion, here is our second assertion. So typically in academic
writing in order to have a passing grade I need to see five paragraphs: intro, conclusion,
and three bodies. And sometimes even more than three body paragraphs. When you get to
your research paper it is definitely going to need more than three. So, one thing that
the student could have benefited from was a thesis map that clearly detailed three central
ideas that they would analyze. So now let’s look at the conclusion. The conclusion says:
“There are many stories in which the central setting plays a huge role in the development
in the character’s being and their ultimate part overall, but Gilman has successfully
made the key part in her story grow from a subtle annoyance to a gateway into a steep
fall of insanity.” Here is our restatement of thesis: “Gilman’s abstract and at times
disturbed narrator is the center, if not leading character, in this short story, but it is
the literal room and the physical wallpaper that are the main protagonists in this descent
into insanity.” This sounds wonderful. The student has a command of the English language,
they have great grammar, they have used awesome vocabulary words, but if we were to copy and
paste their restatement of thesis and lay it right next to the thesis that they put
in their intro paragraph we would notice a little bit of an issue. So here is the thesis
statement that they said in their introduction. they said, ”
The literal setting of the manor, along with the room, are a depiction of the narrator’s
mind while the yellow wallpaper is a physical representation of her sanity.” And then here
is the restatement of their thesis: “Gilman’s abstract and at times disturbed narrator is
the center, if not leading character, in this short story, but it is the literal room and
the physical wallpaper that are the main protagonists in this descent into insanity.” o you guys
notice how these two things don’t really go together? They sound like they do, but they’re
not. The first one is talking all about the setting of the room, and the depiction of
the narrator’s mind are a representation of her sanity. And this restatement of thesis
is arguing about which characters are the main protagonists. It’s on the same path but
they are very different. So one thing that this student could do to really improve this
paper is to fix the restatement of the thesis so that they match better. So, they need to
add another body paragraph, and fix that restatement of thesis in order to move this more up into
the passing grade range. I hope this was helpful for you. Typically the rest of this essay
was well written, the examples were well done. If they had just added a little bit more development
with that third body paragraph this essay would have done fantastic. Okay…hope this
helped! Talk to you soon.

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