Monday, April 28, 2008
My final comments on the Feet essay...
Man, I was really impressed at the level and depth that all of you were able to look critically at a student's paper. I wanted to share some of my final thoughts on the essay to help you.
FOCUS I felt within each individual paragraph the student was incredibly focused. As far as the thesis statement goes, it was vague, but I felt purposefully so. In looking back, I would encourage the student to make sure they go back to the thesis within the paragraphs - keep going back to past, present, and future. I think, though it builds to the conclusion,I would encourage the author to make his/her building to the conclusion more visible.
CONTENT This is what blew me away. The author managed not only to fully explore the use of feet, but tie it into wine, stones, doubles, pureness, and weather. The amount of quotes, which were occasionally jarring, showed an incredible depth of time and research. This paper is not summary, but rather makes a point to analyze each element of when and why characters hear feet, how it affects them, and what footsteps tell us about the characters and the revolution. This is pretty neat stuff.
Throughout this process, we have been trying to find our own style, being more conversational in order to help us focus. Many times, this works for the author - particularly with the internal questions. At times, it doesn't. Most of you pointed this out. For me, the introductory paragraph doesn't work. I would encourage a more academic approach, since the paper is very academic. Having read this paper in several drafts, I can attest to the student's desire to try something different stylistically and I think he/she ended up at a solid place, but there are some areas that could be tightened.
Overall, I felt this paper was one that showed thought, effort, and a great understanding of how a motif works and knowledge of the text. I applaud the student's effort and ability to tackle "feet" as a motif. Yes, there is room for improvement, there always is, and I think your comments were helpful, insightful, and most welcomed.