Model Essay Practice Grading

Out of the three essays I read, I feel like it is safe to say that essay #3 deserves an “A”. I gave it an “A” because, despite the little grammatical errors, his/her choice of words and sentence structure exceeds the other two by far. The author of this essay does a fantastic job of backing up his/her argument, which has the ability to strongly persuade the reader. Looking at the checklist guidelines, I see that the writer properly implements most of these into the essay. For example, the author’s thesis, “The figure of the dazed starling is the more appropriate and complex figure because it pertains more directly to the delicate, youthful persona of a growing girl and contains far more characteristics applicable to the daughter than the first figure” perfectly states what her argument is. Although it is a long sentence, it properly supports and answers the prompt. Overall, the writer of this essay uses a great deal of evidence, however should site the quotes. And as it goes for focus, breadth and depth, the author clearly goes into the writing. In my opinion, the sentence structures can be cleaned up a bit and with grammar, I already mentioned there are some small mistakes here and there.

Next, I gave essay #2 a “B” because, even though it is written well, can be supported a bit more . No doubt the writer of this essay uses a lot of direct evidence, but the quotes should flow a bit more and the analyses should have some more depth in order to cleanly and sufficiently argue the thesis. When it comes to structure and what should go where, the writer shouldn’t have put any quotes or analyses in the introduction because it can intimidate the reader, but more importantly does not fit in there. The introductions should be a foundation for the essay and not include an analysis, but should have a broad overview of what is to be argued in the essay. When it comes to topic sentences, the writer should make the fourth topic sentence a bit more relatable to the others, because the fourth one stands out a bit and should be tied in better. Grammar wise, like the first essay, there are some errors here and there that do not make a formal and proper impression on the reader.

Finally, I marked a “C” on the first essay because it just did not fit the checklist guideline expectations properly. The first type of error I noticed were the very frequent grammatical errors, word choice (such as the word, “stuff” and “things”), and the placement of words. His/her thesis does not state a good argument at all because of not only the word choice, but the way it is put makes it seem so improper. Also, none of the quotes are cited properly. In addition, the topic sentences do not supper the thesis properly and in one case, is even irrelevant. When it comes to the diction section on the checklist guideline, I cannot see anything written correctly besides the tense. The transitions are not very logical nor does it flow well with the rest of the essay. Finally, in the conclusion, the writer unnecessarily includes the name of the author as well as the story. He/she also uses the word “things” which does not sound very strong if he/she wants to argue a point. Altogether, this essay it is not written properly, and should be tidied up to have more flow between each paragraph.


Reflection on “What Language is That?”

I really enjoyed reading “What Language is That?” by Uwem Akpan because it had an emotional kick and was also very thought provoking. What first caught my attention is that the story is written in the second person, using the word “you,” which I found to be different and a bit hard to adjust to after reading only third and first person narratives. This was my first time reading a second person narrative and I want to note how, by reading the word “you,” I feel like I am an actual character in the story. This makes me feel like a real part of the story, and would experience exactly what a third person character would feel in that situation. It just makes everything more relatable, and that you have no choice in denying your actions because you are told by the author what you do.

I think the real meaning of this story is to show that despite politics and what is said to be right or wrong, two best friends with a passion for each other’s love can communicate in their own language. That is exactly what happens here. What shocked me is the sudden change from being best friend families, to the effects of riots and how they can foolishly overpower a strong personal relationship. On the second to last page, Akpa writes, “You smiled because you had discovered a new language” (Akpa 185). Even though their parents said not to speak to one another, they are able to communicate though a new language they created. This just shows that nothing can affect a passionate relationship. What made me appreciate this story the most is how I came to understand something I have never thought about before; the unspoken language between best friends. They can communicate and know they love each other, yet still understand it is not “politically” correct to be friends. In my opinion, Akpa wanted to send a message to the reader that a relationship proves to be more powerful than “faith differences” and a lack of understanding the true moral values hidden under their costume.

A Tell-Tale Heart: Analysis from Question

What is the effect of writing from this perspective (first-person)?

In The Tell-Tale Heart, there is a significant effect of writing from the first person perspective. The reader interprets the story completely differently than how it would be interpreted as a third person story. Edgar Allen Poe brought this character (the narrator) to life by making the story in the first person. The reader feels like the narrator is actually speaking to him, and therefore get to feel the experience that the protagonist felt. In this story, I felt like I was a part of the narrator as he thought and planned his murder of the old man. The way he tells the story captures the reader into seeing and experiencing exactly what the narrator did. Poe writes, ” Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded-with what caution-with what foresight-with what dissimulation I went to work!” (39). I feel like I am having a conversation with the narrator, and he is telling me exactly what he did and how he felt while killing the old man. The effect from writing from this perspective is that the reader gets the full experience of the protagonist, making the reader feel like he/her is having a conversation with the narrator. However, the reader is limited to the perspective and thoughts solely of the narrator, and does not get a broad view of others in the story. The first person creates a sense and experience of being the narrator, and the effect is that the reader sees exactly how the story happened from the narrator’s perspective and thoughts.

First vs. Third Person Narratives (Update)

After having a class discussion about first and third person narratives, I can add much more to my previous post. Firstly, I find first person narratives to be informal compared to third person narratives. It is basically a conversational way of telling the story; Quoting Mr. Parker, “I feel like I am sitting in a room with the narrator who is telling me a story.” This is a huge difference between the two narratives. Next, it is much harder to connect to other characters in the first person because it is the narrator telling his personal story. Because of this, the reader does not get much internal contact with other characters. In addition, I want to add that the narrator is usually biased towards others, telling the reader his own opinion about other characters in the story. This brings up the question: how trustworthy is the narrator? The reader cannot completely trust the narrator; how can one be sure everything isn’t a lie? To prove my point, in The Tell-Tale Heart, (assuming you read it) how do we know the old man isn’t a very nice person, and the narrator is some whacko? I mean, we can all assume (hopefully) that the narrator of this story is probably mad! Who would kill an old man because of his eye that drives the protagonist crazy. Getting back to my point, this causes the reader to have a limited view of what is outside the narrator’s mind, and only see through the narrator’s eyes, but with interpretation. There is a limited awareness of everything else in the story because all the reader knows is what the narrator says.

First vs. Third Person Narratives

How is the experience reading a first person narrative different from the experience reading a third person narrative? Do we have to think differently about first person narrators than third person narrators? How so, and why?

After reading The Tell-Tale Heart, a first person story by Edgar Allan Poe, I realized how different first person narratives are to third person narratives. First-person narratives make me feel like the author is talking directly to me, telling me exactly he is doing and how he feels, whereas third person narratives just seem like I am viewing the whole story from afar, and do not really feel like I am a part it. This makes me think differently about the two types of narrators because both project their own sense of how their story should be carried forward and portrayed by the reader. In the first person, I feel like the story is a bit more loose and I can mold the writing to fit my brain. For example, in The Tell-Tale Heart, Poe writes, “How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily-how calmly I can tell you the whole story” (Poe 38). Note how Poe writes directly to the reader about how he can tell the story. In this type of narrative, the reader is limited to mainly one character’s thoughts. Also, the narrator is usually biased towards others because there is a limited view of everything outside of the narrator. With third person, the author is describing someone’s actions from a distance; the story is already molded and given directly to the reader. Both types of narratives are different ways of telling a story and can change how the reader perceives the story.

Ideas for “The Lottery” Essay

I was able to come up with two analytical questions to be the prompt for my essay.

The first questions is: Do the townspeople in The Lottery perceive tradition as something positive? I do not think so because the townspeople were born with the tradition and were raised to follow it, now knowing the origins of it, or its purpose. They, although are scared of the outcome of the lottery, do not show any signs of opposition to the lottery. In order to make the writing process of the essay easier on me, I came up with some important words that relate to the question: outdated, immoral, illegal, dangerous, primitive, barbaric, and unknowing. Also, I think there is a fine line between religion/tradition and what is moral in present day society. Traditions must comply with the rules and morality in today’s society, so traditions must be changed or even banished to be seen as something okay.

My second question is: Why doesn’t Mr. Summers think that he is doing something wrong in organizing the lottery? The inhabitants of the town have never voiced any opposition to the lottery or to any actions associated with the lottery. In order to make changes in such a tight society, traditions have to be challenged. Mr. Summers knows nothing else, and it is part of his job to organize the lottery. In such a small town, without much contact from outsiders, they don’t even think about ending the lottery, like some other towns do. An example is when Old Man Warner says by ending the lottery, they might as well go back to living in caves. This connotes his stubbornness of change and how all they know is that it is their tradition to participate in the annual lottery.