Hello English 111 students! Happy July!I??™ve responded to your ideas, via e-mail, for the first essay. I won??™t repeat here what I stated to students individually. Instead, I??™ll confine myself to just a few brief remarks.Let me stress RIGHT AWAY that your essay will not ???retell??? the works in question. In other words, this is not anything like a ???book report??? type assignment, in which the writer merely retells what happened.
That??™s really a waste of time; if we want to know ???what happens??? in a piece of work, we simply read it for ourselves. Therefore, your essay will strive to shed actual light on the work??¦that is, your essay will provide a thoughtful, well detailed discussion of the work that makes the work clearer, more powerful, and more interesting than it might otherwise be. Also: here??™s a comment I made to one of the students, though as you can quickly see, it??™s an important point for all of you??”not matter what your topic. In this particular case, the topic is religion, but beyond that specific topic, my advice should be of some value to everyone:???Youre entirely correct. The topic of religion is important in both works, as you readily see. Now we step back and ask: what ARGUMENT is each author (Voltaire and Aristophanes) making about it Spelling out each authors position is not the easiest thing in the world, as the argument is made by implication rather than direct statement.
But thats how literature works: we must read between the lines, so to speak, to discern the sometimes subtle points being made. Just be sure to nail down what those sometimes subtle points are by fully defending your explanation with well chosen details from both works. SHOW us, by examples and explanation, precisely what you have in mind.???And another comment that??™s of some general interest, I believe:???Very fine point.
The use of comic irony–as you put it, walking into something with “open arms”, and assuming great things will happen–is a powerful device in both works. And both works are RICH with such examples. Beyond the examples, the authors are of course making an ARGUMENT with these uses of irony, so be sure to fully SPELL OUT–dont make your readers guess–just what those respective arguments are.???My point in both comments is: don??™t make your readers guess about anything.
Really support your thesis FULLY, with illustrative examples from the works AND by stepping forward and fully EXPLAINING how those examples support your thesis. It??™s easy enough to forget that, sometimes, the points that are very clear to us aren??™t so clear at first to anyone else??”that??™s why we must slow down and explain fully. We might even feel that we??™re OVER-explaining a bit, but that??™s fine. We should err on the side of being thorough.
Now, a quick point about organization: this essay pretty much organizes itself.