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How do I start my essay on "The Story of an Hour?"I am doing a research paper in which...

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moto303 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 16, 2012 at 10:37 PM via web

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How do I start my essay on "The Story of an Hour?"

I am doing a research paper in which I must disagree with the critical overview of this story. I am having a hard time writing my thesis. Where do I start?

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Stephen Holliday | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 16, 2012 at 11:31 PM (Answer #1)

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One effective way to start a research paper is to summarize the existing scholarship on your topic.  In the first paragraph, for example, you start your essay by surveying what has been said about Chopin's short story.  The survey needs to be brief but comprehensive--in other words, try to go back to the publication of the story and then do some research of the literary criticism.  From there, you should decide which of the articles you've read will fit into the summary in the opening paragraph, keeping in mind what your approach to the story will be and choose articles whose views you can ultimately argue against.

After you've summarized scholars' views of the story, you'll need to state your thesis either as the last sentence of the first paragraph or as the first sentence of the second paragraph.  A good thesis statement will acknowledge the validity of the other views (opposing your own) and then affirmatively state your thesis in a declarative sentence, such as the following:

Despite several critics' views that Mrs. Mallard, the protagonist in Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour," suffers from the repression of marriage, her essential problem  is not repression but self-absorption.

This potential thesis statement is only an example of how a thesis might be constructed, and there are a number of approaches you could take to argue against the conventional approaches to Chopin's story.  A well-constructed thesis statement will not only state your point of view but will briefly state what the prevailing view of a work is, which is something that you have to decide after doing some research.

Hope that helps.

 

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moto303 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 17, 2012 at 12:02 AM (Answer #2)

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Thanks a million!

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