How does writing essays as an undergraduate differ from writing literature essays as a Master's student?Please can you give some detailed advice on how to reach Master's level in writing, what's...

How does writing essays as an undergraduate differ from writing literature essays as a Master's student?

Please can you give some detailed advice on how to reach Master's level in writing, what's expected of such a level and how best to attain it?

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As an undergraduate, your audience for essays about literature is your teacher and your purpose proving that you have read and understood the assigned works. As a graduate student, you audience is fellow scholars, and your purpose is making an original contribution to the scholarly conversation about a work or group of works. Thus at the MA level, a paper should either make a point that has not been made before or disagree with an existing point. To do this, you generally need:

– a very narrow topic. You won’t say something original about “Shakespeare’s women” at the MA level; you may say something original about an historical point in a single speech by Lady Macbeth.

– familiarity with all of the existing scholarship on your narrow topic (thus the narrower the topic the better)

– excellent writing skills (sophisticated vocabulary used correctly, perfect grammar and punctuation, mastery of MLA format)