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?
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)