I need to write an essay on The Cellist of Sarajevo using the prompt: "Discuss the ideas developed by the text creator in your chosen text about the...

I need to write an essay on The Cellist of Sarajevo using the prompt:

Discuss the ideas developed by the text creator in your chosen text about the NATURE of motivations that direct and individuals course of action.

I want to write a layering essay, so I was thinking about focusing on the character Arrow and showing how she progresses throughout the novel. I just need help with figuring out the 3 main ideas of my theses/body paragraphs.

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This seems like a great choice for the topic of your essay. I can think of a couple approaches that could work well here.

First, you could center your three body paragraphs around three tough choices or tuning points Arrow experiences. For example, I could see examining when Arrow...

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This seems like a great choice for the topic of your essay. I can think of a couple approaches that could work well here.

First, you could center your three body paragraphs around three tough choices or tuning points Arrow experiences. For example, I could see examining when Arrow decides she is comfortable killing other humans, when she decides to not kill the enemy sniper who is listening to the cellist adagio until it finishes, and when she decides to lay down her rifle and go home. If you went with this approach, I would pick one or two quotes around each passage to do a close reading of, working to get at the internal motivations of Arrow. In your conclusion, I would recommend examining the general trajectory of these motivations and how they changed over time. Since you said you want to focus on how she changes over time, I think this type of a chronological approach would be a good choice.

Alternatively, if you want to go with something different, I could see structuring your paragraphs around major traits that define Arrow. For example, you could dedicate one paragraph to the question of why Arrow decides to start fighting. A second paragraph could focus on why she chooses to work alone. And a third paragraph could attend to how she understands the titular cellist.

Sometimes it is helpful to go with a non-chronological approach to ensure your essay does not fall into merely summarizing the plot. I find that such approaches often make for more interesting essays; however, it can be more work to identify themes and make a cohesive thesis/conclusion. I could see working with a thesis such as:

Arrow chooses to fight alone because she wants to resist the blind militarism of those like Karaman, and she respects the cellist for showcasing a non-militant form of resistance to those attacking the city.

I would either start with a thesis (if there's one that already makes sense to you), or I would start by deciding on the passages or characteristics you want to analyze. From there, you could do close readings of the text and use them to generate a thesis.

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