on writing essays

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one of my lecturers printed us a step-by-step guide to writing an essay for an assignment we had. i decided to type it up and share it with you guys. i think for the most part it is really useful and a super simple way to break down your essay. hope this helps :~)

the harry potter books rated by how many times someone says "er"
  • philosopher's stone: (5) three of the five are used by hagrid and an astonishing zero by harry. altogether an underwhelming turnout. (3/10)
  • chamber of secrets: (6) a good third of the "er"s are a result of lucius malfoy being a dick about hagrid's hut. not a fan but still a better showing than the first book. (4/10)
  • prisoner of azkaban: (11) lupin enters the scene and the "er"s double, mostly because he is an awkward prince, but also because malfoy inherits his father's cute quirk of being a dick to poor people. (6/10)
  • goblet of fire: (23) the er count skyrockets as harry hits puberty and becomes progressively more awkward. baby boy is growing up and has forgotten how to put a sentence together. also serves as a minor plot point with the sphinx's riddle in the third task, giving er its well-deserved moment in the spotlight. (10/10)
  • order of the phoenix: (36) “So — so — they — er — they — er— they actually exist, do they — er — dementy-whatsits?”. excellent. still cannot comprehend what this sentence would actually sound like out loud. (9/10)
  • half-blood prince: (18) offsets the rising er trend which is disappointing. nothing to report other than harry is still unable to construct a sentence that does not contain ellipses (5/10)
  • deathly hallows: (8) hp is all grown up and has no need for speech disfluencies. brings a tear to the eye. (8/10)

To help move away from summary and toward ANALYSIS, it’s important to incorporate strong verbs into your writing when discussing the writer’s rhetorical choices. Below is a list of verbs that are considered weak (imply summary) and a list of verbs that are considered strong (imply analysis). Strive to use the stronger verbs in your essays to help push yourself away from summary and toward analysis: ex “The writer flatters…” NOT “The writer says…”

Weak Verbs (Summary):

  • says 
  • explains
  • relates 
  • states 
  • goes on to say 
  • shows 
  • tells 
  • this quote shows

Strong Verbs (Analysis):

Argues, admonishes, analyzes, compares, contrasts, defines, demonizes, denigrates, describes, dismisses, enumerate, expounds, emphasizes, establishes, flatters, implies, lionizes, lists, minimizes, narrates, praises, processes, qualifies, questions, ridicules, suggests, supports, trivializes, vilifies, warns       

Powerful and Meaningful Verbs to Use in an Analysis (Alternatives to Show): 

  • Acknowledge, Address, Analyze, Apply, Argue, Assert, Augment
  • Broaden
  • Calculate, Capitalize, Characterize, Claim, Clarify,Compare, Complicate, Confine, Connect, Consider, Construct, Contradict, Correct, Create, Convince, Critique
  • Declare, Deduce, Defend, Demonstrate, Deny, Describe, Determine, Differentiate, Disagree, Discard, Discover, Discuss, Dismiss, Distinguish, Duplicate
  • Elaborate, Emphasize, Employ, Enable, Engage, Enhance, Establish, Evaluate, Exacerbate, Examine, Exclude, Exhibit, Expand, Explain, Exploit, Express, Extend
  • Facilitate, Feature, Forecast, Formulate, Fracture
  • Generalize, Group, Guide
  • Hamper, Hypothesize
  • Identify, Illuminate, Illustrate, Impair, Implement, Implicate, Imply, Improve, Include, Incorporate, Indicate, Induce, Initiate, Inquire, Instigate, Integrate, Interpret, Intervene, Invert, Isolate
  • Justify
  • Locate, Loosen
  • Maintain, Manifest, Manipulate, Measure, Merge, Minimize, Modify, Monitor
  • Necessitate, Negate, Nullify
  • Obscure, Observe, Obtain, Offer, Omit, Optimize, Organize, Outline, Overstate
  • Persist, Point out, Possess, Predict, Present, Probe, Produce, Promote, Propose, Prove, Provide
  • Qualify, Quantify, Question
  • Realize, Recommend, Reconstruct, Redefine, Reduce, Refer, Reference, Refine, Reflect, Refute, Regard, Reject, Relate, Rely, Remove, Repair, Report, Represent, Resolve, Retrieve, Reveal, Revise
  • Separate, Shape, Signify, Simulate, Solve, Specify, Structure, Suggest, Summarize, Support, Suspend, Sustain
  • Tailor, Terminate, Testify, Theorize, Translate
  • Undermine, Understand, Unify, Utilize
  • Validate, Vary, View, Vindicate
  • Yield  
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Today’s episode of YOI was BEYOND AMAZING. This is it guys, it’s a real beautiful relationship - not just some random fanservice. I honestly can’t wait for the next episode to see blushing Yuri~~ ahh my heart…

do you ever think about all the domestic stuff dan and phil do when the camera is off…like…..does dan ever make stupid jokes and phil giggles and punches him on the shoulder…does phil ever fall asleep on the couch and dan has to wake him up…….do they fight over the last slice of pizza…..do they send each other pictures of dogs they see when one of them is out…anyways im crying

why yuri on ice is deeper than it seems (and why you should watch it)

Everyone loves this anime, it’s taking over the internet, I get it. But from an analytical point of view, it’s actually remarkably rich in content. (There are some spoilers in this, but they are mostly minor, and you’ve probably seen them if you have been on the internet at all.)

  • unreliable narrator, yet still a legitimate perspective
    • Yuuri qualified for the GPF the year before. From an outsider’s point of view, getting that far is already a significant accomplishment. Yet, he takes the mistakes in his performance extremely seriously and is upset enough to quit skating for half a year.
    • He’s not being overdramatic. His dog has died, he’s just lost hold of his dream, he’s embarrassed himself in front of lifelong idol.
  • the story is completely different from another person’s POV (unrevealed until later)
    • Let’s talk about the banquet scene and how it changed every single episode that came before.
  • it’s not fanservice… or at least, the fanservice is justified (see above point)
    • ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 
  • it doesn’t start from zero
    • At the beginning of the series, Yuuri has already been practicing skating all his life. Unlike some other stories, he doesn’t learn skating from scratch in 13 episodes and suddenly win major competitions. 
  • lgbt+ relationship!
    • The show doesn’t just hint at one. It’s a justifiable relationship and it is canon.
  • healthy representation of said relationship
    • In episode 4, Viktor asks what Yuuri wants him to be, and Yuuri tells him that he just wants Viktor to be himself. This is not idolization or unrealistic expectations. Viktor is shown to have a reason to be in love with Yuuri, and Yuuri falls for him slowly and beautifully.
  • crying/anxiety isn’t romanticized
    • There is ugly crying + anxiety that actually messes up performances
    • It shows just how harmful a coldhearted approach (like Viktor’s in episode 7) can be to someone with anxiety IRL
    • The pressure to win is actually shown to mess up some people’s performances.
  • every character has identifiable flaws and motives
    • Even Viktor isn’t the perfect idol, and Yuuri isn’t one of those ‘clumsy-protagonists-that-trips-over-their-feet-all-the-time-and-somehow-falls-into-someone’s-heart.’ They are both human, and they make mistakes all the time.
  • none of the side characters lack personalities
    • They’re never bland, and they’re never completely antagonized. All of them have backstories and sources from which they draw their inspiration.
  • character development is constant and noticeable through parallels
  • lots of foreshadowing + symbolism + hidden easter eggs
    • Welcome to Tumblr, posts that point this out are all over the place. I hope you have seen them.
  • ^ …but not enough to make it obvious who will win any round
    • The whole fandom is currently freaking out on who will win the GPF in episode 12. While the results make sense, it’s never super clear how the competitions will go.
  • the real skating routines are shown and they are all unique
    • They’re choreographed by a real skating choreographer.
  • spectacular soundtracks
  • portrayal different cultures and real landmarks
  • there is no annoying ‘love rival’ character getting between Yuuri and Viktor
    • It’s just two dorks who don’t know that they’re in love.
  • the pacing is enjoyable
    • There are no filler episodes that get nowhere. The competitions come quick enough to keep up the pressure, but there are still lighthearted moments that keep things from seeming too rushed.
  • there are actually pets that exist that are not cats
    • Both the main characters have dogs. 
  • dreams and passion are represented nicely
    • It’s clear that Yuuri loves skating. Not just because he likes Viktor, and not just because it’s something that’s accessible to him. The anime portrays the ups and downs of having a dream, losing it, and finding it again, and even through the lighthearted tone of the show, many parts of it are brutally realistic.
  • nothing comes easily
    • None of Yuuri’s wins are undeserved or given just because he’s the protagonist. He makes mistakes and he doesn’t win everything.
    • In episode 11, Yuuri still has doubts. Even though he has a clear future cut out for him, he’s still concerned about Viktor’s happiness.

TL;DR: if you don’t like Yuri on Ice, that’s fine. But it’s not a show that can be merely dismissed as fanservice. It’s a show riddled with hidden symbolism, realistic pacing, and a gay relationship that progresses beautifully. There’s a reason why YOI is this popular, and likewise, there’s a reason why it has been recognized by world class skaters. Not every element of it is 100% true to reality, but the show still depicts the sport well and has unique and likable characters with understandable motives.

YOI doesn’t just mess around with relationships, it goes all the way. And it isn’t in any way predictable. It shows the fall and rise of a dream that breaks stereotypes and inspires viewers.

i feel half dead. but dont worry, its the inside half. my beautiful face is fine
A 5-Step Guide to Writing Intoductions

I get it, writing an introduction is friggin’ hard. Just as in real life, the first impressions you make in an essay are so important and basically the introduction will set the tone for everything that follows!

This is something we were discussing today in class and I thought a lot of it would be very useful so I decided to share it (#yourewelcome). Basically one of the assignments for our main class is to write an abstract which will essentially be the introduction to our dissertations. We were told what sort of format it should take and just reading through the different points it should cover, I thought it would make a very strong introduction for any topic!

Basically, we were told that writing is like a funnel - you should start with the broadest idea and get more specific throughout your work. So, an ideal introduction should be quite broad - but it should also highlight some of the specific things you’re going to write about in your essay.

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So here are the 5 steps as promised:

  1. Opening premise - this should be a broad statement that is difficult to disagree with. We were given the example of ‘Intertextuality is central to the production and reception of translations.’ Can’t really disagree with that now, huh. (That’s written by Lawrence Venuti, btw - the rest of this is further down the post).
  2. Problematic - what problems arise from that opening statement? What are the main issues in the field? Have there been any recent (relevant!) developments?
  3. Research questions/purpose - what questions are you hoping to answer? What is the purpose of your essay/work? This is where the general ‘In this essay I’m going to…’ phrase comes in - this should be a statement of specific purpose that also demonstrates how relevant your main argument is in relation to the field mentioned in 1. Although please don’t actually say ‘In this essay I’m going to’. Please???
  4. Method - how are you going to answer those questions? Are you going to look at a particular example or case?
  5. References - this overlaps with number 4 a little. Basically, are there any particular texts, authors or works that you’re going to be referring to?

The basic way of wording all this, however, is what > why > how. Simple as that. 4-5 can blend together and they are less important depending on your level in the education system. These two points though can just be something as simple as the book that you’re going to discuss in a literature essay for English class.

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Here’s the rest of the Venuti text, so you can (hopefully!) see these steps more clearly:

Intertextuality is central to the production and reception of translations. Yet the possibility of translating most foreign intertexts with any completeness or precision is so limited as to be virtually nonexistent. As a result, they are usually replaced by analogous but ultimately different intertextual relations in the receiving language. The creation of a receiving intertext permits a translation to be read with comprehension by translating-language readers. It also results in a disjunction between the foreign and translated texts, a proliferation of linguistic and cultural differences that are at once interpretive and interrogative. Intertextuality enables and complicates translation, preventing it from being an untroubled communication and opening the translated text to interpretive possibilities that vary with cultural constituencies in the receiving situation. To activate these possibilities and at the same time improve the study and practice of translation, we must work to theorize the relative autonomy of the translated text and increase the self-consciousness of translators and readers of translations alike.

To explore these ideas, I will discuss three cases: Rossella Bernascone’s 1989 Italian version of David Mamet’s play Sexual Perversity in Chicago; Kate Soper’s 1976 English version of Sebastiano Timpanaro’s study, Il lapsus freudiano. Psicanalisi e critica testuale (The Freudian Slip); and my own 2004 English version of Melissa P.’s fictionalized memoir, 100 colpi di spazzola prima di andare a dormire (100 Strokes of the Brush before Bed). The discussion makes use of a number of theorists, notably Ezra Pound and Philip Lewis.

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Other pro tips:

  • Sometimes it can be useful to write an introduction when you have finished writing the main bulk of the essay - that way when you say ‘I’m going to write about xyz..’ you know for a fact that you’ve actually written about said things.
  • Your introduction should somehow match with your conclusion. Copy & paste these into a separate document from the rest of your essay and compare/contrast the both. Make changes as necessary
  • Sometimes you have an original thought in the conclusion of an essay - put that in your introduction!

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I hope this helps at least one person out there! And, as per, my ask box is always open for questions/suggestions!

RAVENCLAW: “Recently, my son said to me after seeing a ballet on television: ‘It’s beautiful, but I don’t like it.’ And I thought, Are many grown-ups capable of such a distinction? It’s beautiful, but I don’t like it. Usually, our grown-up thinking is more along the lines of: I don’t like it, so it’s not beautiful. What would it mean to separate those two impressions for art making and for art criticism?” –Sarah Ruhl (100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write)