Essay #1 – Building a Literary Argument

okay so this is the second screencast about this example si this is the one where I'm gonna talk about the content so please please PLEASE a million times please read the story that this essay is about I shall do the Miss shift in the woods and then read this example essay really carefully I recommend reading it all the way through and just to see what it's like and then go back and read all these little annotations so here's what I do in this essay so the essay is structured in a very logical linear manner if you're paying attention to the course content that's a very typical email way to structure the essay there's a lot of little joke there there's a lot of different ways to structure essays but this one is is one that I think will serve you no matter what you're doing so it just proceeds in a very in a very logical manner so in the introduction you gotta do several different things the first thing is introduced basically what you're writing about so you're writing about a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood so this first sentence here is just about what those stories are kind of about in terms of gender roles so we have wolf as metaphor for a predatory male hungry to spoil young women standing in society etc etc here's another line about generals this introduces the general thing read as vulnerable object of desire I say is at the core of all read writing the tales then we switch so we just spend a couple of sentences setting up the fact that it's a Red Riding Hood tale and the fact that it's gonna deal with gender roles then we move in to the focus of the essay this modern retelling they introduced the author I introduced the story and then I talked about basically what it does it flips the script and presents read as an uncivilized young woman and an unsavory businessman named Jude as the wolf this line can be considered part of the thesis statement fact this whole introduction moves pretty seamlessly to the thesis statement however here is the thesis statement but talk a little bit about thesis statements and I could probably post something on this as well so the way I think about thesis statements is the best thesis statements have three parts if you took English at DVC you might hear it called a three level thesis it's a little bit different than and then a three part thesis that you heard about in high school but a three level thesis the way we think about it here in DBC English is part number one is an observation you might hear this being called a fact you might think about it too as something you notice so the noticing here or the observation is that the story ends in a violent powershift that's a fact if you read the story you know that the roles are reversed and the guy gets killed by the women spoiler alert right but that's just a fact the next part is what do I think about that fact what's my opinion what's my explanation well that power shift reverses the traditional gendered structure of the tale notice that even having said that and it's relatively simple you know that I have to explain that later so that's a part of my essay too so I observe the story ends in this way my opinion is this way I also want you to notice that when I write something like the story reverses the traditional gendered structure of the tale I have to explain the traditional gendered structure of the tip of the tail and then I have to explain how this tail is different so that's all observation plus opinion that's all noticing plus explanation the third part of the see thesis statement again we have one observation two opinion three is going to be significance in which I talk about what's important about all of this so my significance here is in spite of the story feminist recalibration the ending remains problematic because the females have not escaped or changed the gendered paradigm a rather appropriated the male a dresser the male role of aggressor that sounds complicated right but all I'm what I'm saying there is what I see in the story is essentially through most of the story the man is on top if you will the man has more power and he's pursuing red and he's trying to make a victim out of her in the end of the story those roles flip and red and her grandmother end up making a victim out of the male that's all well and good it solves some problems that but it doesn't solve the problem that the inequality between the two genders is is solved by is assault by violence or plays out in violence so that's the significance to me and and hopefully that makes a little bit of sense with the si si machine basically what I'm saying there is it's great that women aren't victimized but someone is still being victimized like we need to find a way out of this system so that's kind of what I argue so then I proceed in making my literary argument so notice we have to establish traditional gender roles talk about how they change and then talk about why that is all important so this first header establishes what Red's gender role is like in this story she one of the most important things that she does is she follows the traditional female gender trait of being vulnerable here I write that she's like a bird and there's a quote and then I explained that my explanation is this calls to mind the classic feminine Association of birds so this read is very different she's beautiful but it's hidden under an uncivilized exterior and she's vulnerable because she kind of lives outside of society then I explained how she lived outside of society here I explained how she how her exterior is uncivilized and so here I present a list of details about how red is not traditionally beautiful but she looks uncivilized which I argue again makes her more vulnerable I continue this and say that she's in the moment of being sexually mature like she's at she's a young woman we think she's 16 17 18 there's graphic details in the description here but she still wears braids and bow like a younger girl and so then this is a transition is this combination of aspects that attracts the story's wolf this is exactly the same as the original Red Riding stories red being young beautiful and vulnerable is what attracts the wolf so in this story this guy Jude is the wolf and here's where I start talking about him here's why I talk about what makes him a wolf he drinks and hires prostitutes okay so he's a lecher and you know he's a guy who's happy to use women as objects just for sex i contrast him here with the woodsman and I contrast him here with princes from different fairytales I say that these heroes like those two are moral men moral male figures whereas Jude treats women like meat that's it I move that quickly towards setting things up and then I jump right in to talking about what happens in the story so basically what happens in the story as you know because you definitely 100% have read it at this point is the wolf kind of sets his sights he targets red and starts pursuing her and so as he pursues her he reveals more about himself and she remiel reveals more about herself so I kind of bounced through the story and pick and choose these moments where I see Jude acting as a wolf and red acting like red essentially through all of these moments he's exerting his power and he's sexualizing her so and his behavior gets worse and worse and so I talked about the pursued escalating so the pursuit starts it gets worse he gets more bold he victimizes her more and it continues all the way through the end of the story where red leads him out to the woods where her grandmother is so here once I'm done explaining kind of the plot movement of the story then I start then I switch into commentary and this is where I begin to set up the significance portion of my essay so here's where I explain the reversal of traditional gender roles here's a long topic sentence here so remember this word reversal that is back in my thesis statement right reversal so basically what I did in the beginning of this story is I talked about this perhaps that should be underlined as part of the thesis but I set up read as vulnerable I set up Jude as unsavory and then I explained what happens in the story while both of those threads are kind of developing down here in the commentary I talked about how that role reversal works I spend a couple of paragraphs doing that then I switch to the significant so I talk about how the story ends and how it makes sense to me and then I talk about how that is problematic so I think I explained this when I was talking through the assignment sheet but coming up with the significance for a for a literary reading is tricky with these stories with this unit and the next unit when we're talking about these fairy tales I think it's really useful to look at how power works in the story and to think of it as like a sliding scale on the assignment sheet I use left and right but you can also consider the power to be like a meter that goes up and down so if you view power as a bar graph like we have the wolf and light you can make his color like I don't know we can stick with gender roles right you can make his color blue right or even light light blue for like a nice little boy so at the beginning of the story if you have a if you have a line at zero at the bottom and ten at the top the wolf has all this power the wolf kind of starts the the blue bar would be full up to like the number eight or even the number ten if you will and the power that red has in the world the pink bar would be would be down very low so the way that I see power work in this story is it kind of continues that way through the whole story and in fact the wolf gets more authoritative right and I'm like imposes himself more on the young girl throughout the story until like he's planning on taking her inside of Grandma's house and doing something to her probably not murder but probably rape and at that moment the story switches and it becomes clear that these two women don't live in society that they have power themselves and the man Jude gets ends up getting devoured himself or killed at the end of the story story doesn't have all of that in it but it's pretty clear what's gonna happen so if you're viewing those power those power meters you know where the blue bar for Jude was a ten and the pink bar for red was that one at the end of the story they completely switch and the pink bar goes all the way up to full and the blue bar goes all the way down to zero getting murdered is pretty much having your power reduced to zero or murdering someone is increasing your power to ten right that's pretty much the most you can objectify a person and the least you could respect their individual individuality would be to take everything that they have away from them by killing them so those two meters totally flip-flop and so in my conclusion here I spend time talking about how that's that's all well and good and it's satisfying and it makes a good story but it's still really problematic because someone still has to die and I get that we're in a fairy tale kind of morality but most most feminist theorists would not would not advocate women gaining power at the expense of men or anybody else they would advocate the system changing in some way where instead of this kind of binary system where one gender inherently has more power over another they would advocate like doing away with the whole system in a way that wouldn't wouldn't mean that anyone would have to have a power asserted over anyone else because of their gender so that's my example paper I hope that that was helpful and I'll see you on the discussion boards and elsewhere

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