Your paper on Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Fiveis not a book report that restates
Your paper on Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Fiveis not a book report that restates facts from the novel. Instead, it’s an original argument that shows a deeper meaning of the novel than its literal meaning (an interpretation) or an argument about how different elements of the novel’s form and style function (a formal analysis). In either case, the paper is an argument, because the thesis is your opinion.
The only evidence you need to support your claims is direct quotations and paraphrases from the novel itself. Follow these with MLA in-text citation. After providing evidence, offer extensive analysis. Keep your quotes and paraphrases short, but write a lot of your own ideas closely examining the evidence and explaining to your reader how the evidence supports your thesis. Don’t assume that the reader will reach the same conclusion as you.
Use present tense when you paraphrase. You aren’t required to use secondary sources, but if you do, you must cite them internally and include them in your works cited page. AvoidSparksnotesandBookrags.com—they detract from your credibility.
Youmay notuse the thesis, “Billy Pilgrim suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, causing him to hallucinate.” It’s a great thesis, but I need you to come up with an idea of your own instead. The paper only needs to be 375 words, but it can be longer
Your thesis statement will do one of two things. It will either
a) interpret aconcept, object, or other element of the novel, or
b) analyzethe novel’s form, style, or Vonnegut’s voice
375 word minimum
Paper is not a report
Very little summary will be used
Text is used as evidence for analysis to prove your thesis Paraphrases or direct quotations are followed by in-text citations Interpretation or analysis is proven valid
First paragraph makes clear the author and novel you are discussing Present tense is used whenever discussing text
One source works cited
Any thesis is permissible, so long as it is interpretational.
Sample topic patterns
In the novel, pornography represents_________________.
Satire is an appropriate form for the novel because__________________.
Vonnegut uses humor by__________________. The humor has the effect of __________________.
The alternating narrative structure of the novel has the effects of __________________ and accomplishes _____________________.
(Use these criteria as a checklist)
15 to -40
A specific thesis, supportable by the text and your arguments, which is interpretational. “Billy Pilgrim was a soldier” would not work, because it is too literal. “Billy Pilgrim represents the horror of war” is interpretational, but a little too broad. “Billy Pilgrim is Vonnegut’s literary representation of horrors men cannot process” is acceptable.
Smooth, natural transitions that guide the reader through the paragraphs of your paper
You must use at least four examples/references from the novel
Each example must be explained, analyzed, and related back to your thesis. Your analysis must be thorough. Relate the examples to one another if you can. Consider arguments someone who disagrees with your thesis might have when you analyze your examples.
0 to -10
The paper as a whole must be focused. Stay on track. If there are extraneous elements of the paper which do not work to promote your thesis or persuade the reader (however subtly), revise/remove them.
A conclusion which drives your point home, makes the reader feel something, or invites the reader to think about the topic of your paper more or in greater depth. The conclusion cannot be a simply restatement your thesis and main points. That is boring, and you are a better writer than that.
0 to -30
375 words,double spaced, in MLA format
15 to -25
Correct grammar. Check for apostrophe usage, capitalization of proper nouns, fragments, subject verb agreement, verb tense, correct prepositions, comma splices, commas before coordinating conjunctions, commas in lists, commas with interrupting phrases, correctly used colons and semicolons (if used at all), correctly placed modifiers, and pronoun agreement.
0 to -15
5 to -5
Style. Avoid faulty parallelism. As a general rule, avoid passive voice unless you feel it is absolutely necessary. If even one sentence is slightly confusing to the reader or to you, it is probably too long, awkward, or convoluted. Aim for a lean, athletic style that takes no prisoners.