Helpful and engaging title – establishes key terms and signals the central conceit of the paper: “A Common Spirit.”
Addresses ‘So what?’ question early in the essay and elaborates on it effectively later in her conclusion. Lends relevance and consequence to a topic that may seem remote or idiosyncratic to the average reader. Establishes both historical and critical context for her analysis, marking out common ground for her readers.
Crafts a clear but narrowly-defined problem to address, and sets off her own approach against the prevailing views of critics (a classic ‘they say/I say’ approach). Effectively employs subordinate clauses that begin with conjunctions/prepositional expressions: “Despite…” “Though…” “While…” to immediately build the argumentative tension in her piece.
Claim/Thesis is emphatic and concise. It falls at the end of the introduction and responds directly to the problem statement above.
Topic sentences set clear and distinct tasks/arguments for each body paragraph.
Effectively employs return sentences – sentences at or near the end of body paragraphs that connect analysis in that section to the overall argument in the essay. These return sentences help her maintain focus and build cohesion. She does this both argumentatively (by reinforcing claim/thesis) and rhetorically (by returning to her previously-established key terms).
Frames quotations especially well by providing necessary context up-front and responding to/engaging with quotations before moving on.
Topic sentences at bottom of page 3 and middle of page 4 and top of page 6 illustrate strong transitions.
Great model for concluding a piece of literary criticism, which for students can often feel divorced from everyday life or immediate concerns. Opens conclusion with a concise synopsis of core argument in essay and follows by addressing the ‘So what?’ question, adding consequence and relevance to her interpretation of Hemingway’s novel. Her specific references to contemporary European politics and American culture wars are quite effective.
—STEPHEN B. HODIN
KHC 112: Studio II