ENG 4U 2011: Preparing to Write

Please remember that for the second half of this class, you are in Lab 264. 

On Wednesday, we will start a series of short conferences. The purpose of the conferences is to prepare you for essay writing. To make the most of these short conferences, I would like you to  start working on the tasks below. It is up to you to choose the appropriate place to start; do NOT do numbers 1, 2, and 3 if you have already constructed a thesis and organized some basic points. Instead, jump into the list at the task that is appropriate for you.

Whatever you produce today will be used to foster our discussion. The further along you are, the more I can help you.

      1. Take the basic motif/theme you have chosen (say, parenting), and turn it into a question. Do not, however, answer the question yet. Remember that questions beginning with how or why will probably lead to a thesis with greater depth.
      2. Create a list of quotations, notes, and ideas from your notes that connect to this motif/theme. You may use point form/shorthand if you wish; just make sure that you know what the point/shorthand means. Make sure that this list contains every relevant example from your novel notes.
      3. Remember yesterday’s discussion of malls? We identified two categories, demographics and wealth, that seem to dictate the similarities and differences between the malls we discussed.   Come up with 2-3 categories that represent most or all of the ideas you found for step 2.
      4. Write a thesis by answering the question you wrote in step 1. Your thesis should mention both novels you are comparing and the categories you identified in step 3.  For example, a working thesis for our discussion from yesterday might be:

        While Malls A and B cater to the same age demographic, their services, stores, and general ambience  reflect the socio-economic realities of the neighbourhoods they serve.

      5. Create a rough outline for your essay. You will probably need 4-5 body paragraphs for this essay. While you may dedicate one or two paragraphs exclusively to one of the novels, make sure that at least 2 paragraphs compare the novels directly.  I suggest using headings for your paragraphs; don’t write your topic sentences until you have grouped all of your notes and ideas under the appropriate headings.
      6.  Write the topic sentences for your paragraphs.  Think of topic sentences as mini-thesis statements: they prepare the reader for what is to follow, while giving the writer something to prove.  Thus, to write a good topic sentence, you need to construct a “mini thesis” for the paragraph.

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