World Lit General Feedback

Read on for General Notes for World Literature Papers – 2012


CRITERION A: Aspect/Treatment

Many fine ideas. Now: follow through, follow through. Remember: this is an ARGUMENT for a particular interpretation. The following paragraphs must develop this in detail.

CRITERION B: Knowledge/Understanding

Look for opportunities to weave in your knowledge of the genre, style, and culture as it pertains to your thesis. Don’t force it, but do remember that this is the “World Literature” component, and (for Assignment one), a comparative essay. Thus, detailed cultural/historical grounding/context is essential to your ability to make meaningful comparisons.

Be specific about plot, characters, symbols, and so on. Show your expertise with detail, particularly when choosing relevant quotations/evidence.

CRITERION C: Presentation

Thesis: Last sentence of first paragraph, please! Literary technique + effect/significance of that technique.
Topic Sentences: First sentences of all body paragraphs, please! TS has 3 jobs: 1) must link to thesis (make sure there is an “echo” word; 2) must provide a transition (hopefully a logical one) from previous paragraph; and 3) must directly control the main idea of the paragraph.
Intro: Authors and title must be mentioned — preferably in sentences 1-2.
Conclusion: Make it sound like you care. Make it matter. Make it shine. Think of this analogy: a well written conclusion should sound a lot more like you are putting the final wax and polish on a collectible Cadillac and a lot less like you are cleaning up after dinner with a smelly old sponge. On your papers, CC = sounds like you’re shining a Caddie — good work! SSp = smelly sponge — freshen it up.

Criterion D – Language


  • Review for common errors, esp. sentence fragments, comma splices, and errors of agreement (subject-pronoun; subject-verb; singular-plural).


  • P2A.  Change passive to active voice.
  • 2B. inimize “to be” verbs as the main verb of sentence (“Claire is a grotesque character”). “To be” forms are fine as helping verbs when indicating the tense of a stronger verb.
  • PT. Write in critical present tense.


Diction — enhance your professionalism by following these caveats:

  • Do NOT use the words “similar” and “different” in a vague manner in the same sentence, as in: “These two plays are very different with some similar components.”  This is ovbious and true about everything in the world worth comparing, and therefore not specific enough a statment to belong in an astute analytical essay. Especially do not do this in the first or last paragraphs as it is an instant indication that you are unsure of yourself.
  • Do NOT use the words “LARGE” or “BIG” unless you are describing something physical (“a large dinosaur” is ok; however, “another large difference between Cyrano and Lysistrata…” or “the word ‘never’ is the biggest use of repetition” sounds amateur. In the first example substitute “significant”; in the second example try “common.”
  • Do NOT use phrases like “in this passage it says…”
  • DO look for opportunities to naturally integrate vocabulary of literary analysis for more effective and precise interpretations. Here is a reminder of useful terms for dramatic study.

Conventions and References:

  • TITLES: Where are your clever and concise titles? Really? Where are they? Remember: titles should be attention-grabbing and should be specific to your essay.  Authors and titles and Aspects are identified in strong titles. Alliteration is a neat trick (as in “The Matter of the Mother: Encoding of the Mother in H. D.’s Poetry and Prose”). The Clever Phrase-Colon-Clarifying Subtitle method is also standard (previous example and “Double Selves: Katherine Mansfield’s Encounters with Her Mother’s Legacy in “Prelude” and “At the Bay.” (No titles necessary for Assignment 2 commentaries/KPA’s, though).
  • MLA Formatting:  Really, an absurd number of you seem to be mounting a protest against the MLA convention of underlining the title of the work within your essay. What’s with that?
  • MLA citations both in text or at the end. Check out the rules for citing DRAMA in this link and FOLLOW THEM: Remember — The Visit came from an anthology; all the works have translators.