Spring Semester Essay #1

Essay #1 (Spring Semester)


You may either write your essay on “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells, or “The Story of My Life” by Helen Keller. This is a response essay, where you create and defend/explain your opinion on the chosen text. We worked on this type of essay last semester, and everyone did a great job! If you have any questions about thesis statements, MLA formatting, or In-Text citations, look below to previous posts, or email/text me. Good luck!


MLA Formatting

Works Cited Page

In-Texts Citations

Minimum of 2 pages

Minimum of 2 sources (one source may be the book you choose to write about)

Thesis Statement


If unsure of a topic, consider discussing why these books are important to read today (or on the flip side, irrelevant). You could discuss what you believe H.G. Wells was trying to prove about the human condition, or how Helen Keller’s autobiography has impacted the world.



Essay #3

Essay #3

Minimum of 2 pages

Minimum of 2 sources

There is no rough draft requirement for this essay. If you would like to bring a rough draft in to class, I am happy to look at it. Otherwise, just bring in your final draft on the 17th.

For Essay #3 you may write another opinion essay in which you form an opinion about either “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, or “A Christmas Carol,” and then support this theory with sources. Or you may choose to write about one of the five authors that we have read this semester: Harper Lee, Lois Lowry, William Shakespeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or Charles Dickens. If you choose to write about the author, this is still not simply a research paper. You will need to form an opinion about that author and the book they wrote.


No matter what topic you choose, remember to have a strong thesis statement! Examples are below:

“Charles Dickens’ writing was influenced by his unhappy childhood in which he experienced poverty,  distant parents, and illness.”


“A Christmas Carol” remains a popular novel, because of it’s inspiring message, interesting characters, and supernatural content.”


Good luck!



Essay #2!

Essay 2 Requirements


Response Paper OR Compare/Contrast Paper on either “The Giver” or “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.


If you chose to write a Response Paper:


Chose a book, and then a topic relating to the book. For example, what is your opinion on the stance “The Giver” made about social issues? Create a thesis statement, and back up your opinions with sources! Use direct quotes from the book, and at least one other source. Remember that a thesis statement is your opinion about the book. You should be able to use sources to back up your opinion. A thesis statement can be argued.


If you chose to write a Compare/Contrast Paper:


Chose which book you will be writing about, and then chose a second source with which to compare this book. This second source can be a book, movie, play, song, commercial, etc. For example, you could compare the play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to the movie version of the play. Or you could compare “The Giver” to “The Hunger Games”. Just remember, for compare/contrast essay you are NOT comparing apples to oranges. You need to choose to compare two sources that have the same message, or the same setting, etc. There needs to be something to compare! (It would be really hard to compare Seseme Street to Transformers simply because they are so different). For compare/contrast you also need to decide which one is better! You will still need a thesis statement. An example is below:


“The Giver” addressed the importance of memories better than _________, with its characters, discussion of important social issues, and vague climax scene.


A compare/contrast essay can be very fun to write, but be aware that it may take more than 2 pages to organize your thoughts because you must have an opinion about two sources instead of one.


Regardless of which type of essay you chose:


2 pages


2 sources


A Works Cited page


MLA format (If you need help with this, that’s what a rough draft is for! I’m happy to help).


The topic is up to you to decide. Feel free to run it by your classmates for additional ideas. I’m also happy to help along the process if you feel you are having trouble.


Happy Writing!

Essay Writing – Paragraphs and In-Text Citations

Runland Squashplummer

Literature Class

Leah Bashaw

April 16, 2014


       This is what an in-text citation looks like. You start by quoting someone, say George Washington, “Hello, I’m George Washington” (Washington 54). Then you state the meaning behind the quote you chose. George Washington was very friendly and said hello often. Then you continue with your essay until you come to another quote. Perhaps all presidents were friendly. Lincoln himself says, “I love talking to people and saying hello” (Lincoln 34). Describe what Lincoln meant by saying hello. Then offer a transition paragraph into the next sentence such as the following.

While all Presidents liked to say hello, they hated to say goodbye


(Note: Your essay will be double spaced. Unfortunately this website continues to compress my double spacings! Sorry about that. :) )

Essay Writing: Thesis Statements

A thesis statement is your opinion stated as a fact.



Not a Thesis Statement: “To Kill a Mockingbird” won a Pulitzer Prize  (This is not an opinion. This is a fact).

Thesis Statement: “To Kill a Mockingbird” won a Pulitzer Prize because it dealt with thematic issues, portrayed the south realistically, and because Scout endeared herself to critics across the globe.



Not a Thesis Statement: The North won the Civil War. (This is a fact).

Thesis Statement: The North won the Civil War because they had access to more resources, had a stronger government, and more soldiers.


This is your opinion. There could be many reasons that the North won the Civil War, but you are able to defend your thesis statement with other sources. Also note that you gave three “reasons” for the North winning. When you give three examples by using the word “because,” you have set up your entire essay, making it easier to write. You know exactly what you are focusing on, so you will not go off on bunny trails throughout the essay. This is how you will set up your essay:


First Paragraph: Introduction, Thesis Statement

Second Paragraph: Discuss the resources to which the North had access.

Third Paragraph: Discuss the strong government the North had.

Forth Paragraph: Discuss the quantity of soldiers.

Fifth Paragraph: Conclusion, restate thesis statement.


For a longer essay you would simply spend more paragraphs on each subject, or add addition reasons that the North won the war.

It is unnecessary in a thesis statement to begin with “in my opinion…”. This essay was written by you! Readers will know it is biased and your opinion. When discussing a book with others we try not to offend them by saying things such as, “I might be wrong but…”, “I kind of think…”, etc. When you are writing an essay there is no reason to be gentle. State your opinions as clearly and concisely as possible and do not waste space by using filler words. A thesis statement should be one sentence only.


If you are having trouble coming up with a thesis statement, please let me know! This is one of the hardest parts of writing an essay and many students in college courses struggle with this as well. I would be happy to help you.



Essay 1

Essay #1

Topic: Find something about “To Kill a Mockingbird” that interests you, draft a thesis statement, and start writing! Ideas for topics are below, but feel free to branch out with your own ideas.

Rough Draft Due October 6th

Final Draft Due October 13th

-Minimum of 2 pages excluding Works Cited page.

-MLA formatting: double spaced.

One source in addition to “To Kill a Mockingbird”. (If you have trouble finding a source, browse the “Resources” section for some ideas).

Consider the issue of race in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Has this impacted America’s view of race?

Consider how Harper Lee’s life and childhood impacted her writing.

Consider how well “To Kill a Mockingbird” portrayed a southern town in the 1930’s.

Contemplate why “To Kill a Mockingbird” became a success/classic.

Consider the trial in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Did this trial reflect/change the legal system?

Consider the school system portrayed in “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Consider town gossip and preconceived notions. How is this is reflected in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Or come up with your own idea(s). Writing an essay is much easier when you are interested in the topic you are researching.

Good luck!