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JANE EYRE SHORT ESSAY

PAGE LENGTH:  This essay should be about 500-750 words each (approximately 2-3 MLA formatted Double-spaced pages)

THE ASSIGNMENT:  Choose and answer one (and only one) of the following questions about Jane Eyre.

  1. Discuss how Charlotte Bronte addresses feminist themes in Jane Eyre.

  2. Discuss how social class struggle plays a role in Jane Eyre.

  3. Discuss the role that Christianity plays in Jane Eyre.

  4. Discuss how Jane continually gets herself into hot water through her defiance of authority.

  5. Discuss Jane’s struggle to find her place in the world.

  6. Discuss how Jane Eyre is a narrative about Jane’s search for her self-identity

    Just a reminder of what a good essay consists of, the essay should contain:

  1. A nice introductory paragraph that “leads in” to your thesis statement.  Your thesis statement should not be the first sentence of the essay.

  2. A clear and precise thesis statement that will alert the reader what the essay is going to be about.

  3. A good, strong topic sentence in each paragraph, usually the first sentence of the paragraph.

  4. Enough development in each paragraph to fully support the main point (aka topic sentence).

  5. A conclusion that either summarizes the main points of the essay or emphasizes the very important point(s).

    WHAT I EXPECT FROM THIS ESSAY 

  1. I want this essay to be an analysis of your chosen story, poem, or essay.  Your essay should try to answer your chosen question.  I DO NOT WANT A STORY SUMMARY.  Your essay should show analytical/critical thinking ability.

  2. Your paper should be foregrounded in LOGOS, not ethos or pathos.  You may use some ethos or pathos if it helps you to make your point, but the dominant mode of persuasion that you should be using in this paper is logos.

  3. I EXPECT DIRECT QUOTES FROM Jane Eyre to be used as evidence to back up your points.  DO NOT USE PURE SPECULATION!  Always back your assertions up with evidence from the novel. 

    1. As a rule of thumb, I would include one direct quote in each paragraph of the essay except for the introductory and concluding essay.

  4. Use SPECIFIC DETAILS.  Do not be vague.  This is where direct quotes can help you.

RUBRIC

I will be scoring your essay based upon the following criteria:

Formatting (6 points) 

Your essay should formatted in MLA format.  Use the Formatting a Paper in MLA Format link in the MLA Formatting folder under Course Content to learn how to format a paper properly.  One point will be counted off for each of these that are not done properly:

  • 12 point font
  • Times New Roman font
  • Paper margins 1” around (this one should be easy since it’s the default on Word, therefore not requiring any changes
  • Double Spacing
  • No extra space between paragraphs (in other words, 0 pt before and after)
  • Correctly formatted header

Thesis Statement (10 points)

If your paper does not have a good, strong thesis statement, then it does not have a point.  Your thesis statement should be:

  • Clear:  What is your paper about?
  • Spoken with conviction:  Do not use words like maybe or perhaps.  Say what you have to say and mean it.
  • A thesis statement, not a thesis question.  This is not Jeopardy.  Thesis statements should never be in the form of a question.
  • It should usually appear at the end of the opening paragraph.  That means that you’re going to have to lead into the thesis statement with a little buildup (like in a song).  You shouldn’t have a thesis statement as your opening sentence.

Organization/Structure (15 points)

Your essay should not be a random collection of thoughts just thrown haphazardly on the page.  An essay is organized with an introduction that leads into a thesis statement, main points (topic sentences of paragraphs) and supporting details to develop those points.  When discussing one point, you need to discuss it thoroughly before moving on to the next main point.  For example, if I’m talking about what I like about a movie, I will talk completely about one scene before moving on to the next one.  I will not jump all around the movie and bring up scenes that you had though I was finished with again. 

The best way to organize your essay is to write an outline before you write the essay.  The outline (or the cluster, if you prefer to plan an essay that way) is a nice visual representation of what you’re going to write on the paper.

Main/Primary Points (15 points)

Most essays should have at least three Primary Points.  These points are expressed in the topic sentence of each paragraph, which is usually the first sentence (there are exceptions, but for the purposes of this essay, I want them to be the first sentence).  Just as the thesis statement previews what an entire essay is going to be about, the topic sentence needs to preview what the individual paragraph is going to be about.

For example, if I’m talking about why a baseball team might win the World Series, my primary points would be:

  1. Strong pitching
  2. Clutch hitting
  3. Excellent fielding

Secondary/Supporting Details (20 points)

The supporting details are the most important part of any argument.  The supporting details are the how and/or why a main point is valid. 

Supporting points can be direct quotes from the story that you’re writing about.  They can be summaries of what happened in a story.  They can be real life situations that parallel what happens in a story.  However you develop your points, you need to do so thoroughly. 

Using my baseball example, here’s some secondary/supporting details that support my main points:

  1. Strong Pitching
    1. Starters have lowest ERA in the league
    2. Middle Relief has a lot of powerful arms
    3. Jim Fireball, the closer, has not blown a save all year
  2. Clutch Hitting
    1. Most RBI’s in the league with runner on third and two out
    2. Casey Slugger lead the league in home runs and RBIs
    3. The most comeback 9th inning wins in the league this year
  3. Excellent Fielding
    1. 2nd in the league in fewest errors as a team
    2. 1st in the league in fewest errors among infielders
    3. The most Web Gem highlights on ESPN’s Sportscenter of any team in the league

Notice also how organized my essay is.  This is why outlining is so important in helping you to write a good, strong essay.  Use the essay planning sheets on D2L to help with this.

Quotations Formatting and Use of Quotations (10 points)

Are your quotations formatted correctly?  Remember that for a quotation that’s 3 lines or less, you need to use short quotation format.  If your quote is 4 lines or more, then you need to use long quote format.  Follow this link to understand the correct formatting for quotations:

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/03/

Are your quotations seamlessly incorporated into your essay?  Or do your quotations look like something that you’ve tacked onto your essay because the instructor has required it?  And do your quotations support the main points of your paragraphs and, at the same time, your thesis?

Surface Errors (24 points)

Your essay should have as few errors as possible.

Surface errors include the following mistakes:

  • Spelling errors
  • Sentence structure errors (run-ons, comma splices, and fragments)
  • Agreement Errors (subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent)
  • Punctuation (end marks, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, etc)
  • Clarity issues (is it clear what the antecedent to a pronoun is?)
  • Verb tense consistency (do you switch back and forth from past to present tense and back again, or do you keep the same verb tense throughout.  For the record, you want to keep the same tense throughout
  • “You” errors.  Never, ever, ever use a second person pronoun in an academic paper