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Word Count: 5,174
1 What is an essayAn organised collection of YOUR IDEAS about literary texts nicely written and professionally presented In other words the essay must be well structured ie organised and presented in a way that the reader finds easy to follow and clear it must look tidy and not present any obstacles to the reader It must have a clear readable interesting style But above all it must consist of your ideas about literary texts This is the centre of it this and this only gets the marks Not quotes from critics not generalisations at second hand about literary history not filling and padding your thoughts that you have had while in the act of reading specific bits of literary texts which can be adduced in the form of quotations to back up your arguments 2 Why write in this way21 Learning how to write professionallyIn the English Department you learn how to respond to literary texts This is an interesting and worthwhile thing to do but unless you become a teacher of English remarkably few people in later life will be interested in your thoughts about Jane Austen What they will be interested in Im talking about potential employers now but not only them is your ability to talk to think and to write This part of the course is where you learn to write professionally The guidelines that follow tell you how to do it or rather how to learn to do it They set a higher standard than is usually asked of a first year undergraduate essay in this Department This is for the following reasons 1 I think its my job to offer you the best advice I can not to tell you how to get by 2 If you learn what these guidelines teach you will get better marks in all the essays you do from now on until finals You will surprise the markers with the quality of
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