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Given this topic: the play 'Pygmalion', what do you think I am to write about?


nathan02079 3 / 14  
Apr 26, 2009   #1
I am to write an essay on the play 'Pygmalion'.

The topic is as follows...'What values is Shaw trying to promote in Pygmalion'?

What exactly are these "values"?

I've thought of money, society, love, etc. But I do not really understand fully what my teacher wants when she says 'values'. I asked her about it and she said 'it's your choice what you want to think of it'. But I am still unsure.

Opinions would be helpful. Thank you.
silverystars 14 / 105  
Apr 26, 2009   #2
Hello,

By "values," your teacher means various ideals or principles that are accepted and challenged by society. Here are some suggestions.

- The importance placed upon appearance.
- The subjectivity of beauty.
- The ability to change, externally and internally.
- Language as a primary characteristic of one's identity.
- Class as a primary characteristic of one's identity.

Hope this helps!
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Apr 27, 2009   #3
Ned's advice is spot on. Ask yourself what you think Shaw believes in, based on what you have read of his work. The answer to that question will consist of the values you should talk about.
OP nathan02079 3 / 14  
Apr 27, 2009   #4
Thank you for clearing it up! Hm, how would this thesis sound...

In Pygmalion, Shaw has put stress on several values including the importance of language, importance of appearance, and the ability to change.

Ned, I love your ideas! I hope you won't mind if I grab hold of them!

Thanks,
Nate
silverystars 14 / 105  
Apr 27, 2009   #5
Hello Nate,

Glad to be of service. Although, in my opinion, Shaw probes "the importance of language, importance of appearance, and the ability to change," as opposed to "stress"ing or promoting them. In the end, though, I suggest you ask yourself questions about the values promoted in the play --- for example, are the importance of good appearance, beauty, proper language and/or the upper class promoted as good or bad? It is, ultimately, up to you.

Hope this helps!
OP nathan02079 3 / 14  
Apr 27, 2009   #6
Ah, I get what you mean. I think I will change my ideas a bit then.

'In Pygmalion, Shaw promotes the importance of good appearance, proper language, and class.

Then in each paragraph I think what I would do is describe both how each point was promoted in a good/bad way.
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Apr 27, 2009   #7
You need to go into more detail in your thesis. Is Shaw promoting proper language? If so, why isn't Liza's transformation wholly positive from beginning to end, as her language improves steadily throughout? Or is he trying to show that appearance, language, and class are only outward surfaces that a person must change to improve her social standing, but that ultimately have to be backed up by self-confidence and independence? What can be made of Liza's leaving Higgins, who has all of the things you mention in your thesis? If Shaw is trying to say that these are the most important values a person should hold, then shouldn't Liza stay with Higgins? And so on.
silverystars 14 / 105  
Apr 28, 2009   #8
I'll keep this short: Sean is spot-on! You should have the good and the bad built into your thesis so that your teacher knows clearly, in one sentence, what your essay is about.
OP nathan02079 3 / 14  
May 4, 2009   #9
So I handed in an outline with the following thesis:

In Pygmalion, Shaw promotes the importance of good appearance, proper language, and class in social standing.

Comments: Why? Why does he feel these are important values? [after reading] Your ideas and evidence are well developed; trry to explain why he promotes these values.

I feel like I should still keep it short. What do you guys think?

Thanks a bunch,

N.
silverystars 14 / 105  
May 4, 2009   #10
Your teacher is right. Your thesis should be a snapshot of your essay. Therefore, it needs to say why:

In Pygmalion, Shaw promotes the importance of good appearance, proper language, and class in social standing...

because...etc., or,

in order to illustrate...etc. or even,

as being values that have both good and bad effects on society.

However, these would depend on what your outline is. Care to share it with us?
EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
May 5, 2009   #11
I think that all of the questions I asked in my last post could still act as a good guide to coming up with an answer to the "why" question posed by your teacher. Or is it that you have an answer, but don't want to include it in your current thesis because you want to keep it short? If this is the case, then why are so determined to have a short thesis? A compound thesis that consists of several clauses is neither unusual or inappropriate for this sort of essay.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
May 5, 2009   #12
Yes, if you add an additional dimension to the thesis, it adds definition to the whole paper. Great discussion in this thread, interesting insights!
May Uvere - / 1  
May 10, 2009   #13
well i have a research analysis that i have to do over Pygmalion but i don't know where to start, i have a pretty decent thesis from the comments seen on this page but i still need help forming my body paragraphs any advice would be most appreciated thanks =]
silverystars 14 / 105  
May 10, 2009   #14
Hello May,

What I would suggest is that you go ahead and post what you have. That way, you will receive advice with decidedly more expedience and care than the type of generic advice that might ultimately do more harm than good to your writing.

You can do it!


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