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'Melchett appears to have...' - How can I phrase this better?


Teemaaa 1 / 1  
Mar 4, 2012   #1
I'm writing an essay on WW1, and I want to talk about how a certain quote makes us want to think more deeply into WW1 itself showing how men knew and had to apply the rule of 'every man for himself'

(The quote is taken from Blackadder Goes Forth) I have written this:

Melchett appears to have no care or worry for human life whatsoever, and openly shows us that he is going to take the backseat through saying ''Well, best of luck to you all. Sorry I can't be with you, but obviously there's no place at the front for an old general with a dicky heart and a wooden bladder.''. This allows us to delve deeper into the way men had no other choice but to carry the attitude of 'every man for himself'

I don't know how to phrase the last sentence better, and/ or how to develop the paragraph further. Help please? :(

Thaliak - / 16  
Mar 4, 2012   #2
You need to explain the link between the quote and your conclusion. Instead of presenting your quote, then stating the conclusion you reach from it, present the quote, then talk about the words or phrases that lead you to that conclusion. For example, you could write something like:

With "Well, best of luck to you," Melchett is making it clear he will not be involved with his friends' venture. By apologizing, he acknowldges that they would appreciate his help. To justify his cowardice, he stresses his age, hoping they will assume he is no longer fit enough to contribute and might even slow them down. By mentioning his unreliable heart and wooden bladder, he suggests that fighting poses more risk for him than it does for most men and implies that his health might fail when they need him most. By referencing his status as a general, he (observation). By prefacing his excuses with "obviously," he (observation). Since he presents these excuses so quickly rather than pausing to consider whether he should go, we know he has no real desire to accompany his friends.

Close with a sentence that explains how all this information links to your overall thesis.

I don't think this quote alone is enough to justify the conclusion that the war forced Melchett to adopt a selfish attitude. I'm not familliar with the story you're discussing, but I suspect you could write an interesting essay on that topic alone. If you decide to do that, try to explain why you think Melchett represents the typical soldier, not just one possible reacton to the war. Even then, you might qualify your thesis by saying the war caused many men, not all men, to focus on themselves.

Does that help? Do you need any additional help?
OP Teemaaa 1 / 1  
Mar 5, 2012   #3
Thank you so much, you've helped greatly! :)
You just reminded me that I need to focus on picking out words as well as just explaining quotes as I've been doing :|

One quick question though, and you can use your opinion to answer this
Do you think a question and/ or essay arguing that something is just as good as something is better or worse than an essay arguing that one thing is better than another?

E.g.
''How far do you agree that R.C. Sherriff's play 'Journey's End' is more effective in creating characters and situations of which are realistic depictions of World War 1 and its effects compared to Ben Elton and Richard Curtis' 'Blackadder'?

Both 'Journey's End' and 'Blackadder Goes Forth' are effective in presenting characters and situations of which could portray World War 1 and its effects. 'Journey's End' and 'Blackadder Goes Forth' can be seen as just as effective as each other in doing so, as they both appeal to different audiences, in different ways. 'Journey's End' treats the war and the effects of the war on more of a serious note, whereas 'Blackadder Goes Forth' is more satirical and uses caricatures to portray what the war was actually like, those who went to war, and what the war did to the men who went to fight.''

How far do you agree that R.C. Sherriff's play 'Journey's End' is more effective in creating characters and situations of which are realistic depictions of World War 1 and its effects compared to Ben Elton and Richard Curtis' 'Blackadder'?

''Both 'Journey's End' and 'Blackadder' are effective in presenting characters and situations of which could portray WW1 and its effects. However, Journey's End is far more effective as it treats the war and the effects of the war on more of a serious note, whereas 'Blackadder' is more humorous, seeming somewhat inappropriate at times when portraying what WW1 was actually like, and what WW1 did to the men who went to fight.''

Which argument dyou think is better? This would help greatly,
Thank you xxx
Thaliak - / 16  
Mar 5, 2012   #4
If I had to choose between the two paragraphs presented, I would go with the second one because it makes a more controversial contention. However, you could write a great essay on either topic as long as you expand your thesis to include more interesting arguments. Right now, both paragraphs end with the observation that Blackaddler takes a satirical approach while Journey's End takes a serious approach. While I haven't read either book, I suspect this will be obvious to anyone that has. If it is, they'll have no reason to read the essay.

To pull the reader in, you need to close your introductory paragraph with a thesis statement, a sentence or two that starts with your main argument and ends with a brief summary of the supporting evidence. For example, you could write, "Journey's End conveys the consequences of World War I more effectively than Blackaddler by using graphic images that shock the reader rather than humor that distracts them from what's actually going on, focusing on the war's effects rather than the relationships between the characters, and (third argument)." Alternately, you could write something like, "Blackaddler does a more effective job of conveying the effects of World War I by using exxaggeration to draw attention to effects that would otherwise be too subtle to notice, using humor to deal with topics that would otherwise be too graphic for most readers, and (third argument)." You could even do something like, "It is impossible to compare Journey's End and Blackaddler because they have different goals. Journey's End focuses on the war's effects on frontline soldiers, while Blackaddler deals with the impact on civilians and others who avoided the front line." Like all thesis statements, these sentences tell the reader what you're going to say and how you're going to prove it, which helps her decide whether to continue reading and makes understanding your evidence much easier.

As you're deciding what to argue, you should consider how interesting the argument is, how much you'll enjoy presenting it, and whether you'll be able to find solid supporting evidence. Sometimes you'll start writing an essay only to discover midway through that you no longer agree with your main point or that the process of writing has given you a better one. If that happens and you have the time, consider a thorough rewrite.

Does that help? Do you have any other questions?


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