SOLUTION: Week 7 Sadie by Courtney Summers Novel Discussion

2021/11/4 下午8:33
Genre Analysis Prompt: WRITING 39B SEM R: CRIT READING & RHET (33218)
Genre Analysis Prompt
This assignment asks you to write a thesis-driven interpretation about an assigned text, guided by
an analysis of key genre conventions and complemented by secondary sources.
Your argument should define your assigned text as an example of a specific genre according to
one or more key conventions present in this text, and analyze how the text employs, reinterprets,
or subverts those conventions in order to elicit a certain response from a particular discourse
community, or address a relevant issue within that discourse community.
Because form and content are inextricable, your analysis should focus on the text’s language and
stylistic choices, as well as its ideas or narrative. Secondary sources should be used to provide
context and background information, and to engage with other people’s arguments about the text
or genre.
Your instructor will provide appropriate secondary sources that you may integrate into your
argument, and may have some additional requirements to guide the development of your essay.
Rhetorical Situation: Your audience for this essay is the academic discourse community including
your instructor and your peers, with whom you will workshop and collaborate as you develop your
ideas. Beyond demonstrating your critical reading and academic writing skills to your instructor,
your purpose in writing this essay is to contribute meaningfully to the ongoing class discussion of
genre, rhetorical situation, and your assigned texts.
Length: 1500-1800 words, typed, double-spaced, and formatted in MLA style.
Sources: A minimum of two (2) secondary sources, not including the primary text, must be used
to develop the essay. At least one of these sources should present a complex argument that
contributes significantly to the essay’s thesis. Sources may be academic or non-academic, and a
works cited page is required as part of the final draft.
Process: Multiple drafts, peer review, and substantive revision are required elements of this
assignment. Missing or incomplete drafts and other process work will result in a grade penalty on
the final draft, up to and including failure.
Knowledge Practices & Processes
By the time you complete this assignment, you should be able to:
Situate a text within its generic context by identifying its key genre conventions, discourse
communities, and purpose(s)
Analyze how relationships between genre conventions and stylistic choices in a given text
achieve a specific purpose, elicit a specific audience response, and/or address a specific
2021/11/4 下午8:33
Genre Analysis Prompt: WRITING 39B SEM R: CRIT READING & RHET (33218)
Develop arguable claims driven by textual analysis and substantive engagement with
secondary sources, in accordance with academic writing conventions
Integrate primary and secondary sources according to their relevance and rhetorical efficacy
within the essay
Credit the original ideas of others through proper attribution and citation, in accordance with
academic writing conventions
Give productive feedback on peers’ writing-in-progress; prioritize and implement feedback
received from instructor and peers to revise effectively over multiple drafts
A few
general notes
In high school, you were probably trained to write 5-paragraph
essays (an intro, three body paragraphs with three separate points,
and a conclusion); this is a useful start when developing your writing
skills — think of it as training wheels. But now, you’re all Professional
College Student Writers — the training wheels are off, and you’re in
the wild world of academic writing. For the GA, you’ll want to create an
essay structure that is appropriate to your particular argument. That
means you’ll need as many paragraphs as you need — they won’t all
necessarily be equal in length. That’s totally ok! I recommend thinking
of your essay’s structure like this: what am I ultimately trying to
convince my reader of? How can I break that argument down into a
few smaller chunks that will ‘prime’ my reader to believe my ultimate
argument? Then, how can I break each of those chunks into smaller
claims (around which I can build body paragraphs)?
The key to this structure is knowing what your argument is!
A strong Thesis statement is the key to a
strong, organized argument!
A strong argument tells us WHAT the author does, HOW she does it, and TO WHAT EFFECT she does it.
A truly great paper requires a strong thesis statement—your argument is, after all, the backbone of your paper. For
this reason, it’s important to get right to your argument! Don’t waste time in your introduction by marching through
history (“Since the dawn of time, man has…”) or making general statements about humanity (“Love is an important
part of every person’s story…”). Similarly, try to avoid vague sentences that say nothing and act only as fillers (“The
author uses language and imagery to describe the characters’ actions”).
Instead, dive right into your topic! Introduce your topic of choice (including the work and author in question!), expand
on your topic a bit (that is, lay the groundwork for your argument), and then move naturally to your specific
argument/thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be between one and three sentences, situated at the end of
your first paragraph.
A strong thesis statement has 8 important qualities…
#1: A strong argument uses specific language
Avoid generalizations and broad terms that lack nuance. It’s not particularly useful, for
instance, to discuss whether or not Jay Gatsby is a “good” character or to say that in Heart of
Darkness, Conrad portrays the “negative” aspects of British colonization. Those terms are
huge! They could mean anything!
Instead, try to be as specific as possible: why say ‘feelings’ when you could clarify that you
mean ‘anger’ or ‘jealousy’? Even describing someone as lonely is vague–what do you mean
when you say lonely? How are you defining that term? Always make sure that your reader has
the same definition of key words as you: to do so, you’ll need to clearly state your definition.
#2: A strong argument has narrow claims
Simply put, don’t bite off more than you can chew! In a short essay, you’re not going to be
able to effectively cover the function of fate in early modern drama, or even how destiny
functions in Macbeth. Tackle a smaller issue that you can cover more fully, or craft an
argument around a specific aspect of a larger issue.
Highlight a specific aspect of the text on which your argument focuses. What element is
most important? Context? Audience? An aspect of the language? A recurring image or
motif? Tone?
#3: A strong argument offers a tension
Don’t have a flat argument—99% of the time, it’s boring! Try to find a point of tension in the text and
work through it. Sample formats include:
a. A Progression: “While at the start of the play, [something] is true, by the end, [something else]
seems more prominent.”
b. A Contrast: “Both of [the story’s] main characters are tempted by [something], but [Character A] is
ultimately destroyed [by…], while [Character B] prevails.”
c. A Surprise: “Though at first glance, it seems that [something], closer inspection of [something]
reveals [a different interpretation].”
#4: A strong argument is interesting, not obvious
This is a tricky rule, as it requires you to take a risk—your thesis statement should be something
with which someone could disagree. For instance, avoid attempting to argue that “Steinbeck
writes about poverty in The Grapes of Wrath” or that “Hawthorne makes great use of symbolism in
The Scarlet Letter.” Of course they do—no one could argue with that! **Note – this doesn’t mean
that you need a wacky argument.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel–you just want to avoid arguing that it’s round!
#5: A strong argument can be supported
A good argument requires evidence to back it up, and in a literature paper, this evidence most
frequently comes from the text itself. If you can’t seem to find any quotes that will work for your
argument, perhaps your thesis needs to be reevaluated. A common pitfall that students make is
to attempt to argue what the author “meant” or intended to write—unless you’ve got very
convincing outside information (such as diary entries, interviews, etc.), you’re not going to be
able to prove what Melville was thinking when he wrote Moby Dick. Instead, stick to what you
can prove with the text! Another common mistake students make is to attempt to prove
something subjective—for example, trying to argue that Madame Bovary is a good book or that
Twilight is a bad book. You can argue that a novel fails to follow through on its claims, has
contradictory aspects, or includes problematic portrayals of X, Y, or Z, but you can’t hang an
argument on whether or not a novel is ‘good.’ In general, avoid the language of ‘proving’
anything–instead, think in terms of what you can reasonably claim.
#6: A strong argument focuses on the text
Don’t forget, this is a genre analysis! So, your paper should be about a literary text, its genre, its
author, and/or its cultural context. It shouldn’t be about humanity, society, history, morality,
religion, etc. Avoid arguing, for instance, that John Proctor makes the right choice at the end of
The Crucible—a more interesting (and more literary) argument will discuss what his decision
means in the world of the text.
Your argument should ultimately be about Sadie — even if the larger point extends beyond the
#7: A strong argument isn’t just a list of facts
While it’s important to give your reader a ‘road map’ for what your argument will be about, don’t
simply list a series of terms, events, characters, etc., without saying why you’ve included them.
It’s not interesting to say that “In Hamlet, Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras want to avenge their
fathers in some way.” It’s much more interesting to discuss the relationship among those
portrayals of revenge, how they function in the play, what they ‘do’ for the reader, etc.
Remember, you want to have a forward motion to your argument—a progression, cause/effect, a
contrast, etc.
#8: A strong argument has significance
Above all else, always answer the “So What?” question. Why should your reader care about your
topic? Why is your argument significant? Give your reader a reason to keep reading! You don’t
need to fully flesh out this ‘so what’ in your introduction—just give a hint for the reader to keep in
the back of his/her mind and come back to it in full during the paper’s conclusion.

Writing Nuts & Bolts
It’s important to write FOCUSED descriptions — don’t just
make random references! You want to orient your reader.
Always, always ask yourself: what information
does my reader need to know at this point?
What information would be helpful?
Another point that might help you is to ask;
Where am I going after this summary? What
point am I trying to set up?
This is also true when introducing your secondary
Ask yourself:

This often means what when writing, you’ll
need to work backwards — which means that
you’ll need to make use of several drafts. (Hint:
that’s one of the reasons we’re writing so

Does my reader know who this is? Does
she know what this article is?
What about the author would it be helpful
for my reader to know?
How much of the author’s full argument
would be helpful?
Let’s think about how to integrate sources without
holding them at arm’s length or over-quoting…
Why should you integrate a quotation?
➔ To introduce a concept or define relevant terms
➔ To help establish a point of view / argument that you agree with
➔ To help establish the rhetor’s p.o.v., which can shed light on
purpose, intention, relationship with audience, context, etc.
➔ To provide details/evidence for an argument
➔ To provide an interpretation of evidence
➔ To affirm or counter a claim that’s already been made
Pay attention to
plagiarism! (Your
drafts will have a
turn-it-in check
to help you see
any mistakes)
I know you’ve heard the plagiarism lecture hundreds of
times. You know that direct plagiarism (i.e. incorporating
another writer’s words into your own writing without
crediting or citing her) is a big problem.
But here’s the thing: there are two sneakier ways in
which students unintentionally plagiarize. Pay close
Avoid patch-writing, which is when you indirectly
incorporate another writer’s words or phrases into your
own writing. I also call this right-click plagiarism,
because it often happens when students want to
paraphrase a quote but do so by
right-click-find-synonym-ing half the words in a quote to
make it ‘original.’ If you’re mirroring the structure of a
sentence, you’re better off quoting it directly!
Be wary of plagiarism of ideas, too. Basic facts/concepts
(like historical events, definitions, etc.) don’t need to be
cited, but other people’s arguments and idiosyncratic
descriptions/definitions do. Think of it this way: if you
could’ve found the information (like, the dates of the Civil
War) in any number of sources, don’t worry about citing.
If you could’ve only found the info in this particular
source (like the author’s argument), cite away!
Your Works Cited page should be a separate page (Insert>page break). It should technically be double-spaced, but I prefer
Entries should be listed in alphabetical order, with a hanging indent. (Hint: write all the entries, then highlight them all, right-click
-> ‘format paragraph’ -> ‘indent’ -> ‘hanging 0.5”’)
The general format is very consistent:
Author’s last name, first name. Title. Title of container (i.e. book, journal, website), Publisher, Date Published,
Location. Access location, Date of Access.
When quoting sources (secondary and primary), you should typically use parenthetical citations. They belong at the end of the
sentence, before the end punctuation.
Ask yourself: does my sentence make it clear to any intelligent reader what source I’m quoting? If so, you don’t need the author’s
name in the parenthetical.
In-text citations should include the author’s last name and the page number. That’s it! No comma!
Citing multiple sources in one sentence? Separate them with semicolons in the same parenthetical (Summers 14; Bolin 4).
Double and triple check your drafts for the following.


1” margins all around

12 point, Times New Roman,

Top left corner of the first page only

Your name (first and last)

My name (Taylor McCabe)

Writing 39B: Dead Girls

Due Date in DMY format: 11 Dec. 2020

Word Count: x,xxx


Starting on page 2, top right corner

Your last name + page number only

Triple check that you’re spelling the text / character
/ author’s name correctly. (It’s Courtney Summers!
Not Summer. She/her pronouns.)
Format the title of works correctly! ‘Big’ works
(books, newspapers, magazines) should be
italicized or underlined, while ‘small’ works
(chapters, poems, article titles) should go in
quotation marks.
Your paper must have a title–and that title should
not be ‘GA Final Draft’ or ‘Sadie Paper’
Adhere to MLA formatting — think of it as an
essential part of your ethos as a writer. Use online
resources like the UNC Library Guide to help you!
Proper formatting may seem rote and mechanical, but it’s
all part of demonstrating that you understand the genre of
the academic essay–which builds ethos!!
Style is one of the trickiest aspects of writing, and it’s hard to learn! The
best way to improve style is to pay close attention to good writing: look at
your favorite source & try to break down the author’s style.
Be on the lookout for:
● Overused prepositions (of, with, for, on, about)
● Overuse of verbs of being (is / am / are / were)
● Passive voice
● Too many adverbs
● Comma splices & fused sentences!
● ‘This’ → Always ask “this what?” In other words, ‘this’ should always have a specific
noun or noun phrase after it — ‘this use of foreshadowing’ or ‘this memory’ or ‘this
dismissal of Sadie’s feelings.’
● ‘It’ → 90% of the time, you can rewrite any use of ‘it’ to be more specific and/or more
direct. ‘It can be asserted that Sadie thinks…’ becomes ‘Sadie thinks…’
Other Pitfalls

Ending paragraphs on quotations

If you’re ending your paragraph on a quote, I’m immediately skeptical. Why? Three major
reasons: one, doing so means that you’ve definitely not analyzed the quote and two, it also
means that you haven’t summarized your paragraph’s main point or attempted to provide a
transition to the next point. Three, it means that you’ve let go of the reins of your essay: if
you’re ending your paragraph on someone else’s words, you’ve basically said to the reader
“eh, you figure out why this matters and where I’m going.” This doesn’t leave the impression
that you have a firm grip on your argument!
Evaluative language

This isn’t a book report — no need to tell me over and over that Sadie is a good book. I think it
is! That’s why it’s on my syllabus! Instead, tell me what you think the novel accomplishes.
‘Males’ and ‘Females’ as nouns — unless you’re talking about livestock, use ‘men’ and ‘women’
‘Often times,’ ‘Back in the day,’ ‘Nowadays’

These words are signals that you’re about to make a HUGE, sweeping generalization about
history/culture/society, usually with very little evidence. Not good!
Brick quotes — always, always, always introduce, integrate, and explicate!
Sadie, Dead Girls,
& the Genre Analysis
Dead Girls &
In this final portion of the course, we’re going
to develop our thinking about the true crime
genre and the role of ‘dead girls’ in those
narratives. Doing so will help to enrich our
understanding of Sadie, which is a
deceptively complex novel! At this point, you
should have finished reading Sadie in its
entirety — if not, please do so asap!
All of this reading & thinking is in service of
our second major project: the Genre Analysis
paper, which I’ll introduce later in this
How many of these famous
‘dead girl’ shows have you
seen? How many have you
heard of? How many more
could we add to this list?
From Alice Bolin’s “Toward a Theory of the Dead Girl Show,” excerpted from Dead Girls: Essays on
Surviving an American Obsession, 2018. To avoid loading you down with tons of reading, I’m
going to make this essay optional — it’s available on Perusall if you’d like to read it or use it as a
resource for the GA. But, I want to pull a few key quotes to help us ground ourselves in our
understanding of what, exactly, a ‘dead girl story’ is.
Dead Girls
“All Dead Girl Shows begin with the discovery of the murdered body of a
young woman. The lead characters of the series are attempting to solve
the (often impossibly complicated) mystery of who killed her. As such, the
Dead girl is not a ‘character’ in the show, but rather, the memory of her
is.” (Bolin 14)
From the pilot episode of Twin Peaks (1990), arguably the
first major ‘dead girl show,’ which centered o…
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