The woman?s original nature? is a crucial moral touchstone in Oliver Twist(as in much of Victorian culture). How does that ideal function within the novel, both in the construction of character psychology and as a central norm in a larger moral and social order?

Some general suggestions for writing this paper:

1) This is not a book report; it is an argument in support of a thesis concerning the significance of a work (or works) of literature, and will be evaluated on the grounds of clarity, accuracy, complexity, and coherence. In short, you are trying to persuade a reader that your understanding of a work or works is intelligent and illuminating.

2) The short length obviously places a special premium on clear and concise prose. This demands precise, cogent phrasing and a strenuous avoidance of redundancy and gassy generalizations. For example:

(a) When you introduce your topic (and you should have an introductory paragraph) don’t waste space with empty baggage like “the famous poet, Alfred Tennyson? or “this very profound work.” Assume your reader is acquainted with the work, and has some interest in it. Concentrate on presenting your main points as precisely as you can, in order to give your argument a clear focus: for example, not merely, “The fantasies are different,” but “Whereas Becky dramatizes Thackeray?s anxieties about social mobility, Amelia registers his ambivalence about domestic womanhood.? Your conclusion may be brief, but should go beyond simple rephrasing of the introduction. And do give your essay a title.

(b) Work for precise, active verbs, and beware of baggy, nominalizing constructions and fuzzy connections caused by over-reliance on “is” as the main verb of a sentence. Summarize the action of the work in historical present tense: the characters and events of Jane Eyre exist as we read about them. Work for exacting modifiers, avoiding reliance on all-purpose adjectives like “interesting” or “significant?; anything is “interesting” from some perspective?but how and why is it interesting?

3) Work to connect your paragraphs by use of forceful transitions. Ask yourself, how is this paragraph’s governing idea related to the previous one? Is it a parallel, a qualification, a contrast, an elaboration? Avoid the grocery-list syndrome, merely stringing together unrelated observations: and here’s another point, and here’s another point. Beware of heavy reliance on temporal transitions (?then,? ?later,? ?again?) rather than logical (?however,? ?moreover,? ?nonetheless?): the former usually reflect a drift into plot summary.

4) Be sure to quote specific passages from the work(s) in order to support your points, but don’t assume that bare quotation will do your work for you. It’s not enough merely to point at a passage; you need to describe the features that contribute to your argument. Make sure the context of the passage is clear, and provide page or line references (in parentheses following the quotation).****

5) The only text you need to consult is the work itself. If the phrasing is not your own, cite its author.