– Make sure you formulate an argument about the book (or on a specific element of the book, such as the protagonist, plot, characterization, representation of xyz, narrative strategies, racial politics, etc.) and not about “society,” “culture,” or the world we live in…
Your paper should be structured as follows:
1) Introduction with clear thesis statement. (Start thesis statement with “I argue…”).
2) Paragraph that demonstrates the thesis through one key example (or that demonstrates one key aspect of the thesis).
3) Paragraph that demonstrates the thesis through another important example (or that demonstrates one key aspect of the thesis).
4) (And so forth, depending on how much evidence/how many examples/how many elements of the thesis you can think of. One single example may be complex and deserve various paragraphs… you judge)
5) Conclusion (in which you restate your argument in different words and explain why it is significant for understanding the text)
– You need examples (textual evidence), close readings, and analysis to ensure that your reader will accept your interpretation of the text.
– Jump right into the text, without digressing.
– You should always analyze your textual evidence through close readings (or at least through reading closely), as well as interpret the significance of your example for the reader. Examples do not speak for themselves; they need interpretation.
– As you explain why your own reading is correct, consider one possible counter-argument.
– Remember to have a memorable conclusion, as it is the last thing your reader will see.