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what is it about?
Millie, is this that Hamlet essay you've been working on? I know it's been giving you some trouble. Have you tried working with jagatuba? He can really help you sort out your overall direction and focus, give you great tips on writing and writing past writer's block, and help you with structure. There's also a student I know of who writes quite well. I've asked him if he might be able to help you out. You should post those main points here, for folks to respond to.
hello, guys. Sorry for the late reply but the topic of my essay is: "Behind the mask of madness, both Ophelia and Hamlet can speak freely." Discuss the truth in this observation. My thesis is this: Although Prince Hamlet’s feigned madness and his female double, Ophelia’s true insanity’s motives, purposes, strategies and their ramblings are very different, it ultimately led them to speak their feelings genuinely. My main points are: Prince Hamlet feigns madness to assess his secret quest for revenge, and have the freedom to investigate safely without having to be criticized. Ophelia’s genuine insanity is likely due to Hamlet’s rejection, Laertes’ absence, and Polonius’ death which enable her to involuntarily mourn and speak about her true feelings regarding her father’s death. Consequently, Hamlet’s insincere madness allow him to determine who is truly his ally and who is not, while Ophelia’s real madness permits the audience to know that while she may indeed be pure and innocent, she may not be so virginal as sometimes supposed. help.
My topic is: "Behind the mask of madness, both Ophelia and Hamlet can speak freely." Discuss the truth in this observation.
I consulted to a teacher and she had a different approach with this topic, which basically for her that I should be discussing how insanity causes people to let go of their "masks" and reveal their true feelings. Hamlet, therefore never truly lets go, because he is not totally mad. Whereas, Ophelia does due to her real insanity.. I am so confused.
Additionally, I asked my teacher how I could write this essay and she said to have these main points: 1) What prompts their madness, 2) How they behave when they are mad, 3) What we learn from when they get mad. Sorry for writing too much, eek! D:
but in the beginning I didn't think it would match with the topic.. o.o
That's okay usually the more information the better. It hink that there is more than one correct way to approach this essay. Your teacher suggested one, and it's a good suggestion. It's very to the point and the subtopics interrelate well. What you have above seems a bit scattered and un organized, but that does not mean that it can't work. It hink your ideas are good, but might be a more difficult thesis to write than what your teacher suggested. What do you think?
Hmm, but how can the main points correlate with the topic and thesis?
because don't I have to talk about how their mask of madness, allowed them to speak freely? So for the main point that my teacher suggested: 1) What prompts their madness - Hamlet's avenge to his father's death, and Ophelia- Polonius' death, Hamlet's rejection and Laertes' absence. How can this main point prove that their madness helped them speak freely?
2) How they behave when they are mad - Hamlet's madness is on and off so he basically chooses who he acts crazy too. Especially to Polonius-- he wants him to feel like he is a foolish old man. Ophelia's madness- she sings these "crazy" songs that I can't help but think that's what happened to her-- a maid losing her virginity to her lover, and how Hamlet does't love her anymore.. etc. She also gives herbs to Claudius and keeps this specific flower: rue, which means repentance (regret) in the sense that she needs to take repentance for what she has done.
3) What we learn from when they get mad. This one I am stuck... Personally, when Hamlet is mad it is for a purpose to distract Gertrude and Claudius from his true intentions. Therefore, he choose to feign madness so that he can safely investigate his father's murderer and avenge him. Additionally, although he says that he will fake his madness-- there is a point where I think he went truly mad - the part where he had a conversation with his mother, and Polonius was behind the arras. The ghost appeared to Hamlet again but this time-- only he can see the ghost. In addition, Ophelia's real madness is her way of giving up with the stress she has with her life? In that she was a fragile girl who snapped when her father died, Hamlet rjected her. Basically Ophelia's weakness caused her real madness... oh boy. I don't know D:
does that match the topic: "Behind the mask of madness, both Ophelia and Hamlet can speak freely." Discuss the truth about this observation?
Where to start. First let me say that I tend to agree with your view on Hamlet's madness and there is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether or not Hamlet eventually does become stricken with madness. This point in the play has been debated time and again and the re is not way to know for sure if Hamel really did go mad it if it was really his ruse all along. I think you are safe to argue your point. In answer to your question about how these points support the topic. I think that the second point, "How they behave when they are mad", is the area where you can discuss how their madness allows them to speak freely. So all together In think that the points your teacher suggested could very well support the main topic.
PS please forgive any delays in my replies. I'm multitasking, doing this, dealing with my kids, and making dinner. :)
really? Because I thought the topic is supposed to cover all three main points? Sorry I'm terrible at writing essays D: Also how would you write write a thesis? ahhh
ohhh, it's okay thank you so much for helping me though :$
You want your THESIS STATEMENT to encompass the three points. Your topic is just your topic. For example, let's say I have to write a thesis on why a finance company should implement website security policies. THAT is my topic. Now I'm going to formulate 3 points or subtopics based on my research. Let's say those points are: 1. financial data is a form of confidential information - This is my main point or the strongest argument for why a company should implement these policies. 2. customers applying for loans want to feel secure that their personal data is stored securely - This is the second strongest argument supporting my topic. 3. In order to maintain an unbiased approach and to lend credibility to my thesis I'm going to find the strongest argument against implementing security policies. Let's say I go with: though intruders will continually find ways to break security measures. Now that I have a solid foundation for my paper I can create the thesis using my three points, perhaps something like this: Even though intruders will continually find ways to break security measures, financial companies' website security is important because financial data is a form of confidential information and customers applying for loans want to feel secure that their personal data is stored securely. So, this is what you have to do with your three points. This is a complex thesis statement example, but I could go with a simpler one like: While intruders will continually find ways to break security measures, customers applying for loans want to feel secure that their personal data is stored securely. You don't necessarily have to encompass all three of your points in the thesis statement, as long as the statement is still focused on your main topic. Does all this make sense?
yes it does, I think the second thesis statement makes sense for me. lol. However, for the main points I have-- do I have to include a point against my argument? o.o
No. You are writing a different type of thesis. You can, however, create the same feel by providing a brief mention of the alternative view regarding Hamlet's (real?) madness. This would show that you are not just presenting your view without looking into other alternatives and if don'r concisely looks really good in a paper.
*do it concisely
A different type of thesis? What type of thesis am I writing? o.o So basically providing the info about Hamlet being the only own who saw the ghost and not Gertrude? What do you mean by not just presenting my view into other alternatives?
You are writing a literary analysis. The example, I gave was a technical analysis. As I said before, it has been argued whether Hamlet did truly go insane. You are of the viewpoint that this is indeed the case, so you will argue that point and support it with facts from the play that pointed you in this direction. If you choose, you may also do some research about this matter and briefly mention this as an after thought to show that you have considered both sides of the coin.
ohh, i see. Do I put that for my 1st main point-- what prompts his madness or 3) what we learned from his madness?
You could if you wrote it properly. The main thing is that one subtopic needs to lead into the next. So once you have your subtopics, start thinking about how you can structure them to flow into one another. In the end your paper should look like one continuous stream of thoughts and ideas, like telling a story. The one event leads to the next. In this case, the closing thought on one subtopic will lead to the opening thought on the next. Does that make sense?
ohh, i see. But I should try not retelling the story, right? Oh, how do I know if I am? :$ Yes it does :)
Right. there is no need to retell the story here. That information is available to your readers if they have not already read the play they can reference it. Your job is to present and support your subtopics.
so how do i know if I'm retelling?
and the difference from presenting and supporting my subtopics?
You know if you are retelling if you are giving too much detail about the play. Any retelling of parts of the play must support what you are saying. In other words, you do not have to avoid mentioning parts of the play or bits of dialogue, just be sure that when you do that you are doing so to make a point and not just filling the reader in. The difference between presenting and supporting is simple. Presenting a point is telling the audience your point. Supporting it is telling them the evidence that supports what you claim. For example, using the technical analysis from before, I'll use point three to illustrate: Point: intruders will continually find ways to break security measures. Security on websites is not without it's flaws. Malicious hackers and corporate spies will stop at nothing to get at valuable data (presentation). A recent development, in which researchers have breached the SSL/TLS protocol has brought the security of TLS into question (support). See the difference? I present the point and then support it with facts.
ohh, i see. Thank you so much Jagatuba!!
You are welcome. There is a process to writing and this can be different for different people, but what I have found works for me is this: 1. Research - Read the materials and do all your research, in this case read the play and perhaps some 3rd party analysis on Hamlet 2. Review your research notes - Give your note a good thorough look and let the ideas simmer in your head for a little bit. 3. Freewrite - Without using your notes and without worrying about spelling grammar or anything else, write for 10-20 minutes on your topic. You will be surprsed at how much of your research you actually recall while doing this. Don't worry about any of it looking good or making sense. This step is to get those ideas that have been germinating in your head out on paper where you can see them and find what is useful to you. Most of your freewrite will be thrown away, but you will find some great nuggets that you can use in your paper. If you have not already formulated your subtopics, freewriting often provides these for you. 4. Outline - Using what you gained from freewriting and the research notes you took, build an outline. It can be a brief, bare-bones skeleton at first, but add details to it as you work on it. Add your topic and transitional sentences to it so that you don't have to try to remember them or come up with them when you write your first draft. 5. First draft - Using your outline and research notes create a rough draft. It does not have to be perfect, you just want to get all your ideas down on paper in a coherent order. Don't worry about spelling and don't nitpick your grammar. Focus more on structure and flow. 6. Second draft - Read your first draft through without making corrections. Read it a second time this time marking up the mistakes that you come across. From this marked up draft, create a second draft. 7. Proofreading - Proofread your revised paper. See if you can find anymore errors and mark them. Try reading the paper backwards. This will take you out of the context of the paper and reveal mistakes that you missed because you mind filled in the gaps. If you think this sound silly, read the following sentence and see if you can understand it, then count my spelling mistakes: Tihs snetecne is wirtetn jubmeld on prupsoe to sohw taht as lnog as the fsirt and lsat lteters of a wrod are in the rhgit pistoion, the ltetres in-btewen can be in any odrer and yuor mnid wlil usracmlnbe tehm to mkae snese. This is an exteme example to illustrate a point. you can read that sentence (well most people can, you are in the minority if you can't) because you are reading it in order. That is in context. All the letters are there and the sentence makes gramatical sense so your brain does the rest to figure it out. This is the same principle that allows us to miss spelling errors. Reading backwards removes the context and our brain is unable to fill in the blanks so it can only focus on each individual word. But enough on this After marking up your second draft give a fresh copy to someone else to proofread and have them mark up your copy. They will also catch things you missed 8. Semi-final/Final draft - Using the two marked-up second drafts create your semi-final draft correcting all the mark ups. Give it one final comb over and fix anything if necessary and call that your final draft. Sorry for the extremely long lecture, but I thought you might find that process helpful. It helped me to get an A on every paper I wrote in college.
THANK YOU!! :D
btw, what do you mean by read backwards? o.o
Instead of reading the sentence you are reading right now forward, read it backward, like this: this like backward it read forward now right reading are you sentence the reading or instead
that helps for spelling errors and grammar?
Not so much grammar, but spelling, capitalization, and some punctuation.
ohh, i see. How about grammar?
If you can't catch it all that is what the second proofreader is for so you want to pick someone who knows their grammer and not your kid sister.
ohh, i see. Alright, thank you Jagatuba!
You are welcome.
I was able to pop on a couple of hours ago, and read through most of this discussion here. What did I tell you about jagatuba? He's a pro. I don't think I would have been able to lay out the process this succinctly for you. (My own process is not quite that tidy, but I certainly aspire to it.) He is so very good at breaking the work down into manageable chunks as well, and illustrating whatever point he is explaining. I have seen him help countless students, and those students that do not take advantage of his expertise are missing out. I'm glad to see in you someone who cares to really take this material on board and learn it. Writing well is a skill that will serve you not only in college but in life, and learning to analyze a piece of literature and to lay out that analysis in a thoughtful and well-reasoned essay is indispensable for learning to write well. I'm late to the party here, but as I scan through this discussion, I'm seeing a few things worth noting. First of all, I read this topic -- Behind the mask of madness, both Ophelia and Hamlet can speak freely -- as an incipient thesis statement. It makes a claim, an assertion, that you would then argue the truth of with supporting evidence. One could also imagine writing the opposite claim and arguing that point as well, as is generally the case with a good thesis statement. If it were obviously true or false, it wouldn't make for a good thesis around which to build an argument. Your proposed thesis statement -- Although Prince Hamlet’s feigned madness and his female double, Ophelia’s true insanity’s motives, purposes, strategies and their ramblings are very different, it ultimately led them to speak their feelings genuinely -- sounds to me very much like an elaboration on the statement you are calling a topic. That is, your statement says very much the same thing. You have dropped the language of the "mask" and you have introduced some other particulars (motives, purposes, strategies, ramblings) which begin to read like something of a laundry list. This is an okay statement at this point, as you are thinking through the issues, but it is not well-crafted enough for it to be your final statement. You know, though, how this often works: as you work your way through the essay, shaping and reshaping your thoughts, if the thesis is not yet solid enough for one reason or another, you will find those weaknesses as you work to support it. That's when you refine the statement and continue working. So basically, I'm responding much as jagatuba did to your teacher's suggestion ("Behind the mask of madness, both Ophelia and Hamlet can speak freely") and to your revision. Hers is clean and crisp. Yours seems, at the moment, to be going in too many directions. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue your own ideas. If your teacher's perspective doesn't speak to you, it will be difficult to keep with it and to build an entire paper around it. But as you work on your own position statement (for that's what the thesis statement is essentially), keep in mind everything jagatuba has told you about crafting and supporting it. Then, you had some questions about the three "main points" (what prompts their madness, how they behave when they are mad, what we learn when they get mad). Personally, I don't find these to be main points. For me, they represent a way to approach the structure of your paper, three aspects to cover. Potentially, you would cover the first point only briefly -- it is not central to your thesis if you focus on the fact that the madness, feigned or not, enables them to speak more freely both to each other and to us the audience. But the other two aspects you definitely would cover in detail, and how you cover them would amount to (in my way of looking at this) your main points. I see now that you have moved on even beyond this discussion, but I'll go ahead and post these notes now, fwiw.
Okay, so I'm pulling these from your note and putting them here because it's easier to have a proper conversation here. Your new thesis -- The madness that Hamlet pretends, and Ophelia genuinely experiences, conveys their struggle to maintain their obligations to their fathers and others. Your main points -- Prince Hamlet’s secret quest for revenge and Ophelia’s loss of her father prompts their respective mad episodes. Ophelia’s behaviour with respect to her insanity reflects her confusion and despair, whereas Hamlet, who is only pretending to be mad, behaves in ways that serve a purpose for him. Consequently, the madness Hamlet feigns shows him to be a clever prince with the drive to honour his father and become king, while Ophelia’s genuine lunacy is her letting go of life and revealing her deep secrets. * * * * This thesis is a lot more clearly expressed, and so it represents an improvement in that respect. It probably isn't very controversial, *but* depending upon how you handled it, you could bring in a lot of your own insights, such that you offer the person who already knows the play if not a new take on things, a deeper appreciation of the interrelationships. And that's what you're going for in any of these analytical, persuasive essays: you want to highlight for the reader already familiar with the piece some aspect she has not yet thought of, or not yet thought of in that way. You want to deepen and enrich her understanding. You may even want to alter that understanding, argue against a common interpretation perhaps. So far what I see in your main points is a pretty standard interpretation of the action. Can you take it further, can see you see *more* in the play? You mentioned once that you thought Hamlet really does become mad at one point. Where and why? With what consequences? Do we learn -- or even ponder -- anything important or different at that point or those points? Does the pretend madness that Hamlet adopts (the feigned mask of madness, if you will) affect him more than he anticipates? Does the cover of madness enable him to speak more freely than even he had intended? You might push on this point more and see where it leads you.
@Redwood Girl Good points and I agree, especially with your statement that her current thesis statement is going in many directions. I felt this too upon first reading it. It's not focused enough but it is a good start. I think her teacher was attempting to move her in the direction of more focus with her suggestions and while I think her teacher has some good points that she can build a solid thesis from, I did not want to disuade her from her own ideas. She has some good ideas that she has formulated from interpreting the play in her own way and I think she can successfully run with them. @milliex51 What RG is saying about refining your thesis statement and narrowing it's focus is important. I'm not sure where you are in the writing process, but if we were using the guide I shared above, your statement refine ment would be occurring in steps 5 and 6 where you have already begun crafting your drafts. It is easier to do at this point in the process because you can actually see it in context and as you read over your draft you can see how you can adjust your statement to more fit your paper. So if you are not at the drafting point yet, don't worry too much about the thesis statement yet. What you have is a good placeholder. Focus more on getting solid ideas and structures into your outline. Focus on flow as I mentioned. If you can get to the point where you can craft a solid draft, tweaking the thesis statement becomes much easier.
ohh, alright. Thank you guys!!
@milliex51 I just download and previewed your essay. I have to go to work so I will not be able to really dig into it until later this evening. Can you tell me what the blue text is for?
@jagatuba - it is it okay if I send you the newer version? It's because I had my teacher look over my essay and she said I shouldn't be overthinking the topic or the essay. In addition, she suggested that to write essays comparing two characters, I should look for similarities and write about it: 1) Hamlet and Ophelia both went mad because of their father's death. 2) They were forced to do things they did not want to do. 3) Their madness leads to their tragic deaths.
@milliex51 Oh course. Just post your new version here whenever you finish the draft. I work all day tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday, but those are my slow days so I should have time to look it over.
Ohh, okay. Thank you!
@jagatuba - hello! I'm sorry to bother you but is it okay for you to edit my newer version? It is now 2 and a 1/4 pages, but I tried making it shorter as possible to at least 2 and half or less. Anyway, hopefully it makes sense. Thank you so much!
Millie, when you're taking a break, you might enjoy this -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtfiiyhIC18&feature=related
LOOL, OMG thanks Redwood girl x)
heey, @Jagatuba thank you so much!! I'm planning to hand this in my tomorrow.
Is that when it's due or is that turning it in early?
Our school's non-semestered and this essay is my unit 12 and the target date was on Friday.
By the way, @jagatuba my teacher told me that I shouldn't put a period at the end of my citation. She wants it at the end of the quotation. o.o
Re: citations. Teacher always trumps conventional formatting rules. Always give them what they want. Re: conclusion. The opening sentence of your conclusion: "Hamlet reveals the truth of the mask of madness allowing Hamlet and Ophelia to speak freely." It is an incomplete thought. It is the leaves the reader asking, "Well, what is the truth of the mask of madness?" But then the paragraph goes on to say nothing more about it. Re: length. Your length is still a little long, but it's not too bad (170 words). I've seen way worse. On thing that you can do, especially since you teacher is counting pages instead of words is to eliminate most of the verbatim quotations. You don't have to get rid of them all, and you definitely still want to reference the play, but instead of using quotes, paraphrase it. Shakespeare used flamboyant and flowery language because that was the style of the period, but we can say the same things today in language that is more brief and simple. For example: You used: "Ophelia’s madness begins when she realizes that her father is dead, “He is dead and gone, lady, / He is dead and gone, / At his head a grass-green turf, / At his heels a stone. / Oh, ho!” (IV. V. 26-30) " Could be changed to: "Ophelia’s madness begins when she realizes that her father is dead in Act Four Scene Five as she absently sings of him being “dead and gone.” (IV. V. 26-30) " You see? The quote you used there does nothing really to add to your paper except take up more space. Now on the contrary, the quote just prior to that one was vital and you should keep it; You used: The day Hamlet realizes that his father’s murderer is his stepfather and uncle overwhelms him. Therefore, he suggests to feign madness, “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet / To put an antic disposition on.” (I. V. 172-173) What Hamlet says here is important to understanding his action of pretending to be insane. While you could just say this, I think the quote adds clarity to the point you are trying to make. So that is what I would do to shorten the length. Go through all the quotations. If the quote is not actively helping make the point, say it in more simple terms, especially for the longer quotations.