Sep 5, 2010

why i suck at writing papers

my govt 312L professor and i have been at odds over my ability to write a thesis statement. admittedly, i'm not the best writer to ever poise pen over paper, but i feel as though my alleged 'inability' to sum up what all i'm going to be saying in one sentence should not be a determining factor in my success or failure to convey a point or answer a question.

who started this thesis statement bs anyways? sure, writing a thesis statement gives a defined structure to your paper, illustrates that you've carefully thought out where you're going and assures, to an extent, that the professor can tell whether or not you've reread your essay. but is a thesis statement necessary to ensure the conveyance of your thoughts?

i like to think of my style as more editorial. i'm a story teller, and what good bard gives away the outline of his story at the beginning. they do call the first paragraph the 'introduction' after all - shouldn't this section be saved for the 'once upon a time' - setting, characters, and background? or maybe it's a flashback paper, where you start in the middle of the action and then flashback midway to some discussion that predates your own, only to continue onward in a swashbuckling fashion to the riotous conclusion where AIDS can be cured! and cancer stopped in its tracks! and peace for the world is around the corner!

let's be honest, a conclusion that is little more than a rehashed version of your thesis is hardly worthy of the title. 'conclusion'- you've got to save your good, solid points for that baby. it's the bang at the end of the long courtship, the holy revelation at the end of the pilgrimage. you, the reader, have wound through the twists of logic and the side discussions, to reach it, the grand finale - the final so WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN at the END of the paper. not the beginning.

so, dear GOV 312L professor, please understand that my style of writing is different. what i'm asking you to sacrifice in immediate clarity and understanding i promise to make up to you in excitement and suspense. that feeling of confusion and uncertainty - that's all just a part of the effect. it's the mark of a successful paper - not, in fact, a lack of scholarship or clarity. you've got to work for my meaning - but that just makes it all the more exciting, if you, get what i mean.

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