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WRITE A ROUGH DRAFT of your essay including any quotes or paraphrases

Adding In Your Quotes:

  • Your essay needs a minimum of 2 quotes for each body paragraph.
  • Never start or end a body paragraph with a quote.
  • You probably should not have more than 4 quotes or paraphrases for each body paragraph.
  • After the quote (or paraphrase) insert the 1st significant word from the matching Work-Cited entry into parentheses. Provide a page number if available.
  • Remember that quotes work better after you’ve made your own point. Try not to fall into the trap of providing a quote, then explaining it, then providing another quote, then explaining that.

Specific Instructions – Introductory Paragraph (H-I-T):

The job of the Introductory Paragraph, even in a research paper, is still to draw the reader in, so that the reader understands what you’re going to spend the paper telling him/her. It should be the 2nd shortest paragraph in your essay.

  1. Hook the Reader. Good hooks include questions, startling statements, a piece of strong imagery, a very brief piece of narrative, or a particularly interesting fact.
  • What do you see when you look in a mirror? (question) OR
  • Those Nazis sure liked their music! (startling statement) OR
  • Imagine sitting through a haircut you don’t want – snip, snip, snip! (narrative) OR
  • Back in the day, only slutty girls cut their hair (interesting fact)
  1. Introduce Your Story & Film. Do NOT refer to your essay in your essay, such as, “For my essay, I have chosen to write about….” Or “In this paper, we will discuss….” BLECH. Talk to your reader and, while doing so, name things.
  • Mention the author’s name
  • Perhaps say when they wrote the story
  • Summarize the plot (in your own words!) in one sentence.
  • Mention the film version
  • Perhaps say when it was produced
  • If there’s a significant person involved (actor, director, etc.), mention them.
  1. Finally, state out your thesis.
  • “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” a film version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story, uses dramatic convention in its mirror shots.

Now You Try – just remember to transition from one sentence to the next.

INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH = Hook > introduce story > introduce film > thesis.

What do you see when you look in a mirror? If you were the protagonist of Fitgerald’s Jazz Age short story, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair,” you would have seen a girl who wants to be popular. The 1920 story of a wallflower whose cousin Marjorie gives her lessons in popularity, “Bernice Bobs Her Hair”
was later turned into a 1976 TV movie starring Shelley Duvall. But is popularity worth the price Bernice has to pay? The film of “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” explores this question through the dramatic convention of mirror shots.

Specific Instructions – Each Body Paragraph:

  1. START the paragraph with a topic sentence: This is a sentence that clearly supports your thesis sentence—see your outline.
  2. Make sure to include between three to five details (not yet quotes) that support this topic sentence. You know this. You’ve been researching your point.
  3. Feel free to make a note (like a symbol – * or # or ï‚“ or  or , or just the word QUOTE) to remind yourself of what research you want to paraphrase or quote to support this point, but don’t yet use it. Please note that the promise of quotes should come after your own point in your own words.
  4. Use common sense: If you have a paragraph defining your Dramatic Convention, that should go early in the essay. Your Primary Source paragraph should be one of the last ones (before the conclusion), because you’re educating us about the Dramatic Convention before showing how it affects the film.
  5. Finish with a restatement of your topic sentence.
  6. Remember that you will probably only need two body paragraphs, one about the dramatic convention and one about how the film/video uses it.


Films and art have often used mirror shots to indicate some division or contrast. Consider how, when we look in a mirror, we aren’t actually seeing our own face. We’re seeing a reflection of our face—everything is opposite. Mirrors can show us what we want to see. QUOTE. But mirrors can also show us, too often, what we don’t want to see – a mark on our skin, those extra pounds we meant to lose, or other proof of reality. QUOTE. Finally, mirrors in movies can show us that we’re more than one person. QUOTE. The division of ourselves into different faces, and into hopes versus reality, is reflected in films’ use of mirror shots.

Specific Instructions – Concluding Paragraph (R&R):

The job of the concluding paragraph is to remind the readers of what you spent the body of the essay telling them to leave them with a sense of closure. The concluding paragraph is generally the shortest paragraph of the essay.

  1. Restate your thesis sentence, preferably in different terms than you used in the thesis (if you use the exact same words, the result sounds too simplistic).
  • So as we can see, the 1976 film version of Fitzgerald’s “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” makes use of mirror shots, or
  • In this way, the Germanic instruments used in the film version of Falkner’s “Barn Burning” emphasize the Nazi-like nature of Sartoris Snopes.*
  1. Optional: Add any interesting information or quotes that didn’t fit anywhere else in your essay.
  • Does it matter that the popularity Bernice cannot have will, historically speaking, prove to be short-lived? (Possible Quote).
  1. Release the reader with a sense of closure by indicating that this topic is done. Again, DON’T state that right out (“And at this, my essay is over.”) Instead, use one or more of these techniques:
  • Refer back to the first sentence of your essay, to give the sense of the essay coming full circle.
  • Bernice may have bobbed her hair – but she’s no slut.
  • The kind of music the Nazis loved continues to play.
  • So what do you see when you look in a mirror?
  • Ask another question:
  • So the next time you hear tuba music, what are you going to think about?
  • What do you think the future held for Bernice?
  • Change the Subject:
  • Imagine how different “Barn Burning” would read if its background music emphasized a sitar.
  • Perhaps if Bernice dyed her hair, things would have turned out differently.

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