using content you generated in your Bio poem and “notes” homework about the char
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using content you generated in your Bio poem and “notes” homework about the character of your choice from The Great Alone, develop a 3 or more page character sketch.
(Anything less than 3 full pages does not fulfill this assignment and will fail).
Your character sketch should begin with a thesis that identifies 3 specific character traits that you have discovered in your subject. (See the model about “Phoebe” in your Writing About Character handout.)
Stay away from fuzzy descriptors like “nice” or “good.” Instead, nail 3 specific character traits that you can support from the book.
In these kinds of “literature” papers, it is always important that you name your text and its author in your very first sentence so that your reader knows immediately what you are writing about.
For this paper, class, you do not need an “introduction”—instead, dive right in and begin your paper with a sentence that identifies your text and author and then another sentence that identifies your thesis (naming three character traits), and lead on from there, discussing each trait one at a time, in the order in which it pops up in your thesis. Again—look at your “Phoebe” model on p. 146 in the Writing About Character handout.
Another important aspect of this paper, class, is what we call “textual support”—that means you have to quote from the text—not whole paragraphs or passages, but single sentences or some phrases that back up the points you are making about your character.
You can also provide textual support in the form of specific examples you point to in the text but you need a combination of BOTH examples AND supporting quotations or supporting, quoted phrases, to make your point.
When you do quote from the text, make sure to either embed the quotation in your own sentence or use a signal phrase to introduce it like this: On page 24 Leni complains, “……” OR something like this: Mama says, “……” (page number).
Start your character sketch something like this: In The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah, Mama is , , and . Or: In The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah, I can relate to Leni’s , and  as she begins a new adventure with her parents. Or: Ernt wasn’t who I thought he was in Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone. While I originally thought Ernt was [ ] and [ ]; I soon learned that he was really [ ], [ ], and [ ].
Once you have nailed the 3 character traits you want to write about, spend the rest of your paper
1. supporting your thesis using details and illustrations from the text, and
2. at the end of your paper reflecting on what you have learned from this character—what sorts of things this character makes you realize about yourself and/or the world we live in.
NOTE: It is not enough to merely summarize and detail the character traits of the character you are examining. You must also reflect on the role that character plays in changing your perspective or illuminating your understanding about something. Your handout specifically warns you against writing an ending paragraph that begins “In conclusion” and I completely agree; review that paragraph on p. 145 in your handout for tips about how to end your paper.
Your paper should:
Title: create a unique title that brings your character into focus; don’t simply label your paper “Character Sketch” or “Leni in The Great Alone”—do better than that.
Introduce the text of your paper by title and author somewhere in your opening paragraph. (Again—look at your model, “Holden’s Kid Sister” on p. 146 of your “Writing About Character” handout.
Incorporate a clearly developed thesis in your opening paragraph that identifies the character who is the focus of your study and 3 character traits you have identified for that character.
Development and Organization
Have a substantive middle or “body” that follows the outline created by your thesis.
Make appropriate use of details, examples, and illustrations from the text to support your thesis.
Make use of clear transition sentences as you move from section to section of your paper.
Reflection and Critical Thinking
Reflect on the role the character plays in changing your perspective or illuminating your understanding about something. What does your character help you to realize about yourself and/or the world we live in?
Incorporate an ending like the one described in your Writing About Character handout: “give the reader a sense of the role that character plays” (145) in the novel, at least as you have come to know them so far in your reading of the book.
Make use of signal phrases to introduce any quoted material you use for support.
Make use of parenthetical, in-text citations to show where your supporting evidence is located in the text.
Be 3 or more pages long, not 2 or 2 and ½.
Be edited appropriately for sentence construction, grammar, mechanics, and punctuation.
Be typed, double spaced, in 12 font Times New Roman with 1 inch margins.
Use your first and last name in the SAVE AS title.
How Grades Are Assigned to the Character Study:
A (90-100) The “A” paper fulfills all the criteria outlined in the assignment. It includes a clearly developed thesis with the title and author identifying information in the opening paragraph. I know immediately which character is the subject of your study and what 3 character traits you are going to discuss in your writing. The character traits are specific and engaging, not generic and vague like “nice” or “good” or So and So is “interesting.” The paper follows the micro outline of the thesis. For instance, if you write that Leni is “curious, playful, and maintains a sense for justice” then the first part of your paper demonstrates how Leni manifests her curiosity, the 2nd part of your paper demonstrates how she manifests her playfulness, and finally you discuss how she demonstrates a sense for justice throughout the text. The “A” paper uses ample evidence from the text to support the thesis. Evidence is properly introduced and uses page numbers in parenthesies to show where it came from. There are clear transition sentences that indicate for the reader when the writer has moved into another section of the thesis. There is substantial reflection and critical thinking in this paper that lets me know what the writer has learned from the character they are writing about, and as a reader I probably learn something from the writer as well. The “A” paper follows the guidelines for concluding discussed in the Writing About Character handout posted for this class. The “A” writer is a stickler for detailed attention to the conventions of documentation (introducing supporting quotations and citing their page numbers in the text), sentence construction, grammar, mechanics and punctuation is excellent.
B (80-89) The “B” paper fulfills the same criteria as the “A” paper but the thesis may be awkwardly developed. There may be inconsistent use of paragraphs. Support for the thesis (supporting quotations, examples from the text) may need more development. Transitional sentences from one section to the next need to be more explicit. Critical thinking and reflection in the “B” paper is not developed as clearly and effectively as it could be. This paper may repeat itself. There may be mechanical errors in the paper or in the documentation.
C (70-79) The “C” paper has a rough opening with a weak thesis. The paper does not follow the micro outline established in the thesis. The paper skips around and does not have a coherent organization. It is primarily summary of the character with minimal or no reflection regarding what the writer has learned from the character. There are no clear transition sentences between sections. Integration of quotations and documentation of sources is sloppy and shows a lack of attention to detail. The paper may end abruptly or make use of clichés. Paragraph development may be inconsistent. I may have to go back and read passages in this paper more than once to figure out what the writer is trying to say. There is inadequate attention to sentence construction, grammar, mechanics, and punctuation.
D (60-69) The “D” paper does not fulfill the assignment. It may do something completely different from what the assignment specifies or it may be less than the required number of pages. It exhibits varying degrees of underdeveloped and/or poorly prepared writing. It makes me wonder if the writer completed reading assignments from class. It makes hardly any use or no use at all of supporting evidence. The paper lacks parenthetical documentation of page numbers. Problems with sentence construction and mechanics make this paper difficult to read and the writer does not communicate clearly.
F (55-59) This paper fails to fulfill the assignment on many counts. The paper may be plagiarized.