Suppose you are taking a course on 19th_century America, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War. You turn on the computer and type out the following: The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.
Free write, make lists, jot down Huck´s actions and reactions. Eventually you will be able to clarify for yourself, and then for the reader, why this contrast matters. After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write: Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain´s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave "civilized" society and go back to nature. This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.
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