Choosing a Style Writing Tip. Custom Essay Writing 


Choosing a Style

Part of the choice you have to make when you choose a topic is the voice in which the paper is to be written. Voices are extensions of people, and, like people, they have different viewpoints and opinions. None is objective. Thus the topic of your paper will be closely related to the voice in which you choose to write. A paper denouncing the awful sexism of Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest will have a different voice from one analyzing the metaphors of flowers in Emily Dickinson. Too many students take for granted that any college paper has to be in a pompous professorial objective voice. This is a mistake. In an effort to prevent this horror, some professors go to great lengths to stress the importance of writing in your own voice. This is good advice, but it can be a bit simplistic. Most of us, after all, have several different voices. We speak one way to our peers, another way to our boyfriends or girlfriends, and a different way altogether to the cop who pulls us over on the highway. Which one is truly us? And in this paper, which audience are we trying to reach?

Despite what you may have heard in the school yard, very few of us teachers really want to see students assume our voices and regurgitate our words back at us. When we do get such papers, we carefully turn the pages with rubber gloves and breathe through our mouths to avoid the smell. We are embarrassed. We might sigh and tell ourselves that at least the student was paying attention, and in a well-crafted paper in a well-ventilated room, that might be worth a B. But it is not what we want. We really want each student to draw upon his or her own reading, thinking, experience, and insights and to show us something we have not yet seen. We want our students to use the paper as an opportunity to say what they have to say, to tell their own truths. We want them to teach us something we do not already know.

For this reason, I used to be one of those teachers who require their students to tell the truth, to speak in their most honest voice, to say what they really believed about the subject under consideration and give not a whit about what they thought I wanted them to think. It became apparent, however, that in saying all this, important and true as it was, I was burdening them with the additional responsibility of trying to figure out who they were and what they believed before they could even begin to write the simplest sophomore paper. To make the resolution of the adolescent identity crisis a prerequisite for writing a simple term paper is indeed to throw an all but insurmountable obstacle into the path of the earnest undergraduate. Many students stumble at the threshold, unable to write a word because they haven't the vaguest idea either what they are "supposed" to say or what they personally want to say. No reason exists to be ashamed of this. Anyone who at eighteen is certain he knows what it is all about needs to get a life. I know I did.

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