Clear Statement

A clear statement is typically a statement that is free from confusion. The best way to construct a clear statement within your papers is to adhere to the rules of grammar. When you try to jumble together too many phrases and compare those jumbled phrases with a contrast to another set of jumbled phrases, you lose your reader. Remember the basic sentence which entails the subject and the verb. Then remember the functions of an adjective, adverb, preposition, and a conjunction. If you don’t know the function of the elements of a sentence, then you will forever create an unclear statement. Examine the following excerpt and the differences between an unclear and clear statement.

Sample Excerpt

From one vantage point, the unbiased reader may perceive that of all the perspectives, Quentin and Shreve prove to be the most reliable in theirs.  For example, Shreve provides the objective viewpoint for he has no real stake in the retelling of the events.  The only way in which he becomes part of the drama is via Quentin.  In other words, he has no familial ties to Sutpen or to the other “character-narrators.” And Quentin’s desire to reconcile Sutpen’s actions with that of the perception of his actions proves to be advantageous to understanding the role of history within the present. 

Through his actions, we see an inability to reconcile self-perception and social perceptions in that Faulkner presents a character unsure of his heritage, but marks him early on in the novel as a Negro. For example, Faulkner actively participates in the assigning of constructed identities to subject citizens.  Similar to the genealogist, Faulkner classifies his data.  He is obligated to distinguish between race and class, to make social classification a vital element to his narratives.  But “[in] accepting markings such as skin color, sexual difference, dress, and dialect as significant indices of social value, the trusting reader initially must repeat and reinforce the figures whereby blacks, poor whites, and women have been classified, separated, and dominated” (Snead 155).  In other words, the stereotypes that permeate his novels reinforce the racist perspectives of southerners.

Figure 6: Essay Excerpt on Quentin and Shreve, Absalom, Absalom!

Problems

The first highlighted (bolded) statement represents an unclear statement. Within the statement, the student packs too much into one sentence without fully exploring its qualities. How do you reconcile Sutpen’s actions? In addition, to whom does “his” refer?

Revision Considerations

Develop a simple, straightforward sentence to convey your point. The second bolded sentence is a simple, clear statement that answers questions about a particular topic.

Explanation

When you have to ask any question or many, then you have lost your reader. If you can’t answer the questions yourself, then you have lost grip on your analysis. The best way to define a “clear statement” is to connect it to the definition we have outlined for “ambiguous.” In other words, a “clear statement” is easily understood, distinct, and is not ambiguous. In essence, all elements of uncertainty have been addressed when an idea is clear.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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