Rephrase (Not Clear)

Never forget your audience. There is nothing wrong with bringing to memory for the reader “who” a character is and his or her relation to the story and to other characters. When you navigate through your paper, moving from one thought to the next, sometimes it is easy to forget to tell the reader what you are doing, why you are doing the thing, and for whom you are doing something.

The comment “Rephrase (Not Clear)” is one that instructs you, albeit implicitly, to remember your audience. Although the reader may remember a certain character, he or she will not always remember a certain action the character makes, the motivation behind the action, and how the action has affected someone else in the story.

Therefore, correct areas of your paper that require clarification. Don’t take for granted and assume that your audience is aware of all the events within the literary work. In the sample excerpt, the student inserts terms and applies contemporary thinking to words that potentially have a different meaning within another context. Let’s read.

Sample Excerpt

It can be said that even though “The Wyf of Bathe” has presented such extreme confidence, there still seems to be a gap in her character and her thinking. That is the funny thing about philosophy, because it leaves one susceptible to contradiction even in an unaware state and it follows that even though there is a goal for independence, it’s only acquired through dependence and opposition in disguise.

Figure 54: Essay Excerpt on “The Wyf of Bathe”


The student doesn’t provide definitions/details about particular terms she uses within the context of both the essay and the literary work.


1) What can be said? What is the it?

2) What is the gap in her character? Does the “gap” relate somehow to her “ironic” behavior?

3) What is an “unaware” state?

4) Who sets the goal for independence?

5) How is dependence and opposition both disquises?

 Revision Considerations

As you read the excerpt and review the questions, you can see that the student doesn’t provide a complete analysis of the work. Some of the keywords the student uses require definitions. With this in mind, insert, define, and develop terms. What this means is try to insert the terms the author uses within the literary work. By using the author’s terms, you will ensure that you maintain the integrity of the text.

For example, the word “gap” may have a different meaning and context within a certain time period. Its meaning today may be substantially different from its use during the literary Medieval Period. Therefore, define the term within the context of the work. You may have to review some historical data concerning the period and use the data to prove some parts of your argument. After you define it, fully explore the term. Based upon the evidence you have found, develop it.

In other words, examine its sides. As a potential exercise, use the familiar brainstorming technique. Place the term in the middle of the page. Draw multiple lines to examples, details, definitions, characters, and other related information. Figure 55: Developing Terms Brainstorming Diagram is a great example of how to take a term and develop it within your analysis. The diagram is useful for helping you think about the many facets of a particular term you want to use within your discussion.

For this reason, you must adopt this objective during the revision process: Develop the analysis to its full potential. This includes developing terms, examples, and quotes you will use within your analysis. Only then will your professor know that you have a full understanding of the literary text.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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