This Doesn’t Occur/Contradiction

This comment refers to the need for in-text evidence. Remember you can’t write that something happens within the paper without providing support for your claims. Your professor knows the author and the literary work very well. He teaches the class practically every semester.

In addition, your professor also writes journal articles, researches the author’s life and history, and speaks at writing conferences about the author you are using within your paper.

In the sample excerpt, the student makes assumptions without providing supporting evidence to validate her claims. In addition, the student doesn’t apply the proper use of pronouns to one or more characters. Let’s read the excerpt.

Sample Excerpt

To begin, in McEachern’s attempt to “understand” Christmas, not receiving a straight answer from the matron, she states to him, “ ‘We make no effort to ascertain their parentage.  As I told you before, he was left on the doorstep here on Christmas Eve [and] will be five years two weeks.  If the child’s parentage is important to you, you had better not adopt one at all’ ” (Faulkner 133).  This chapter of the novel begins a socially active participation in truly understanding Christmas, who he represents within society.  It is possible to attribute Christmas’s name calling by the children and the presence of Doc Hines as a pivotal scene in the novel, but only the dietician makes it possible to get rid of him, foreshadowing the actions of Percy Grimm. It is McEachern’s continued persistence with the matron to know his parentage that sets the tone for the need of classification of marginal citizens.  In giving in to the matron, he accepts not knowing the child’s background and parentage.

Figure 56: Essay Excerpt on Christmas, Light in August


The student refers to a single character in the plural.

Revision Consideration

When referring to characters within a literary work, maintain the same context of singular and plural references.


Mr. McEachern is only one person. Where does the “social” come from in the “socially active participation?”


Just remember that even though a professor isn’t always quick to agree with your point in certain cases, he or she will consider your perspective in light of its position and relevance to the text, if you provide the evidence from the text. A professor can’t disagree too much with your stance if you provide proof from the immediate text.  Applying a quote and a page number makes your paper credible.

For extended explanations, see also the comments “Contradictory” and “There is No Indication of This.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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