I decided to write my essay on Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for two reasons: 1) when I read the book I automatically saw many connections to a common theme within my notes, and 2) it was the only one of the three books I had finished reading at that point (oops!–sorry Dr. Pennington). Regardless, this made the task of writing five pages on one topic seem much easier, since I already had so much that I knew I would be able to eagerly talk about. As the type of person who knows exactly what she wants once she decides on something, there was no going back–Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland it was!
I began my essay by first carefully reading the book and taking notes on possible topics to write my paper about. I filled my paperback copy of Alice with several ink-filled blue Post-Its, all full of anything and everything that jumped out at me as I read. This included symbols, themes, quotes, literary devices, ambiguity, etc. When I read I tend to dissect text for its meaning and important elements as I go (after all, what’s the point of taking the time to read if you get nothing out of it?), which for me meant reading in-depth and at a VERY slow pace. However, I felt really prepared to write my paper when the time came, because I had basically already done the outlining of my paper within my detailed notes.
I completed my outline by typing up my notes in a bullet-pointed document, carefully selecting which ones stayed and which ones went. I organized the information under common topics, reorganizing it accordingly, and decided from what I had what my thesis statement and the topic sentences would be. For me, the hardest part of writing an essay can be the preparation, that is, taking the time to carefully plan, deciding what exactly I want to write about, and reflecting on how I will execute the paper. So after that, the writing became smooth sailing! A couple of hours later and my essay was ready for review by the Writing Center, and later by my classmate who would be doing a peer review.
After four sets of reviews ( 1. Writing Center, 2. peer review, 3. professor review, 4. professor review of revisions), I was finally done! I then began tinkering with the blog to figure out how to use it and what work needed to be done. My first essay is now posted in my presentation portfolio, and I am ready to start the whole process over again for my next paper. Tune in next time when I blog about my summary paper!
To see my Close Reading Essay Process Portfolio, click here.