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Developing a Clear Thesis and Articulate Argument in a 1000 Word Paper Focusing on the Play Pillowma

Guidelines for a Clear Thesis and Articulate Argument

Write 1000 word paper with a clear thesis statement & develop an articulate argument. Refer the attached document for assignment details. Choose the play Pillowman. PDF of the play is attached. Strictly follow all the instructions in the assignment document.

Use one of the following questions or prompts as a guide and starting point for a 1000 word paper in which you present a clear thesis and develop an articulate argument.Considering the plays we read in the second half of the semester—Happy Days, Yukonstyle and The Pillowman—what can an audience member learn about trauma through the main characters and events of the play?  Choose one play and determine what the author is saying about trauma through the characters and events of the play.

1. Discuss the theme of memory and/or care in Happy Days; what is Beckett saying about the role of memory and/or care as antidote to the trauma of everyday life?  

2. Discuss the theme of escape/running away in Yukonstyle; what is Berthiaume saying about the role of escape/running away when dealing with the traumatic events of life?

3. Discuss the theme of storytelling in The Pillowman; consider the way storytelling influences the different characters in the play to determine what McDonagh is saying about the role of storytelling in our lives.

Guidelines: Your paper should present a clear thesis that is supported by an articulate argument.  You should have an introduction that provides the necessary context, well developed body paragraphs and a conclusion that wraps up your argument. You should define key terms that are necessary to building your argument and use examples from the text as evidence in support of your argument.  You should present the examples in paraphrase and in direct quotations that you analyze, interpret, and integrate into the development of your argument.  Aim to be as specific as possible in developing a logical, coherent argument that would be convincing for your target reader.  Since your target reader is a colleague and peer who is already familiar with the work, there is no need for any unnecessary summarizing.

Addenda: In addition to MLA Style be sure to pay attention to your Writing Style (Word Choice, Sentence Structure, Organization) and Mechanics (grammar, punctuation, spelling, typing) as these are important factors in presenting a clear articulate argument.

Grading: Your paper will be graded according to the criteria outlined on the syllabus and those given below.

Essay Evaluation Criteria






Ideas / Reasoning

Solid understanding of the text and/or assignment; original, insightful ideas, going beyond ideas discussed in class

Good understanding of the text and/or assignment; well-thought-out ideas, going beyond the obvious

Basic understanding of the text and/or assignment; ideas are valid, but obvious; may have some factual or reasoning errors

Poor understanding of the text and/or the assignment; significant factual or reasoning errors

Fails to meet the demands of the assignment


Clear, precise, well-defined thesis, sophisticated in both statement and insight

Clear, specific thesis central to argument

Apparent thesis, but general or slightly off-topic

Vague thesis, not central to argument

No thesis

Development / Support

Convincing evidence and  persuasive reasoning used to consistently develop and support thesis; uses quotations effectively when needed

Develops thesis with clear major points and appropriate evidence and supporting detail; makes effort to link rather than stack ideas

Only partially develops thesis: most ideas are valid, but others are irrelevant, insufficiently supported, or repetitious

Essay digresses frequently without developing ideas; large sections of the text are irrelevant, insufficiently supported, or repetitious; awkward use of textual evidence

Little or no development; listing of facts; misinformation; fails to cite sources used (plagiarism)


Effective introduction and conclusion; arrangement of paragraphs seems particularly apt; effective transitions enhance coherence

Clear introduction and conclusion; ideas are grouped logically into paragraphs with appropriate transitions within and between paragraphs

Weak introduction and/or conclusion; ideas are grouped into paragraphs and connected with transitions, but transitions may be awkward

Introduction and conclusion are underdeveloped; ideas are grouped in paragraphs, but logic behind order is unclear; transitions are inappropriate or missing

No introduction or conclusion; no paragraphing; illogical arrangement of ideas


Sophisticated sentences used for variety and emphasis; word choices accurately convey meaning and tone

Clear, correct sentences; word choices accurately convey meaning

Simplistic, wordy or awkward sentences; occasional sentence structure errors; some imprecise word choices

Multiple problems with sentence structure; repeated imprecise word choices

Language interferes with the readers’ ability to understand the message



Follows all MLA formatting and citation guidelines.  Little to no grammar or punctuation errors.

Follows all MLA guidelines.  Minor grammar and punctuation errors.

Follows most MLA guidelines.  Several minor grammar and punctuation errors that do not significantly impair understanding.

Repeated errors in MLA formatting and citations.  Repeated grammar and punctuation errors that impair understanding.

Does not follow MLA guidelines.  Grammar and punctuation errors severely impair understanding.

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