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Dear Samantha,

Great work on drafting a thoughtful response, I really enjoyed reading it over. The particular narrative that you choose, “Shooting an Elephant”, was one of my favorite ones that we have read as a class, so I was glad to see you had chosen it. I enjoyed your introduction and applaud you for your choice to include some historical context about the English role in Burma during the time that the text is set in. I think that it is definitely helpful for the reader to have some background in order to fully understand your argument and your thoughts related to the text. It is not only a strong point of the essay due to context, but it also serves as a hook in order to pull the reader’s interest in to the essay. Additionally, you did very well in constructing your thesis, as it clearly explains what types of literary devices that Orwell used in order to convey his message on British imperialism. Your body paragraphs were also enjoyable to read. One thing I would consider as you revise and polish this draft for the final submission is adding more analysis to each excerpt from the text that you include. Your choice of quotes is phenomenal, but at points it feels like the quotes are solely adding context or background. I would advise you to really dive deep into the meaning of the words in every quote and how that is affected by the different language tools that Orwell uses. Doing so would ensure that you are fully following the guidelines for close reading that we have practiced for homework and discussed during class. Also, I am not sure if your excerpts hold repetition in any way, but I do think you could find some different ways to draw connections between them. If you decided to do that, your essay would not only have a nicer flow but your textual evidence would all build on each other. One additional thing that I would be careful of is making the distinction between the narrator and Orwell. While I am not one hundred percent sure I assume that this is not a true story from Orwell’s point of view, but rather a story written through the perspective of a narrator. Overall, the flow of your essay felt natural and it was easy to read. The only times that it felt somewhat choppy was around where you inserted your quotes. I would be mindful of properly introducing your excerpts from the original text and, while you likely would do this without my help, I would remember to appropriately cite the original Orwell essay with the page number each time that you include a quote. Besides for that, I found little to no grammatical or stylistic errors within your first draft. This is a fantastic first draft and it is work that I would proud of. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your work in its early stages, and for allowing me to give you constructive feedback. I am sure that you will do well to polish and finalize this draft when it comes time to turn in the final draft.


Oliver Ginns

Dear Samantha,

I enjoyed reading your analysis of George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant.” I believe that

your paper generally adheres to the core close reading concepts we have been over, as it focuses primarily on language over broader ideas. However, while the literary devices being examined, metaphor and juxtaposition, are quite relevant, you could also consider adding some tools specific to close reading that we have studied, such as stance or word valence. Your

thesis is solid in that it examines specific tools of language that influence the text in a detailed way, and is more focused on language than overarching themes, as close reading should be. I do think, though, that the thesis could be more specific in terms of explicitly stating what exact effect imperialism has on the Burmans and the narrator, rather than simply saying that it has some effect.

I believe that the area of your paper that may require the most improvement is in

developing a deeper, more complex interpretation of certain parts of the text. A lot of good quotes are being used, but not all are being analyzed in a way that adds a new level of meaning. For example, when explaining the condition of “must” in the elephant, you explain what it means, but are ultimately just summarizing part of the text. I would encourage you to therefore add a few sentences afterward where you can offer your own interpretation of the language of that section, beyond what the text gives us. In general, more could be added to determine how the language influences the text, rather than simply arguing that the language provides meaning. Your paper did a good job of capturing attention. I actually really appreciated the background information for the text that was provided in your introduction, as I think that it adds a historic value to the text itself, and makes the topic therefore seem more real and relevant. I would say the only point when my attention was briefly lost was when you summarized the part about the narrator going after the elephant, as it seemed to be a bit-long winded and a repetition of a story that I had already read. Still, overall, your paper was quite engaging. As I said before, my only real problem with your paper was the lack of textual analysis, and perhaps even a bit too much textual evidence- while quotes can be strong, you don’t necessarily need to add certain quotes unless you have a specific way to analyze it. Also, I think the tools you chose to focus on, juxtaposition and metaphor, were strong and relevant to your paper, but I think juxtaposition could maybe be mentioned more. Your analysis of Orwell’s metaphorical language, however, was quite strong. Still, I would like to see you state not only that the metaphor being used shows that imperialism affects the narrator, but to go into depth about specific effects. Perhaps this will come with a slight tweak in the thesis to include these effects. Overall, I would just recommend maybe skimming out some quotes in favor of more of your own analysis. However, I think the structure of your paper remains strong, and I can tell you have a solid understanding of the text.


Nick Wu

Notes from in-class peer review

● Say narrator instead of Orwell since it is not explicitly stated that Orwell is the narrator

● However, maybe mention that some people believe Orwell himself is the narrator, but is it not confirmed

● Add more analysis to each quote

● Take out quotes that have repeated meaning

● Add an introduction to quotes, don’t just “quote-drop”

● Add in text citations for the quotes used

● Add the essay as a reference to works cited page

● Shorten section regarding the story of the narrator going after the elephant

● Don’t summarize, analyze

● Include some of the effects of British imperialism that are mentioned in thesis

● Include other examples of juxtaposition from the text