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Difficulty rephrasing English EE research question

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Hi all,

I'm writing my Extended Essay on the works of a Sudanese-Scottish author, Leila Aboulela. She has three novels that I really like, and their literary quality is really rich. Now here's the deal - before ending last school year, my supervisor required a rough draft of my EE to be written. So, essentially, I pulled out a research question by force and wrote a (very forlorn and terrible) first rough draft of about 3000 words, all whilst realizing that my research question was far too vague for focused analysis.

The question is, "How do Leila Aboulela’s female protagonists represent and resolve the theme of 'East and West'?"

The problem? There are three novels in question here, all of whom have the main character as female. This is a very broad question which pretty much spans the entirety of the three novels, and unfortunately now, when I'm trying to actually write my EE, I'm stuck, because I need to really define my focus so that I can answer a decent question, but I can't seem to get past this weird draft I wrote.

Any help?

Edited by Roselian

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I suggest, How do the female protagonists in Leila Aboulela's works, WORK1, WORK2 and WORK 3 resolve the common theme of "East and West"?

You have no reason to worry. I don't think it's too broad. ;)

I'm doing category 3 and I analyse the language in a speech, a poem and a personal letter form 3 different people. I got a positive response on my topic and RQ ;)

Good luck :)

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HELP needed once again!

How bad an idea is it to focus on three different books in your EE? I feel that all three characters (from all three books) come to different conclusions on the theme, but I'm afraid that by simply explaining 1 2 3 I won't have a 'flowing' essay, and rather it will feel like three essays in one!

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I don't think doing 3 different books is necessarily a bad thing at all. :)

Usually I'd expect the main point of doing different books would be to compare and contrast how and why the characters come to different conclusions in one flowing essay. However, I recently read an English EE (a really good one too, I think it's an A) where they focused on 2 different books and structured it so that it really was like 2 different essays. So they had the first book, and answered the EE question, then they had the second book and answered the EE question. However, they did make occasional infrequent references to the first book in the "2nd part" of the essay, such as: Similarly to BOOK 1, BOOK 2 also portrays, etc.. so maybe considering doing that (comparing and contrasting, if you aren't already) a bit just to make the "three essays" flow and link more into 1 whole essay?

So I'm no expert, but I don't think that doing 3 books is that bad at all! Also, if you look at the EE criteria, it doesn't really seem like you would lose too many marks if it felt like 3 essays instead of 1? Perhaps in Criterion E if your ideas aren't presented in a logical and coherent manner.. but structure shouldn't really affect too many of the other criteria.. I would also recommend you talk to your EE supervisor as they should have knowledge of this and should have a good idea of how your essay would be marked. :)

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It's not necessarily a bad thing doing 3 books. That's just more info for you to write :) Just make sure you don't get lost with all the info you'll be having. And be sure to organize it properly. You could also organize it thematically. Talk about the one theme and how the 3 books portray it, then move onto the next theme. There's a few ways you can structure it, but it all depends on what you're comfortable with.

good luck :)

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Thank you all so much - now for my (hopefully) last question!

I might shift my focus from 'East and West' (which is more particular to one novel) to the wider theme of 'culture clash' - but what would YOU call a culture clash between people of different generations? I pretty sure there's a phrase for it...

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Generation clash?

The only thing I'd worry about with doing 3 novels is that you have too light a level of analysis. You need to really drill down in your EE and extract the last drop of blood from the rock, if you know what I mean. So if you do three novels but you don't do them all properly (because you're trying to fit 3 novels into just 4,000 words!!) then you're just hurting yourself. Depends how much you think you'll have to write, but if I were you I'd think seriously about whether you could extract 4,000 words from just one or two of the novels because that's actually a more sensible approach. It's better to aim low and extract every last bit of analysis than aim high and miss stuff. At least, that's my experience with these things.

It's surprising how easily you can write 4,000 words in essay based subjects.

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Remember that comparisons must include similarities. If the protagonists really are very different in the way the author treats them, then there's not much basis for comparison and your choosing of 3 novels will just seem like an attempt to fill up the 4000 words.

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