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Objectivity of an English EE

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Hello once again!

Just popped in to get a little feedback on one of my essay paragraphs - the novel in question in my work is set in 1950s Sudan, and I wanted to clarify to the reader just how important education was at the time period, before I launch into contrasting how the two characters stand for education and ignorance, and how this in turn shows the conflict between past and future in the novel. (please ignore the terrible citation until I figure out how to MLA a short speech).

"If the stories of the characters of Lyrics Alley could be simplified to one phrase, that phrase would be ‘the importance of education’. Understanding the importance of this mantra in the setting of 1950s Sudan is crucial to understanding Lyrics Alley, a tale set during a time when education was seen as being crucial to the innovation and change that were to drive the new country forward. Mahmoud sends his son Nur to receive the best possible education abroad, in order to return to develop his own nation, in a manner reminiscent of

“. . . the generation that left

To Paris, London, Moscow, Belgrade and Budapest
And then returned
Refusing the foreign passports and the foreign jobs
Returned to build their country
Masters of the West, children of the East” (Our Sudan, 111)

The contrast between Waheeba’s illiteracy and Nabila’s smoothly rounded education is used by Aboulela to make all too clear the battle between a past that belonged to those like Waheeba, and the future that is being molded by the likes of Nabila, in Lyrics Alley.

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Two things strike me right away:

1. The quote needs more (or clearer) explanation. It is not clear how the quote supports your point. The surrounding text should make that clear.

2. Capturing a common idea/theme in one sentence is a good idea. Your choice of common theme is certainly valid, and may be sufficient for your purposes; it is, however, rather too general to my mind. It is missing some idea of complexity, which ensues from a closely-researched analytical essay that argues a point. "Argument" is key.

I am not sure if this is what you were seeking, but it may prove useful.

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