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So our first English HL IA is the Comparative essay. I finally got my topic/ thesis approved by my teacher which is, "Both Crime and Punishment and The Stranger, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Albert Camus, question the arbitrariness of society’s judgement."

But now I'm doing my outline and I'm having trouble dividing up the paragraphs. In a standard 5 paragraph essay I need 3 body paragraghs. Should I divide one paragraph by Crime and Punishment's arbitrariness of society's judgement and make another paragraph The Stranger's arbitrariness of society's judgement? But then I don't know what to do for the 3rd paragraph.

Or should I do I make one paragraph a comparison between the 2 books and the arbitrariness of society's judgement and the 2nd paragraph a contrast? But then I'm still lost with the 3rd paragraph.

Any tips on dividing paragraphs?

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Ditch the five paragraph format. That's what I say. Why adopt this restrictive structure (a straitjacket) in the first place? It is the training wheels of the English lit.-comp world, which you must kick away as soon as you can ride free. Trust me - you'll be able to accomplish much more.

Look instead for comparable ideas/details from both novels and divide your essay according to each of these. Each idea constitutes one paragraph (or two) where you discuss both novels in terms of that idea/detail. The details you bring up will make up the points of your argument.

What *are* your separate points for this subject anyway?

Edited by Blackcurrant
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Thanks! Ok so far, I have

  • Mersault's and Raskolnikov's views vs. Society's views ( Because they both had very different views than society's which shows how society's judgments were unfair to them)
  • How the Judgment was arbitruary
  • Character's Choices vs. Society's view of choices (Ex: Mersault send his mother to a nursing home because he couldn't afford to care for her properly, but society thought poorly of him because he sent her away)

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Ok. Now ...

your EE thesis question asks something which your individual points will need to address explicitly, namely: how do both authors/works *question* society's judgement ....

You are not far off with what you have already, but sticking closely to the original formulation will force you to investigate what is implicit in the works - to look closely at words, imagery, and structures... which invites literary analysis. That will ensure that your EE is a literary treatment of two works. There's your critical literary appreciation!

So how do these writers instil doubt in their reader's minds that society is "justified" in its decisions? or in its rejection of, for example, Meursault? I expect most of us share the same values of Meursault's upstanding citizens jury. We may be less confident in our comfortable moral assumptions after reading and thinking about things. We may just see the jury (and society, or our givens) a little differently. How does that happen?

Edited by Blackcurrant
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OHHH!!! Ok!!! Thank you! Our teacher told us not to us the "To what extent" format because it was mostly used for History and EE's. So I was confused on how to go about writing the paper with the topic I had.

Your explanation of it helped a ton! Thank you :)

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