How To Write Like Your Favorite Female AuthorMarch 15, 2018

The underwhelming box-office result of "A Wrinkle in Time" could be an interesting essay topic if you're studying women authors (or female authors in fiction). Did Disney overlook the fact that it was a fantasy resulting from a merging of science of religion? Didn't Ava DuVernay, the first female filmmaker to direct a big-budget Disney movie, didn't see Madeleine L'Engle, the author of "A Wrinkle in Time", differently? The director and producers should have seen the TV adaptation, which was shown fifteen years ago. L'Engle didn't like it at all.

They have good intention, as this big-screen adaptation featured a diversified cast, which L'Engle wouldn't frown at all. As a matter of fact, she might like Meg Murry being a young daughter of a white father and black mother. DuVernay might have thought that the expounding on time travel seemed impossible, thus focusing on the feelings. This aspect of the novel should be the only thing that appeals to generations of readers after its initial release in 1962. There was a valid point, as the draft of the novel was rejected many times. It wasn't like "The Chronicles of Narnia", which wasn't hard to follow. It happened that L'Engle was one of those few individuals who have strong religious beliefs and passion in science at the same time. Could "A Wrinkle in Time" have been published earlier if it was written by a man?

This literary genre might have been noticed by the Me Too movement, but it would be a coincidence. After all, female authors have struggled for recognition. (Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin wouldn't use her pen name, George Sand, if her gender won't be a barrier to artistic success.) In fact, the genre revealed literary rebels who managed to speak out without chastised in a male-dominated society. It wouldn't be different with Muriel Heslop, who managed to stand out because no man, not even her politicking father, could see beyond her overweight figure and ugly-duckling status. The ABBA songs might be a hindrance, though.

A Few Questions That Need Immediate Answers

Is there a unique essay topic on women left? It might remind you of your flatmates who are planning another holiday in Bali. And you haven't gone beyond your hometown. Yet. If you keep on insisting on the uniqueness of your topic, then you may be missing the deadline for your first assignment. You're studying literary criticism, and you want to be good at it. Look at the list of titles of previous assignments. (If your tutor can't help you on this one, then you might have to spend some time at the library.) It should give you a clue on how to approach a subject matter if another student (or several students) have written about it in great detail. Much has been discussed about the Brontë sisters and how their literary style broke conventions. If you choose to write about Heathcliff, then you may save lots of time. Ask you female coursemates (or flatmates): What makes Heathcliff attractive to women?

Do you have to keep the scope of your topic modest? Yes. No question about it. You might attempt to impress your professor by showing that you're a feminist. You'll end up confusing him/her if you're unable to justify your argument convincingly. Furthermore, you won't get a high mark for providing lots of supporting information. Someone has told you that a great writer could express an idea (or feeling) on the fewest words, but an essay requires a word count of two thousand words or more. If you're writing about a Jane Austen novel, then discuss the significance of social standing and wealth during her time. If you can analyze the overt sexism between those witty lines, then you're on your way to get the top mark. If you don't know what to write, then choose a familiar line.

What if my alternative interpretation is wrong? You won't be kicked out of your flat. You won't lose your mates. The world won't stop. You'll be fine as long as you give your best effort. (And your professor will know.) If you're analyzing a poem, then you should be aware that your essay exceeds the length of a poem. There are many interpretations, and you can't decide on what to write about. Pick one, and ask a question or two. If it's a novel, then remember that you don't base your analysis on feelings. As L'Engle have shown, female authors are capable of great thinking (like their male counterparts).

Don't Forget

The novels that you've been reading and analyzing were written during the 18th and 19th centuries. They have become classics, which defined British literature (or Australian literature for that matter). You must include this aspect in your essay if you don't want to miss anything.

The basics of writing are equally important as the style of your writing. You may have the grandest ideas, which could impress your professor. You won't get a high mark if your essay doesn't have an introduction, a body (of persuasive information), and conclusion. As far as the style is concerned, you can think about it later. Write to be understood. Try a little experimentation if you get used to writing long essays.

Don't forget that you're writing about a novel (or poem) by a female author. It will be a different experience.

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