© Damen, 2002

F. Topic

As long as you address an approved topic or one of the questions or thesis topics cited in class or among course materials, the exact content of your paper is up to you. So, let me begin this section by encouraging you to think for yourself, but only to the extent permitted by the topic assigned. While it's your right and duty as a member of a democratic nation to state your honest opinions, by the same standard it's also your responsibility to present the evidence which supports your ideas when you air them in public. So, think freely, but not over-freely. Remember the question you're addressing, whatever it is for any particular paper, and always bear in mind whom you are addressing, in this case, a teacher. So, write for yourself but to me.

Conversely, do not seek to please anyone but yourself in formulating your opinions. That is, don't tell me what you think I want to hear. You'll end up pleasing neither of us. To be frank, kiss-ups are readily transparent and servility does no one's cause any good here. As long as your theme directly addresses a valid topic outlined somewhere in the course materials, your paper ought to reflect your own heartfelt and considered opinion.

21. Stick to the Question/Topic

22. Positive Themes

23. Narrow Themes

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