The Final Revisions Expectations

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The Final Revisions

  • Improvements to what you say

  • Improvements to how you say it

Grades go down if . . .

  1. There are no significant attempts to strengthen the content of the paper (such as no new supporting evidence)

  2. There are no significant attempts to strengthen the sentences and the wording

  3. Comments on the graded draft were ignored

  4. Serious errors come up in the paper

Grades go up if . . .

  1. There are significant attempts to strengthen the content of the paper

  2. There are significant attempts to strengthen the sentences and the wording

  3. Comments on the graded draft are addressed

  4. No serious errors in the paper

Remember that you must attempt to strengthen the content of your essays. No “deep-level” revision means a lower grade on the revised draft! And proofread carefully to eliminate errors!


Final Revisions Tips

  • Read the comments on your graded essays carefully, and use them.

  • Say something new in each body paragraph.

  • Use new supporting evidence in every body paragraph (Essay 4 – no new quotations from sources: BAD! Essay 2 – no new quotations from the story: BAD!).

  • Use the “Style” exercise to help you strengthen sentences in both of your revised essays.

  • Proofread carefully. Sentence-boundary errors in the final revisions will lower the grade!

  • Show that you understand the things we have talked about: one-sentence thesis statement, integrated quotations, commas used correctly according to the “FAN BOYS” rule, not using the first person, etc.

The Revision Plan (required with each revision)

  1. Thesis

  2. Organization

  3. Support and Development of Ideas

  4. Style

  5. Mechanics

The Revision Plan Example

3. Support and Development of Ideas

    1. I will delete one quotation in the first body paragraph and shortened another quotation.

    2. I will add two new quotations to the first body paragraph to support how the narrator is treated like a child by her husband.

    3. I added a new quotation to the second body paragraph to support how the narrator feels trapped.

    4. I added a new quotation from a secondary source to the second body paragraph.

    5. I changed the focus of the last body paragraph to the symbolism of the wallpaper, with new quotations and new ideas.

    6. In the first and second body paragraphs, I added more explanation and interpretation of the quotations.

Exercise 5: Strengthening Style

Mr. Rambo


21 September 2009


The story “The Fly” by Katherine Mansfield tells the story of a man who has lost his son due to a war. It shows how difficult it can be for someone to come to terms with losing a loved one and being able to move on. This process takes different amounts of time for everyone. For some, it’s a few months. For others, it’s long torturous years. In the boss’s case, it has been six painful years knowing his son will never return. He has great difficulty getting over his son’s death, although he is slowly in the process without even realizing it, while the fly at the end of the story seems to symbolize the boss’s son, emotions, and memories that he is finally putting to rest.

Six years after his son has passed, the boss still finds it extremely hard to move on. When he looks at a picture of his son, the narrator says “Although over six years had passed away, the boss never thought of the boy except as lying unchanged, unblemished in his uniform, asleep forever,” indicating that the boss still thinks of his son as alive, but is just sleeping forever. He told himself, and even others, that he would never be able to get over the loss of his son. Nothing, not even time, could help him cope with the pain. He also feels a lot of guilt over this. The boss had spent his life building up a business for his son to have and to take over. He wanted his son to have no worries about keeping a job, or about having enough money for his own family. But when his son died, he felt like he had almost betrayed him. He had made a promise to his son, but he had not been able to fulfill it. Knowing this ate away at the boss and made dealing with the death much harder. One major action the boss also makes in the story is when Mr. Woodifield leaves, the boss tells his assistant to cancel all of his appointments for the next half hour. He gives himself a specific amount of time to cry and grieve over his son. By doing this, he is not allowing himself to not think about his son. He is forcing himself to remember the times when his son was still around, and to mourn over them.

All of these actions show that the boss is not ready to move on yet, but as the reader you can see that he slowly is without even realizing it. One thing that proves this to be true is when he goes into his office alone for his own time to cry. He sits there for a while thinking, but does not cry. The narrator says, “‘My son!’ groaned the boss. But no tears came yet. In the past, in the first few months and even years after the boy's death, he had only to say those words to be overcome by such grief that nothing short of a violent fit of weeping could relieve him.” It used to take just the slightest little thought, or one single word, to cause him to break down and sob over his son. But now, not a single tear falls. No matter how many times he yells out “My son,” he cannot bring himself to cry. Another small but subtle action the boss makes, is his new furniture. He has had the same furnishing in his office for years, but now in the story it says that within the past few weeks, he has gotten new furniture. Some people do this kind of thing as an action of moving forward, looking for new things in life. Without realizing it, the boss is making new and positive changes in his life. Additional evidence of the boss slowly but surely moving on is at the very end of the story. After the fly finally dies, the narrator states “And while the old dog padded away he fell to wondering what it was he had been thinking about before. What was it? It was . . . He took out his handkerchief and passed it inside his collar. For the life of him he could not remember.” The boss had been thinking about his son’s death previous to the fly, and the fact that he can not remember it afterwords implies that he has forgotten how much pain he once felt from thinking about his son. With the help of the fly, the boss is coming to terms with the loss of his won whether he wants to or not.

The fly at the end of the story that struggles for its life seems to symbolize the boss’s struggles, emotions, and memories that he is finally putting to rest. When the boss first recognizes the fly, he is sitting at his desk, pondering about his son. He sees the fly fall into the ink pot and is fighting to get out. The boss “took up a pen, picked the fly out of the ink, and shook it on to a piece of blotting-paper.” He watched as the fly shook itself off and made it through its near death experience. The narrator then says, “But just then the boss had an idea. He plunged his pen back into the ink, leaned his thick wrist on the blotting-paper, and as the fly tried its wings down came a great heavy blot. […] The front legs waved, caught hold, and, more slowly this time, the task began from the beginning.”

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