Wondering if any of the writing gurus out there would be willing to give some feedback to dd and to myself on her writing. I freely admit - I'm a math/science girl and not a humanities girl. DD is 14 and is in Grade 9 this year. The following is an essay that she wrote for me this past fall as her first writing assignment for the Advanced Academic Writing 1 curriculum from MCT. She was to write a simple essay, no longer than 3 pages, in which she was to develop an interpretive idea about a work of fiction. She was to use only one source: the text of the fiction itself. She was having trouble coming up with an idea so we used one from the parent guide that came with the MCT lit bundle. I'll attempt to cut and paste her essay but it may lose formatting - PM me if you'd like a properly formatted copy.
I'm mostly concerned with the quality of her writing. Her grammar and spelling aren't always perfect but they are usually good. She has a good basic knowledge of MLA formatting.
The following is her final draft that she turned in to me. I gave her no help other than the original suggestion of her topic.
27 October 2014
The Queen of Hearts: A Truly Unpleasant and Detestable Being
During Alice’s adventures in the treasured classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, she meets an extraordinary group of people and creatures alike. Some of these beings seem to be amiable and warm, while others are taciturn and even violent. Several are also of greater importance than others and have a larger impact on Alice and her well-being. One of these characters is the Queen of Hearts.
The Queen of Hearts is certainly the most unpredictable and violent character Alice comes upon. The Queen has no thoughts of compassion or mercy, and she enjoys beheading anyone upon impulse. She never considers the lives of anyone but herself and she is always determined that everything is to go her way. She is sure that she should always be the best at everything; if she is not the best at something, then the being who is better is quickly disposed of.
As soon as Alice and the Queen had been acquainted, they began to argue. When the Queen asked who the playing cards on the ground were, Alice responded very rudely: “How should I know?” said Alice, surprised at her own courage, “It’s no business of MINE” (Carroll 110). Some while later, Alice managed to save the cards from being beheaded, and thankfully, the Queen never suspected it due to a happy verbal misunderstanding when a soldier said “Their heads are gone, if it please your Majesty!” (Carroll 112). For indeed their heads were gone after Alice shoved them into a flower pot.
After this ordeal, the Queen invited Alice to play a game of croquet. Alice soon discovered that the game was a very difficult one indeed, and the others running about certainly did not help, particularly the Queen:
The players all played at once without waiting for turns, quarrelling all the while, and fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting, “Off with his head!” or “Off with her head!” about once a minute. (Carroll 115)
Eventually, Alice wandered off with the Duchess when everyone started arguing over whether or not the Cheshire Cat should be beheaded.
After several more adventures, Alice arrived back at the court of the King and Queen of Hearts. She discovered that a criminal trial is taking place. She noticed that the White Rabbit was standing off to one side with a trumpet and a piece of parchment, but she did not know why.
The Rabbit began to read the accusation, which is thus:
“The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,
And took them quite away!” (Carroll 152)
The witnesses were then called up, one at a time. The first witness was the Mad Hatter, who was quickly told to stand down after it was clear that the Queen was making him too nervous to be of any help. The next witness, who was the Duchess’s cook, was also no help at all. Finally, Alice was called up as the last witness. After confirming that she knew nothing of the matter, the Queen began to grow impatient. When Alice contradicted a statement the Queen made, the two had a quarrel before Alice finally awoke from her dream of Wonderland.
Alice found the Queen of Hearts to be a truly dreadful person to be around. The Queen did not consider the feeling or emotions of others around her, and she always felt a strong need to be the best at everything. This made the croquet game extremely difficult for Alice. The Queen was impatient and never content with the work others did. Jobs were always done too quickly or too slowly. Simple mistakes were punishable by death, which seems quite extreme for things such as rose bushes and croquet games. One thing that may have also contributed to the hatred between Alice and the Queen was that Alice was the first person to stand up to her. When the playing cards were sentenced to death, Alice helped them when no one else would. This shows maturity on Alice’s part and thoughtlessness on the parts of everyone else. Even so, the Queen of Hearts would be a truly dreadful person to be around, and she upset Alice greatly during Alice’s adventures.
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Unionville: Royal
Note: She did double space the entire essay with the exception of the longer quotes, which she single spaced. I did lose formatting when I copied and pasted. Darn.