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7 Questions To Ask A Teacher Before You Write Paper for a Literature Class 

teacher discussing her lesson with her student

How many times did you start writing an essay only to understand that you have no idea of the assignment? Sure, there are instructions and a system of grades and points. There is a topic and a number of sources. However, you still don't grasp the essence of the task. Should it be an analytical or a compare-and-contrast essay? Oh, wait, what if the task is a literary analysis?

To guard against tricky instructions, check the list of questions from our experts to ask your teacher. 

Why Asking Questions is a Must

Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can before starting to work on the assignment. In fact, most instructors appreciate the student's meticulous approach to studying. Obviously, you can contact a professional writer whose job is to write paper for students and alleviate their college pain. In this case, you’ll save your time but won’t grasp the core idea of academic writing. In the end, it’s better to ask questions and master the art of academic writing by yourself.

  • Asking questions clarifies the instructions and teacher’s expectations from your work;
  • Asking questions allows you to find whether you can modify the assignment’s specifics. For instance, whether you can turn an analytical essay into a compare-and-contrast task;
  • Asking questions shows your genuine interest in the subject;
  • Staying curious allows you to find more additional details. For instance, the number of sources or in-text citations. 

Remember that you don’t overburden or distract your professor by asking questions. Still feel nervous? Make a list of questions in a Google Doc and send them by email. 

Question #1: Can I modify the topic? 

Imagine you’ve started writing an essay on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. Your topic might focus on the character analysis. But what if you want to analyze the characters from a religious perspective? The readers know that the Islamic Revolution inspired the author to write the notorious story. 

The possible question in this situation might be:

  1. Should I write paper without focusing on the religious background?
  2. Should I do the character analysis from the religious perspective solely? 

Question #2: Is there a ready-made model of the assignment? 

Professors love collecting the best essays and research papers. There is a high chance your teacher has a set of exemplary essays to share. If the professor has not navigated you through the assignment effectively, ask for examples.

black framed eyeglasses on white book page

Why ask for a ready-made example? 

  • You’ll compare the professor’s expectations from the assignment with your own;
  • You’ll get a quick grasp of the assignment’s structure;
  • You’ll learn the linguistic specifics to consider. For instance, the use of first or third pronouns, slang words, and other speech elements. 

Question #3: Should I write an essay draft? 

Most professors ask their students to write the paper’s draft and later consult them on it. Nonetheless, your teacher might have a different idea of the preparation for essay writing. They may ask you to brainstorm your thoughts and put them on paper. Others might ask you to develop a detailed structure that might include the sources to be cited. 

Before going through the draft stage, ask the following questions: 

  1. What should the draft’s structure be like? Should the paragraphs be loose or well-developed?
  2. Should the draft include in-text citations?
  3. Can I get a further consultation on the draft after its submission?

Question #4: Can I back up my argument with secondary sources?

Let's say you're writing an essay on 'The Fences' by August Wilson. Your possible topic might be 'The Black identity in the 1950s'. Can you intertwine more literary voices in your argument? For instance, mentioning other authors with similar ideas is beneficial. One can write paper on 'The Fences' but add Gwendolyn Brooks' poetry.

woman standing between library book shelves

When it comes to questions on the secondary sources, you should ask:

  1. Can I add other authors and their literary works to prove the argument?
  2. What historical epochs should additional sources come from?
  3. Are there other secondary literary sources that might contribute to the dialogue?

Question #5: What kind of audience should my paper focus on?

Readers differ. Some of them might be remarkably knowledgeable about the topic. Others will have no clue what a ‘metaphor’ or ‘simile’ stands for. The same goes for the agreement on the argument. While some readers will totally support your ideas, others will find them biased. Knowing your audience allows a student to write paper with maximum persuasion.

Questions to ask regarding the audience:

  1. Do the readers have a grasp of the topic?
  2. Do they support the argument or not? If not, you’ll have to back up the argument with more proof;
  3. Can my readers relate personally to the topic?
pensive attentive woman in glasses and elegant vintage outfit focusing and taking notes with pencil in book while standing against gray wall

Question #6: What are the most common mistakes associated with the assignment?

Various academic assignments will have different common mistakes. By asking this question, you'll learn the most essential aspects to pay attention to. For instance, students might often omit to add secondary sources to back up their essay argument. Another common mistake is the lack of structure. Some learners might even forget to write the Conclusion part.

Possible questions to ask are:

  1. What is the essential part of the task?
  2. Which mistakes should I avoid?

Question #7: What is the deadline for the task? 

The basic question that students forget to ask when starting to write paper on Literature. Your deadline is a mark in a timeline to focus on. If the deadline sounds like 'next Saturday,' better specify the exact date. In the end, your grade depends on the timely submission of the task.

Final Thoughts

The core problem of modern students is their rush to write without asking questions. Meanwhile, asking questions is a direct path to a high grade and knowledge digestion. Ask questions to define the teacher's expectations and secondary details. In the end, tiny details make a bigger picture. Hence, focus on the elements like the audience type or a deadline first.

We hope the article was helpful to you. Good luck!