Telling Your Story
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, had in his office a sign reading "K.I.S.S.," which, he was glad to tell anyone, meant "Keep It Simple, Stupid." "Simple" does not have to mean simpleminded. Keeping it simple means avoiding the complexity of too many competing, confusing factors. This applies to choosing a paper topic as well as writing a sentence or running a business.
Pick one topic, one argument, that is finite, limited, and can be defined. Do not try to explain everything; it can't be done. Even if you think you know everything, avoid the temptation to put it all in every paper. We college professors do not simply skim the page searching for the magic words that get awarded "points," which we then add up to determine the grade. We actually want a coherent essay, not a bushel of babble. Narrow in on a specific question or problem or character. Pick a word, a phrase, an image, or an event. Ask a specific question: "Why does the author use this particular word or image in this paragraph?""Why did the Americans in Texas declare their independence in 1836 instead of 1835?""Why does Jesse Jackson prefer the term 'African American' to 'Afro-American' or 'black'?"
Your analysis of that specific question can then widen to include the larger problems of the text, or of life. Begin with your