Writing Center

Julie Levey, ’24 is a prospective concentrator in the Religion Department. At Princeton, Julie is on the Executive Board of the Center for Jewish Life and on The Daily Princetonian features staff, and she sings a cappella. She is also a journalism intern for EPIDEMIC, a podcast about the science and society of COVID-19. She wrote this as a first-year.

Rosamond van Wingerden, ’21 is a senior in the Comparative Literature Department, with certificates in Vocal Performance, Russian & Eurasian Studies, Music Theater, and Greek. At Princeton, she sings with the Princeton Opera Company and is involved in the Center for Jewish Life and Princeton Presbyterians. She wrote this as a senior.

Narrative, Spring 2021

Pedagogy in the Playhouse: The Role of Hans Krása’s Opera Brundibár in Modern Holocaust Education Through the Arts

In a Tortoiseshell: In this paper, written for a Freshman Seminar, Julie Levey demonstrates how a powerful sense of narrative can enliven an academic paper and make it both convincing and compelling. As she build towards her thesis, she presents varied and conflicting perspectives and pieces of evidence before presenting her own view.

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Non-textual sources, Spring 2021

The Feminized Male Lead Dancer: How Chinese TikTok Dances are Redefining Gender Roles

In a Tortoiseshell: In her essay, Julia Zhou uses an unconventional primary source to argue that while male-led Chinese TikTok dances engage in gender subversion, they do so by operating within an artistic framework that welcomes innovation. To help readers engage with her analysis, Julia carefully describes key choreographic techniques, then orients readers to the significance of each technique. Having made the dances legible to her readers, she then engages in a rewarding close reading of their choreography.

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Evidence, Spring 2021

“Does it have to be complicated?”: Technologically Mediated Romance and Identity in Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends and Normal People

In a Tortoiseshell: In this close-reading of Sally Rooney’s work, Julia Walton’s junior paper explores the role of technology-aided communication in complex romantic entanglements. This excerpt deftly engages with evidence to provide compelling analysis on the significance of mirrors and photographs in Rooney’s Conversations With Friends.

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Evidence, Spring 2021

Searching Inside a Cut: Ethnography as a Lens to Examine Emergent Relationalities

In a Tortoiseshell: In her essay, Ariadni Kertsikof weaves together evidence from several ethnographic works to argue that ethnography allows us to discover truths about the world through attending to relationships. The following excerpt focuses on the importance of relationships in Savannah Shange’s ethnography Progressive Dystopia. Through exceptional source orientation, Ariadni contextualizes her evidence in light of Shange’s argument. She then selects and summarizes a specific example from Shange’s work, effectively illustrating not only the author’s point but her own.

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Spring 2021, Thesis

The Hypocrisies of Wonka’s Chocolate World: Flipping Dahl’s Story Inside Out

In a Tortoiseshell: In the following introduction and excerpted body paragraphs from her final Writing Seminar paper on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Paige Min adopts an against-the-grain argument. She complicates the mainstream understanding of the text, namely that good children like Charlie who resist capitalistic temptations are rewarded while bad children who succumb to their desires are not. Paige frames her motive and thesis by orienting the reader to this common argument. Based on a close reading of the text, she argues that the story actually normalizes dangerous elements of capitalism and teaches children to blindly accept authority.  Continue reading

Cross-disciplinary analysis, Spring 2021

Too Good to Be True: MyFitnessPal’s Gamification of Weight Loss and Its Dangerous Consequences

In a Tortoiseshell: In the final paper for her Writing Seminar, “Gamification,” Theresa Lim argues that gamified elements of the MyFitnessPal app push users towards the unhealthy end of the eating behavior spectrum. Her cross-disciplinary analysis creatively combines scholarship in psychology, nutrition, and game theory. By carefully defining relevant key terms from these disciplines, and by clearly illustrating how the concepts she defines intersect in the MyFitnessPal app, Theresa arrives at a nuanced argument and makes important contributions to the scholarly conversation Continue reading

Feature, Spring 2021

Women We Buried: Female Entrapment and Storytelling as Agency in Jesmyn Ward’s Men We Reaped

In a Tortoiseshell: In her essay on Jesmyn Ward’s Men we Reaped, Cassy uses a clear and evocative prose style to convey her motive, using key words and well placed quotations to construct incisive analysis. Through her essay, she convinces her readers not only of the depth and texture of Ward’s original work, but also that academic writing, when done well, may possess a strong argument and thesis without wholly giving up the lyrical poignancy of a creative piece. Continue reading

Narrative, Spring 2021

Agents of Change: Hollywood Agents and Gatekeeping

In a Tortoiseshell: In her Junior Paper, Jacy Duan explores the role of Hollywood agents in perpetuating a lack of racial diversity among actors. She carried out seven interviews with agents, which she draws on here in order to explore whether agents recognize their role as gatekeepers controlling the presence (or lack) of diversity in the industry. Jacy establishes a strong motive in her introduction and then weaves together the individual opinions of the agents into a broader narrative about diversity in Hollywood. Jacy’s treatment of narrative ensures that her argument is both accessible and engaging.

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Evidence, Spring 2021

The Futile Female Fight

In a Tortoiseshell: In a paper for the Humanities Sequence, Noori Zubieta strikes a balance between carefully working through her evidence, orienting her reader, and building to a nuanced thesis in a close reading of a passage in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

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Spring 2021, Thesis

Monstrous Consumption and Resistance in The Vegetarian and “Eight Bites”

In a Tortoiseshell: In her final paper for a class called Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities: Ancient Plots, Modern Twists, Paige Allen examines two texts, a novel and a short story, to explore the intersection between consumption, humanity, and monstrosity in the context of restrictive eating. As she orients her reader to the central ideas of her argument in this introduction, she explains the ways consumption habits have a long cultural history of being linked to “human nature.” The claim of this essay, that the texts in question present instances of something Paige calls “resistant monstrosity,” is a strong example of the lexicon term thesis. Continue reading