• Thesis: Does the essay contain a thesis statement? Is the thesis or main claim stated directly and clearly in the first paragraph? Does the thesis directly address the question of the assignment? Does the essay clearly take a stand on whether or not Chopin’s story aligns itself with the features of the “divorce culture”?
• Quotation: Does the essay use direct quotation accurately? Does it place borrowed words and phrases within quotation marks, without introducing any changes, except for those indicated by an ellipsis (three spaced periods, like these . . .) or by square brackets [like these]? Does the essay set up a relevant context for its interpretation of quotations, so that it avoids dropped quotations? Does it avoid reading quotations out of context and misrepresenting their meaning in the context of the story?
• Organization: Is the argument organized logically, so that it sets forth its claims in an orderly manner? Does the essay define its key terms before deploying them in its analysis? Does the essay contain an essay map? Do the topic sentences of the body paragraphs correspond to the subtopics listed by the essay map?
Our discussions have raised the following hypothesis: Although Whitehead presents the “divorce culture” as a relatively recent development that has occurred since the late 1950s, many of the ideas that she presents as factors in the evolution of our modern “divorce culture” can be seen in Chopin’s short story, first written in 1894.