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I am writing a five-page essay about a novel my literature class has read. I do not want to post my thesis or any snippets of my essay for fear that a plagiarism checker will flag my paper.

My paper's thesis should be about some arguable point in my novel, and I chose to write about gender inequality. The requirements also state that I should include at least two "close readings" (commentaries) in my work, too.

I am unsure of how I would integrate my close readings into my paper and if I should include the elements of my close reading in my thesis statement (characterization, ennui, etc.)?

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  • Welcome to Writing.SE mperic, glad you found us. Please check out our tour and help center. – Cyn says make Monica whole Aug 3 '19 at 6:43
  • Hey mperic, I have a clarification question for you about your post. You mention your fear of a plagiarism checker...do you mean you're concerned if you post examples of your writing here on this question that the checker might flag it as plagiarism (of yourself)? Or is this a concern you have about including quotes from the novel you're analyzing in the paper? Thanks! – Cyn says make Monica whole Aug 3 '19 at 15:59
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    Hi. I was particularly concerned about plagiarism-checking engines (like TurnItIn) detecting snippets of my writing on SE and matching it with the submitted document on Canvas. I understand that the inclusion of quotes is alright. :-) – mperic Aug 5 '19 at 13:24
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If you show excerpts and cited the book, it is obvious you are crediting the book, and it is not plagiarism. You are not claiming the passages from the book are your own writing, and it is "fair use" (the legal term) to cite passages from a book verbatim in the course of critiquing the book.

You don't have to worry about it. You can include segments of reasonable length (some paragraphs, usually, not chapters or whole scenes) to illustrate the critiques you are making.

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    I'm not seeing anything in the question about copyright issues, except for not wanting to put in a quote from the paper itself in case the teacher's plagiarism checker finds it on this website and flags it. I'm reading the question as asking how one would integrate the commentaries into the paper. – Cyn says make Monica whole Aug 3 '19 at 6:45
  • @Cyn Plagiarism and Copyright are tied together in my mind; the fact that "fair use" is law indicates that the consensus of society is that certain direct copies used for particular purposes are NOT plagiarism. The same thing with cited sources. Any plagiarism checker that flags such a passage isn't a great one, and a user of such a package would recognize it raised a flag in error on a legitimate, non-plagiarizing use. Plagiarism is by definition pretending somebody else's writing is your own; if it is clear by context or explicit prose this is not the case, it is not plagiarism. – Amadeus Aug 3 '19 at 10:30
  • It's certainly possible the OP meant something different from what I'm seeing. And s/he did accept your answer (though as a newcomer that could have been in lieu of an upvote). But the only plagiarism/copyright concern I'm getting from the question is about put her/his work on the internet while writing the paper (and yes, there are bad software tools out there, or ones that the students think are worse than they are). – Cyn says make Monica whole Aug 3 '19 at 15:56
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Your thesis statement should be a succinct summery of your overarching argument and it should not include too many details. But close reading is the means through which you reach your conclusion. Use it to support your arguments. Think about the thesis as a big claim made of several smaller supporting arguments supported in turn by close reading.

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