Tomorrow I have to write an in-pclass essay, and I'm having trouble coming up with a thorough idea for my paper. Here is the question:

"Write a composition based on literature you have studied this term in which the author examines characters and situations that illustrate individuals who stand up for what they believe in even though the odds may be against them, or individuals who are unable to make a stand for what they know is right and consequently feel trapped or depressed. Be sure to provide specific details from literature that you choose to support and develop your controlling idea."

The literature that I have read this year is "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Julius Caesar". The problem is, I have a vague idea of what I want to do, but I'm not sure how I'm going to format into three support paragraphs. I want to compare Atticus of To Kill a Mockingbird and Brutus of Julius Caesar, because they are both main characters who fought for something they believed in and lost. However, they are on opposing ends. Atticus braved through the entire ordeal and looked like a hero while doing it, while Brutus had a very hard time standing up for the rights of Rome and began to feel trapped. Both of them have the flaw of believing that the world is good, and everything will be perfect in the end, and they are far too trusting. (Atticus refused to believe that Bob Ewell is truly evil, and Brutus believes that the citizens of Rome will understand that what he did was for the best, and does not expect Antony to make the speech that he does.)

However, I can not think of many other example other than that, and I'm not sure how I would put those ideas into three paragraphs. Help?

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  1. First of all, I see nothing in the instructions that you must include more than one author and character. Did your teacher give you additional instructions that are not in the quoted part above?

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  2. She said to be as elaborate as possible, to use quotes from out books, and that making comparisons between the two would help, though was not mandatory.

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  3. Okay.

    When you go in to write an in-class essay, I would imagine you cannot take anything in with you. Or maybe you can take your texts (the book and the play you want to write about), but no notes. Is that right?

    If that's right, then you should practically memorize an outline of what you want to include. Something like this might help:

    1. Introduction, with thesis statement at the end of the paragraph. (HINT: WRITE THIS PARAGRAPH AFTER YOU HAVE WRITTEN THE BODY OF THE PAPER.)
    2. Atticus -- what he was standing up for and against.
    3. Results of what Atticus did.
    4. Brutus -- what he was standing up for and against.
    5. Results of what Brutus did.
    6. Conclusion

    You have already named some good ideas that will lead off paragraphs 2 through 5 -- keep those in mind. Now, all you need to do is to go through the texts and decide specifically which examples you plan to include. (And don't forget how Atticus carried his beliefs into his home and taught his values to his children.)

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  4. Thank you so much! That helps a lot.

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  5. You're very welcome. Go get an A!!

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