Writing Question

Points: 20 (5 points for thesis statement; 15 for evidence/sources)

Students will write an essay of 4 pages (~1000 words) on a common experience or challenge discussed by the Soviet female WWII veterans interviewed in Alexievichs book.

The first step is to make an outline of your paper that includes your chosen topic and thesis statement as well as your evidence.

Choosing Your Topic:

Choose an experience or challenge that is frequently mentioned by women throughout the book. The readings assigned for the in-class discussion may serve as a guide to the kinds of possible topics. Some ideas were also listed in the class PowerPoint for Fri. Mar. 8. Choose a topic that allows you to explore some sub-topics or sub-groups of stories (see my example below). This helps organize and broaden your discussion.

  • Example topic: The resourcefulness of the women in adapting to the deprivations of war both in the medical field and in taking care of themselves (clothing etc.)

Writing your thesis statement:

Briefly present your topic to your reader as a clear thesis statement. Mention your sub-topics as part of your thesis statement.

  • Example thesis statement: Although short on supplies, Soviet women interviewed in Alexievichs book The Unwomanly Face of War showed incredible resourcefulness in finding materials for medical supplies and personal use to help them in their wartime efforts.

Finding evidence:

For this paper you should use at least 9 different pieces of contextualized evidence to support your thesis. These should come from the stories of at least 8 different women (if one woman tells an especially lengthy and important story, you can use two incidents from it if you wish). A maximum of 3 of these pieces of evidence may be from pages that were assigned for class discussion! The rest must come from elsewhere in the book.

Writing your outline:

Your outline should be a brief skeleton of your paper. I will review it to make sure you have chosen evidence that supports your argument.

Begin by writing out your thesis statement. Then, for each piece of evidence, provide the name of the veteran (unless it is not given), the page number for the story, and a brief description of the evidence with context. A quotation is not sufficient explain the incident briefly in your own words, showing how it connects to your thesis.

Unwomanly Face of War Essay Outline [Example]

Thesis statement: Although short on supplies, the women in Svetlana Alexievichs book The Unwomanly Face of War showed incredible resourcefulness in finding materials for both medical supplies and personal use to help them in their wartime efforts.

Sources [I will give 4 here as an example, but you must have 9 in total for your outline!]

Medical supplies:

Nadezhda Vasilyevna Anisimova, p. 35: Nadezhda, a medical assistant, was in a machine gun company that left a wounded man in no-mans-land; she was told not to fetch him because it was too dangerous, but went out herself, using a belt tied around his hand to drag him instead of a stretcher.

Olga Yakovlevna Omelchenko, p. 135: Olga was a medical assistant in an infantry company. During a battle, she encountered a man who needed an urgent amputation. Her medical kit had come loose on her shoulder so she did not have a knife or scissors to amputate the mans dangling arm; she used her teeth instead.

Personal use:

Nina Yakovlevna Vishnevskaya, p. 81: Nina, a medical assistant, snuck into a tank battalion when the recruiting office would not take her because she was too small. She was not given a uniform, so she cut the straps off a kit bag and found an old army shirt to wear so she would fit in.

Klara Semyonovna Tikhonovich, p. 197: Klara, an antiaircraft gunner, describes how women were not given supplies to deal with menstruation. She says that she and other girls used soft grass to clean the blood off their legs while on long marches.