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Talk:Olivia Cockett

From Women in European History

Peer Review Author: Joseph Flesh_______ Reviewer: Ah Rume (Julie) Park

THESIS 1. Did the thesis statement make a strong argument? How could it be strengthened further?

The thesis is pretty clear—it gives the readers a good idea about what we can get out from reading about Olivia Cockett’s life. Although Cockett wrote her diary during the war time, the thesis emphasizes that her life gives a “unique window into the interpersonal relationships that surrounded her” rather than actual stories about the war. The thesis is concise and contains what will be said in the body.

2. Did the thesis pass the ‘so what’ test? Explain how the thesis justifies discussion of the topic, or give suggestions as to how it could further justify discussion.

The thesis can further explain why Cockett’s story is unique and how it helps us to understand (women’s, general, or war) history. How does her story differ from other memoirs of war or diaries/writings from women from that period?

3. After reading the thesis, do you want to know ‘how’ or ‘why?’ If so, how could the author restructure the thesis to answer these questions?

After reading the thesis, I do want to know how daily lives and interactions of people at the time were affected by war. Furthermore, I would want to know more about how much about the war the readers can learn from Cockett’s life.

ORGANIZATION 4. Were the basic sections (Introduction, Conclusion, Works Cited, etc.) adequate? If not, what is missing?

All the basic sections were present. Incorporation of secondary sources are needed.

5. Was the material ordered in a way that was logical, clear, easy to follow? Explain, and offer suggestions.

The material was ordered in a logical way and the biography overall was easy to follow. Each section maintained its coherency by focusing discussion and examples to the corresponding subtitle. The organization was simple and clear (very nice!).

6. Does the essay support the thesis specifically and without wandering? Explain.

The essay supports the thesis without wandering. However, while it might be hard to relate how war affected her life in every way, such as her love life, explaining why her personal life and thoughts are unique and can thus give us a better understanding of history would make the essay stronger.

CITATIONS AND EVIDENCE 4. Did the writer cite sources adequately and appropriately? On the paper, note any incorrect formatting or places where citations are needed.

The sources were cited appropriately after the usage of quotations.

5. Was the evidence relevant? Did it support the argument sufficiently? Was any evidence that could strengthen the argument left out? What? On the paper, note any evidence that is particularly useful, or places where more evidence is needed.

The evidences were used in appropriate places and supported the argument very well. Sometimes, a long quotation is given with an introductory sentence, but no further analysis is given afterwards. Explaining further why the quotation is helpful in understanding her situation might strengthen the argument.

GRAMMAR AND STYLE 6. Were there any grammatical or spelling problems? If so, correct them on the author’s paper.

Watch out for using present tense—all writing should be in past tense.

7. Was the writer’s writing style clear? Were the paragraphs and sentences cohesive? What suggestions do you have for further clarifying or focusing each paragraph? Note any places where the writing is unclear on the paper.

The writer’s writing style is very clear. It is concise and to the point.

8. Does each paragraph have a topic sentence that both indicates the subject of the paragraph and ties it to the thesis? How could topic sentences be strengthened? Make specific suggestions on the paper.

Each section has a topic sentence(s) that summarizes the main point. Sometimes topic sentences seem to be introductory sentences that do not convey what the paragraph is going to be about—moving ideas from the end of the paragraph to the topic sentences might help strengthening the topic sentences.

CONTENT 8. Did the writer adequately answer the question? Explain.

The writer adequately covered Olivia Cockett’s life by addressing her family, work, love, and the effect of war. While the primary source (her diary) only covered three years of her life, implications about her entire life wer made in the writing.

9. Did the writer comprehensively cover appropriate material and all the appropriate sources? If no, what's missing?

Information from the primary source was covered very well, but secondary sources that might strengthen points from the primary source are missing. The biography would be strengthened by incorporating secondary sources that gives more information about Cockett’s life.

10. Did the writer make some contribution of thought to the paper, or merely summarize documents? Explain.

There was definitely contribution of thought to the paper. While basic biographical information of Cockett was given, Joe thought about, and explained, her observations and put her life story in a bigger context.

SPECIFIC SUGGESTIONS What three specific suggestions would you make to the author of this paper? 1. Incorporate secondary sources into your analysis of the primary source to make the biography stronger and more interesting 2. Make topic sentences more specific and direct by moving ideas (conclusions) from the end of the paragraphs to the beginning


Aaron's Review


Very good. Concise. It gives me a clear picture of what you are going to write and has a clearly stated thesis. In stating your thesis it might be effective to contrast her style of 'defining herself' more strongly against defining herself by her surroundings. Like what exactly does this mean and why is it remarkable?


This section is good. You give me a very good idea of what her arrangement is with regards to her family. You discuss gender roles in several places but I feel the section might be strengthened if you had some overall point about how gender influences her position in the family. It might be interesting to observe how the war disrupted the ordinary hierarchy and allowed her to be more/less independent.


Your style and overall pacing work really well in the encyclopedic form. You use an entirely appropriate sentence/paragraph length and the reading is light and refreshing. Here again the only critique I have is that you should engage more centrally with some thesis or some analysis. She feels superior to the men in her work. What type of expectation about men does she have that causes her to feel this way? What does she feel about women? How does the war highlight or exacerbate this gendered expectations? I think these questions are easy to answer but doing so would engage your writing more closely with the theme of war and masculinity/femininity.


An interesting section. I'm jealous of your source since it seems more interesting than my own. Some of my earlier suggestions about it being thesis driven still apply here.


I like the focus on aggression/pacifism and its connection to gender. Also the discussion about the reliability of the news is interesting. Perhaps explore a little more why she might doubt the veracity of the news sources. I think this could be connected to the bit about aggression by considering how war makes people irrational/dehumanizes the enemy.


The conclusion here seems slightly different than the stated goal in the intro. Otherwise, good.


Excellent. Add more pictures.

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