English for Academic Writing

English For Academic Writing


Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges


The Essay:


Every essay has a three-part structure: a beginning, the introductory paragraph; a middle, the body paragraphs; and an end, the concluding paragraph. Moreover, every good essay has a thesis, something to argue and prove. Thus every good essay needs a thesis statement, and one should begin here.


Thesis Statement:


1) Put into one concise sentence precisely what you want to prove:


Socrates is mortal.


2) Then, add a “because-clause.”


     (A)                         (B)

Socrates        is          mortal





(A)                              (C)

he                  is          human.


3) Once you have your “because-clause,” check the logic of your thesis statement.


In the first example, you have two parts of a syllogism:


Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.


Minor Premise: Socrates is human.


And you have an unstated third part:


Major Premise: All humans are mortal.


Presented deductively:


          (C)           (B)

All humans are mortal.


  (A)            (C)

Socrates is human.


              .           (A)              (B)

          .         .       Socrates is mortal.


Presented as logical sets [Note: The following should be presented as concentric circles, from outermost circle for (B) to middle circle for (C) to innermost circle for (A), which pictorially serves to show the logical relations of (B), (C), and (A)]:



Mortal Things








Stated symbolically:


If        (C)        —>       (B)


and     (A)        —>       (C),


then    (A)        —>       (B).


Look again at our original thesis statement:


     (A)                         (B)

Socrates        is          mortal





(A)                              (C)

he                  is          human.


Thus, if your thesis statement has this form,


(A)       —>       (B)




(A)       —>       (C),


and if the general statement


“all (C) —>       (B)”


holds true,


then you have a strong thesis statement. And if you really try, you can work most thesis statements into this form, which then allows for a simple check against the classical syllogism to test its logic.


4) You may even wish to expand a thesis statement somewhat in order to refer to the evidence you will adduce in your paper:


Socrates is mortal




he is—as the evidence will prove—human.


You might also wish to make the major premise explicit:


Socrates is mortal




he is—as the evidence will prove—human,




all humans are mortal.


Sometimes, you may need to allude to a proof of the major premise:


Socrates is mortal




he is—as the evidence will prove—human,




all humans—also to be proven—are mortal.


5) Once you have tested and expanded your thesis statement, you can try to reformulate it if you wish:


Socrates being human, as the evidence will show, he has to die, even as all other human beings have to die, a fact also supported by extensive evidence.


Introductory Paragraph:


1) Once you have your thesis, you need to introduce it properly.


To do so, open broadly—broadly enough to interest your audience/readers—and then, by narrowing your focus with each succeeding sentence, quickly and gracefully come to your point, i.e., your thesis statement.




Conceptually, then, your introductory paragraph should fit the following model [Note the vertical arrows (poorly depicted, unfortunately)]:


                                        Broad Opening


              |Suc-                Introductory              |Suc-

              |cessive            Paragraph                  |cessive

              |Narrow-                                            |Narrow-

              |ing                                                     |ing

              |                                                          |

              V                     Thesis                      V



2) Sample Introductory Paragraph:


Broad                   (1) Ever since humans became aware of the end-

Open-             lessly unfolding process of time, they have wished

ing                   to emulate it by living forever. (2) Some have even

                       managed to live beyond their allotted three-score

Success-          and ten by avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and the opposite

ive                   sex (though one may wonder what they actually

Narrow-          lived for !). (3) And Socrates too has lived a long time,

ing                   already having outlasted many of his contemporaries.

                       (4) Moreover, his vigor, his health, and his excellent

                       teeth all suggest that he has many more good years to

Thesis              come. (5) Nevertheless, a tragic truth awaits him, for

State-              Socrates must also one day die because he is—as the

ment                evidence will indisputably prove—only human.




Once you have your thesis statement, you can begin to write the body of your essay. To do so, think again about your thesis statement, for it contains your argument. The body of your essay should draw out and defend this argument. So, first make an outline of the points you wish to raise, and then, organize them by starting with the weakest point and working, step by step, up to the strongest. After this, you can work at constructing a paragraph for each point.


Unlike the triangular structure of the introductory paragraph, a body—or middle—paragraph has a block structure: It does not move toward a point; it makes the point. And, like the essay itself, it has a three-part structure: a beginning, called the topic sentence, introducing the point taken up in the paragraph; a middle, consisting of several sentences to explain and illustrate the topic sentence; and an ending, called the concluding sentence, summing up the middle sentences’ relevance for the topic sentence.


But middle paragraphs differ from one another depending upon their function in the essay, and one can distinguish them according to their type: analytic, synthetic, deductive, inductive, descriptive, evidence, definition, argumentative, analogical, comparison, contrast, concessive, temporal, causal—and no doubt many more (as well as any combination of these).


Let us look at some examples, and in doing so, please note how the topic, middle, and concluding sentences function in each case.




To understand more precisely the meaning of the concept of death, one should break it down into its constituent parts. Think of the ‘death’ of the lungs—their abrupt failure to in- and exhale. Consider the ‘death’ of the heart—the sudden cessation of its rhythmic beating. Then, consider the far more serious death of the brain—its irrevocably deteriorated state after merely six minutes without oxygen. Add to these the death of all the other organs, of all the structures that make them up, and of every single cell in these structures. Some might even wish to mention the ‘death’ that results upon the soul’s leaving the body. Only by analyzing death into these distinct parts can one begin to think more clearly about what it truly, concretely means.


Note how the beginning, the topic sentence, introduces the paragraph’s main point—the analysis of the concept of death into its constituent parts. Then follows the paragraph’s middle, with sentences specifying these parts. Finally, at the paragraph’s end, comes the conclusion reached, in this case a kind of restating of the topic—but a restatement adding something that the middle sentences have worked to suggest, the concrete reality too often hidden by the term “death.” In the sample paragraphs that follow, take the trouble to analyze how these three parts—topic sentence, middle sentences, and concluding sentence—work together to give each paragraph the unity it requires in order to contribute to furthering the argument of an essay.




One cannot understand death in any other way than as the death of the brain. The personality, the intelligence, the emotions—everything that makes us both human and individual resides in the brain. One can conceive of the replacement of any other organ or part—even of all  parts—without altering an individual’s essence; but try to imagine substituting one brain for another! Or simply reflect upon what we know of those who have suffered brain damage, whether through accident, aneurism, or some progressive disease like Alzheimers. They seem like fragments of their old selves. Or think of the effects of shock treatment upon the mentally ill, of how it alters their personalities by sending electricity surging into the brain. No, one can surely think of death in no other way than as the death of the brain.




One can distinguish three different stages of death. First, breathing stops, and the heart ceases to beat, after which the patient rapidly loses consciousness. Laymen consider this ‘death,’ but doctors prefer to call it ‘clinical death,’ for one can often still resuscitate the patient at this stage—even if only temporarily. ‘Brain death’ occurs at the next stage as the blood’s having ceased to flow leaves the brain starved of oxygen. It takes about six minutes for the brain to die totally, and once past this point of ‘no return,’ the patient can no longer ‘come back to life.’ Complete biological death takes somewhat longer, up to several hours depending upon other factors—especially the temperature of the environment, which can retard the process if cold and accelerate it if hot. Only after the patient has passed through all three of these distinct stages can one truly speak of the patient’s death.


Remember, in all the above examples of middle paragraphs, you should have noted and analyzed the three-part structure—the way that the topic, middle, and concluding sentences work together to produce clarity. You should consciously structure your own paragraphs similarly.


Concluding Paragraph:


Like an introductory paragraph, a concluding paragraph has a triangular structure, but unlike the introductory paragraph, it begins narrowly and then builds, sentence by sentence, out toward a final, broad statement. In a sense, you could think of it as an introductory paragraph turned upside down. Do not, however, simply turn yours upside down! Not only would this look odd and make for difficult reading, it would also sound repetitive. Instead, make your essay feel as though it has come to a genuine conclusion, as if the argument you have constructed and the evidence you have presented have together given your thesis more weight.


You should, of course, begin with your thesis statement—but not simply as it stands in your introductory paragraph. Rework it. Make it sound fresh. For instance, take our old standby:


Socrates will die because he is human.


You have said this before. Say it a bit differently:


Socrates will not live forever because, like every other person who has ever trod upon this earth, he too is merely human.


And connect it to the body of your essay by one of those well-worn yet always sartorially effective transition expressions:


In conclusion, Socrates . . . .




In effect, Socrates . . . .




Thus, Socrates . . . .


The list of these could go on and on and on—try to think of some on your own.


Once you have this restated thesis statement, you can begin to wrap up your essay. Do so by calling attention to key words in the body of your essay even as you move to broaden out your concluding paragraph. Look at this sample conclusion constructed by drawing upon key words from some of the various paragraphs on death given above:


Re-                       In conclusion, Socrates will not live forever because,

stated              like every other person who has ever trod upon this earth,

Thesis              he too is merely human. Whether it comes in the form of a

                       scythe or a chainsaw, by means traditional or modern,

Success-         Socrates will meet his unmaking, his biological end.

ive                   His personality, intelligence, and emotions will dis-

Broad-            perse like the autumn leaves that scatter and crumble

ening               in the wind. Yet something of him will not  fade, de-

                       spite suffering the seasons’ changes, something rich

Broad              and strangely immortal: his pearls of wisdom. These

Ending             will remain, helping to inspire us to continue striving

                       toward knowledge of ourselves.


Note how this concluding paragraph begins with a narrow, restated thesis statement, broadens outward using key words like “chainsaw,” “biological,” and “intelligence,” among others, and finally wraps up everything with a broad, general statement that connects with the reader/listener. Take care, however, not to overbroaden, for this will not only seem forced, it will leave the reader questioning the relevance of the ending for the rest of the essay.




By following the practical advice presented in these pages, you will have already begun the rewarding process of clarifying the thoughts, arguments, and presentation of an essay. Next, you need to begin working on improving sentences. This means concentrating upon punctuation, grammar, and style. Look back at the individual sentences of this presentation—notice anything? What about commas, colons, semicolons, dashes, hyphens, and other punctuation—notice any patterns? Or tenses, subject-verb agreement, voice, mood, and other elements of grammer—all clear? And what about stylistics? All of these things—punctuation, grammar, style, presentation, arguments, thoughts, and many more—work together in symphonic harmony to produce the effect one seeks: clear, concise, readable, persuasive prose. So, begin working upon the other elements of good writing.













Sample Essays:


Undergraduate Level:




Christianity Seen in Light of a Piece of Literature


Jung Jae-Wook




Often the young people go home in tears, or in a tearless rage, when they have seen the child and faced this terrible paradox. They may brood over it for weeks or years. But as time goes on they begin to realize that even if the child could be released, it would not get much good of its freedom: a little vague pleasure of warmth and food, no doubt, but little more. It is too degraded and imbecile to know any real joy. It has been afraid too long ever to be free of fear. Its habits are too uncouth for it to respond to humane treatment. Indeed, after so long it would probably be wretched without walls about to protect it, and darkness for its eyes, and its own excrement to sit in. Their tears at the bitter injustice dry when they begin to perceive the terrible justice of reality and to accept it. Yet it is in their tears and anger, the trying of their generosity and the acceptance of their helplessness, which are perhaps the true source of the splendor of their lives. Theirs is no vapid, irresponsible happiness. They know that they, like the child, are not free. They know compassion. It is the existence of the child, and their knowledge of its existence, that makes possible the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity of their science. It is because of the child that they are so gentle with children. They know that if the wretched one were not there sniveling in the dark, the other one, the flute-player, could make no joyful music as the young riders line up in their beauty for the race in the sunlight of the first morning of summer. (Le Guin, p. 213)



Throughout history, Christianity has expanded increasingly in power and its influence over the world. Due to its status in the past, normally the thought of questioning its origins was something unimaginable. However such restrictions and limitations are no longer in force as they once were, and people have begun to write about the religion in various ways, should it be direct criticism or making vague hints at some questionable aspects. When seen in this light, while Ursula K. Le Guin, in her story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” may be writing about utopias and their failure to exist in human societies, and although the harmony of a utopia would be constantly threatened by the insatiable natures of men, all of which might seem to present a Christian worldview, in the end, the author’s story is presenting a critique of Christianity because this story gives the impression of being a parable that presents the suffering of an innocent as a requirement for the good of all, precisely as in Christianity, regardless of whether or not people are able to understand the reasons for the conditions set by which the innocent one must suffer.


In the story, the author gives her readers the impression that the current conditions the child is placed in cannot be altered no matter what people may think or try to do. It is as if the fate laid upon the child is one that consists of endless suffering, which resembles the impression people are given when they are taught about Jesus and how everything appeared to be set up as his destiny to die upon the cross, a brutal and cruel ordeal. It is clear that neither the child nor Jesus had ever taken part in any form of action that could cause great harm to anyone or anything. The child is too young and innocent to be capable of such sinful deeds, and we are all quite aware of the life that Jesus spent, according to the records of the Bible, which indicate that he was a man without sin. Yet, it is as if this pure innocence that they are characterized by has become the reason for their suffering so that the sacrifices they’re put to may provide a better life and world for the people who shall bring their demise. Although Jesus was reportedly resurrected from the dead, the fact still remains that he did die on the cross, which was considered one of the cruelest forms of capital punishment used upon the worst offenders of the law at that time (Zugibe, para. 1), and while there wasn’t any mention of the child being dead in the story, one cannot expect it to be capable of living on for a long period of time in such harsh conditions. Why such processes can bring better results is puzzling. Nonetheless, the fact that the people who witness the child and the terrible state it is placed in show some form of rage or sorrow is proof that the people of Omelas are beings who are capable of logical thinking and can distinguish between what is right and wrong. This can be told from the fact that when children see the child for the first time, they shed tears in anger and sorrow and also from the fact that there are people who refuse to accept this and choose to leave Omelas. The same applies to the people who were there to witness the trials and torture Jesus went through before he was crucified upon the cross. Some were great intellects, the high priest for instance (Mt 26:65) and other authorities, an example being the governor, Pilate (Mt 27:24), yet they voluntarily supported putting Jesus to death, somewhat as the child is made sure to never catch even a glimpse of joy or kindness by the people who keep it trapped. While there may be difference in that the people of Omelas somewhat understand what they’re doing and the consequences, compared to the fact that the people who were unaware of the results that they were bringing about once Jesus was dead, the fact that the fate of these innocent beings are to be sacrificed remains unchanged no matter what and regardless of whether this is something one can accept or not.


The fact that Jesus and the child both suffer is probably what they have most in common with each other. Throughout this passage of the story, we witness how the child suffers. For instance, this single sentence can describe how harsh and cruel are the conditions that the child is placed in:


Indeed, after so long it would probably be wretched without walls about to protect it, and darkness for its eyes, and its own excrement to sit in. (Le Guin, p. 213)


The author makes note of things like the walls that trap the child, the darkness that its eyes have become accustomed to, and its own excrement that it sits in. They are clear descriptions of the things the child is bound to and how they are keeping it unhappy. After all, the walls are basically jail bars that trap the child and keep it from escaping while the darkness its eyes have become accustomed to is hardly something pleasant to see for it has been enforced upon the child and it hardly sees anything else besides a dark and gloomy cellar, which is defiantly not a joyous scene. As for the excrement, it is horrible enough just by knowing the situation itself, so a detailed explanation of it would not be necessary. While Jesus wasn’t trapped in a cellar, he was forcefully taken away and given great pain and humiliation, the crown of thorns (Mt 27:29, Mk 15:17, Jn 19:2) being one example, and afterwards he would soon be killed by being crucified upon a cross (Mt 27:50, Mk 15:37, Lk 24:46, Jn 20:30), and I’m quite certain that this is an ordeal no sane man would ever want to go through. When we learn about the child and Jesus we feel sorry for them because they are both innocent victims. Neither had ever caused severe harm to anyone, so they surely do not deserve such punishments, yet they both suffer to a great extent. It’s this shared fact that makes the two sacrificed figures have something in common. After all, both are physically and psychologically abused, and they are placed in situations that kill them, or where they will eventually be killed, for one could hardly expect the child to live a long and healthy life in such conditions. So, perhaps Ursula K. Le Guin has placed the child in a situation in which it is constantly in pain and suffers because this feature is something it will share with Jesus and this can help link the two figures together.


The fact that there are people who choose to leave Omelas shows that disapproval toward the system that runs the city exists. When considering this, by putting the child and Jesus in similar light, the author is showing her distaste in Christianity. The two figures are the scapegoats who are sacrificed for the better of the worlds that they are placed within. It is the existence of the child and its status that prevents Omelas from being a utopian society, yet it also is the reason that it has a form very close to one, at least from the outside. How the processes that brought this current condition are not revealed, but perhaps this quote from Karl R. Popper well describe the nature of men that lead to it:


The use of violent methods for the suppression of competing aims becomes even more urgent. For unavoidably, the period of Utopian construction is liable to be one of social change. In such a time ideas are liable to change also. Thus what may have appeared to many as desirable at the time when the Utopian blueprint was derided upon may appear less desirable at a later date. If this is so, the whole approach is in danger of breaking down. For if we change our ultimate political aims while attempting to move towards them we may soon discover that we are moving in circles. (Popper, “Utopia and Violence,” p. ?)


Here, Popper describes how in the process of trying to create a utopian society, one has to wipe out all existence of anything that opposes its values. This leads to one act of violence after another, and this keeps continuing, for not only would there be people with opposing ideals, but also, those in pursuit of the utopia may come to change their views over time, which would lead to including them as targets to be disposed of. We could describe this as a vicious circle which keeps turning nonstop, causing such acts of violence to be repeated. However, what if there was a better way to deal with this problem? If the blame was all put upon a minority and through this everyone else could be happy, then wouldn’t the constructors of the utopia take advantage of this? It could be presumed that throughout such procedures the final result they created was the child, who was to suffer for the harmony of Omelas. The child becomes a scapegoat who is sacrificed by the people so that everyone else could be happy. In the Old Testament, there is mention of a goat that was symbolically burdened with the sins of the people and then killed on Yom Kippur rid Jerusalem of its iniquities (Lev. 16:8–10). This is where the scapegoat appears in the Bible and when viewed in the same light, Jesus was also a scapegoat who died to atone for the sins of mankind. As Jesus, a pure man, was sacrificed, the vicious circle was stopped and the people were blessed by being given the opportunity and right to pursue the life of a believer and enjoy the rewards. However, Jesus had to go through a great deal of torture and agony before eventually being killed, and perhaps this is where Le Guin aims her criticism. While Christianity holds positive values like forgiveness and love as important virtues, when we look at the death of Jesus and the way he was put through great pain and eventually sacrificed, we see that the religion holds such brutal violence as its foundation, a rather sickening irony. This is what I see as Le Guin’s distaste for Christianity, and by having some people reject the reality of Omelas and walk away from it, she is showing her opposing opinions to the widespread religion, Christianity.


Thus when we observe some of these notable facts, we can see that the author’s story is expressing a form of criticism on the nature of Christianity, for it is a reference indirectly alluding to how the innocent must suffer pain even when the situation and the reasons seem questionable to us at times rather than directly exemplifying utopias and their failure to exist. As the social rules and standards have changed from the past, more and more people have put forth various theories and ideas about religion and have tried to analyze it to gain the answers to their questions. However regardless of what efforts we may make, perhaps the idea of men trying to understand the intentions of a greater being, their creator to be exact, may be a feat impossible to accomplish.




Korean-English Explanation Bible, New International Version, The Zondervan Corporation., 1984.


Le Guin, Ursula K. “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.” Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, editors (Pearson Longman, 2006).


Popper, Karl R. “Utopia and Violence.” Conjectures and Refutations. (Routledge., 1992).


Zugibe, Frederick T. “Forensic And Clinical knowledge Of The Practice Of Crucifixion.” E-Forensic Medicine. 2000 <http://www.e-forensicmedicine.net/Turnin2000.thm>.





The End of History vs The Clash of Civilizations



Han Sang-Min



After the end of the Cold War, there were lots of changes in the world. Among them, one of the most remarkable events of history was the triumph of liberal democracy over other ideologies such as communism, fascism, and so on. This undeniably memorable transition attracted many intellectuals and thinkers to contemplate this in all its aspects. In 1989, just before the end of the Cold War, the prominent American philosopher, political economist, and author Francis Fukuyama predicted bright prospects for liberal democracy in his essay “The End of History?” in The National Interest. In the essay, he argues the controversial thesis that “the end of the Cold War meant the end of significant conflict in global politics and the advent of one relatively harmonious world” (Naugle 3). Samuel P. Huntington, in contrast, proposed that people’s cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world in a Foreign Affairs article titled “The Clash of Civilizations?” in 1993. These two totally antithetic conceptions still confuse people as to which one is more acceptable and reliable. If I have a say regarding this contention, I would like to say that although Fukuyama’s end-of-history view that liberal democracy is the best form of ideology is somehow correct, his view is not more realistic and plausible than Huntington's because the idea of the end of history is too early to be concluded as precisely true, or in other words, still remains to be seen.

The principal purpose of this paper is to show why I reckon “The Clash of Civilizations” stands at the upper position to “The End of History.” To begin with, to make clear each thesis of these two eminent thinkers, let's look at the core passage in each of the articles. The author of “The End of History,” Fukuyama, explains his main point as the following:


What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. (Fukuyama 1)


This seemingly flawless argument has many problems to be solved before it itself can be considered invincible. China primarily could be the one. Despite the tremendously disastrous bloody demonstrations and a great number of casualties for long and tortuous history of democracy in China, Chinese Communism is still stiff and unbending in its attitude.


Despite the wishes of the United States or the efforts of Chinese citizens, the Chinese government has so far quashed and neutralized pressure for fundamental political change. Beijing controls and stunts precisely those instruments that contribute to the success of a broad-based domestic opposition: It cracks down on political opponents, co-opts potential ones, and indoctrinates the masses. It is eagerly attempting to maximize economic modernization while minimizing its liberalizing effects. (Ying Ma, “What Next,” para. 1)


As you can see from the above, China still has persisted in not adopting liberal democracy, which Fukuyama points out as the ultimate political system of human government.


Setting the situation of China apart, how can we demonstrate the validity of his questionable and somehow misleading prediction in dealing with many nations in which the word “democracy” actually has been condemned and ruled out chiefly due to their distinct civilizations. Many extremely fundamentalist forms of Islamic countries as an instance of those nations are antagonistic toward liberal democracy, in particular toward the United States of America. Furthermore, they seem to be likely to maintain their own religions so as to govern their nations. Though some well-known experts and scholars on democracy uncertainly argue that “Islam can be compatible with democracy by enumerating Turkey, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mali, and Senegal as democracies” (Otterman, para. 3), others in comparison point out the main reasons that so few Muslim nations are democratic as the following:


Islamic law regulates the believer’s activities in every area of life, and second, that the Muslim society of believers will attain all its goals only if the believers walk in the path of God. In addition, some Muslim scholars further reject anything that does not have its origins in the Qur'an. (Bukay, para. 26)


Here, we have to dwell on the events of 9/11 perpetrated by groups of four and five Arabic men. While this historically monstrous act of terror is not congruous with Fukuyama’s point of view, this unprecedented event does manifest Samuel P. Huntington’s preeminent work “The Clash of Civilizations?” “Although the book and a previous article of the same title in Foreign Affairs magazine did not predict the Sept, 11, 2001 attacks, Huntington has been credited with forecasting the cultural and religious context in which a 9/11-type incident could emerge. While he advocates tolerance and mutual understanding, he sees the West increasingly in conflict with Islam” (O'Keefe, para. 2).


Let me raise more evidence of my essay’s correctness in a different way. According to Fukuyama, Western liberal democracy is the most appropriate and supreme form of ideology. Yet, is this completely the case with respect to its variable aspect? Democracy is presently defined as “the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives” (“Democracy,” WordReference.com). Although the kernel is the same all the time, the levels and values of “democracy” have been in various processes over time since the appearance of citizens’ awareness of it. “In order to illustrate the differing types of values at the different levels of democracy, it is important to make the point that ‘one democratic system does not fit all’ as is so often demanded” (Tonkin, para. 3).

Additionally, democracy itself has many challenges throughout history. It has never been in a perfect condition. “Political parties around the world are facing many challenges. There is good democracy and bad parties” (Montague, para. 1). In this light, I doubt that we are decidedly able to state that democracy has already reached the ideological end of the human being’s history.


In addition, many third world and developing countries are having troubles caused by embracing Western liberal democracy as a political system after the end of the Cold War. In those ever non-democracy-established third world countries before their independence, everyone cannot be optimistic that the democratic system will be successfully adopted in the short term:


For democracy to be sustained and deepened it is essential for economic development to occur. This is because democracies have a poor survival rate in low-income countries. When per capita incomes are low and falling, people resort to violence as a livelihood, states fracture, democratic principles are undermined, and gross violations of human rights occur. Moreover, lack of progress in development undermines popular support for democracy. (Addison, para. 2)


So, it turned out that instead of becoming better as a democracy, some newly emerging nations are practically confronting unintended chaos economically and politically.


There is a nascent backlash against and disillusionment with democracy across a swathe of Latin America. In Bolivia, an ardently pro-market president was driven out of office by a proletariat enraged by his tendency to privatise everything in sight. Peasants and urban workers in several Latin American countries are reportedly talking nostalgically of strong man rule that they claim at least maintained a modicum of order. (Mulaa, para. 6)


Of course, they should have more patience and take pains so that their changed circumstances can be adjusted to appropriately. On the other hand, I do not guess it is unequivocal whether they would overcome the difficulties and go on to obtain profit out of democracy as most Western well-established democracies are enjoying now or fall down by themselves.


In conclusion, as we have examined, while Fukuyama’s end-of-history argument that Liberal democracy is the best form of ideology is in some ways right, his view is not more realistic and probable than Huntington’s, for the idea of the end of history is so early as to be premature and not clearly outright true and, in fact, still remains to be proven. More reliance and plausibility in “The Clash of Civilizations” can be found based on exploring the current Chinese political environment and current clashes between different civilizations, such as the savage Islamic assault on the U.S., the events of 9/11, and so on. Those are also explicated by the way in which many developing and third-world nations have been doing with what Fukuyama says the uppermost ideology of human government. Consequently, I believe that “the great divisions among humanity and the dominating source of conflicts will be cultural, not mankind's ideological evolution.” (Huntington 2)




Addison, Tony. “Economic development Underpins Democracy and Human rights.” Wider Angle Newsletter 27 Apr. 2004.


Bukay, David. “Can There Be an Islamic Democracy?” Middle East Quarterly Spring 2007.

“Definition of Democracy.” WordReference.com English Dictionary <http://www.wordreference.com/definition/democracy>.


Fukuyama, Francis. “The End of History?” The National Interest Summer 1989.


Huntington, Samuel P. “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs Summer 1993.


Montague, Maryam. “Political Parties & Democracy: Reform & Renewal Workshop Leaders.” The World Movement for Democracy 14-17 Feb. 1999 <http://www.wmd.org>.


Mulaa, John. “Price of Democracy in Developing Countries.” The Standard Online Magazine 11 Jul. 2004 <http://www.eastandard.net>.


Naugle, David. “The Clash of Civilizations: A Theological Perspective.” The Friday Symposium 1 Feb. 2002.


O’Keefe, Mark. “Five Years After 9/11, The Clash of Civilizations Revisited.” Martha’s Vineyard Times, Massachusetts 18 Aug. 2006.


Otterman, Sharon. “Middle East: Islam and Democracy.” Council on Foreign Relations 19 Sept. 2003.


Tonkin, Alan. “Different Values: Different Democracy.” Global Values Network 12 Jun. 2003 <http://www.globalvaluesnetwork.com/00ArticleContent.asp?aid=66>.


Ying Ma. “China’s Stubborn Anti-Democracy: Hoping for change isn’t enough.” Hoover institution Feb. 2007.



Graduate Level:




Personification and Satire in Piers Plowman


Kim Hyun Ji





In the simplest terms, allegory says one thing and means another. According to Northrop Frye, “We have allegory when the events of a narrative obviously and continuously refer to another simultaneous structure of events or ideas.”[1] However, such definitions are useful primarily as starting points. These definitions of allegory do not reflect the richness, complexity, and fascination of the Medieval allegorical genre. Nor does it tell us of the origins, long tradition, literary prestige, and dominance of the genre, which were some of the aspects that C. S. Lewis attempted to discuss in his seminal book, The Allegory of Love.[2] In this essay, I would like to discuss two main characteristics of allegory in Langland’s Piers Plowman—personification and satire. We will see that allegory in Piers Plowman was in no sense a mere device, or figure of rhetoric, or fashion, but a complex, sophisticated, and literary production that reflects critically on society. Although this work, like many other medieval allegorical works and sermons, is largely structured to speak on a common medieval theme, the ultimate salvation of the human soul, a detailed reading of the poem reveals its strong satirical intent. That is, Piers Plowman is not merely a spiritual and religious work but a work that is intimately related to society. Indeed, it is more than a simple, straightforward, and didactic allegory because not only does it present allegorical figures with extraordinary vitality, but it also uses bold satire that adds complexity to the work.


The primary characteristic of allegory is personification. In other words, something nonhuman is endowed with human properties. Langland follows this literary tradition, and it is easy to tell that the characters Theology, Conscience, Reason, Truth, and the Seven Deadly Sins in Piers Plowman are all personified figures. However, although Langland’s use of personification belongs to this long-time literary tradition, it is distinguishable from most other allegories in that it is truly exceptional in its imaginative power. As Lewis stated in The Allegory of Love, “What is truly exceptional about Langland is the kind, and the degree, of his poetic imagination.” Although, Lewis does not completely clarify what he means by “poetic imagination” due to the comparatively small space that he gives to Langland, it seems fairly clear that he thought Langland to be a great poet because of the remarkable way in which he presented allegory. In this sense, we can say that Langland’s use of personification is not in any way dull or conventional but is extremely vivid, lively, and dynamic.


For example, Envy, one of the Seven Deadly Sins, who appears in Passus 5, is described as being with “hevy herte” and “lene chekes” and as “pale as a pelet, in the palsy.”[3] Each of the Seven Deadly Sins appear to give a confession, but the description of Envy is particularly interesting because his bodily appearance, including the “tabard and tunic”[4] that he is wearing, is very specifically described. The envious disposition of Envy is fittingly expressed in the following lines (Passus 5, 81-5):


And as a leek that hadde yleye longe in the sonne,
So loked he with lene chekes, lourynge foule.
His body was to-bollen for wrathe, that he boot hise lippes,
And wryngynge he yede with the fust--to wreke hymself he thoughte
With werkes or with wordes whan he seyghe his tyme.


Like a leek that had lain long in the sun

So he looked with lean cheeks, louring foully.

His body was so blown up for anger that he bit his lips

And shook his fist fiercely, he wanted to avenge himself

With acts or with words when he saw his chance.[6]


Here, it is vividly described in lines 83 and 84 that Envy’s body “was so blown up for anger that he bit his lips / And shook his fist fiercely.”[7] Thus, the abstract concept, Envy is bestowed with human characteristics such as heart, cheeks, body, lips, and fists, and he uses them vigorously. We can see here that the way in which Envy is personified shows vitality and imagination.


Another representative passage of animated personification appears in Passus 6, where Hunger beats up a Waster, a wasteful person, and a Breton, a person from Brittany (Passus 6, 174-8): 


Hunger in haste thoo hente Wastour by the mawe
And wrong hym so by the wombe that al watrede hise eighen.
He buffetted the Bretoner aboute the chekes
That he loked lik a lanterne al his lif after.
He bette hem so bothe, he brast ner hire guttes;


Then Hunger in haste took hold of Waster by the belly

And gripped him so about the guts that his eyes gushed water.

He buffeted the Breton about the cheeks

That he looked like a lantern all his life after.

He beat them both so that that he almost broke their guts.[9]


The poet is saying that Hunger twisted Waster so hard in the guts that he had water gushing out of his eyes and beat the Breton so hard in the cheeks that he ended up looking like a hollow lantern for the rest of his life. Langland’s use of allegory in this passage is particularly impressive because it is not only vivid and exciting but also extremely comic and satirical.


These distinct characteristics of Langland, that is, the vividness, the humor, and the satire that are found together in the way that he animates allegorical figures, can be noted elsewhere in the poem. The portrayal of Glutton is another good example (Passus 5, 336-345):


There was laughynge and lourynge and " Lat go the cuppe!”

[Bargaynes and beverages bigonne to arise;]
And seten so til evensong, and songen umwhile,
Til Gloton hadde yglubbed a galon and a gille.
His guttes bigonne to gothelen as two gredy sowes;
He pissed a potel in a Paternoster-while,
And blew his rounde ruwet at his ruggebones ende,
That alle that herde that horn helde hir nose after
And wisshed it hadde ben wexed with a wispe of firses!


There was laughing and louring and “Let go the cup!”

They began to make bets and bought more rounds

And sat so till evensong and sang sometimes

Till Glutton had gulped down a galon and a gill.

His guts began to grumble like two greedy sows;

He pisses four pints in a paternoster’s length,

And on the bugle of his backside he blew a fanfare

So that all that heard that horn held their noses after

And wished it had been waxed up with a wisp of gorse.[11]


Here, Glutton has drunk an excessive amount of ale, an act becoming his name. And he is suffering for it. His stomach is now churning, and he has passed an enormous amount of urine in a short while. He has also passed gas so vigorously that those around him wish that his anus had been plugged up (“wexed”) with prickly gorse. In lines 337 and 338, we can picture a scene where people are laughing and scowling while buying and grabbing more drinks as they play card games. So, the brisk rhythm in lines 340-342 coincides with this accelerated situation. In addition, the alliteration of strong sounds, such as “g”s and “p”s, reinforces the rhythmical gait. Clearly, Langland was, first and foremost, a skillful poet.


However, one can make the observation that, in all the instances examined above—that is, in the personification of Hunger, Envy, Waster, and the Breton—the vitality and excitement come from ridiculing the target of satire. Without satire, and without the particular method of expressing satire through belittlement, Piers Plowman would easily become a general and abstract allegory. John A. Yunck refers to such satire as “Langland’s Lilliput: Satire by Belittlement.”[12] He explains this as follows:


Langland is here true to the Ricardian type, leaning strongly towards satire by belittlement, by exposing the sort of human pettiness encountered in confession. The deadly sins in passus 5 are a crowd of such base sinners. Even Pride, in the person of Pernele Proud-herte, is reduced to a mere vanity; shriveled Envy and the puking Glutton are demeaned into comic gargoyles.


In this sense, we come to explore satire in Langland’s allegory, which is a most crucial aspect that makes Piers Plowman so complex and sophisticated. And as mentioned above, this is precisely what adds vitality to personification. At this point, it would be of significant interest that, until the twentieth-century, the genre of Piers Plowman was generally percieved as a satire rather than as an allegory. Anne Middleton writes that “allegory” was “a term rarely applied to the poem as a whole before the twentieth-century.” Until the twentieth-century, it was a term “reserved for local figurative devices.”[13] Early critics such as Puttenham called Piers Plowman a satire (1589) and referred to Langland as “a malcontent of that time.” He also places the poet in the tradition of Latin satirists and describes him as a writer who “intended to tax the common abuses and vice of the people in rough and bitter speaches.”[14]


As such, the relationship between allegory and satire is extremely close but rather complicated. As Michael Murin wrote in The Veil of Allegory, “allegory is intimately associated with the society in which the poet writes.”[15] MacQueen also comments that it is surprisingly easy to understand allegory by considering it as satire, and vice versa.[16] MacQueen further elaborates on this relationship between allegory and satire fairly easily and concisely:


The generalities of allegory acquire power over the moral sense and the imagination by way of their relevance to the particular; the particularities of satire equally acquire more than passing relevance when they are seen in terms of a system of moral ideas which is generally acceptable.[17]


As can be inferred from this passage, allegory is something more general but satire a method that is more particular. In other words, if Piers Plowman was understood only as an allegory, characters such as Hunger, Waster, and the Seven Deadly Sins would express a general, moral, and spiritual theme. However, if we take it to be a satire, it has more relevance to a particular world, that is, to its society. Without the satirical elements in the poem, expressing allegorical figures in such a vivid and detailed manner would have been difficult.


For example, the use of Hunger is all the more lively because there is the historical background of the Black Death in the mid-fourteenth century and the social changes it wrought. The fact that Hunger drives men to work not only implies the universal truth that men generally work to avoid hunger, but it also targets the idle workers who left their lords’ manors legally or illegally to roam the countryside in search of higher wages. After the Black Death, the population had been reduced drastically,and the supply of labor had decreased, which, in turn, meant a rise in wages. So, there were some who did not work according to their customary duty but took adavantage of the situation by leaving the land in search of better condition, sometimes including higher wages.[18] Langland is, in some part, targeting these workers when he addresses Hunger, saying, “For well I know that once you’re away, they will work badly.”[19]


The satirical intent of Piers Plowman is foreshadowed in the prologue. Here, the poet introduces the famous vision of the Field of Folk, in which he describes fourteenth-century England “in terms of its failure to represent an ideal society based on Christian principles.”[20] He says of pilgrims and palmers that “in every tale they told their tongues were turned to lie” (Prologue 46-52):[21]


Pilgrymes and palmeres plighten hem togidere
For to seken Seint Jame and seintes at Rome;
Wenten forth in hire wey with many wise tales,
And hadden leve to lyen al hire lif after.
I seigh somme that seiden thei hadde ysought seintes:
To ech a tale that thei tolde hire tonge was tempred to lye
Moore than to seye sooth, it semed bi hire speche.[23]


Pilgrims and palmers made pacts with each other

To seek Saint James and saints at Rome.

They went on their way with many wise stories,

And had leave to lie all their lives after.

I saw some that said they’d sought after saints:

In every tale they told their tongues were turned to lie

More than to tell the truth—such talk was theirs.[24]


Likewise, the following passage shows us how religious men, such as friars, are depraved in their desire for wealth (Prologue, 58-63):


I fond there freres, alle the foure ordres,
Prechynge the peple for profit of [the wombe]:
Glosed the gospel as hem good liked;
For coveitise of copes construwed it as thei wolde.
Manye of thise maistres mowe clothen hem at likyng
For hire moneie and hire marchaundise marchen togideres.


I found friars there—all four of the orders—

Preaching to the people for their own paunches’ welfare,

Making glosses of the Gospel that would look good for themselves:

Coveting copes, they construed it as they pleased.

Many of the Masters may clothe themselves richly,

For their money and their merchandise march hand in hand.[26]


This passage shows how friars are preaching to the people for their own paunches’ welfare and are coveting copes to clothe themselves richly. The most poignant satire lies in the phrases “For hire moneie and hire marchaundise” of the last line because according to Donaldson, “the merchandise sold by the friars for money is shrift, that is, confession and remission of sins, which by canon law cannot be sold.”[27] It is important to note that a satirical passage such as this is not found in small fragments here and there, but rather, the bulk of the prologue consistently expresses such stark satire.


The fact that it is none other than a dream vision that leads Piers to see such a scene also has significance because dreams are often thought to bear transcendental truth about reality. As is noted about dream visions in the introduction to the Norton Anthology, “people have always suspected that dreams relate the truth in disguised form—that they are natural allegories.”[28] Moreover, keeping in mind that Piers Plowman is, primarily and deeply, a Christian poem, we can also understand the dream vision to be a revelation from God. We can confirm this through the many instances in the Old Testament where prophets such as Elijah and Hosea are shown visions, either by God himself or by angels of God, in order to prophesy. There certainly exists a literary tradition that views Piers Plowman as a visionary poem. Middleton mentions this critical standpoint under the title of “The Poem as Historical Vision: Satire, Prophecy, Apocalypse.” The fact that this poem is recorded at a time of “exceptional gloom and anxiety, cultural decline, and perpetual crisis”[29] strengthens this visionary and apocalyptic tendency. Thus, by presenting negative and even pessimistic scenes from the beginning of the poem in the form of a dream vision, the poet makes clear that he will be critical of current times and society. He is also foreshadowing that his major emphasis throughout the poem will be satire.


In addition, it is not only the religiously corrupt that are becoming the focus of criticism, but it is the whole social fabric that is being disparaged. Of course, Langland repeatedly mentions the hard-working plowmen as examples of good men, and Piers actually is the exemplary figure of such kind of folk. He is the one who leads people to truth and makes people work to drive off Hunger. However, it is unsure whether Langland thought it was only the high that were corrupt. When Piers first sees the dream vision of the “fair field of folk,” he sees “human beings of all sorts, the high and the low” (Prologue, 18)[30] between the two towers of the east and west. All of them are “Working and wandering as the world requires” (Prologue, 19).[31]


Lastly, the companionship between Hunger and Piers is part of satire, too. Not only does Hunger beat up Waster and Breton, he is the one who provides guidance and teaching to Piers in his quest for truth. After the episode with Waster and the Breton, Hunger tries to depart, but Piers asks him for help in teaching the poor to become hardworking so that they would not starve (Passus 6, 208-11):


Truthe taughte me ones to loven hem ech one
And to helpen hem of alle thyng, ay as hem nedeth.
Now wolde I wite of thee, what were the beste,
And how I myghte amaistren hem and make hem to werche.


Truth taught me once to love them every one

And help them with every thing after their needs.

Now I’d like to learn, if you know, what line I should take

And how I might overmaster them and make them work.[33]


This is rather ironic, because there are other higher figures, such as the knight, who should, in theory, be more knowledgeable. Even if higher figures may not, necessarily, be more knowlegeable in terms of farming, they are in a position to exert leadership. As Baldwin writes, “in the traditional model of society the peasants who ‘work for all’ are placed at the bottom, below the clergy who ‘pray for all’ and the knights who ‘fight for all’”[34] So, it is not ordinary and natural that Piers, with the lowest social status, should be the one to show leadership among his people and be the fervent follower of truth. Nor, should it be Hunger that teaches him. But once it is understood as a satire, the underlying meaning becomes clear. Hence, one can see the savagely indignant satire against the church and wealthy laity.


As we have examined, Piers Plowman is more than a simple, straightforward, and didactic allegory because not only does it present allegorical figures with extraordinary vitality, but it also deals with bold satire that adds complexity to the work. The distinct characteristic of Langland’s personification can be found in the comical, satirical, and vibrant descriptions of allegorical figures such as Envy, Wastour, Gloton, and the Bretoner. It has also been explained how this poem is intended as a satire, and how satire plays a major role in making an allegory more complex, sophisticated, and intriguing. In Piers Plowman, it is the link between conceptual allegory and society. Accordingly, although Lewis might have rightly suggested that Langland “has no unique or novel message to deliver,”[35] Piers Plowman is noteworthy as a didactic and religious allegory because of its vivid personifications and stark satire. The overall message of the poem is indeed a common spiritual theme, and, in this sense, allegory seems general. However, satire provides the link to the particular, and this is exactly what adds vitality and complexity to the work. Thus, the critical stance that the poet takes in Piers Plowman shows that it is more than just a complaint or comedy, but a sophisticated satire. This satirical art together with the imagination that enlivens the personification is what makes Piers Plowman a singular piece of allegory in Medieval literature.





Baldwin, Anna P. “The Historical Context,” A Companion to Piers Plowman. John A. Alford, editor. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1988.


David Alfred & E. Talbot Donaldson, “William Langland,” Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th ed, vol 1. New York, London: W.W. Norton and Company, 2000.


Frye, Northrop. “Allegory.” Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Alex Preminger, editor. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965..


Langland, William. Piers Plowman, A critical edition of the B-text based on Trinity College Cambridge MS B.15.17 with selected variant readings. London, 1978 <http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/LanPier.html>.


Langland, William. Piers Plowman. Elizabeth D. Kirk & Judith H. Anderson, editors. E. T. Donaldson, translator. W.W. Norton & Company Ltd, 1st ed edition, 1990.


Lewis, C.S. The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Traditon. London: Oxford University Press, 1985.


Middleton, Anne. Introduction: The Critical Heritage. A Companion to Piers Plowman. John A. Alford, editor. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1988.


Riggio, Milla B. “The Allegory of Feudal Acquisition in The Castle of Perseverance.Allegory, Myth, and Symbol. Morton W. Bloomfield, editor. Cambridge, Massacusetts: Harvard University Press, 1981.


Yunck, John A. “Satire.” A Companion to Piers Plowman. John A. Alford, editor. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1988.



Guidelines on Bibliography and Footnotes:




See following website for more details:




Adapted from MLA Citation Style:


MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th edition





Okuda, Michael, and Denise Okuda. Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future. New York: Pocket, 1993.


Journal Article:


Wilcox, Rhonda V. "Shifting Roles and Synthetic Women in Star Trek: The Next Generation." Studies in Popular Culture 13.2 (1991): 53-65.


Newspaper or Magazine Article:


Di Rado, Alicia. "Trekking through College: Classes Explore Modern Society Using the World of Star Trek." Los Angeles Times 15 Mar. 1995: A3.


Book Article or Chapter:


James, Nancy E. "Two Sides of Paradise: The Eden Myth According to Kirk and Spock."Spectrum of the Fantastic. Ed. Donald Palumbo. Westport: Greenwood, 1988. 219-223.


Encyclopedia Article (well known reference books):


Sturgeon, Theodore. "Science Fiction." The Encyclopedia Americana. International ed. 1995.


Encyclopedia Article (less familiar reference books):


Horn, Maurice. "Flash Gordon." The World Encyclopedia of Comics. Ed. Maurice Horn. 2 vols. New York: Chelsea, 1976.


Gale Reference Book (and other books featuring reprinted articles):


Shayon, Robert Lewis. "The Interplanetary Spock." Saturday Review 17 June 1967: 46. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon R. Gunton. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale Research, 1981. 403.


ERIC Document:


Fuss-Reineck, Marilyn. Sibling Communication in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Conflicts between Brothers. Miami: Speech Communication Assn., 1993. ERIC Document Reproduction Service ED364932.




Lynch, Tim. "DSN Trials and Tribble-ations Review." Psi Phi:Science Fiction Club. 1996. Bradley University. 8 Oct. 1997 <http://www.bradley.edu/campusorg/psiphi/DS9/ep/503r.html>.


Newspaper or Magazine Article on the Internet:


Andreadis, Athena. "The Enterprise Finds Twin Earths Everywhere It Goes, But Future Colonizers of Distant Planets Won't Be So Lucky." Astronomy Jan. 1999: 64- . Academic Universe. Lexis-Nexis. B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Lib., Brookville, NY. 7 Feb. 1999 <http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe>.


Literature Resource Center:


Shayon, Robert Lewis. "The Interplanetary Spock." Saturday Review 17 June 1967: 46. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon R. Gunton. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale Research, 1981. 403. Literature Resource Center. Gale Group. B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Lib., Brookville, NY. 16 Oct. 2001 <http://infotrac.galegroup.com/menu>.



Sample Bibliography (Note Alphabetical Order):


Andreadis, Athena. "The Enterprise Finds Twin Earths Everywhere It Goes, But Future Colonizers of Distant Planets Won't Be So Lucky." Astronomy Jan. 1999: 64- . Academic Universe. Lexis-Nexis. B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Lib., Brookville, NY. 7 Feb. 1999 <http://web.lexis-nexis.com/universe>.


Di Rado, Alicia. "Trekking through College: Classes Explore Modern Society Using the World of Star Trek." Los Angeles Times 15 Mar. 1995: A3.


Fuss-Reineck, Marilyn. Sibling Communication in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Conflicts between Brothers. Miami: Speech Communication Assn., 1993. ERIC Document Reproduction Service ED364932.


Horn, Maurice. "Flash Gordon." The World Encyclopedia of Comics. Ed. Maurice Horn. 2 vols. New York: Chelsea, 1976.


James, Nancy E. "Two Sides of Paradise: The Eden Myth According to Kirk and Spock."Spectrum of the Fantastic. Ed. Donald Palumbo. Westport: Greenwood, 1988. 219-223.


Lynch, Tim. "DSN Trials and Tribble-ations Review." Psi Phi:Science Fiction Club. 1996. Bradley University. 8 Oct. 1997 <http://www.bradley.edu/campusorg/psiphi/DS9/ep/503r.html>.


Okuda, Michael, and Denise Okuda. Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future. New York: Pocket, 1993.


Shayon, Robert Lewis. "The Interplanetary Spock." Saturday Review 17 June 1967: 46. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon R. Gunton. Vol. 17. Detroit: Gale Research, 1981. 403. Literature Resource Center. Gale Group. B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Lib., Brookville, NY. 16 Oct. 2001 <http://infotrac.galegroup.com/menu>.


Sturgeon, Theodore. "Science Fiction." The Encyclopedia Americana. International ed. 1995.


Wilcox, Rhonda V. "Shifting Roles and Synthetic Women in Star Trek: The Next Generation." Studies in Popular Culture 13.2 (1991): 53-65.



Notes on Bibliography:


Arrange the items on your reference list alphabetically by author, interfiling books, articles, etc.


Doublespace all lines.


Indent the second and following lines 5 spaces (or one half inch).


If no author is given, start with the title.


Abbreviate the names of all months except May, June, and July.


If the paging of a magazine or newspaper article is continued elswhere in the issue, include only the first page followed by a plus sign (ex. 25+.).


If the encyclopedia does not arrange its articles alphabetically, treat the encyclopedia article as if it were a book article. Specific volume and page numbers are cited in the text, not in the list of references.


Gale Reference Book: cite the original source being reprinted as shown under Book, Journal Article, Newspaper or Magazine Article, etc. The example shows a Magazine Article. Then include the citation information for the reference book.


Websites: include the title of the web page, the name of the entire web site, the organization that posted it (this may be the same as the name of the website). Also include the full date the page was created or last updated (day, month, year if available) and the date you looked at it.


Internet Magazine Articles: Include:


The name of the database (italicized) and the company that created it and its home webpage.


The full date of the article (day, month, year if available) and the date you looked at it.


If you are citing a journal instead of a magazine, include the volume (and issue number) and date as shown under the Journal Style above.


The library or other organization (and its location) that provided you with access to the database.


As for page numbers, different databases will provide different information. Include the range of pages (ex. 25-28.); or the starting page followed by a hyphen, a blank space, and a period (ex. 64- .); or the total number of pages or paragraphs (ex. 12 pp. or 33 pars.). If no page information is given, then leave it out.






Adapted from A Research Guide for Students


Chapter 8. First Footnotes and Endnotes - Examples in MLA Style


1. Book with one author or editor:


1 Frank Feather, Canada's Best Careers Guide 2000 (Toronto: Warwick, 2000) 152-3.


1 Jerry White, ed. Death and Taxes: Beating One of the Two Certainties in Life (Toronto: Warwick, 1998) 7-8.


2. Book with two authors or editors:


2 R.D. Hogg and Michael G. Mallin, Preparing Your Income Tax Returns: 2001 Edition for 2000 Returns (Toronto: CCH Canadian, 2001) 969:519.


2 Andrew Cohen and J.L. Granatstein, eds. Trudeau's Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Toronto: Random, 1998) 391.


3. Book with three or more authors or editors:


3 Jack Canfield, et al., Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul: 101 Stories of Courage, Hope and Laughter (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1998) 68.


3 Mans O. Larsson, et al., eds. Let's Go: Germany 1998 (New York: St. Martin's, 1998) 96-98.


4. Book with no author or editor stated:


4 The 1990 Charlton Coin Guide, 29th ed. (Toronto: Charlton, 1989) 39.


4 Microsoft PowerPoint Version 2002 Step by Step, (Redmond, WA: Perspection, 2001) 235.


5. Book that has been translated:


5 Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, trans. M. Moyaart-Doubleday (Toronto: Bantam, 1993) 95.


6. Article in a collection by several authors, with one or more editors:


6 Carmen DaSilva, "Life Insurance as a Tool for Estate Planning," Death and Taxes: Beating One of the Two Certainties in Life, ed. Jerry White (Toronto: Warwick, 1998) 57-71.


6 Maryann G. Valiulis, "Power, Gender and Identity in the Irish Free State," Irish Women's Voices Past and Present, ed. Joan Hoff and Moureen Coulter (Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1995) 118.


7. Article from an encyclopedia with no author stated:


7 "Malcolm X," Encyclopedia of Social Issues, 1997 ed.


8. Article from an encyclopedia with one author:


8 Lawrence A. Presley, "DNA Fingerprinting," World Book Encyclopedia, 2000 ed.


9. Article from a magazine, journal, or newspaper with no author stated:


9 "Bombardier Wins Order in Israel," Globe and Mail [Toronto] 29 Oct. 2002: B12.


9 "Lighting Up the World: A Canadian's Obsession Has Helped Thousands," Maclean's 4 Nov. 2002: 42-43.


10. Article from a magazine, journal, or newspaper with one or more authors:


10 Jonathan Alter and Geoffrey Gagnon, "The Future of New York," Newsweek 9 Sept. 2002: 50+.


10 Michael Friscolanti, "Convicts 'Morally' Fit to Vote: Supreme Court Ruling," National Post [Toronto] 1 Nov. 2002: A4.


10 Rita Daly, "Bird Flu Targeting the Young," Toronto Star \11 Mar. 2006: A1+.


10 Tom Fennell, "From Misfit to Murderer," Maclean's 4 Nov. 2002: 32-34.


11. Pamphlet, with no author stated:


11 2001 Chevy Tracker: Chevy Trucks (General Motors of Canada, 2000).


11 Fosamax (Kirkland, PQ: Merck Frosst Canada, 2002).


12. Book, movie, film, product or software review:


12 Henry Gordon, rev. of China! The Grand Tour, CD-ROM, Hopkins Technology, We Compute Feb. 1998: 15.


12 Katrina Onstad, "Not Too Naughty, Not Too Nice," rev. of The Santa Clause 2, dir. Michael Lembeck, National Post [Toronto] 1 Nov. 2002: PM5.


13. Government document:


13 Canada, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Gathering Strength: Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan (Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2000) 12-13.


13 United States, National Council on Disability, Carrying on the Good Fight - Summary Paper from Think Tank 2000 - Advancing the Civil and Human Rights of People with Disabilities from Diverse Cultures (Washington: GPO, 2000) 6.


14. Interview:


14 Hellmut Longin, Personal interview, 12 Feb. 2006.


15. Film or video recording:


15 The Pacifier, dir. Adam Shankman, perf. Vin Diesel, DVD, Disney, 2005.


15 A Simple wish, dir. Michael Ritchie, writ. Jeff Rothberg, perf. Martin Short and Mara Wilson, VHS, Universal, 1997.


16. Audio recording:


16 Ginger, Solid Ground, Nettwerk, Vancouver, 1994.


17. Television or radio:


17 Larry King Live, CNN, Nassau, Bahamas, 7 Mar. 2002.


17 Abbey Lincoln Sings Her Career, WBGO, Newark, NJ, 4 Mar. 2002.


18. Computer software or CD-ROM:


18 National Parks: The Multimedia Family Guide, CD-ROM, Woodland Hills, CA: Cambrix, 1995.


18 Norton AntiVirus, CD-ROM, Symantec, 2003.    


18 QuickTax: Tax Year 2002, CD-ROM, Intuit Canada, 2003.


19. Internet:


Note: First date = Web page creation or modification date. Second date = the date you accessed the Web page. If the Web page does not have a modification or creation date, leave it out, but always indicate your access date just before the URL.


19 Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs, "Aboriginal Peoples Survey: From APS I to APS II." Facts from Stats, Corporate Information Management Directorate, Issue No. 15, Mar. 2000, 15 Dec. 2004 <http://www.inac.gc.ca/nr/nwltr/sts/2000-03_e.html>.


19 James Henretta, et al., "Richard Allen and African-American Identity," America's History, Spring 1997, 11 Feb. 2006 <http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/spring97/allen.html>.


19 "Edsitement," 12 Feb. 2006 <http://edsitement.neh.gov>.


19 Abdullah al-Shiri, "Danish Cartoon Prompts Protest," Sunday Herald 29 Jan. 2006, 12 Feb. 2006 <http://ww1.sundayherald.com/53793>.


20. Reference to Shakespeare:


(Shakespeare's plays are cited with Roman capitals for the Act, small Roman numerals for the Scene, and Arabic numerals for the Lines).


20 Hamlet IV, i, 15-18.


In-text Footnotes or Endnotes may be added in an essay for a single Shakespearean play:


20 Lear sums up his whole tragedy when he says, "I am a man more sinned against than sinning." (III, ii, 57)


21. Reference from the Bible, Catechism, or Sacred Texts:


Example in text:


An interesting reference was made to the picking of corn on the Sabbath.1


Example of Footnote citation, long form:


1 Matthew 12:1-8.


Example of Footnote citation, short form:


1 Mt 12:1-8.


List under Works Cited:


The New Jerusalem Bible: Reader's Edition. New York: Doubleday, 1990.


Example in text:


The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity, for 'from one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth.'" 2


Example of first Footnote or Endnote citation of the above quote taken from Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part I, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 1, Paragraph 6I, Reference Number: 360, Page 103, would be:


2 Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York: Doubleday, 1994) 360.


Subsequent citation of the same quote:


3 Catechism, 360.


Citation of a different quote from the same book:


4 Catechism, 1499.


List under Works Cited:


Catechism of the Catholic Church. New York: Doubleday, 1994.


Examples of other Footnote or Endnote citations of sacred texts:


5 Pius XII, encyclical, Summi Pontificatus 3.


6 Roman Catechism I, 10, 24.


22. Citations for a single work throughout essay:


If the entire essay is about one book, e.g. Carrie only and there are no other sources used, a Footnote or Endnote is needed only for the first quotation as follows:


Stephen King, Carrie (New York: New American, 1974) 40. All subsequent quotations are from this edition.


After this, it is only necessary to supply the page number of the text:


Sheriff Otis Doyle testified that Miss Snell told him that "Carrie did it. Carrie did it." (198)


23. Sources used more than once:


1. If a source was footnoted earlier, you can use a shortened Footnote or Endnote providing only the author's surname and the reference page number:


1 King 197.


2. When two or more books by the same author are used as reference material, or there are sources by two or more authors with the same last name, include the short title or an abbreviated form of the title:


2 King, Fire-Starter 279.


2 King, It 13.





[1] Northrop Frye, “Allegory,” in Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, ed. Alex Preminger (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965), 12-15.

[2] C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Traditon (London: Oxford University Press, 1985).

[3] William Langland, Piers Plowman, A critical edition of the B-text based on Trinity College Cambridge MS B.15.17 with selected variant readings, London 1978 <http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/LanPier.html>, Passus 5, 77.

[4] William Langland, Piers Plowman, edited by Elizabeth D. Kirk & Judith H. Anderson, translation by E. T. Donaldson, W.W. Norton & Company Ltd, 1st ed edition (1990), Passus 5, 79-80. A tabard is a loose sleeveless jacket, worn over the tunic.

[5] Langland, Piers Plowman, A critical edition of the B-text based on Trinity College Cambridge.

[6] Langland, Piers Plowman, translation by E. T. Donaldson.

[7] Ibid. Passus 5, 83-84.

[8] Langland, Piers Plowman, A critical edition of the B-text based on Trinity College Cambridge.

[9] Langland, Piers Plowman, translation by E. T. Donaldson.

[10] Langland, Piers Plowman, A critical edition of the B-text based on Trinity College Cambridge.

[11] Langland, Piers Plowman, translation by E. T. Donaldson.

[12] John A. Yunck, “Satire,” A Companion to Piers Plowman, ed. John A. Alford (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1988), 147.

[13] Anne Middleton, “Introduction: The Critical Heritage,” A Companion to Piers Plowman, 8.

[14] Quoted in Middleton, “Introduction: The Critical Heritage,” 9.

[15] Quoted in Milla B. Riggio, “The Allegory of Feudal Acquisition in The Castle of Perseverance,Allegory, Myth, and Symbol, ed. Morton W. Bloomfield (Cambridge, Massacusetts: Harvard University Press, 1981), 187.

[16] John MacQueen, Allegory, Critical Idiom 14 (Methuen, 1970), 68.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Anna P. Baldwin, “The Historical Context,” A Companion to Piers Plowman, 70.

[19] Langland, Piers Plowman, translation by E. T. Donaldson, Passus 6, 204.

[20] Alfred David & E. Talbot Donaldson, “William Langland,” Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th ed, vol 1 (New York, London: W. W. Norton and Company, 2000), 317.

[21] Langland, Piers Plowman, trans by E. T. Donaldson, Prologue, 51.

[22] Italics mine.

[23] Langland, Piers Plowman, A critical edition of the B-text based on Trinity College Cambridge.

[24] Langland, Piers Plowman, trans by E. T. Donaldson.

[25] Langland, Piers Plowman, A critical edition of the B-text based on Trinity College.

[26] Langland, Piers Plowman, trans by E. T. Donaldson.

[27] David & Donaldson, Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th ed. vol 1 (New York, London: Norton, 2000), 320.

[28] David & Donaldson, “William Langland,” Norton Anthology of English Literature, 317.

[29] Middleton, “Introduction: The Critical Heritage,” 11.

[30] Italics mine.

[31] Langland, Piers Plowman, trans by E. T. Donaldson.

[32] Langland, Piers Plowman, A critical edition of the B-text based on Trinity College.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Anna P. Baldwin, “The Historical Context,” A Companion to Piers Plowman, 68.

[35] Lewis, Allegory of Love, 160.