Paper 1 Revisions: Empire City Massacre

After re-reading my paper, what stood out the most to me was a problem stemming from my thesis: the Empire City Massacre was a in fact a hoax, not a piece of satire. Beginning with my thesis and going into the first paragraph, my primary focus was delineating between the two to better set up my argument. Similarly, I felt that I did not clearly define who Twain was targeting and how with each piece of evidence. It then became clear to me that there were also a few places where I needed to move evidence around that did not fit under my topic sentence. Therefore, I focused primarily on re-phrasing my topic sentences and my analysis to support the idea of why Twain’s article failed as a hoax instead of highlighting its “satirical roots.” Since we haven’t talked about revising our thesis yet, I decided that the next best place to start was my first topic sentence:

Before: “As canny as the title, Twain plays on conventions such as exclamation and diction to fool his audience, clearly being satirical.”

After: “As canny as the title, Twain plays on conventions such as exclamation and diction to fool his audience, clearly stated with a mocking tone.”

With this simple change, I not only clarified Twain’s article not being satirical, but I was also able to move another piece of evidence discussing his mocking tone to support how Twain was able to fool his audience. Later in the paragraph while unpacking my evidence, I incorporated more information about how Twain was specifically targeting his audience, and who “they” were in this case:

Appearing under the headline “the latest sensation” and using descriptors such as “dash[ing] out the brains of” and “scalp[ing],” Twain sensationalizes the issue from the very beginning. He continues to add that the main victim in the story was the insane man who killed himself, when clearly the unmerciful slaughter of his innocent wife and six children are much more tragic—a rhetorical move to make the audience, a bunch of terrified investors, ignore reality and buy into the gruesome details of one man’s poor investment.

**Note: italicized words are changes from original

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1 Response to Paper 1 Revisions: Empire City Massacre

  1. Lindsey Grubbs says:

    Nice start, Kristin.

    I remember that your paper could use more distinction between “hoax” and “satire,” but I’m not sure that means you need to get rid of the idea of “satire”–you just need to make it clear what the difference and relationship between the two is. For instance, Twain says he was going for satire–but that people didn’t get it, which sort of turned it into a hoax unintentionally, right? I think you could clarify that. If he’s going for satire, you can still make an argument for how he is trying to be satirical, so don’t feel like you need to totally drop that. I think satire is an important piece of what Twain was doing.

    It’s also not clear to me how the evidence about sensationalism fits with “exclamation” and “diction,” so I think there’s still some room for clarity.

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