Past or present tense when writing about literature

Show me examples. Glenn and L. Non-English Papers If you are writing a paper in another subject, notably the sciences and social sciences, these rules will not necessarily apply. Like other Shakespearean tragedies, Othello has five acts.

past or present tense when writing about literature

Her sister calls the doctor immediately. If you encounter frequent shifting of tenses for no discernible reason, revising for consistency is a good idea.

However, if you are citing articles in the paper, as you probably should, then you should check with your professor to see if he or she would prefer that you use the literary present or the past tense when referring to these articles.

literary present tense nonfiction

Why Present Tense? Aim for Consistency Above all, aim for consistency and try to avoid frequent shifts in tense, which can be jarring for readers. When you write about fiction, you will also want to use the present tense.

Present tense essay

A good rule of thumb is to consider whether the principal context of your discussion is textual or historical. As Henry Louis Gates demonstrates in his analysis of. If you encounter frequent shifting of tenses for no discernible reason, revising for consistency is a good idea. Macmillan, "In "Miss Brill," Katherine Mansfield introduces readers to an uncommunicative and apparently simple-minded woman who eavesdrops on strangers, who imagines herself to be an actress in an absurd musical, and whose dearest friend in life appears to be a shabby fur stole. The author may have sound reasons for his or her choices, and you would do better to query before you impose one tense over another. This is different than writing about other subjects, such as history or science. In history classes, for example, the events you are writing about took place in the past, and therefore you should use the past tense throughout your paper. A film version of Othello stars Laurence Olivier. Think of it this way.
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The use of tenses in a literature review