Constructing the Paper

Several of you seem to be struggling with the paper assignment so this post is an attempt to emphasize what we discussed in class and clarify those parts that seem to be confusing people.

Your paper should not just be a summary of your interviewee’s experiences, nor just what he or she thought.  The paper should be an attempt to set your veteran’s postwar experiences within the larger experiences of American returning veterans.  How typical were his/her experiences compared to other veterans returning from that war? Compared to soldiers returning from other wars?  How was he perceived?  Use the lectures as well as the primary and secondary source readings for this semester to help provide that context for your veteran’s experiences.  As you integrate your interviewee’s experiences into the larger context of US veterans’ experiences, it is appropriate to consider whether or not you think that he/she believed that her experiences were typical.  [Remember too, that although discussing wartime experiences are important, that the main focus of this class and of the paper is about the postwar experiences of these men and women.]

Keep in mind that you need to cite all information (including the interview) with footnotes or endnotes and you should certainly use quotations from the interview and other primary sources (as well as material from secondary sources) to support your argument.

[For more general writing and citation advice, see also the writing guidelines mentioned before, as well as the history department’s resource page.]