How to write an essay

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  • 1. Intro. Paragraphwith thesisstatement*Body Par. #1Body Par. #2Body Par. #3ConcludingParagraph
  • 2. Introductory Paragraph -- Like a funnel, start with a broadconnection to the topic and then hone in on your point (thesis). Start with a “hook.” Mention the title, author and genre (TAG) and add a couple focus sentences that lead to the thesis statement. The thesis statement is a debatable claim or point you wish to prove. Diagram
  • 3. INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH: the firstparagraph in your essay.Hook/Attention-grabber -- a creative beginning,meant to catch your reader’s interestTAG -- an acronym for title, author, and genre ofthe workBackground/Set-up/Brief summary -- providesessential background about the literary work andprepares the reader for your major thesisThesis Statement -- a sentence in your firstparagraph that presents your argument to thereader, usually at the end of the paragraph
  • 4. HOOK/ATTENTION GRABBER: a creative beginning, meant to catch your reader’s interest. Ways of beginning creatively include the following:1) A startling fact or bit of information2) A segment of dialogue between two characters3) A meaningful quotation (from the work or another source)4) A universal idea5) A rich, vivid description of the setting6) An analogy or metaphor7) A question8) An anecdote or example
  • 5. Hook examples for compare/contrastessay: “A Day’s Wait”/ “Stolen Day”Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and tryingwhen you know you can lose.” by Tom Krause Ignorance. Reaction. Family. These three words describe . . . The power of knowledge is a powerful thing.
  • 6. TAG -- acronym for title, author,genre “Courage is the discovery that you maynot win, and trying when you know you canlose.” In Ernest Hemingway’s “A Day’s Wait”and Sherwood Anderson’s “Stolen Day,” thetwo main characters battle with this quote inthese interesting short stories. (ATG)Note: You can put TAG in ANY order youwant, as long as all three are represented!!
  • 7. Background/Set-up/Brief summary-- provides essential background about theliterary work and prepares the reader for yourmajor thesis* Keep in mind that your audience (your teacher orclassmate) has read the literature; however, theyhave not analyzed it in the same way you have.* Keep your summary BRIEF! (no more than threesentences)
  • 8. Background/Set-up/Brief summaryExample of a set-up: “Courage is the discovery that you may not win,and trying when you know you can lose.” In ErnestHemingway’s “A Day’s Wait” and Sherwood Anderson’s“Stolen Day,” the two main characters battle with thisquote in these interesting short stories. The two boys,Schatz and a narrator, are each confronted with achallenge that takes place over the course of a day.Once the day is over, each one learns a valuable lessonabout courage..
  • 9. THESIS STATEMENT: asentence in your firstparagraph that presentsyour argument to thereader, usually at the endof the paragraph* Note -- Some thesis statements are explicit, hintingat what the two or three body paragraphs will beabout.
  • 10. THESIS STATEMENTThesis statement: not good!Schatz and the narrator have similarities and differences.Thesis statement (explicit):The characters, Schatz and the narrator, sharesimilarities and differences in their actions, reactions,and lessons learned.
  • 11. Intro. Paragraph Thesis with 3 major reasonswith thesisstatement*Body Par. #1 Reason #1 discussed in this paragraph Reason #2 discussed inBody Par. #2 this paragraphBody Par. #3 Reason #3 discussed in(optional) this paragraphConcludingParagraph Final thoughts
  • 12. BODY: the support paragraphs of youressay. These paragraphs containsupporting examples (concrete detail)and analysis/explanation (commentary)for your topic sentences.Each paragraph in the body includes (1)a topic sentence/support thesis, (2)integrated concrete details/examples, (3)commentary/explanation fordetails/examples, and (4) a concludingsentence.
  • 13. Body Paragraphs - three minimumBegin with a topic sentence which supportsthe major thesis statement from theintroductory paragraph.Be sure to include: 2 Concrete details (quoted passages or paraphrased facts from the story) 2 Commentary -- interpretation/elaboration Concluding sentence -- to sum up or transition to the next paragraph
  • 14. TOPIC SENTENCE: the firstsentence of a bodyparagraph. It identifies oneaspect of the major thesisand states a primary reasonwhy the major thesis is true.
  • 15. To begin, the boys from “A Day’sWait” and “Stolen Day” share severalsimilarities.Topic sentence for body #1:Opening transition + first point in thesis.
  • 16. TRANSITIONAL/LEAD-IN:phrase or sentence thatprepares the reader for aconcrete detail byintroducing the speaker,setting, and/or situation.
  • 17. CONCRETE DETAIL: a specificexample from the work ofliterature used to provideevidence for your topicsentence/support thesis.Concrete detail can be acombination of paraphrase anddirect quotation from the work.
  • 18. Transition: For example,Lead-in: in “A Day’s Wait,” Schatz displays anaïve disposition when it is discovered heconfused the thermometer scales, Concrete Detail:“Poor old Schatz. It’s like miles andkilometers. You aren’t going to die” (302). ***QuoParPunc!!! No Naked Quotes!!
  • 19. To begin, the boys from “A Day’s Wait” and “StolenDay” share several similarities. Schatz and the narratorboth prove that they are very naïve. For example, in“A Day’s Wait,” Schatz displays a naïve dispositionwhen it is discovered he confused the thermometerscales, “Poor old Schatz. It’s like miles and kilometers.You aren’t going to die” (302).1. Topic sentence2. Introduce first similarity3. TLC
  • 20. COMMENTARY: your explanationand interpretation of theconcrete detail. Commentarytells the reader what the authorof the text means or how theconcrete detail proves the topicsentence and supports the thesis.Commentary may includeinterpretation, analysis, argument,insight, and/or reflection.
  • 21. To begin, the boys from “A Day’s Wait” and“Stolen Day” share several similarities. Schatzand the narrator both prove that they are verynaïve. For example, in “A Day’s Wait,” Schatzdisplays a naïve disposition when it isdiscovered he confused the thermometerscales, “Poor old Schatz. It’s like miles andkilometers. You aren’t going to die” (302). Thisdemonstrates how Schatz confused Celsiusand Fahrenheit, and, therefore, believed hewas going to die as a result of thismisunderstanding.
  • 22. TIPS FOR WRITING COMMENTARYThese sentence starters put the writer into commentary-mode:This shows . . .This is because . . .This means . . .This reveals . . .This illustrates . . .This highlights the difference between . . .
  • 23. Paraphrasing! Another form of TLC!!!!As part of your body paragraph, you will not only use aquotes, but you will also paraphrase.Paraphrasing = putting information into your own words.For example:In similar fashion, the narrator in “Stolen Day” convinceshimself that he has a debilitating disease; inflammatoryrheumatism. As you can see, both boys demonstratethat they are gullible in making such juvenileassumptions.I paraphrased how the narrator was gullible in my ownwords and did NOT use any EXACT sentences from thestory.
  • 24. Here is our paragraph so far:To begin, the boys from “A Day’s Wait” and “Stolen Day” share severalsimilarities. Schatz and the narrator both prove that they are very naïve.For example, in “A Day’s Wait,” Schatz displays a naïve disposition whenit is discovered he confused the thermometer scales, “Poor old Schatz.It’s like miles and kilometers. You aren’t going to die” (302). Thisdemonstrates how Schatz confused Celsius and Fahrenheit, and,therefore, believed he was going to die as a result of thismisunderstanding. In similar fashion, the narrator in “Stolen Day”convinces himself that he has a debilitating disease; inflammatoryrheumatism. Due to overhearing the symptoms, such as an enlargedheart, the narrator’s racing heart after a race leads him to believe thathe may have the disease. Of course, this is not the case becauseeveryone’s heart races after running. As you can see, both boysdemonstrate that they are gullible in making such juvenile assumptions.1. Topic sentence2. Introduce similarity3. TLC - quote4. Commentary5. TLC - Paraphrase6. Commentary
  • 25. Suggested Outline for Body Paragraph #1:1. Topic sentence2. Introduce similarity3. TLC - quote4. Commentary5. TLC - Paraphrase6. Commentary7. Concluding sentence
  • 26. CONCLUDING SENTENCE:last sentence of the bodyparagraph. It concludes theparagraph by tying theconcrete details andcommentary back to thetopic sentence and/or thesisstatement.
  • 27. To begin, the boys from “A Day’s Wait” and “Stolen Day” share severalsimilarities. Schatz and the narrator both prove that they are very naïve.For example, in “A Day’s Wait,” Schatz displays a naïve disposition when it isdiscovered he confused the thermometer scales, “Poor old Schatz. It’s likemiles and kilometers. You aren’t going to die” (302). This demonstrates howSchatz confused Celsius and Fahrenheit, and, therefore, believed he wasgoing to die as a result of this misunderstanding. In similar fashion, thenarrator in “Stolen Day” convinces himself that he has a debilitatingdisease; inflammatory rheumatism. Due to overhearing the symptoms, suchas an enlarged heart, the narrator’s racing heart after a race leads him tobelieve that he may have the disease. Of course, this is not the casebecause everyone’s heart races after running. As you can see, both boysdemonstrate that they are gullible in making such juvenile assumptions.Therefore, it is evident that both Schatz and the narrator share severalsimilarities.LATER in your writing career, you will be creating more lengthy paragraphsthat contain more than ONE example!!!! Look at next slide……
  • 28. To begin, the boys from “A Day’s Wait” and “Stolen Day” share severalsimilarities. Schatz and the narrator both prove that they are very naïve.For example, in “A Day’s Wait,” Schatz displays a naïve disposition when it isdiscovered he confused the thermometer scales, “Poor old Schatz. It’s likemiles and kilometers. You aren’t going to die” (302). This demonstrates howSchatz confused Celsius and Fahrenheit, and, therefore, believed he wasgoing to die as a result of this misunderstanding. In similar fashion, thenarrator in “Stolen Day” convinces himself that he has a debilitatingdisease; inflammatory rheumatism. As you can see, both boysdemonstrate that they are gullible in making such juvenile assumptions.Indeed, the similarities between Schatz and the narrator go beyond theirnaivety, they also believe that they are going to die. As a result ofconfusing the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales, Schatz spends the entire timebelieving his 102 degree fever will cause him to die. He heard thatsomeone could not live with a temperature of 44 degrees, but he did notrealize that this was in Celsius. In comparison, the narrator believes that hewill die of inflammatory rheumatism, “It’s a wonder, with my inflammatoryrheumatism and all, I didn’t just drop down dead” (306). This illustrates howthe narrator believed he was going to die because he ran a race with hisbrother and his heart beat rapidly afterwards. He clearly does not haveinflammatory rheumatism, but he is making himself believe that he does.Therefore, it is evident that both Schatz and the narrator share severalsimilarities. THIS IS AN ADVANCED/ADVANCED VERSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 29. LINK TRANSITION SENTENCE:the first sentence of a bodyparagraph. It identifies oneaspect of the major thesisand states a primary reasonwhy the major thesis is true.
  • 30. Link transition sentence formula:Transitional phrase + main idea of body #1 + main idea of body #2Although Schatz and the narrator share similarities, they alsohave many differences.Transitional phrase + main idea of body #2 + main idea of body #3You will always have TWO link transition sentences in a five-paragraph essay.
  • 31. Concluding Paragraph Concluding transition, Echo your major thesis without repeating words verbatim.Answer the “so what?” question for your reader.What was he/she supposed to learn? What were the main ideas of your essay? Connect back to your HOOK!!!!!
  • 32.  In summation, Schatz and the narrator’s actions and reactions both caused them to learn very valuable lessons. Furthermore, the two boys in “A Day’s Wait” and “Stolen Day” demonstrate that there can be similarities and differences in seemingly incomparable characters in two pieces of writing. Schatz and the narrator showed how being naïve can be both serious and comical. Despite their naivety, Schatz is a much more courageous boy than the narrator. Overall, each boy learned a very valuable lesson about jumping to conclusions. “Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.” It is evident that courage, or lack thereof, plays a significant role in both stories. One must understand that trying is half the battle and courage comes in all shapes and … ages!
  • 33. Intro. Paragraph Thesis with 3 major reasonswith thesisstatement*Body Par. #1 Reason #1 discussed in this paragraph Reason #2 discussed inBody Par. #2 this paragraphBody Par. #3 Reason #3 discussed in(optional) this paragraphConcludingParagraph Final thoughts