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Transcript of ENGL 318
Adapted from “Essay Structure” by Tristanne Connolly, Department of English, St. Jerome's University
RECALL: HOW TO Structure AN ESSAY
INTRO / BODY PARAGRAPHS / CONCLUSION
A) “Ease the reader in,” possibly by:
1) Find a quotation or example that sums up what you want to say in an interesting, snappy way.
2) Start with the general and move to the specific--but not too general.
3) Give some background / explain an issue: What does the reader need to know about your topic, or why it is important?
4) Ask a question (your thesis statement will be the answer).
B) Transitional sentences move from your "hook" to your thesis.
C) Thesis Statement: the claim to be proven by the essay.
* usually one sentence but can be two if necessary
* traditionally placed at the very end of your introduction (this is the spot where teachers, grading stacks of papers, tend to look for it). Sometimes begins with “In this paper I will argue that…”
The thesis is like a preview of your essay - the intentional spoiler.
Remember to make sure your thesis:
1) Makes a claim that can be argued.
2) Is not obviously true: a statement of fact or a cliché.
3) Can be proven within the constraints of the assignment.
4) Can be proven by the evidence available.
Every body paragraph must have:
a topic sentence
Like a mini-thesis, the topic sentence expresses
the main point a paragraph sets out to try and
demonstrate. It is usually placed at or near the
beginning of the paragraph.
2) Some kind of
Provide evidence - preferably both textual and
critical - that supports the claim of your topic
Of how and why your evidence proves your
point, and how and why that point relates back to
Note: strive for smooth transitions between body paragraphs:
Although/While this last idea is like this, this next idea is like that;
This last idea is like this, and this new idea is also/similarly like this with these important differences or further details.
You can also use time sequence (e.g. Next/Meanwhile), or cause and effect (e.g. Consequently/If...then), etc.
Wrap things up by reiterating the main idea in different words, and look back over how the thesis has been proven.
This is not just repetition. Show how you have developed your idea, and indicate what the reader has learned by reading your essay.
Your conclusion should answer the question, "So What?" Or 'Why is all this important?' Or 'What are the implications of what you have argued?'
Be careful not to over-generalize.
Recall: How to
- what's it about?
: What is the claim, or argument?
: How could I prove this? (If A, B, and C are true, then the thesis is true.)
: What can I point to to show that my topic sentences are true? (Text and context)
: What is the perspective from which I will be showing how the evidence supports my claims? (critics and theory)
1. Test 1
2. Schedule revisions:
* Nov. 16: T&R, Back of the Turtle
* Nov. 18: Peer Editing
* Nov. 21: Academic Blogs (bring computers / phones)
* Nov. 23 Goldman / Girl Runner
* Nov. 25 Girl Runner
* Nov. 30 Girl Runner / Exam Prep
* Dec. 2 Test 2 (same as always)
“[A] myth is
one story in a mythology—a system of hereditary stories of ancient origin which were once believed to be true by a particular cultural group, and which served to explain… why the world is as it is
and things happen as they do, to provide a rationale for social customs and observances, and to establish the sanctions for the rules by which people conduct their lives." (Abrams)
Myths are often considered:
- to focus on supernatural protagonists (as opposed to legends, which are about people)
- to not be “objectively true”
- The “conventions and genres of literature” (Frye)
But how does myth operate in King's novel?
- If religion is understood as an attempt to explain the supernatural underpinnings of the natural world, myth can be understood as an attempt to interpret the meaning of the natural world. Abrams calls myth a “religion in which we no longer believe.”