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Cause / Effect Essay Writing
Transcript of Cause / Effect Essay Writing
University of Nebraska Omaha
Cause and effect explores how one thing leads to another. A cause and effect paper will require you to identify a reason (cause) and consequence (effect).
Writing cause and effect essays is to explain why certain events happen and why those certain events will lead to consequences.
Use appropriate transitions to develop the sequence of time in your paper; transitions can also signal cause and effect relationships.
For clear organization, use topic sentences to introduce each main idea of each body paragraph, and note if your causes / effects are sequential and/or chronological.
Find and organize supporting details.
But not everyone respected Bob Marley's central message that love and understanding can conquer war and hate.
And on 3 December 1976, two days before "Smile Jamaica", a free concert organized by the Jamaican Prime Minister in an attempt to ease tension between two warring political groups, Marley, his wife, and manager Don Taylor were wounded in an assault by unknown gunmen inside Marley's home. Taylor and Marley's wife sustained serious injuries, but later made full recoveries. Bob Marley received minor wounds in the chest and arm. The attempt on his life was thought to have been politically motivated, as many felt the concert was really a support rally for the Prime Minister. Nonetheless, the concert proceeded, and an injured Marley performed as scheduled, two days after the attempt. When asked why, Marley responded, "The people who are trying to make this world worse aren't taking a day off. How can I?" The members of the group Zap Pow played as Bob Marley's backup band before a festival crowd of 80,000 while members of The Wailers were still missing or in hiding.
Jamaican singer-songwriter, Bob Marley, related his heritage and Rastafarian religion to a mainstream, international audience. Rastafarianism rose in the 1920s and 30s from tremendous poverty and oppression. Rastafarians were stereotyped as angry and aggressive, but Bob Marley changed the way Rastafarians were viewed by society. Marley combined the intellectual Rastafarian texts with art and personal perspective, and therefore, created something that all people can relate to: COMMUNICATION..
“Understanding causes and
effects is important to our sense of
security and our need to deal with
the forces in our environment” (413).
Results are always the effects. Reasons are always the causes.
When you explore causes, you identify the reasons for an event; when you explore effects, you identify the results of an event.
Cause and Effect Outlines and Strategy
Distinguish the difference between cause
To determine causes ask: "Why did this happen?" And make a list of results.
To determine effects ask: "What happened because of this?" And make a list of results.
Develop a working thesis statement.
Not only will your thesis indicate whether you will focus on causes or effects, but you will also suggest your purpose (informing or persuading) for writing the essay.
Your thesis statement must also establish an audience.
Though the gunman that repeatedly shot Bob Marley prior to a 1976 peace rally still remains unknown, music historians argue that the gunman attempted to kill Marley because of his support for the Prime Minister, the country's civil unrest, and his exploitation of Rastafarian religion and culture.
Supporting details are uncovered and fleshed out through critical thinking and/or research. Make a working list of key words that you can use to develop the body paragraph details. Organize your details and chose the way in which you feel would be the strongest arrangement (Chronological, Spatial, Progressive) in order to create purpose (express feelings, persuade, relate experience, entertain, inform, analyze the process, narrate, explain, etc.) and connect to your particular audience.
If the purpose of your essay is persuasion, you may want to save your most dramatic, compelling, or significant cause or effect for the end. But if you are creating a chain reaction / causal chain, then you want to organize your essay in chronological order.
Transitions signaling that
one thing is the effect of another
include: AS A RESULT, CONSEQUENTLY, THUS, HENCE, THEREFORE, and FOR THIS REASON.
BECAUSE and SINCE are transitions that signal
Transitions of addition are ALSO, IN ADDITION, ADDITIONALLY, FURTHERMORE, and ANOTHER. Transitions of addition can be used to signal movement from one cause or effect to another.
On the 11 March 2011, Japan suffered an earthquake that lead to a tsunami that lead to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan on 11 March 2011.
The Japanese nuclear disaster is the final stage of a
causal or chain reaction.
In a chain / causal chain, a
cause has an effect, and that
effect then becomes a cause,
and so on.
Remember your purpose:
Are you informing or persuading?
Focus on immediate or direct causes / effects.
Limit yourself to causes that are close in time and/or related, as opposed to remote or indirect causes, which occur later and are not directly related.
Strengthen your essay by using supporting evidence.
Define terms, offer facts and statistics, or provide examples, anecdotes, or personal observations that support your ideas.
Qualify your statements about cause and effect.
Unless there is clear evidence that one event is related to another, qualify your statements with phrases such as "It appears that the cause was" or "It seems likely" or "The evidence may indicate" or "Available evidence suggests."
When an event has multiple causes and effects, do not omit any significant ones, or you will give your reader an incomplete picture. However, rather than focus on all causes and effects in detail, only give the ones with particular significance greater room.
To evaluate the effectiveness of a cause and effect essay, ask the following questions:
What are the causes?
What are the effects?
Which should be emphasized?
Are there single or multiple causes?
Are there single or multiple effects?
Is a chain reaction involved?
Critical Thinking About Cause / Effect Analysis
Thinking critically about any topic at hand is the paramount way to pull apart the subject and understand said topic to its roots. Only after true consideration of your topic will you be able to write a well-rounded, interesting paper. So as you read and write cause-and-effect analysis, ask the following questions:
HAVE ANY OF THE CAUSES OR EFFECTS BEEN EXAGGERATED?
Events that have many causes and effects can be difficult to calculate. Deliberate exaggeration can cause real harm to an essay because exaggeration can present you as an unreliable narrator. Being unreliable makes it easy for a reader to disregard
or seek loopholes and fallacies in your argument.
HAVE ANY IMPORTANT CAUSES OR EFFECTS BEEN OMITTED?
Writers should not leave out important causes or effects to further their point of view.
HAS THE CAUSE AND EFFECT RELATIONSHIP BEEN OVER SIMPLIFIED?
Failure to consider important causes or effects may be the result of oversimplifying the cause /effect relationship.
IS AN EVENT TREATED AS AN EFFECT OF ANOTHER EVENT SIMPLY BECAUSE IT OCCURRED LATER?
This is an error in logic that follows the line of thinking: “After this, therefore, because of this.”
This is an error in judgment that implies that two events are linked even though one cannot be the only cause for the other.
Larsson, when he was 15 years old, witnessed the gang rape of a girl, which led to his lifelong abhorrence of violence and abuse against women. The author never forgave himself for failing to help the girl, which inspired the themes of sexual violence against women in his books like
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire,
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest
Larson’s experience of witnessing
a vicious rape was the reason
(cause) that he wrote The
Millennial Series (effect),
which focuses on a young woman
physical and sexual violence, and
Martin Luther King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"
On the 12 April 1963 King was roughly arrested during a nonviolent protest against racism and racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama.
While in jail, eight white Alabama clergymen wrote a piece titled "A Call for Unity" that condemned King and his actions. This was smuggled into the jail.
Immediately, King wrote a response, titled "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," which was smuggled out in a tube of toothpaste and published in the evening paper.
King implemented a
call and response
method in the letter, which has not only been replicated in literature, but it is also a constant structure in jazz and blues.
The call is the initial argument, in King's case, it is what the clergymen wrote, and the response is King's counterargument.
Therefore, a cause (call) and effect (response) is a persuasive device.
Listen closely: King never insults his audience, he never devalues their perspectives, and he focuses on constructing an informative argument that presupposes what the clergymen will say next.
ABC News blocks the link, but you can follow the hyperlink to the news report posted on You Tube, or just type "Potential Nuclear meltdown Nightmare in Japan Earthquake Tsunami 3/11/11" in the search bar.