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Freshman Writing Lesson

Learning to formulate a thesis paragraph, body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph for a 5 - paragraph essay format
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on 20 September 2013

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Transcript of Freshman Writing Lesson

Writing lesson: let's get started!
Intro Paragraph
First...you must come up with a thesis statement...
THESIS STATEMENT
First,
specify
the argument!
Does my argument address the question posed to me?
Do I find it interesting? (if you don't find it interesting, I won't either!)
Is this the "easy" argument? If so, is there another possible route to take?
Okay, I think I have my argument. Now, can I answer these questions in the affirmative?
Next,
write
my thesis statement!
Make sure that it meets the following criteria:
Clear (understandable)
Well-worded (grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure)
Arguable (in other words, NOT plot)
Directive (gives a direction for the paper, so that I know where you are going with it!)
*Sometimes quotations are okay, for stylistic effect, but avoid using them until you get the hang of the whole paper writing thing in general
Intro Paragraph Should:
Be 4-6 sentences in length
Convey a universal idea*
Give context (author, work)
Intro Paragraph Should NOT:
Express personal opinion
Contain quotations*
Ask rhetorical questions
Body Paragraph
TOPIC SENTENCE
Relate some facet of my thesis
Specify the idea that I will discuss in THIS paragraph
Tie back in to the greater context of my paper (i.e.: the universal idea)
My topic sentence should:
My topic sentence should NOT:
Chronologically re-tell the plot
Introduce an idea not present in my thesis
Use repetitive wording from my introduction paragraph
GENERAL CRITERIA
Each body paragraph should contain AT LEAST TWO quotations
You must introduce and analyze each quotation - DO NOT DROP quotations*
DO NOT TRANSITION at the end of the paragraph; let the topic sentence of your next paragraph transition smoothly for you
Need some help with quotations??
1) Don't choose quotations just to re-tell the plot - choose some with analytical potential!
2)
NEVER
introduce a quotation with "In this quote" or "Another example is when..." Instead, WORK the quotation into YOUR OWN wording so that it becomes a part of your argument!
Ex: As Sammy leaves the A&P for the final time, he notices "the sunshine is skating around on the asphalt" (226).
3)
ALWAYS
follow your quotation with the appropriate analysis
Ex: As Sammy leaves the A&P for the final time, he notices "the sunshine is skating around on the asphalt" (226). The "skating" sunshine symbolizes the fact that there will be brighter moments to come for Sammy, but they will be difficult to attain.
4) A quotation with neither introduction nor follow-up analysis is called a "dropped quotation."*
YOU'RE ALMOST FINISHED!!!
Conclusion Paragraph
General Format
Topic sentence. Sentence clarifying/further explaining the idea present in your topic sentence. Context for quotation. Intro to quotation, "Quotation" (page number). Analysis of quotation. Context for second quotation. Intro to second quotation, "Quotation" (page number). Analysis of second quotation. Closing statement that ties your paragraph together.
Your Conclusion Should:
Be four to six sentences in length
Bring your paper to a point of clarification
Tie back in to your universal theme
Your Conclusion Should NOT:
Save the best ideas for last
Restate your thesis
Repeat things you have already said elsewhere in your paper
Now that you are finished, remember to do the following:
Read back over your paper (preferably backwards) to find any grammatical errors
Make sure you follow your thesis throughout each body paragraph (hint: each topic sentence should relate to the thesis, and every sentence in the body paragraph should relate to the topic sentence)
Consider the "Two Readers": one knows everything about your topic, the other knows nothing; would the one who knows everything find "holes" in your argument? would the one who knows nothing be able to follow your argument?
*Universal Idea = some idea that relates to the
human condition
; it should address a theme that appears in
real life
, that holds interest for others, and that
exists independent
of the book/play/poem/etc. that you are reading; the literature is just a
vehicle for discussion
of this essential idea
WARNING
Do NOT discuss the universal idea outside of the context of the play/novel/short story/poem/etc. that you are writing about!!!
This will take the attention away from your BRILLIANT argument!
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