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Writing a Thesis-Driven Essay
Transcript of Writing a Thesis-Driven Essay
COMPLETE THE PROCESS
If you want to be taken seriously as a student and a writer, you need to present a serious paper
The paper must be NEAT, CLEAN, TYPED, and in the accepted FORMAT and ON TIME. .
Use 12 point, Times New Roman font in black ink. Double space all work and use paragraphs!!!
Use the proper class heading. It shows you know how to follow directions, and demonstrates effort and thought.
The "Funnel" Introduction
Your introduction must provide the reader with fundamental information. This information includes a general opening, link to the text you will be discussing with background info, and ultimately; your thesis. The thesis is the one position you will discuss or prove in the paper. The thesis will need to be backed up with evidence from the text or other sources.
The first sentence is a general opening that relates or echoes the thesis or topic of the essay
Throughout the world, teachers have been considered the most valuable assets of society.
The general opening focuses or "funnels" the reader's attention on your topic.
Continued General Opening
The second sentence should explain the first further. It is the follow up to the first sentence.
Education was considered the most important part of life, therefore, teachers were viewed as necessary and
vital to a good life.
The third sentence connects your ideas to the text you read. It should include the TAG. The TAG is an acronym for TITLE, AUTHOR, GENRE. For example:
In the novel (G), Teachers Rule (T), by Susan Loccke (A), teachers are the main subject.
The TAG can be put in any order as long as you have identified all the parts.
About Titles . . .
The TITLE is always given special attention according to this easy rule:
“Long” texts get “long” lines ________
Plays, novels, and all books are underlined when referred to OR put in italics. When handwriting class essays or HSPA and SAT/ACT essays,
you must remember to underline!!
“Short” works get “short” lines- “”
All short works such as articles, short stories, songs, poems, and
essays must have quotes around them.
Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice” is nice.
The 4th sentence gives background on the text.
Now, you want to give some brief background to the reader about the text you will be discussing. You certainly don't want to retell the entire story but you should include the setting (both time and place) and a brief summary. For example:
In the novel, Queen Loccke, the main character, narrates her life and career as an English teacher throughout the 1990's and 2000's and ends
up saving the world from ignorance.
The Last Sentence is the MOST important!!
Now your "funnel" has been getting more and more specific. You have informed the reader of all the background needed and you must now reveal the POSITION or POINT of your essay. (get it? You are at the point of the funnel now! V)
It is time for the
Here is the most important part of your introduction and essay! If you are not clear about what the POINT of your essay is, the rest of the essay will be weak and lack any support. The thesis is the foundation upon which the entire essay is built! So, the thesis is ONE well-written sentence that clearly explains the argument, claim, or statement you are proving, defending, or aruging about this text.
The Link to the Text
So, until you are more comfortable with this skill, there are some easy go-to sentence starters you can use to make a solid thesis.
The novel illustrates/shows/demonstrates that . . .
Another common formula is the the dependent clause + an independent clause.
Throughout the novel, the author . . .
Although the [insert idea], . . .
Despite the harsh family/societal environment, [insert idea]
Throughout the novel, Loccke illustrates that without teachers, society would collapse in a heap of despair.
Throughout the world, teachers have been considered the most valuable assets of society. Education was considered the most important part of life, therefore, teachers were viewed as necessary and vital to a good life. In the novel, Teachers Rule, by Susan Loccke, teachers are the main subject. In the novel, Queen Loccke, the main character, narrates her life and career as an English teacher throughout the 1990's and 2000's and ends up saving the world from ignorance. Throughout the novel, Loccke illustrates that without teachers, society would collapse in a heap of despair.
The Funnel Intro- V- together at last!
You might need two sentences to accomplish background.
The Body Paragraphs - The support
The body of your essay is made up of a minimum of 3 paragraphs. Each paragraph contains one central idea with supporting information from the text you have read. It is common to quote directly from the text to make your point but at times you may also paraphrase. A strong paragraph should be at least 5-6 sentences long and contain a topic sentence, text references, and a thesis link.
Start with a clear sentence that tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paragraph. It is not your opinion and should not be general- it should be very specific.
As Queen Loccke begins her career, she improves many students' lives with reading.
I C E-
using text for support
I C E is an acronym for Introduce, Cite, Explain. That is an easy way to remember to include all needed information. Introduce the quote you are using by giving the reader the context or set up from the novel .Cite the quote using an anchor and including page number. Then you must explain why you chose the quote. What does it prove or show?
How does it help you make your point?
How to anchor a quote:
All quotes must be introduced with an anchor that makes it part of the sentence. Never just drop in a quote between sentences. There are some easy starters you can use for anchors:
The author stated, " "
[Character name] said, " "
[Author's last name] wrote, " "
OR use an independent clause such as: After her passionate speech, Queen turned to her class and said, "Now, who's ready for some homework?" (105).
How to introduce a quote:
Before you add in the quote you chose, you must set it up for the reader. Give a brief background of what was going on in the story when it was said, This can be short and to the point.
During the argument with her principal, Queen Loccke was asked to stop assigning all books but she could not do it.
Queen replied, "My students need to read and you'll have to arrest me before I stop their reading " (98).
Explaining the quote you chose
After you cite the quote, it still needs some explanation. You have to demonstrate to the reader why you chose it and why you believe it is significant. It may be 'obvious' but the skill of a strong writer is to articulate your reasons to your reader. A well-chosen quote deserves commentary. You want to avoid using the phrase "This quote shows" because it is a bit too simple. Instead you could use "When the author . . ." or "When the character . . ."
How to properly cite a quote:
All of our writing will use MLA formatting. All quotes must be cited properly and for our literary essays, this will be easy. If you are referencing one novel or book throughout the essay, you just need to put the page number in parentheses after the quote. [in research papers or synthesis essays- you will need author's last name also] Always remember that the citation is part of the sentence therefore, it comes before the end punctuation. For example:
Queen replied, "My students need to read and you'll have to arrest me before I stop their reading!" (98).
Even if there is punctuation inside the quote, you still need to end your sentence. Never use page, pg, p. or # in the parentheses- just the numbers!!!
After you have explained the quote, you make your final connection back to your original thesis. This is a gentle reminder to the reader that you are indeed proving you point, as you set out to do. This should not be the same phrase repeated for each body paragraph; that seems lazy and/or too formulaic. You should tweak the thesis link each time to fit the example you used.
By refusing to eliminate reading, Queen Loccke helped save her students from destruction.
The Parts of the Body- all together!
As Queen Loccke begins her career, she improves many students' lives with reading. There were many years when reading was threatened and even though it was difficult, Queen Loccke found ways to keep books in the curriculum.. In time, the conflict reached a breaking point. During the argument with her principal, Queen Loccke was asked to stop assigning all books but she could not do it.
Queen replied, "My students need to read and you'll have to arrest me before I stop their reading" (98). When Queen Loccke's story got out to the press, many protesters came to her aid. With a simple declaration, she was able to turn an impending crisis into a positive outcome. By refusing to eliminate reading, Queen Loccke helped save her students from destruction.
After writing the three body paragraphs, you have proven your position, but that doesn't mean the essay can just end there. Just like any speech, presentation or even phone call, when people communicate ideas, there is a summary at end. This helps wrap up the information and end on the bigger picture of your essay instead of the last specific detail in paragraph 3. The conclusion needs to reverse the ideas you presented in the introduction. Instead of going from big/general to small/ specific- you now must take the reader from the specific points of the text back to a place where it can relate to life in general. This is not just a backwards introduction. A major difference in your reader is now he or she is 'very knowledgeable' about the topic. You can add much more insightful comments which now are understood better. Start by restating the text, then briefly summarize your examples, and then end on a connection to life or society in general. This is not the place for new information or an exact restatement of previous ideas. Just because it is last, don't mistake the power of the lasting impression it gives the reader.
Overall information for the body paragraphs:
Discuss the examples in chronological order as they happen.
Use transitions appropriately. Don't stick to first, second, third- it is too elementary.
Make sure your examples and quotes are the best choice for your thesis. It is very obvious when quotes are chose randomly or without effort.
Take the time to check all character, town, and other names for proper spelling. Get all quotes accurate, and page numbers correct!
From Specific to General
After the three detail-oriented paragraphs, you want to go back to the whole overview. Mentioning the author and title again can help do that, but don't just tell the TAG again as if it is the first time we heard it. And never start with "In conclusion" !!!
Teacher's Rule is a novel with a clear message about the importance of education.
The protagonist, Queen Loccke, was a tireless activist for reading, writing, and improving student vocabulary against the challenges of people, nature, and evil zombies.
Brief Summary of Ideas
Here you want to just remind the reader of all the great backup you gave for your thesis, but do not retell each one. It is a relatively short paper and we don't need too much reminding- just a sentence or two is enough. Example:
End with Insight
This is the hardest part to 'teach'. It is part teacher, part preacher, part philosopher. You are trying to make a connection to the reader, society, and world. Do NOt end on a question- it is too cliche unless really well done. Usually- formulaic ideas sound, well, formulaic. (translation: weak)
By believing in her subject so strongly, Loccke underscores the power of ordinary people to change the world they live in.
The Conclusion - all together
Teacher's Rule is a novel with a clear message about the importance of education. The protagonist, Queen Loccke, was a tireless activist for reading, writing, and improving student vocabulary against the challenges of people, nature, and evil zombies. By believing in her subject so strongly, Loccke underscores the power of ordinary people to change the world they live in.
Helpful information about the conclusion:
This is not a book review, do not give your opinion or use adjectives such as amazing writer, or wonderful book. This is objective and scholarly- so stick to what you found out.
Don't let the "preacher" within you loose. Many students get carried away with the insight and go on for 3-5 sentences- which is too many. Decide what you want to say and find the best and more brief way to say it.
You are not allowed to use personal pronouns in the essay but students slip on this rule, especially in the conclusion. Don't let your guard down! . Be consistent to the finish. You wouldn't walk off the field just because there are a few minutes or seconds left! Finish strong!
REVISE, REVISE, REVISE
Writing is a process, not a one-shot deal. You will only improve with constant editing and revising. It is true of all skills. NO one is born an excellent writer. The difference is the willingness to work at the edits.
Start your work with enough time for real editing. We will have peer edits, and self-edits but only you can put the serious efforts in. If you learn one habit this year, please let it be to REVISE your writing.
There is so much to learn and keep up with to be a good writer. The organization is one of the most important but after you get the 5-paragraph format, there is so much more to work on! Spelling, vocabulary/word choice, grammar, syntax, and style all contribute to being a successful writer. If you have a particular weakness, you must address it. Don't rely on the spell or grammar check. They are very general and many times faulty shortcuts. Own your writing and be ready and excited for your growth this year!
Created by Mrs. Loccke