Essay Structure and Thesis
The Writing ProcessPlanningShaping/Organizing DraftingRevisingEditingProofreading
The Major Parts of Any EssayTitleIntroductionThesis statementBody paragraphTopic sentenceSupporting detailsBody paragraphTopic sentenceSupporting detailsConclusion
Your TitleThis can be catchy, creative, complex, or just to the point.A Day at Disney WorldSpaced Out in Space MountainHow to Wait in Line All Day and Not Lose Your MindCaptured by PiratesI Met My Maker on Toads Wild RideThe Most Expensive Junk Food in the WorldPostmodernism Meets Late Capitalism
But noticeThe title indicates, at least in some fashion, what the essay is about.Sometimes, after youve done some freewriting, clustering, and general research and thinking about your topic, writing the title first helps you focus. You can always change the title later.
IntroductionYour first or introductory paragraph should both explain your topic and stimulate your audiences interest. Well have an entire lesson on this later, but your introductory paragraph should contain your thesis statement so that your reader can focus on what exactly you are going to talk about in the upcoming body paragraphs.The traditional location of a thesis in an academic essay is at the end of the introduction.
Introduction and ThesisIntroductionGrabs audiences attentionGives necessary background to understand the topic/thesisContains the thesisThesisStates essays topic, purpose, point of viewSpecific, powerful words ~> not general or vagueMay change during revision processProbable that it will
Visual Representation of Your Introduction Paragraph1. Broad sentence that sets the stage2., 3. narrower sentences that provide some details or a greater degree of specificity4. Very specific sentence that focuses on exactly what you are going to say in the following essayThesis statement
Allow Your Thesis to Guide Your PaperPass out thesis handout.
Source: _A Writer's Reference_ by Diana HackerA thesis statement can be: The answer to a question that you have posedThe solution for a problem you have identifiedA statement that takes a position on a debatable topic
General Tips about Thesis StatementsA statement that contains the essays topic and point(s)Gives the reader a sense of what the essay will be aboutMost thesis statements are only one sentenceMust be a complete sentence Everything in the essay must support the thesis. Usually comes at the end of the introduction:Introduction paragraph should follow this format:Attention getter (commonly known as a hook)Introduce the topic and give background leading up to the thesisState the thesis
What are the Roles of a Thesis? 1. It can assert an argument, explain a topic, and/or analyze an issue. 2. It is specific in presenting the writer's position.3. It limits both scope and topic of the paper. 4. It captures the reader's interest and focuses that interest on the topic.
Source: http://owl.english.purdue.eduKinds of Thesis Statements: Persuasive*An persuasive paper makes a claim based on opinion, evaluation, or interpretation about a topic and proves this claim with specific evidence. Persuasive thesis example: High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness. *If you have been asked to argue a point or choose a side on an issue, this is likely the type of thesis you will use. *Typically, you will use this style of thesis in English 101 and transfer-level courses.
Source: http://owl.english.purdue.eduKinds of Thesis Statements: Analytical*An analytical paper breaks the topic down into parts, examines each part, and determines how each part relates to the whole topic. Analytical thesis example: An analysis of the college admission process reveals one challenge facing counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong extracurricular backgrounds. *If you have been asked to analyze a topic, issue, or reading, this is the type of thesis you should use. *Typically, you will use this style of thesis in English 101 and transfer level courses.
Ways of Constructing Thesis Statements: The Three Point Thesis (Essay Map)Contains essays topic + point, and three supporting reasonsExample:The Kardashians are a prime example of the emptiness of reality tv culture and the cult of celebrity because their show and subsequent lifestyles reflect consumerist values, trivial pastimes, and a focus on superficial attractiveness.
Ways of Constructing a Thesis:Because/ThereforeContains problem and solutionDespite some gains in recent years, the film and television industry is still not doing enough to represent societies in our media that are as diverse as the society we live in. [lead-in, identifies problem] Therefore, order to increase minority representation in movies and television shows, [goal] casting agencies should not be allowed to specify race in a casting call unless it is an integral part of the story [solution].The author would need to include support and evidence for both the problem (thereby justifying the goal) and why the solution would be a viable one.
Ways of Constructing Thesis Statements:The UmbrellaContains essays topic, point, and alludes to reasons why the reader should believe you. Do not directly state the supporting reasons, but instead allude to them.Example: Although thought to be humane and necessary, animal testing for medical and cosmetic purposes [topic] does not live up to its promises and causes more harm than good [point and reasons].Do NOT use language like, There are many reasons people dont like animal testing, mostly its cruel.
Thesis: DO NOTDO NOT announce your thesis: In this essay, I am going to tell you about Mt. SAC college and why you should go there. (Side note: Some instructors may encourage this type of statement, and always do what your instructor suggests) DO NOT confuse your reader: Just make sure that the topic and point are clear. A Thesis CANNOT be a fact: Doesnt allow you to prove anything because its already factual.DO NOT be vague: Words like good, bad, right, and wrong, dont convey specific meaning. A Theis CANNOT be a question: Dont you think animal testing is inhumane?Does not give the point of the paper.Leaves it open for readers to fill in the blank.
Creating a Thesis Statement1. Determine essays topic (what youre talking about)Example: Pixars film Up2. Determine what kind of paper you are writing and what kind of thesis statement you need to use: analytical, persuasive, or expository. Example: Persuasive=Its not really a kid movie.3. Determine the way you will construct your thesis: list or umbrella?4. Put it all together!Example: Pixars most recent film, Up, should not be considered a kid movie because its character conflicts and main theme of loss are too complex for children to understand. Opposing Example: Entertainment aimed at children should not underestimate a childs ability to understand complex concepts, and the popularity of movies like Pixars Up prove that children can understand and even identify with themes of loss and sacrifice.
Body ParagraphsBody paragraphs support and explain the essays thesis.The more the merrier, for several reasons:They are reader friendlyThey help make the essay look organized.And, of course, they help you meet your papers page-length requirement.
Some GuidelinesEach paragraph is a complete thought.As soon as you start to change thoughts, or go a new direction, start a new paragraph.Dont be afraid of having too many paragraphs.I like to see at least three indents on a page
Generally a paragraph starts with a topic sentence, that tells what the paragraph is about, and the other sentences provide details and support.You can have as many or as few sentences to a paragraph as you want, In fact, it makes your paper more readable, creates a better rhythm, if you vary the paragraph length.
The Golden RuleDont let a paragraph wander keep it to one central thought. When you feel your mind changing gears, its time to change paragraphs!
ConclusionsA concluding paragraph is the final paragraph in your essayIt presents a philosophical summary of the essay, linking directly back to the intro And (sorry) it does NOT start with In conclusion
Prewriting, Writing, RewritingGeneral tipsREVISION TAKES TIME!Plan to write at least three drafts1st draft Focus on the BIG stuffOverall organization of essayMay revisit this step several times2nd draft Concentrate your effortsEdit3rd draft Get nitpickyProofread
Reminder About the Upcoming Essay Rough DraftOur Peer Review is next week.Your rough draft should be at least three full pages.
Remember, topics for this paper are very flexible, however you still need to meet the minimum requirements from the prompt.Always re-read the prompt before you start writing.