But Alex’s professor doesn’t like it. She underlines the very first two sentences, and she writes, “This is simply too general. Get to the true point.” She underlines the third and fourth sentences, and she writes, “You’re just restating the question I inquired. What’s your point?” She underlines the final sentence, after which writes when you look at the margin, “What’s your thesis?” because the past sentence in the paragraph only lists topics. It does not make a quarrel.
Is Alex’s professor just a grouch? Well, no—she is wanting to show this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the model that is five-paragraph, it is about making a disagreement. Her first sentence is general, the way she learned a essay that is five-paragraph start. But through the professor’s perspective, it’s far too general—so general, in fact, she didn’t ask students to define civil war that it’s completely outside of the assignment. The 3rd and fourth sentences say, in a lot of words, “I am comparing and contrasting the reasons why the North and also the South fought the Civil War”—as the professor says, they just restate the prompt, without giving an individual hint about where this student’s paper is certainly going. The final sentence, which should make a quarrel, only lists topics; it does not commence to explore how or why something happened.
If you’ve seen lots of five-paragraph essays, it is possible to guess what Alex will write next. Her body that is first paragraph begin, “We can easily see some of the different reasoned explanations why the North and South fought the Civil War by looking at the economy.” Exactly what will the professor say about this? She may ask, “What differences can we see? What area of the economy are you speaking about? How come the differences exist? Exactly why are they important?” The student might write a conclusion that says much the same thing as her introduction, in slightly different words after three such body paragraphs. Alex’s professor might respond, “You’ve already said this!”
What could Alex do differently? Let’s start over. This time around, Alex does not start with a preconceived notion of how to organize her essay. In the place of three “points,” she decides that she will brainstorm until she comes up with a main argument, or thesis, that answers the question “Why did the North and South fight the Civil War?” Then she’s going to regulate how to prepare her draft by taking into consideration the argument’s parts and exactly how they can fit together.
After doing some brainstorming and reading the Writing Center’s handout on thesis statements, Alex thinks about a main argument, or thesis statement:
- Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against oppression and tyranny, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government.
Then Alex writes her introduction. But rather of starting with a statement that is general civil wars, she gives us the ideas we must know to be able to understand all the areas of her argument:
- The United States broke far from England in response to British tyranny and oppression, so opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual freedom and liberty were important values within the young republic. But in the century that is nineteenth slavery made Northerners and Southerners see these values in very different ways. By 1860, the conflict during these values broke out into a civil war that nearly tore the united states apart. Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government in that war.
Every sentence in Alex’s introduction that is new the reader down the path to her thesis statement in an unbroken chain of ideas.
Now Alex turns to organization. You’ll find more about the thinking process she goes through in our handout on organization, but here you will find the basics: first, she decides, she’ll write a paragraph that gives background; she’ll explain how opposition to tyranny and a belief in individual liberty had become such important values in the United States. Then she’ll write another background paragraph in which she shows the way the conflict over slavery developed in the long run. Then she’ll have separate paragraphs about Northerners and write my essay for me Southerners, explaining in detail—and giving evidence for—her claims about each group’s reasons behind likely to war.
Note that Alex now has four body paragraphs. She might have had three or two or seven; what’s important is that she allowed her argument to tell her exactly how many paragraphs she must have and just how to match them together. Furthermore, her body paragraphs don’t all discuss “points,” like “the economy” and “politics”—two of them give background, in addition to other two explain Northerners’ and Southerners’ views at length.
Finally, having followed her sketch outline and written her paper, Alex turns to writing a conclusion. From our handout on conclusions, she knows that a “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” conclusion doesn’t forward move her ideas. Applying the strategies she finds within the handout, she decides that she can use her conclusion to explain why the paper she’s just written really matters—perhaps by pointing out that the fissures in our society that the Civil War opened are, most of the time, still causing trouble today.
Will it be ever OK to create a essay that is five-paragraph?
Yes. Have you ever found yourself in times where somebody expects you to sound right of a body that is large of on the spot and write a well-organized, persuasive essay—in fifty minutes or less? Appears like an essay exam situation, right? When time is short and also the pressure is on, falling back from the good old essay that is five-paragraph help you save time and give you confidence. A five-paragraph essay may also work as the framework for a short speech. Do not belong to the trap, however, of creating a” that is“listing statement when your instructor expects an argument; when making plans for your body paragraphs, think about three aspects of a disagreement, rather than three “points” to go over. On the other side hand, most professors recognize the constraints of writing blue-book essays, and a “listing” thesis is probably a lot better than no thesis after all.
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