Use your concept map or plan
Write your assignment using your map or plan to guide you. As you write, you may well get new ideas or think about ideas in slightly different ways. This is fine, but check back to your map or plan to evaluate whether that idea fits well into the plan or the paragraph that you are writing at the time. Consider: In which paragraph does it best fit? How does it link to the ideas you have already discussed?
For every paragraph, think about the main idea that you want to communicate in that paragraph and write a clear topic sentence which tells the reader what you are going to talk about. A main idea is more than a piece of content that you found while you were researching, it is often a point that you want to make about the information that you are discussing. Consider how you are going to discuss that idea (what is the paragraph plan). For example, are you: listing a number of ideas, comparing and contrasting the views of different authors, describing problems and solutions, or describing causes and effects?
Use linking words throughout the paragraph. For example:
- List paragraphs should include words like: similarly, additionally, next, another example, as well, furthermore, another, firstly, secondly, thirdly, finally, and so on.
- Cause and effect paragraphs should include words like: consequently, as a result, therefore, outcomes included, results indicated, and so on.
- Compare and contrast paragraphs should include words like: on the other hand, by contrast, similarly, in a similar way, conversely, alternatively, and so on.
- Problem solution paragraphs should include words like: outcomes included, identified problems included, other concerns were overcome by, and so on.
Some paragraphs can include two plans, for example a list of problems and solutions. While this is fine, it is often clearer to include one plan per paragraph.
Look at your plan or map and decide on the key concepts that link the different sections of your work. Is there an idea that keeps recurring in different sections? This could be a theme that you can use to link ideas between paragraphs. Try using linking words (outlined above) to signal to your reader whether you are talking about similar ideas, whether you are comparing and contrasting, and so on. The direction that your thinking is taking in the essay should be very clear to your reader. Linking words will help you to make this direction obvious.
Different parts of the essay:
While different types of essays have different requirements for different parts of the essay, it is probably worth thinking about some general principles for writing introductions, body paragraphs and conclusions. Always check the type of assignment that you are being asked to produce and consider what would be the most appropriate way to structure that type of writing.
Remember that in most (not all) writing tasks, especially short tasks (1,000 to 2,000 words), you will not write headings such as introduction and conclusion. Never use the heading ‘body’.
Writing an introduction:
Introductions need to provide general information about the topic. Typically they include:
- Background, context or a general orientation to the topic so that the reader has a general understanding of the area you are discussing.
- An outline of issues that will and will not be discussed in the essay (this does not have to be a detailed list of the ideas that you will discuss). An outline should be a general overview of the areas that you will explore.
- A thesis or main idea which is your response to the question.
Here is an example of an introduction:
It is often a good idea to use some of the words from the question in the introduction to indicate that you are on track with the topic. Do not simply recount the question word for word.
Writing the body:
- Each paragraph should make a point which should be linked to your outline and thesis statement.
- The most important consideration in the body paragraphs is the argument that you want to develop in response to the topic. This argument is developed by making and linking points in and between paragraphs.
Try structuring paragraphs like this:
- Topic sentence: open the paragraph by making a point
- Supporting sentences: support the point with references and research
- Conclusive sentence: close the paragraph by linking back to the point you made to open the paragraph and linking this to your thesis statement.
Here is an example of a body paragraph from the essay about education and globalisation:
As you write the body, make sure that you have strong links between the main ideas in each of the paragraphs.
Writing the conclusion:
This is usually structured as follows:
- Describe in general terms the most important points made or the most important linkage of ideas
- Do not include new information, therefore it does not usually contain references
- End with a comment, a resolution, or a suggestion for issues that may be addressed in future research on the topic.
Here is an example conclusion from the essay on education:
E238 Essay Assignment Example
The final example assignment for longer essays requires students to branch out of their comfort zone by asking them to look at a text through an interpretive approach not typically associated with that particular text. These options would vary greatly depending on the focus of the lectures or the texts read in E238. A strength of this assignment is that it allows students to practice their interpretive skills and use critical thinking strategies instead of merely regurgitating information from class lectures as is often the case in many essays.
Essay #2: Critical Approach/Genre Interpretation
Requirements: 4-6 pages. Stapled. Double-spaced. Times New Roman 12 point font. All citations will be MLA Parenthetical citation. Include a “Works Cited” page.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said, “The interpretation of our reality through patterns not our own, serves only to make us ever more unknown, ever less free, ever more solitary,” meaning that we limit our own freedom and experience of the world if we only rely on the world view or interpretations of others. In this light, creating your own interpretations of texts increases the realm of possibility and enriches your own experience of reading and engaging texts. We have heard several various lectures on literary movements and critical approaches used in literary theory to further understand and interpret texts. With these lectures in mind, please write a formal essay in which you analyze and interpret one (or two maximum) work(s) through the lens of one of the lectures presented in class. Here is the catch: you may not use the particular lecture we discussed in regards to the context of its associated text (see the voided texts below). In other words, you may not interpret Kafka’s stories through the lens of ‘Minor Literature’ or Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in respect to ‘Magical Realism’ and so on.Any other combinations are valid. You should anchor your essay with one of the various critical approaches used for studying literature or discuss the text in light of one of the genre lectures. Be sure to focus your argument with a strong, clear thesis, and support your claim with ample evidence from the fiction. The best essays will follow the conventions of academic papers as given in the ‘Materials’ section of our class page. Outside research for this assignment is not required, but it is permitted (though keep in mind that I am more interested in your own critical thinking and writing than the interpretations of other critics).
Feminist or Gender Approach (void with Mrs. Dalloway)
Postcolonialism (void with Untouchable)
Genre/Literary Movement Lectures:
Utopian/Dystopian (void with We)
Modernism (void with Mrs. Dalloway)
Minor Literature (void with Kafka’s stories)
Postmodernism (void with Flight to Canada)
Magical Realism (void with One Hundred Years of Solitude)
**Please Note: the last two lectures (‘Politics and Literature’ and ‘The Future of Literature’) are not valid lectures to use for this assignment.**