Writing a Multi-paragraph Essay You can do this; I will show you how!
This is how a multi-paragraph essay should look. Introduction Paragraph 1st Body Paragraph 2nd Body Paragraph 3rd Body Paragraph Conclusion Paragraph
HOOK (also CREATIVE OPENING): the beginning sentences of the introduction that catch the reader’s interest. Ways of beginning creatively include the following: A startling fact or bit of information 2) A snatch of dialogue between two characters 3) A meaningful quotation (from the work or another source) A universal idea 5) A rich, vivid description of the setting 6) An analogy or metaphor
Your intro should start general and then get more specific. Talk about the general themes or topics of the book in a way that anyone can relate to. If you are talking about a work of literature, you should not mention the name of the work or any details about it until your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be the final sentence in your introduction and should contain a debatable opinion. 1. 2. 3. 4. Thesis Introduction Paragraph
Look at this introduction. Is it general or specific at the start? The novel Touching Spirit Bear is about a boy named Cole who gets in trouble with the law. The reason he gets in so much trouble is that he has had a hard life. When his father is not beating him, his parents are totally neglecting him. Due to this abuse and neglect Cole is extremely angry and violent. Because of all this he is eventually sent away to an Alaskan island as a punishment for what he has done. In the novel Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikealsen, Cole Matthews goes through a reincarnation of sorts and becomes a completely different person once his experience on the island is over.
Compare that introduction to this one. Which is more general to start out with? Reincarnation is the process of being reborn. Some religions believe that one can die and come back to life as another person. That is only one view of what it means to be reborn. One can be reborn by changing themselves to become a better person. This is not an easy process, but it can be done through hard work and dedication. In the novel Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikealsen, Cole Matthews goes through a reincarnation of sorts and becomes a completely different person during his experience on the Alaskan island.
Thesis Statement • Perhaps the single most important sentence in your essay • Gives you permission to talk about ideas and issues • This sets the topic for your entire essay • It should be general enough to allow you to discuss all the issues you want to cover in your essay • It should be a debatable opinion using powerful words and strong language
Which Thesis Statements follow the guidelines for good thesis statements? • In the novel Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen, the main character is a boy named Cole Matthews. • In the novel Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen, Cole Matthews is forever changed during his stay on an isolated Alaskan Island. • In the novel Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen, the main character is an angry young man named Cole Matthews who gets sent to an Alaskan island for savagely beating another boy. • Cole Matthews, the main character in the novel Touching Spirit Bear by author Ben Mikaelsen, experiences a rebirth due to his experiences on a remote Alaskan Island.
Should begin with a topic sentence that supports your thesis This sentence sets the topic for this entire paragraph It should contain concrete details which illustrate or support your topic sentence Those concrete details should be followed by commentary sentences which explain their importance Commentary sentences should be original ideas or thoughts not directly expressed in the book if you are writing about one. Good commentaries go beyond the obvious, and try to explain deeper themes and meanings. Body Paragraph #1 - #3 #1 #2 #3
This is what your body paragraph should look like. • Topic sentence • Concrete Detail #1 • Commentary 1A • Commentary 1B • Concrete Detail #2 • Commentary 2A • Commentary 2B • Concluding Sentence
More about Body Paragraphs • The Topic sentence of each paragraph should be a commentary type sentence expressing an opinion which supports your thesis • It should not be just a concrete detail • A good conclusion should wrap up what was learned or pointed out in the entire paragraph • Think of this sentence as a summary of your paragraph.
Using Transition Words in your body paragraphs • It is important to use transition words when you switch between concrete details • They can also be used between commentary sentences that do not build on one another • Or they can help to transition between one paragraph and the next
Example of how to properly use transitions • Use a transition when joining two commentary sentences that do not build on one another. • Example: • When Holmes first meets Dr. Mortimer he says, “I observe from your forefinger that you make your own cigarettes.” (p 9) Holmes has the ability to notice details that most people overlook, and this is a skill he is most proud of. Additionally, these observational skill assists him in solving difficult mysteries. • Use a transition between one “chunk” in your paragraph and another.
How to use Transitions (2) • Use a transition between one “chunk” (1cd + 2cms) in your paragraph and another. • Example: (TS)One way in which Cole transforms while on the island is that he learns to control his anger better. (CD#1)After Edwin teaches him about soaking in the cold pond, Cole uses this ritual to help him begin each day. “This was the first day he felt angry since Edwin and Garvey left. This was also the first day he had skipped going to the pond.” (p 180) (CM)Using the pond in the mornings helps Cole to rid himself of anger by going “numb.” (CM)When he does not soak in the pond his anger returns because he has not taken the time to clear his mind and focus on what he needs to do to have a good day. (CD#2)Similarly, Cole also uses the dances that Edwin taught him about to end his day and review what he has learned about life. When he tells Edwin, Garvey and Peter what he learned from the mouse dance he said, “Mice are survivors that make the best of whatever they have.” (p 230) (CM)With each dance Cole not only learns something about the world around him he also learns something about himself. (CM)Furthermore, with each dance he does he learns more about himself, and as he learns more about himself he is better able to deal with his anger.
Using lead ins before quoting from a novel or book • A lead in set the scene for a quote • It tells the reader where in the story the quote happened • It also can provide important background details so that the quote is more understandable
Example of how to properly use a lead in • Quote: “I observe from your forefinger that you make your own cigarettes.” (p 9) • Adding a lead in: In the novel, when Sherlock Holmes first meets Dr. Mortimer he says, “I observe from your forefinger that you make your own cigarettes.” (p 9) • Quote: “Indeed, sir! May I inquire as to who has the honour to be the first?” (p 10) • Adding a lead in: Later, when Dr. Mortimer says that he came to Holmes seeking the second highest mind in Europe, Holmes responds by saying, “Indeed, sir! May I inquire as to who has the honour to be the first?” (p 10)
COMMENTARY your explanation and interpretation of the concrete detail. Commentary tells the reader what the author of the text means or how the concrete detail proves the topic sentence and supports the thesis. Commentary may include interpretation, analysis, argument, insight, and/or reflection.
Commentary • For example, ten-year old Jerry Sanford is taken prisoner on a British prison ship where he eventually dies of typhus. His body is unceremoniously thrown overboard in a weighted sack. There is no reason why a young boy should suffer this fate solely because he was a friend of a Rebel. Even more degrading is he never is afforded a proper burial.
CONCLUDING SENTENCE/CLINCHER: last sentence of the body paragraph. It concludes the paragraph by tying the concrete details and commentary back to the topic sentence and/or thesis statement.
Conclusion Paragraphs • Conclusion should wrap up the essay • It should move from specific to general • It should leave the reader with something to ponder or think about • It should not just be a complete restatement of the introduction paragraph 1. Restate the thesis 2. 3. 4.
Restating the Thesis • The first sentence in your conclusion should restate the thesis statement of your essay • Restate means, using fresh new words, remind the reader the point/opinion of your essay • If you are doing a response to literature essay, you do not need to repeat the name of the novel or the author in your restatement of the thesis • Try to think of an overall universal moral or message that you can talk about to round out your conclusion
Compare the Conclusions Thesis: In the novel Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikealsen, Cole Matthews goes through a reincarnation of sorts and becomes a completely different person once his experience on the island is over. Conclusion #1: Due to his experiences on the Alaskan island, Cole is completely transformed and becomes reborn as a truly compassionate and caring human being. He would not have been able to make these miraculous changes had he never visited the island. Cole changed because he worked hard to overcome his past and the hard life he had before coming to the island. We learn that to change you must work hard.
Compare the Conclusions • Conclusion #2: In the novel Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikealsen, Cole Matthews goes through a reincarnation of sorts and becomes a completely different person once his experience on the island is over. Cole accomplishes a dramatic personal transformation through both hard work, persistence, and with the help of others. This type of personal change is a difficult thing. It can only happen if one believes in themselves and is open to examining past mistakes and problems in order to find solutions. The real lesson that can be learned from this novel is that by letting go of anger one can begin to see the possibilities of life.