Persuasive essay organizer for two novels

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The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 1
Your Essay’s Conclusion
Conclusions are meant to provide a satisfying and graceful close to an essay – but
writing a satisfying and graceful conclusion can be difficult. Writers often approach the
end of the essay wondering what is left to say about their topic and, consequently, put
the least amount of effort into the essay’s concluding paragraph(s). However, an
essay’s conclusion is extremely important – it is, after all, the last thing a reader reads,
and a poorly written conclusion can undermine the positive impression created by the
rest of the essay.
If your essays tend to end “not with a bang, but a whimper” (with apologies to
T.S. Eliot), the following strategies may be helpful.
1. Provide a brief summary of the essay’s thesis and main points but try to reformulate
these ideas in a new way, focusing on the way your ideas fit together and the growth
of your understanding about your topic. Resist the temptation to merely cut and
paste (or mechanically repeat) the argument as it appears in the essay’s
introduction.
2. Consider the larger implications of the argument you have presented – how does
your argument fit into the bigger picture? Ask yourself, “So what?” and “What is the
significance of what I’ve said?” As soon as you start to ask questions (as you would
have done when originally generating ideas for the essay), you begin to tease out
the implications of your project. Think of how your argument aligns with the larger
themes of your course or the wider issue of which your analysis is a part. The things
you write about do matter, so try to convey that larger meaning and significance to
your reader.
3. Propose a potential solution (or solutions) to a problem you have identified in your
essay. You might also pose questions for further study. These strategies
demonstrate that the issue you have examined is not a finite one, and that, rather
than attempting to have the last word on the subject, you are opening the door to
further inquiry.
4. Include an apt quotation that reflects or expands on the essay’s thesis. If you used a
quotation in your introduction, employing a parallel strategy to end your essay can
provide a pleasing sense of symmetry. Similarly, if you began your essay with a
question, return to that question in the conclusion and provide a direct answer. Using
such a rhetorical strategy demonstrates your mastery of not just your essay’s
content but of its structure, as well.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 2
Note that you should avoid the following:
1. Mechanically repeating the original thesis and argumentative points and failing to
demonstrate that, by the conclusion, you have reached a fuller understanding of the
original idea.
2. Introducing completely new ideas, subtopics, evidence that should have been
explored in the body of the paper, or minor (usually irrelevant) details. Particularly
avoid introducing the thesis statement in the conclusion (in an academic paper, the
thesis should first appear in the introduction, as the reader needs to know what the
essay intends to argue from the outset).
3. Bringing up a contradiction. If you address the “other side” of the issue or debate in
your essay, do so early on (often immediately after the introduction, before you
present your own argument). Mentioning the “other side” in your conclusion will only
confuse the reader and undermine what you have said in the body of the essay.
4. Concluding with sentimental, emotional, or hyperbolic (over-the-top) commentary
that is out of keeping with the analytical nature of the essay. Instead, offer your
reader measured, thoughtful, and useful final comments that demonstrate your
credibility as a writer.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE
When editing a paragraph for length, look at the functions of the sentences involved.
What point are you trying to make, and how are you choosing to argue it? Why is the
point significant in light of both previous ideas and the overall project? Applying the
what/how/why strategy to paragraph structure may help you to stay focused.
What
(the point)
The main idea to be discussed
(best introduced in a topic sentence, the introductory
sentence to your paragraph)
1-2
sentences
How
(the proof)
The evidence used to substantiate the point or back
up the argument: examples, appropriate reference
material, quotations, etc.
2-4
sentences
Why
(the comment)
Commentary outlining the significance of the
preceding material
Your explanation of how and why these ideas fit
together: relationships, contrasts, conclusions, etc.
2-4
sentences
Certainly, the above chart is intended as a guide, not a grid. Not every paragraph
functions in the manner described above; however, the what/how/why strategy can
serve as a helpful logic barometer for your writing.
For example, if it takes more than one or two sentences to introduce the point of the
paragraph, it is likely that you are trying to focus on too much or that you are unclear on
what the precise focus really is. Fewer than two sentences of supporting evidence or
commentary usually signals a minor point; perhaps this idea is actually part of a larger
notion rather than a discrete point requiring a paragraph of its own. Conversely, more
than four sentences of commentary or supporting information might signal one of two
things: you may be making the same point several times over (rather than building on a
point with each sentence) or your evidence may be straying off into a new area, and
thus requires a subsequent paragraph.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 1
Essay Introductions
The introduction creates the first impression your reader will have of your essay, and
previews what you will cover in the essay’s body. In essence, it serves three important
functions: 1) to engage the reader’s interest; 2) to provide context for your topic; and 3) to
articulate the argument you intend to develop in the essay through a clearly expressed
thesis statement.
Engaging your reader’s interest
Beginning your essay with a general statement and narrowing to a more specific focus as
the introduction progresses (the ―funnel model‖) is a common and acceptable strategy.
When using this approach, ensure that your opening statement makes a direct comment
about your topic; avoid opening with a statement that is too general. Statements that begin
with phrases such as ―Since the beginning of time‖ or ―Throughout human history‖ likely
have little to do with the particular issue you are addressing in your essay, and this overused
strategy will repel rather than engage your reader’s interest. For example, if you are
writing an essay about the connection between love and death in Shakespeare’s Romeo
and Juliet, an opening statement such as ―Throughout history, writers have pondered the
eternal themes of love and death‖ would be too general; on the other hand, a statement like
―Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, although considered a classic love story, opens with a
bloody duel and concludes with the suicides of its main characters‖ or ―Shakespeare’s
Romeo and Juliet grapples with the complexities of love and desire and the ways in which
these emotions are affected by violence‖ would provide a more specific starting point for
your discussion (and yet would be more general than a thesis statement). The key to an
effective opening paragraph is to signal your essay’s precise focus as early as possible.
Other effective opening strategies include using an interesting or provocative quotation that
is directly relevant to your topic to stimulate the reader’s interest; posing a question to which
you will offer an answer (or provisional answer) as the introduction progresses; presenting a
shocking fact or statistic that grabs the reader’s attention and anchors the topic in a
concrete way; introducing a point-of-view that you disagree with, in order to establish your
own contrasting perspective; and employing an analogy or illustration to familiarize your
reader with your topic, particularly if your topic is somewhat abstract or potentially outside of
the reader’s experience.
There are a number of introductory strategies that you should avoid, as well. These include
providing a standard dictionary definition that doesn’t add anything significant or new to the
reader’s understanding of your topic; offering a broad generalization about human nature, a
group (or groups) of people, society, history, etc. that cannot be substantiated by credible
evidence; using self-conscious language to tell the reader what you ―will do‖ or ―will say‖ in
the essay (e.g., ―In this essay, I will discuss …‖), rather than just going ahead and
discussing the subject; and beginning the essay without establishing the essential details
about your subject, as if the reader should already know what you are talking about without
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 2
you having told him/her (your essay should be intelligible to any reader—not just your
instructor/marker).
Providing context for your topic
As noted above, the introduction should include the basic details necessary to the reader’s
understanding of your topic. For example, it should identify the author and title of a work of
literature you are analyzing, the time frame of a conflict you are examining, the specific
geographic area you are discussing, particular thinkers or scholars you will be addressing,
and any other essential information. An introduction should also provide any other context
that will help the reader to make sense of the discussion to follow, such as your theoretical
framework, relevant historical details, the way you will be using particular terms or concepts
or the current state of debate about your topic. Note, however, that the introduction is not
the place to go into an overly-detailed discussion of your argumentative points or minutiae
related to your topic. A concise, well-focused introduction will engage your reader far more
than will a wordy, rambling one. Save more extensive elaboration for the body of the essay
(you may provide a contextual paragraph or paragraphs following the introduction in order
to flesh out important context in more detail; just remember to be as concise as possible
and include only what is absolutely necessary).
Articulating the argument you intend to develop
Arguably the most important feature of your introduction is the thesis statement, which
usually appears towards the end of the introductory paragraph (a logical although not
required position for it). Be sure that your thesis statement clearly expresses the point of
your paper, and that, having read your introduction, your reader has a good grasp of what
you intend to discuss or argue and why it matters. See these handouts for more on the
thesis statement:
http://www.queensu.ca/writingcentre/handouts/Process-ThesisStatements-EffectiveStatements.pdf
http://www.queensu.ca/writingcentre/handouts/Process-ThesisStatementDev.pdf
Final tips
It is possible to write your introduction first, as a means of mapping out the essay to follow
and firming up your thesis statement as you prepare to write the body paragraphs.
However, most introductions require revision after the essay has been written (you want to
ensure that whatever you included in your introduction appears in the body of the essay,
and that whatever you included in the body of the essay is previewed in your introduction),
and it is often a good idea to write the introduction last, once you have a firm grasp of the
essay’s contents.
Note that the length of your finished introduction should be in proportion to the overall length
of your essay (e.g., a brief essay necessitates a brief introduction). Finally, be sure to
proofread carefully – a well-crafted, error-free introduction will make a favourable
impression on your reader from the outset.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 1
TRANSITIONS AND HOW TO USE THEM
Not only do you need to show the relationships between the ideas within a paragraph,
but you must also move naturally between major points in different paragraphs. This
ability to make successful transitions between ideas contributes to the overall flow and
coherence of your paper. When it comes to reinforcing the links between paragraphs,
some methods include using a key word from the preceding paragraph, reminding the
reader of your thesis, or beginning a paragraph with a sentence that refers to an idea
developed in a previous paragraph.
For example, imagine you are writing a paper arguing that the presidency of John F.
Kennedy was one of the most important in all of American history. You have just
finished writing a paragraph discussing Kennedy’s role in promoting the First Man on
the Moon program as a particularly important facet of American foreign policy. However,
you want to shift the focus of the essay away from foreign policy issues toward domestic
issues such as Kennedy’s impact on the Civil Rights movement. How do you link these
two very disparate topics?
Here is one suggestion:
While Kennedy challenged NASA to put an American on the moon by the end of the
decade, Kennedy’s presidency faced challenges of its own from the Civil Rights
Movement.
Or, you could try it this way:
While Kennedy’s promotion of the Man in Space program was an important part of
United Sates foreign policy during his pesidency, the Civil Rights movement proved to be
the most important domestic issue facing Kennedy during his brief years in the Oval
Office.
In both of these examples, the writer uses a particular concept to serve as a hinge
joining the two topics—a hook. The first transition focuses on challenges, showing that
Kennedy both issued and was faced by challenges during his presidency. The second
pivots on importance, linking the space program and civil rights as similarly key issues
despite their different spheres of foreign and domestic policy. Both are succinct and
clever transitions.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 2
In addition to such conceptual hooks, simple transition words and phrases can help aid
the process of linking ideas within and between paragraphs. The following chart outlines
some common transition words, as well as their logical contexts.
Final Essay Outline
Persuasive essay organizer for two novels
Note: You must deal with both your novels in your essay. Think about how identity is handled. Do the main characters or protagonists of the two novels understand their own identity? Do both explore identity only to discover something? What is it? Consider what is the “so what…?” So what do you think the authors of these novels really want to say about identity? That will be your thesis. Craft a thesis statement even if it is just a rough idea.
Introduction paragraph

Thesis (what you will prove):
 
Background information:
 

Six topics or persuasive reasons for the body paragraphs:

Body 1:
 
Body 2:
 
Body 3:
 
Body 4:
 
Body 5:
 
Body 6:
 
Body 6:
 
 

Conclusion sentence:

 
 

Body paragraph #1

Topic or reason #1
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #2

Topic or reason #2
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #3

Topic or reason #3
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #4

Topic or reason #4
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #5

Topic or reason #5
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #6

Topic or reason #6
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Conclusion paragraph
Restate thesis:

 
 

Summarize your evidence:

 
 

Extend, go beyond, larger meaning:

 
 

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

Persuasive essay organizer for two novels

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

GET A 40% DISCOUNT ON YOU FIRST ORDER

ORDER NOW DISCOUNT CODE >>>> WELCOME40

The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 1
Your Essay’s Conclusion
Conclusions are meant to provide a satisfying and graceful close to an essay – but
writing a satisfying and graceful conclusion can be difficult. Writers often approach the
end of the essay wondering what is left to say about their topic and, consequently, put
the least amount of effort into the essay’s concluding paragraph(s). However, an
essay’s conclusion is extremely important – it is, after all, the last thing a reader reads,
and a poorly written conclusion can undermine the positive impression created by the
rest of the essay.
If your essays tend to end “not with a bang, but a whimper” (with apologies to
T.S. Eliot), the following strategies may be helpful.
1. Provide a brief summary of the essay’s thesis and main points but try to reformulate
these ideas in a new way, focusing on the way your ideas fit together and the growth
of your understanding about your topic. Resist the temptation to merely cut and
paste (or mechanically repeat) the argument as it appears in the essay’s
introduction.
2. Consider the larger implications of the argument you have presented – how does
your argument fit into the bigger picture? Ask yourself, “So what?” and “What is the
significance of what I’ve said?” As soon as you start to ask questions (as you would
have done when originally generating ideas for the essay), you begin to tease out
the implications of your project. Think of how your argument aligns with the larger
themes of your course or the wider issue of which your analysis is a part. The things
you write about do matter, so try to convey that larger meaning and significance to
your reader.
3. Propose a potential solution (or solutions) to a problem you have identified in your
essay. You might also pose questions for further study. These strategies
demonstrate that the issue you have examined is not a finite one, and that, rather
than attempting to have the last word on the subject, you are opening the door to
further inquiry.
4. Include an apt quotation that reflects or expands on the essay’s thesis. If you used a
quotation in your introduction, employing a parallel strategy to end your essay can
provide a pleasing sense of symmetry. Similarly, if you began your essay with a
question, return to that question in the conclusion and provide a direct answer. Using
such a rhetorical strategy demonstrates your mastery of not just your essay’s
content but of its structure, as well.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 2
Note that you should avoid the following:
1. Mechanically repeating the original thesis and argumentative points and failing to
demonstrate that, by the conclusion, you have reached a fuller understanding of the
original idea.
2. Introducing completely new ideas, subtopics, evidence that should have been
explored in the body of the paper, or minor (usually irrelevant) details. Particularly
avoid introducing the thesis statement in the conclusion (in an academic paper, the
thesis should first appear in the introduction, as the reader needs to know what the
essay intends to argue from the outset).
3. Bringing up a contradiction. If you address the “other side” of the issue or debate in
your essay, do so early on (often immediately after the introduction, before you
present your own argument). Mentioning the “other side” in your conclusion will only
confuse the reader and undermine what you have said in the body of the essay.
4. Concluding with sentimental, emotional, or hyperbolic (over-the-top) commentary
that is out of keeping with the analytical nature of the essay. Instead, offer your
reader measured, thoughtful, and useful final comments that demonstrate your
credibility as a writer.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE
When editing a paragraph for length, look at the functions of the sentences involved.
What point are you trying to make, and how are you choosing to argue it? Why is the
point significant in light of both previous ideas and the overall project? Applying the
what/how/why strategy to paragraph structure may help you to stay focused.
What
(the point)
The main idea to be discussed
(best introduced in a topic sentence, the introductory
sentence to your paragraph)
1-2
sentences
How
(the proof)
The evidence used to substantiate the point or back
up the argument: examples, appropriate reference
material, quotations, etc.
2-4
sentences
Why
(the comment)
Commentary outlining the significance of the
preceding material
Your explanation of how and why these ideas fit
together: relationships, contrasts, conclusions, etc.
2-4
sentences
Certainly, the above chart is intended as a guide, not a grid. Not every paragraph
functions in the manner described above; however, the what/how/why strategy can
serve as a helpful logic barometer for your writing.
For example, if it takes more than one or two sentences to introduce the point of the
paragraph, it is likely that you are trying to focus on too much or that you are unclear on
what the precise focus really is. Fewer than two sentences of supporting evidence or
commentary usually signals a minor point; perhaps this idea is actually part of a larger
notion rather than a discrete point requiring a paragraph of its own. Conversely, more
than four sentences of commentary or supporting information might signal one of two
things: you may be making the same point several times over (rather than building on a
point with each sentence) or your evidence may be straying off into a new area, and
thus requires a subsequent paragraph.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 1
Essay Introductions
The introduction creates the first impression your reader will have of your essay, and
previews what you will cover in the essay’s body. In essence, it serves three important
functions: 1) to engage the reader’s interest; 2) to provide context for your topic; and 3) to
articulate the argument you intend to develop in the essay through a clearly expressed
thesis statement.
Engaging your reader’s interest
Beginning your essay with a general statement and narrowing to a more specific focus as
the introduction progresses (the ―funnel model‖) is a common and acceptable strategy.
When using this approach, ensure that your opening statement makes a direct comment
about your topic; avoid opening with a statement that is too general. Statements that begin
with phrases such as ―Since the beginning of time‖ or ―Throughout human history‖ likely
have little to do with the particular issue you are addressing in your essay, and this overused
strategy will repel rather than engage your reader’s interest. For example, if you are
writing an essay about the connection between love and death in Shakespeare’s Romeo
and Juliet, an opening statement such as ―Throughout history, writers have pondered the
eternal themes of love and death‖ would be too general; on the other hand, a statement like
―Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, although considered a classic love story, opens with a
bloody duel and concludes with the suicides of its main characters‖ or ―Shakespeare’s
Romeo and Juliet grapples with the complexities of love and desire and the ways in which
these emotions are affected by violence‖ would provide a more specific starting point for
your discussion (and yet would be more general than a thesis statement). The key to an
effective opening paragraph is to signal your essay’s precise focus as early as possible.
Other effective opening strategies include using an interesting or provocative quotation that
is directly relevant to your topic to stimulate the reader’s interest; posing a question to which
you will offer an answer (or provisional answer) as the introduction progresses; presenting a
shocking fact or statistic that grabs the reader’s attention and anchors the topic in a
concrete way; introducing a point-of-view that you disagree with, in order to establish your
own contrasting perspective; and employing an analogy or illustration to familiarize your
reader with your topic, particularly if your topic is somewhat abstract or potentially outside of
the reader’s experience.
There are a number of introductory strategies that you should avoid, as well. These include
providing a standard dictionary definition that doesn’t add anything significant or new to the
reader’s understanding of your topic; offering a broad generalization about human nature, a
group (or groups) of people, society, history, etc. that cannot be substantiated by credible
evidence; using self-conscious language to tell the reader what you ―will do‖ or ―will say‖ in
the essay (e.g., ―In this essay, I will discuss …‖), rather than just going ahead and
discussing the subject; and beginning the essay without establishing the essential details
about your subject, as if the reader should already know what you are talking about without
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 2
you having told him/her (your essay should be intelligible to any reader—not just your
instructor/marker).
Providing context for your topic
As noted above, the introduction should include the basic details necessary to the reader’s
understanding of your topic. For example, it should identify the author and title of a work of
literature you are analyzing, the time frame of a conflict you are examining, the specific
geographic area you are discussing, particular thinkers or scholars you will be addressing,
and any other essential information. An introduction should also provide any other context
that will help the reader to make sense of the discussion to follow, such as your theoretical
framework, relevant historical details, the way you will be using particular terms or concepts
or the current state of debate about your topic. Note, however, that the introduction is not
the place to go into an overly-detailed discussion of your argumentative points or minutiae
related to your topic. A concise, well-focused introduction will engage your reader far more
than will a wordy, rambling one. Save more extensive elaboration for the body of the essay
(you may provide a contextual paragraph or paragraphs following the introduction in order
to flesh out important context in more detail; just remember to be as concise as possible
and include only what is absolutely necessary).
Articulating the argument you intend to develop
Arguably the most important feature of your introduction is the thesis statement, which
usually appears towards the end of the introductory paragraph (a logical although not
required position for it). Be sure that your thesis statement clearly expresses the point of
your paper, and that, having read your introduction, your reader has a good grasp of what
you intend to discuss or argue and why it matters. See these handouts for more on the
thesis statement:
http://www.queensu.ca/writingcentre/handouts/Process-ThesisStatements-EffectiveStatements.pdf
http://www.queensu.ca/writingcentre/handouts/Process-ThesisStatementDev.pdf
Final tips
It is possible to write your introduction first, as a means of mapping out the essay to follow
and firming up your thesis statement as you prepare to write the body paragraphs.
However, most introductions require revision after the essay has been written (you want to
ensure that whatever you included in your introduction appears in the body of the essay,
and that whatever you included in the body of the essay is previewed in your introduction),
and it is often a good idea to write the introduction last, once you have a firm grasp of the
essay’s contents.
Note that the length of your finished introduction should be in proportion to the overall length
of your essay (e.g., a brief essay necessitates a brief introduction). Finally, be sure to
proofread carefully – a well-crafted, error-free introduction will make a favourable
impression on your reader from the outset.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 1
TRANSITIONS AND HOW TO USE THEM
Not only do you need to show the relationships between the ideas within a paragraph,
but you must also move naturally between major points in different paragraphs. This
ability to make successful transitions between ideas contributes to the overall flow and
coherence of your paper. When it comes to reinforcing the links between paragraphs,
some methods include using a key word from the preceding paragraph, reminding the
reader of your thesis, or beginning a paragraph with a sentence that refers to an idea
developed in a previous paragraph.
For example, imagine you are writing a paper arguing that the presidency of John F.
Kennedy was one of the most important in all of American history. You have just
finished writing a paragraph discussing Kennedy’s role in promoting the First Man on
the Moon program as a particularly important facet of American foreign policy. However,
you want to shift the focus of the essay away from foreign policy issues toward domestic
issues such as Kennedy’s impact on the Civil Rights movement. How do you link these
two very disparate topics?
Here is one suggestion:
While Kennedy challenged NASA to put an American on the moon by the end of the
decade, Kennedy’s presidency faced challenges of its own from the Civil Rights
Movement.
Or, you could try it this way:
While Kennedy’s promotion of the Man in Space program was an important part of
United Sates foreign policy during his pesidency, the Civil Rights movement proved to be
the most important domestic issue facing Kennedy during his brief years in the Oval
Office.
In both of these examples, the writer uses a particular concept to serve as a hinge
joining the two topics—a hook. The first transition focuses on challenges, showing that
Kennedy both issued and was faced by challenges during his presidency. The second
pivots on importance, linking the space program and civil rights as similarly key issues
despite their different spheres of foreign and domestic policy. Both are succinct and
clever transitions.
The Writing Centre
www.queensu.ca/writingcentre
© 2011 The Writing Centre. This handout is for personal use only. Reproduction is prohibited without permission.
The Writing Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, K7L 5C4
writing@queensu.ca / www.queensu.ca/writingcentre 2
In addition to such conceptual hooks, simple transition words and phrases can help aid
the process of linking ideas within and between paragraphs. The following chart outlines
some common transition words, as well as their logical contexts.
Final Essay Outline
Persuasive essay organizer for two novels
Note: You must deal with both your novels in your essay. Think about how identity is handled. Do the main characters or protagonists of the two novels understand their own identity? Do both explore identity only to discover something? What is it? Consider what is the “so what…?” So what do you think the authors of these novels really want to say about identity? That will be your thesis. Craft a thesis statement even if it is just a rough idea.
Introduction paragraph

Thesis (what you will prove):
 
Background information:
 

Six topics or persuasive reasons for the body paragraphs:

Body 1:
 
Body 2:
 
Body 3:
 
Body 4:
 
Body 5:
 
Body 6:
 
Body 6:
 
 

Conclusion sentence:

 
 

Body paragraph #1

Topic or reason #1
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #2

Topic or reason #2
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #3

Topic or reason #3
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #4

Topic or reason #4
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #5

Topic or reason #5
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Body paragraph #6

Topic or reason #6
 
First quote:
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Second quote
 
Explain how quote supports reason
 
Conclusion sentence
 

Conclusion paragraph
Restate thesis:

 
 

Summarize your evidence:

 
 

Extend, go beyond, larger meaning:

 
 

 

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