Virtue #1: Unity Everything supports one opinion.
Everything supports one opinion. ► Everything in the essay supports the signal term (opinion) in its thesis statement. ► Everything in each paragraph supports the signal term (opinion) in its topic sentence. ► IOW—STAY ON TOPIC all the time!
Base this paper on actual evidence from the work…
Unity/Development Use only facts that support the thesis! Thesis: I deserve my own room. Which facts support that thesis? ► Last night Kenny was playing with his trucks so loudly that I could hardly do my homework. ► Both Kenny and I like to watch the same TV programs. ► This morning I couldn’t find my Batman shirt because Kenny had worn it and lost it on Tuesday.
Evidence = facts & details ► Odysseus and his men took the boat and ran away while the Cyclops screamed and threw stuff at them. ► No—this is too general (and it’s blah!). ► Odysseus and his men escaped under the bellies of Cyclops’ sheep. Driving the sheep aboard the ship, the men set sail. However, upon discovery, Cyclops retaliated, “breaking a hilltop in his hands and heaving it after” them (ll. 420-1). ► Yes—it’s a fact and detailed—and it’s from the text (cited) (and much more interesting for your teacher to read! ).
Developmental Paragraph ► Topic sentence ► Explanation ► Evidence My dog is great at learning tricks. He can teach himself new ones quickly. For instance, one day when I came home from school he ran to my room, grabbed a tennis ball from my closet, and charged back. Then he sat up on his hind legs for the first time, whining to go play. Laughing, I took him outside, and his success made that trick an instant habit which he repeated every day from then on. I could tell many stories like that.
Example Developmental Paragraph for a Paper on the Odyssey ► Topic sentence ► Explanation ► Evidence Although courageous, Odysseus was also aware of his weakness before temptation. Not only was he aware of this flaw, but he also took preventative measures to overcome a tempter’s snare. For example, Odysseus, warned by Circe of the sirens, was also instructed to “alone listen to their song” (l.531). Though desirous to follow her instructions, he also knew his weakness. Thus, he requested that the men tie him to the mast. Though the “lovely voices in ardor” appealed to him, his wisdom saved him from succumbing to the lure (l.582).
Bad writers may include opinions and explanations in their paragraphs, but they nearly always neglect evidence.