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How To Write a formal 5 Paragraph personal response essay to a novel, “short story” or “poem”

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Presentation on theme: "How To Write a formal 5 Paragraph personal response essay to a novel, “short story” or “poem”"— Presentation transcript:

1 How To Write a formal 5 Paragraph personal response essay to a novel, “short story” or “poem”

2 The INTRODUCTION to your paper The introduction must include title of work, author and a statement about the topic. Also, a strong essay will mention, in order, the three things you will discuss to support/prove the topic. – In the drama, Twelve Angry Men, Reginald Rose creates characters whose interaction in a jury room allows the reader, or audience, to recognize the thematic message that “it takes a great deal of courage to stand alone.” (Rose 28) Through the character of juror eight, we learn that we must stand up for what we believe in, we must not pre- judge others, and we must be strong to convince others to do the right thing. This, according to Rose, takes courage.

3 The BODY of your Paper The body is the part of the paper that focuses on the supporting information that develops/proves your topic. Topic: what is the theme of Twelve Angry Men? – Theme: it takes courage to stand alone » Three supporting arguments are best. This writer is selecting the following points to make: 1. we must stand up for what we believe in, 2. we must not pre-judge others, and 3. we must be strong to convince others to do the right thing.

4 The CONCLUSION After the body of the essay has been written, you need to write a conclusion. The conclusion is very similar to the Introduction. You must re-state the title of the work being discussed, its author and then restate your topic and the points you have made. A final statement made by you reflecting on the work as a whole, or the topic as a whole, would also be appropriate here.

5 Organizational strategy As you write your essay, make sure the points you make in the body paragraphs of your essay are in the order you list them in the introduction (and then again in the conclusion). …Through the character of juror eight, we learn that 1) we must stand up for what we believe in, 2) we must not pre-judge others, and 3) we must be strong to convince others to do the right thing. Note: the numbers are included here for purposes of this slide and strategy. They would NEVER be in the actual content of the paper. They are there to show you that when you continue writing, your supporting arguments should be presented in the body in this order.

6 Writing suggestion/strategy: Brief Summary of story You can clearly see in the 1 st sentence of paragraph 2 that the story is briefly summarized, yet with emphasis on directly focusing on the topic. As Twelve Angry Men opens, twelve jurors have just been assigned to a jury room to deliberate the innocence or guilt of a defendant. The first thing they decide to do is to take a vote to see “who’s where.” (Rose 14) As it turns out, all the men have voted “guilty”, except for juror eight who has voted “not guilty.” The jurors are shocked that eight does not see the guilt of the young boy as clearly as they do. The summary is only enough to familiarize someone who hasn’t read the story with the background information needed to understand the point that will be made. A quote is effectively used here from the content of the story. A good writer uses quotes in his own discussion/content.

7 Transitional sentences Include a transitional sentence into each paragraph Paragraph 2: As Twelve Angry Men opens, twelve jurors have just been assigned to a jury room to deliberate the innocence or guilt of a defendant. The first thing they decide to do is to take a vote to see “who’s where.” (Rose 14) As it turns out, all the men have voted “guilty”, except for juror eight who has voted “not guilty.” The jurors are shocked that eight does not see the guilt of the young boy as clearly as they do.

8 Selecting quotations Quotations from the text are most often selected to prove your point and to strengthen it. Quotes selected should not be very long. Select only information from the text that directly supports your point and that you will refer back to specifically. “ That’s his right. It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone.” (28) This quote is chosen because it proves the writer’s first point: the author’s theme that we must stand up for what we believe in. It is said early in the play, and the writer selects it to represent eight’s position which is basically the message of the play and topic of the paper.

9 Writing suggestion/strategy: Quote explanation/referring back to the topic Applicable quotes are to be included after they are introduced by the writer to illustrate, or set up his, point. This is seen below in italics. When he refuses to change his mind, and even convinces another juror to ‘doubt’ the boy’s guilt, juror nine is impressed with eight’s stand. “That’s his right. It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone.” (28) Here we see Rose’s theme stated directly, but we also see eight’s courage recognized by another juror. It is this early in the play that juror eight finds the “courage” to continue to argue for what he believes is right. Although he is “alone,” he stays strong and does not waver in what he believes in. The underline after the quote indicates the work the writer must do to explain what the significance of the quote is and how it makes the writer’s point. This seems to be the most challenging part of writing for high school students. Making connections after selecting a quote. Beginning writers are recommended to never end a paragraph on a quote. Quotes need to be analyzed and explained for the essay reader and, at this level of writing, should be done following the quote. A good writer will even pull specific words and fragments from the selected quote to use in his explanation that follows that quote.

10 Transitional sentences Again: include a transitional sentence into each paragraph Paragraph 3: Early in Act One juror three reveals a bitterness towards young people—similar to the age of the defendant—and an anger and impatience with them that he seems to thrust on to the defendant. Paragraph 4: As the play nears its close, juror eight has remained strong and has convinced a total of ten jurors to come to the conclusion of “reasonable doubt.” Refuting evidence from switch knives to making “dramatic” threats to the timing of events, juror eight’s courage is making a difference. At the climax, juror three is still hanging on to his prejudice and has yet to be convinced that the boy may be innocent.

11 Inserting a quote and then explaining the connection to the topic To support each point, the essay writer must select a quote. After the quote the writer MUST explain (see in red) the quote and make the connection between the quote and how it is supporting his topic or making his point. Paragraph 2: “That’s his right. It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone.” (28) Here we see Rose’s theme stated directly, but we also see eight’s courage recognized by another juror. It is this early in the play that juror eight finds the “courage” to continue to argue for what he believes is right. Although he is “alone,” he stays strong and does not waver in what he believes. Paragraph 3: He continues: “I got a kid…When he was fifteen he hit me in the face...Rotten kid! I hate tough kids!” (21)To the end of the play juror three stands alone and holds on to his prejudice. But it is his bitterness, not courage, that makes him stubborn and makes him stand alone. His prejudice makes him feel that he must be right. Like juror eight, three stands alone and, as a result, he becomes the main adversary against juror eight. It is this conflict between the two that brings out the perseverance and “courage” of juror eight as they go head to head. Paragraph. “Not guilty!” (63) These words end the play, and with juror three finally voting “not guilty” the defendant will go free. Juror’s eight’s strength has prevailed and with those two words, justice has prevailed as well.

12 What is that pattern? A. Opening statement to set up paragraph’s topic B. Quote (make sure it relates to the point you are making in your paragraph) C. Explanation of quote by essay writer (why it works with your point—not just a restatement of what the quote means D. Analysis (How do your opinion and the quote work together to prove your reasoning? E. Concluding statement (Connect the point of this paragraph back to the question/topic you are addressing) Now go back to Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 and see if you can identify A, B,C, D and E in each one.

13 About the Conclusion… After the body of the essay has been written, you need to write a conclusion. The conclusion is very similar to the Introduction. You must re-state the title of the work being discussed, its author and then restate your topic and the points you have made. A final statement made by you reflecting on the work as a whole, or the topic as a whole, would also be appropriate here.


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