PURPOSE The goal of an essay is to use proof from a literary text to prove an idea.
AUDIENCE You are writing for a person who is interested in what you have to say about a topic. Also, your audience will have some knowledge of the literary work you are using.
INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH Hook This is your first chance to introduce your topic to your audience. Begin with a general idea that can be connected to your topic. Some techniques you may use are: anecdotes, definitions, descriptions, questions and ideas. Example: Are people in control of their destiny?
After your hook, you should include the following items as you build down towards your thesis statement: Introduction of the text and major characters you will be using as your evidence throughout your essay. Example: Having no control over one’s destiny is an important theme in Willam Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet.
Briefly provide some background information to your audience about the text. I.E. Romeo and Juliet are not in control of their lives. It is predetermined destiny, not free choice that controls Romeo and Juliet.
THESIS STATEMENT A thesis statement is where your central argument is found. In other words, if someone was to ask you what your essay is about, your thesis would be your answer.
What could a thesis statement be for the topic: In William Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, how do the main characters, Romeo and Juliet, prove their destiny is predetermined? Example: In William Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet, the idea that the main characters have no control over their destiny is proven through the long existing feud between the families, Romeo and Juliet’s chance meeting and Mercutio and Tybalt’s deaths.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN Write an opening paragraph for the following topic: In the story, The Possibility of Evil, by Shirley Jackson, is Miss Adela Strangeworth a hero or a villain? Remember to include: a hook and build down (with information)
BODY PARAGRAPHS The body of your essay is where you provide your ideas, supported by proof.
BODY PARAGRAPH: TOPIC SENTENCE Your topic sentence is the first sentence in your body paragraph. Its purpose is to inform your reader what idea you will be proving in the following paragraph. For example: The long existing feud between the Capulets and Montagues, is one of the factors Romeo and Juliet have no control over, but which influences their fate.
BODY PARAGRAPH: MAIN ARGUMENT After your topic sentence, you must present your argument. Use the following three steps: Idea What is your argument? Proof Quote from the text to support your argument. Explanation Telling your reader how your idea and proof are connected. Additionally, you explain to your reader “why your proof and idea are important”. Repeat this twice per paragraph. You need to pieces of proof per paragraph!
EXAMPLE The long existing feud between the Capulets and Montagues, is one of the factors Romeo and Juliet have no control over, but which influences their fate. Romeo and Juliet were both born into this feud, “Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. / From forth the fatal loins of these two foes/A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life” (Prologue. 4-6). Romeo and Juliet are born into their families and into a feud. From the onset, there is nothing either character can do about their families hatred for each other. It is the hatred between both families that makes Romeo and Juliet hide their relationship and make drastic choices, which will end their lives.
SOURCING You need to give credit for any ideas that are not yours. Remember you did not write the play. After you use an idea from the play, whether it is a direct (word for word from the play) or indirect quote (you put the idea into your own words) you need to indicate where you got this information from.
QUOTING POETRY Divide lines of verse with slashes the way you would if quoting poetry. You can tell a passage is in verse by examining it to see if every line starts with a capital letter, regardless of whether the line starts a sentence. Ex. “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? / It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!” (II. ii. 2-3). (Act, scene, lines)
QUOTING POETRY CONTINUED Note: When you are quoting more than four lines, you may indent, single space, and type the lines directly as they appear in the play. Do not use quotation marks. I do protest, I never injured thee, But love thee better than thou canst devise, Till thou shalt know the reason of my live: An so, good Capulet, --which name I tender As dearly as my own,--be satisfied (III.i.67-71)
QUOTING PROSE No slashes are necessary. You can recognize prose by the fact that in prose, every sentence begins with a capital letter, but not every line on the page. Ex. “Well said! Follow me this jest now till thou hast worn out thy pump, that when the single sole of it is worn, the jest may remain after the wearing sole singular” (II.iv.60-63). Note: If you are quoting more than four lines, indent, single space, and do not use quotation marks.
CONCLUSION This is your last paragraph. To begin, remind your reader of what you’re a trying to prove. Write your central argument again, but don’t use the exact same words as you did in your thesis. Then explain and connect your arguments. Finally, be sure that you don’t give any new information.
WORK CITED Begin a new page Centre and bold the title Work Cited Format: Author. Title. Editor’s name. Location of publishing/ printing: publisher, year. Form/media.
EXAMPLE WORK CITED Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Ed. Ken Roy. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987. Print.