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Essay Structure and Thesis

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Presentation on theme: "Essay Structure and Thesis"— Presentation transcript:

1 Essay Structure and Thesis

2 The Writing Process Planning Shaping/Organizing Drafting Revising
Editing Proofreading

3 The Major Parts of Any Essay
Title Introduction Thesis statement Body paragraph Topic sentence Supporting details Body paragraph… Conclusion

4 Your Title This can be catchy, creative, complex, or just to the point. A Day at Disney World Spaced Out in Space Mountain How to Wait in Line All Day and Not Lose Your Mind Captured by Pirates I Met My Maker on Toad’s Wild Ride The Most Expensive Junk Food in the World Postmodernism Meets Late Capitalism

5 But notice… The title indicates, at least in some fashion, what the essay is about. Sometimes, after you’ve done some freewriting, clustering, and general research and thinking about your topic, writing the title first helps you focus. You can always change the title later.

6 Introduction Your first or introductory paragraph should both explain your topic and stimulate your audience’s interest. We’ll have an entire lesson on this later, but your introductory paragraph should contain your thesis statement so that your reader can focus on what exactly you are going to talk about in the upcoming body paragraphs. The traditional location of a thesis in an academic essay is at the end of the introduction.

7 Introduction and Thesis
Grabs audience’s attention Gives necessary background to understand the topic/thesis Contains the thesis Thesis States essay’s topic, purpose, point of view Specific, powerful words ~> not general or vague May change during revision process Probable that it will

8 Visual Representation of Your Introduction Paragraph
1. Broad sentence that sets the stage 2., 3. narrower sentences that provide some details or a greater degree of specificity 4. Very specific sentence that focuses on exactly what you are going to say in the following essay Thesis statement

9 Allow Your Thesis to Guide Your Paper
Pass out thesis handout.

10 Thesis Statements

11 A thesis statement can be:
The answer to a question that you have posed The solution for a problem you have identified A statement that takes a position on a debatable topic Source: _A Writer's Reference_ by Diana Hacker

12 General Tips about Thesis Statements
A statement that contains the essay’s topic and point(s) Gives the reader a sense of what the essay will be about Most thesis statements are only one sentence Must be a complete sentence Everything in the essay must support the thesis. Usually comes at the end of the introduction: Introduction paragraph should follow this format: Attention getter (commonly known as a “hook”) Introduce the topic and give background leading up to the thesis State the thesis

13 What are the Roles of a Thesis?
1. It can assert an argument, explain a topic, and/or analyze an issue. 2. It is specific in presenting the writer's position. 3. It limits both scope and topic of the paper. 4. It captures the reader's interest and focuses that interest on the topic.

14 Kinds of Thesis Statements: Persuasive*
An persuasive paper makes a claim based on opinion, evaluation, or interpretation about a topic and proves this claim with specific evidence. Persuasive thesis example: High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness. *If you have been asked to argue a point or choose a side on an issue, this is likely the type of thesis you will use. *Typically, you will use this style of thesis in English 101 and transfer-level courses. Source:

15 Kinds of Thesis Statements: Analytical*
An analytical paper breaks the topic down into parts, examines each part, and determines how each part relates to the whole topic. Analytical thesis example: An analysis of the college admission process reveals one challenge facing counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong extracurricular backgrounds. *If you have been asked to analyze a topic, issue, or reading, this is the type of thesis you should use. *Typically, you will use this style of thesis in English 101 and transfer level courses. Source:

16 Ways of Constructing Thesis Statements: The Three Point Thesis (Essay Map)
Contains essay’s topic + point, and three supporting reasons Example: The Kardashians are a prime example of the emptiness of reality tv culture and the cult of celebrity because their show and subsequent lifestyles reflect consumerist values, trivial pastimes, and a focus on superficial attractiveness.

17 Ways of Constructing a Thesis: Because/Therefore
Contains problem and solution Despite some gains in recent years, the film and television industry is still not doing enough to represent societies in our media that are as diverse as the society we live in. [lead-in, identifies problem] Therefore, order to increase minority representation in movies and television shows, [goal] casting agencies should not be allowed to specify race in a casting call unless it is an integral part of the story [solution]. The author would need to include support and evidence for both the problem (thereby justifying the goal) and why the solution would be a viable one.

18 Ways of Constructing Thesis Statements: The Umbrella
Contains essay’s topic, point, and alludes to reasons why the reader should believe you. Do not directly state the supporting reasons, but instead allude to them. Example: “Although thought to be humane and necessary, animal testing for medical and cosmetic purposes [topic] does not live up to it’s promises and causes more harm than good [point and reasons].” Do NOT use language like, “There are many reasons people don’t like animal testing, mostly it’s cruel.”

19 Thesis: DO NOT DO NOT announce your thesis: “In this essay, I am going to tell you about Mt. SAC college and why you should go there.” (Side note: Some instructors may encourage this type of statement, and always do what your instructor suggests) DO NOT confuse your reader: Just make sure that the topic and point are clear. A Thesis CANNOT be a fact: Doesn’t allow you to prove anything because it’s already factual. DO NOT be vague: Words like “good,” “bad,” “right,” and “wrong,” don’t convey specific meaning. A Theis CANNOT be a question: “Don’t you think animal testing is inhumane?” Does not give the point of the paper. Leaves it open for readers to fill in the blank.

20 Creating a Thesis Statement
1. Determine essay’s topic (what you’re talking about) Example: Pixar’s film Up 2. Determine what kind of paper you are writing and what kind of thesis statement you need to use: analytical, persuasive, or expository. Example: Persuasive=It’s not really a “kid” movie. 3. Determine the way you will construct your thesis: list or umbrella? 4. Put it all together! Example: Pixar’s most recent film, Up, should not be considered a “kid” movie because its character conflicts and main theme of loss are too complex for children to understand. Opposing Example: Entertainment aimed at children should not underestimate a child’s ability to understand complex concepts, and the popularity of movies like Pixar’s Up prove that children can understand and even identify with themes of loss and sacrifice.

21 Body Paragraphs Body paragraphs support and explain the essay’s thesis. The more the merrier, for several reasons: They are reader friendly They help make the essay look organized. And, of course, they help you meet your paper’s page-length requirement. 

22 Some Guidelines Each paragraph is a complete thought.
As soon as you start to change thoughts, or go a new direction, start a new paragraph. Don’t be afraid of having “too many paragraphs.” I like to see at least three indents on a page

23 Generally a paragraph starts with a topic sentence, that tells what the paragraph is about,
and the other sentences provide details and support. You can have as many or as few sentences to a paragraph as you want, In fact, it makes your paper more readable, creates a better rhythm, if you vary the paragraph length.

24 The Golden Rule Don’t let a paragraph wander – keep it to one central thought. When you feel your mind changing gears, it’s time to change paragraphs!

25 Conclusions A concluding paragraph is the final paragraph in your essay It presents a philosophical summary of the essay, linking directly back to the intro And (sorry) it does NOT start with “In conclusion…”


27 Prewriting, Writing, Rewriting
General tips REVISION TAKES TIME! Plan to write at least three drafts 1st draft… Focus on the BIG stuff Overall organization of essay May revisit this step several times 2nd draft… Concentrate your efforts Edit 3rd draft… Get nitpicky Proofread

28 Reminder About the Upcoming Essay Rough Draft
Our Peer Review is next week. Your rough draft should be at least three full pages. Remember, topics for this paper are very flexible, however you still need to meet the minimum requirements from the prompt. Always re-read the prompt before you start writing.

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