The last sentence of this paragraph must also contain a transitional hook which moves the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper. The first paragraph of the body should contain the strongest argument, most significant example, cleverest illustration, or an obvious beginning point. This is step one: Think about the purpose of your ending. When you realize what the author wanted you to know, it suddenly becomes easier to see how she/he crafted the work to reveal the truth to you. What does this author have to say to us about being human, about our shared experiences, about our fears, our sorrows, our victories? When you're done with what you have to say, stop. Read the passage and figure out the So What.
I guess this essay is my attempt to try to get you to think differently about how you approach writing in this class. What if you begin each essay, this is step two now, thinking, I am going to write what I think and what I know. Why? Most writers don't write an introduction until after they've written the body.
2. General things bore us. How would you snag that reader and make him or her read on, while at the same time establishing topic and perhaps thesis? Introduction: If it helps you get started, go ahead and write that stuff in your first draft; Go with that. Don't necessarily think about your audience (I can't believe I'm saying this). Introductory Paragraph See, first, for different ways of getting your reader involved in your essay. This is absolutely the most important thing you must do. You have simply fallen into the trap of trying to be a writer. Let's just say we're writing our ideas about a particular piece of writing. Your thoughts are self evident to you (that's why they're self evident), but you MUST explain to your reader. When you have something to say, all else falls into line to fit that purpose. When you remove the feeling that you have to be a writer and simply write, your prose will be more natural, more coherent and will be a vehicle for your voice. I am disappointed because I know what you can do. Then lop it off, and make your second paragraph, where you really get down to work, your new opening.
4. You will see, almost as a revelation, that the structure of the passage gives us the universal contrasted with the individual. Don't summarize. Sometimes it's best to plunge into the body of the paper, write through all your ideas, and then step back and ask: The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the introductory paragraph. You're simply putting your essay topic, which is probably pretty specific, into the larger context, giving your reader food for thought to take away from the essay.
Beginnings and endings are important parts of essays--but the most important part is the body. Think about your writing as the opportunity to voice your ideas about engaging pieces of writing in an intelligent way. Very few 12th grade AP students have trouble with conventions. You have been learning to support your claims for years now, so why would you suddenly forget how to do that? Where to begin?
A few thoughts on beginning any essayBefore all else, as writers we must have something to say. If you ever wonder why we read the kind of literature we do, the depressing stuff about human beings in situations that make them think about all the important questions, it is precisely so that you can think about all the important questions and from those great plays, novels, stories and poems and from our discussions, your ideas, your beliefs will further evolve. These are my ideas about this work and I have something to say about it. Once you know what you want to say and have said it, writing an opening and an ending is as simple as pie. This understanding of the meaningful, of the So What, is what will allow you to write an insightful essay. Yes, the parts of an essay should hang together --but they don't have to be redundant. Try these strategies for one-two punch endings: *Just stop. So, take that last paragraph and make it first, and you have your opening.
3. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. If I could change how you feel, I would. An illustration that you might ordinarily use as evidence elsewhere in a paper might make a good, intriguing lead. To point out that the author has created an extended metaphor is meaningless unless you can explain the value of that metaphor in his/her overall purpose. So let's start from here. Get the bulk of the paper down, however you can; Most readers are more intelligent than that.
Don't conclude at all. You are disappointed because you don't understand why you can't write. You can write. When you try to write what you think I want (or worse, what the invisible omnipotent AP readers want), you can't write. The introductory paragraph should also include the thesis statement, a kind of mini-outline for the paper: Sometimes an ending makes a good opening.
If you're like a lot of writers, you figure out what you have to say as you write it. This is, after all, what we (I and those AP readers) want. The typical AP essay (one that gets a big shiny 9 star) will have the following qualities: Does this list sound scary? When you just write what you think and know, you can write. This hook also leads into the last, or concluding, paragraph. This paragraph should include the following: Why not make your writing as interesting as you can? Start anywhere. Start anywhere.
Many writers make the mistake of obsessing about the first paragraph of an essay, trying to get it right before they move on to the body. And without it, your essay will be meaningless. So, if there is a step one, it is this: Write what you think. What is it this author has to say to us? This something is what I call the So What The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional concluding hook that signals the reader that this is the final major point being made in this paper. This works best with very short, very focused essays, like an interpretation of a poem or short story or an analysis of an article. *Alternatively, save your real thesis for the end. Without this insight, I will give your essay back and say, So What? The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the second paragraph. Think about the purpose of your opening.
An opening needs to serve several purposes:
*It lets the reader know what your topic is, in a general way.
*It can (but doesn't have to) let the reader know what you have to say about that topic.
*It hooks the reader into your essay, intriguing the reader, drawing the reader onward.
This last purpose may seem extraneous if you're writing academic essays; Interesting. It tells the reader what the essay is about. When you realize, for example, that the passage from Obasan is about (for one thing) heroism in small acts of kindness, then you can write about the images that helped you see that. So: During revision, you can always make it better Dawn Hogue, 2004 I do understand your frustrations. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional hook to tie into the second paragraph of the body. The second paragraph of the body should contain the second strongest argument, second most significant example, second cleverest illustration, or an obvious follow up the first paragraph in the body. That's two down. What's my main point here? That's a professional writer's trick: Why is it that when I supply thought-provoking questions about a novel or other work that the answers (small little essays, really) are often well-developed, thoughtful, empathetic responses that are, essentially, literary analysis, but when I present students with an essay prompt designed to effect the same result, the results are dismal and disappointing, not only for me but also for the writer. But until you see the human purpose in the writing, you won't have anything to say. It seems the hardest thing for AP students to do is write literary analysis. Don't worry about the beginning until you know what you want to say; Imagine, instead, a real audience for your writing. Find this and you will have something to say. Just get something down on paper, knowing that you can go back later and write an appropriate opening. You also don't have to trouble yourself too much about structure: Whenever you state something is true, you must show how or why with textual evidence and you must make your thinking evident to your reader, so you have to explain.
It is as simple and as difficult as that. You're not opening a new topic here; While mapping out your essay in the opening can be helpful to you as you write, it's not helpful if you're not yet sure what you have to say. From what I can tell, all passages used on AP tests have something to reveal to readers. When you have something to say, your voice will be heard in your writing and you will have a place to go. And if it's not important or significant, then it is not generally worth saying. Let's see, how do I explain this. It is the final message.
*It can sum up for the reader what has been discussed and suggest a way to think about the meaning of that discussion in a larger context.
Forget the old saw you may have learned in high school, that what you should do in an essay is tell the reader what you're going to say, say it, and then tell the reader what you said. Telling the reader the same thing three times doesn't show much respect for the reader, does it? The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the first paragraph of the body. Whatever specific problems you have we will try to make right, so cross that one off your list of concerns. But this is nothing new. What is new in that list is this: define the effect of the passage and demonstrate how the author conveys the effect. We're back to the beginning now. Your ideas are clearest here, most concise. 1. Punch the message home by putting it here, where the reader will remember it. I do. To lure the reader in with the opening, build an argument throughout the body, and then conclude with the main point--at the end, where it's most memorable. *Or, having stated your thesis earlier and made your argument throughout the paper, now step back and take a larger look at the topic, suggesting what your argument might mean in the larger scheme of things--in the context of what you're discussing in class, for instance. What's my essay really about?
Once you have answers to these questions, the opening paragraph may be easier to write. So it is a matter of your perception of the outcome and the pressure to perform that results in, perhaps, a negative emotional connection to the task, making it therefore, impossible!!!! Without this there is no reason to write an essay at all. Before we write one single word about imagery or diction, we MUST figure out what that something is. Write what you believe, not what you think I want you to say. A writer's secret: Hmmm. It's not asking for anything you cannot do. The hopelessness of the whole is contrasted with the hopefulness of the one. Structure your whole essay so that it leads to this point. Think essay, not paragraph, not answer to a question--think essay! Then, when you get a little nugget (a prose passage or a poem) on an AP test and have to think about what it means, you will surely have a pretty good idea. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional hook to tie into the third paragraph of the body. The third paragraph of the body should contain the weakest argument, weakest example, weakest illustration, or an obvious follow up to the second paragraph in the body. This may mean that in the last paragraph of your first draft, you really say what you mean: An ending can serve these basic purposes:
*It can tie things up, or complete your argument.
*It can give the reader what he or she will take away from the essay; After all, your reader is requiring you to write this essay--why should you have to hook him or her? It certainly can't hurt your grade if your instructor enjoys reading your essay, right?
Some simple ways to hook the reader:
*Begin with an example. Specific things intrigue us; Follow this up with the more general statements, and you've got as one-two punch opening that serves your purposes. *Begin with a quote. Works the same way. *Just jump into your discussion. We often spend more time introducing our topic than, strictly speaking, is necessary. It can drive the point home. But forget for the moment that your primary audience is your instructor. Okay, then lets not call it that. Stop. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. Read and understand the passage given. Beginning a essay with a quote.