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Essay Writing. How to structure a good essay. Today we will be looking at: - Essay structure - Paragraph structure - Sentence structure. Essays have five paragraphs: Introduction Three main body paragraphs Conclusion. Essay Structure:.

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essay writing

Essay Writing

How to structure a good essay

essay structure

Essays have five paragraphs:

        • Introduction
        • Threemain body paragraphs
        • Conclusion
Essay Structure:

Begin this paragraph with a topic sentence (or state what the essay topic is)

  • Introduce your studied text(s) and show you understand the importance of the work(s).
  • Then you introduce the relevance and meaning of your three main points (paragraphs). Say this in a formal and direct way. (What are you going to prove in this essay?)
  • Finally, sum up the point of your essay and your intentions.

E.g. John Steinbeck’s novel “Of Mice and Men” is a work of outstanding importance which portrays the struggle of American migrant workers in the state of California during the 1930s era. Published in 1937, the novel highlights the strength of human friendship and hope in times of despair, and offers wisdom in its portrayal of two characters bound together in both their dream and their fate.

E.g. Steinbeck has carefully crafted a novel which explores relationships in both a negative and positive light; he does this to emphasise the value of friendship and humanity and to show up the flaws of society in its treatment of those who are weaker. In “Of Mice and Men”, the main character of George faces many challenges. His challenges, mainly of a social, emotional and moral nature, lead the reader to an understanding of the ruthless world in which the novel is set, and its message of hope for the future.

E.g. Through an exploration of the challenges facing George in this novel it will be seen that his character represents the best side of humanity during difficult and often dark times. There is much to be learned from his actions and his character.


Each paragraph follows the same pattern: SEXY

    • S = Statement
    • E = Explanation
    • X = Example
    • Y = Why is this important?

E.g. George faces many social challenges in the novel, including looking after his mentally impaired friend, Lennie, finding and keeping work on the agricultural farms of the Salinas Valley, California, and, indeed, maintaining hope and faith that the pair will achieve their own ‘American’ dream of having their own piece of land. George’s emotional challenges result from the frustration of caring for Lennie and from his own sense of loneliness, shared by almost all characters in the novel. George faces a major moral dilemma when he has to deal with Lennie after he accidentally kills Curley’s wife. He must decide what to do when Curley and his mob go hunting for Lennie, in order to murder him brutally. George decides to meet Lennie where he told him to go if there were ever any trouble, down by the river. He tells him their favourite story, of having “a couple of acres” and “livin’ off the fatta the lan’”, and ends Lennie’s life while he is happy, dreaming of the future. In this remarkable act, George shows his merciful self; his act was one of mercy and love, far better an end for Lennie than the hateful mob spirit of Curley and his gang. Steinbeck is showing the beauty and hope inherent in the human spirit, even when life is difficult and grey.


Make a statement about the impact of the novel.

  • Sum up what you have already covered in your three paragraphs. Add an explanation of why what you have explained is important to a complete understanding of the novel.
  • Write another two or three sentences rounding off, summing up and concluding your essay. You can make grand, sweeping statements here, about the value or originality of your studied text, as long as they are relevant.
  • Talk about the author’s purpose; why did s/he write the book?
  • Stay as formal as possible.

E.g. Steinbeck’s Nobel-Prize winning novel, originally written as a play in three acts with the title “Something That Happened”, does no more than portray the reality of the life of the migrant workers in the California of the 1930s; a harsh, unforgiving life. Steinbeck’s purpose in writing this novel was to awaken his nation to the plight of their underclass, and at the very least to document the situation. While George struggles on many levels, having to make social, emotional and moral decisions of great magnitude, the reader is left thinking of him with sympathy; his character is true and pure, his hope and friendship eternal, and his message rings clear. There is always hope.

sentence structure

The book ‘Of Mice and Men’ is making a statement about the time it was set in when they have characters like Lennie and Crooks who get killed or alienated by society because they are different or people don’t like them. This is because Crooks is a black man and all the other men on the farm are racist and Lennie is useless because he kills a woman, even though he is strong. In the story, Curley’s wife says, “Listen Nigger, (…) You know what I could do to you if you open your trap?” She is referring to how she could have him hanged if she wishes because in that society black people are looked down upon, even though she is a woman (women rank low in that society also) she is still better than him. Even though Lennie’s strength is admired on the farm, he loses his place in society because he kills Curley’s wife, outweighing his usefulness with his danger. THIS IS A BAD PARAGRAPH.

Keeping in mind the SEXY structure, how would we rewrite this?

- Simple, compound, and complex sentences?

- Formal language

Sentence Structure:
write an essay

The killing of Candy’s old dog foreshadowed Lennie’s death.

Describe the two killings, explaining the similarities and differences between them.

Write an Essay: