Essay Writing. Expository Essay Character Analysis. Modes of Essay Writing. Expository Essay Writing.
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Every good writer has a purpose when they sit down to write. The purpose may be to inform; to create a mood or stir an emotion; to tell about a series of events; to persuade the reader to believe or do something, but the primary purpose of an essay is to select and arrange words and details that best accomplish the purpose.
In exposition writing, the main purpose is to inform, define, or clarify an idea. Dictionary and encyclopedia, as well as newspaper reports, use exposition.
Exposition writing answers the questions, What is it, and how does it work?
1. Attention getter (Lead)
2. Identify title, author, and character
3. Provide relevant background information that leads
into the traits
4. Thesis (three character traits) Thesis
1. The body is organized into three
supporting paragraphs that prove
your thesis statement
2. Each supporting paragraph needs to be
illustrated with details, facts,
examples, or quotes that make your
point clear. (NO OPINIONS)
Summarizes the essay’s main points!
1. Review the traits from your thesis statement/
Summarize main points
2. Connect to the introduction and reflect on the
significance or character
NEVER begin an essay with “in this essay”!
• Begin with a quote from the story “___________________”
• Start with a strongly stated question that your readers might have (it may have a predictable answer)
• Start with a unique observation about the story or character
• Start with a snapshot (when you paint a picture, you draw the reader into the action)
• Begin with a metaphor that shows the story’s significance
Have you ever met someone who seemed too good to be true?In “The Landlady” by Roahl Dahl, unsuspecting Billy Weaver meets the Landlady.At first, she seems kind and welcoming, but it isn’t long before the reader can deduct that she is welcoming handsome young men into her Bed and Breakfast for her own ulterior motives.The Landlady is deceitful, cunning, and cold-hearted, and Billy Weaver will never make it past her traps alive.
“Leads are magic flashlights that shine down through a story showing the writer what to put in and what to leave out.”
~ John McPhee
Weak lead : In one quote from the story the Landlady answers the door right away.
Attention-getting “But this dame was like a jack-in-the-box. He pressed the bell - and out she popped. It made him jump.”
2. Start with a strongly stated question that your readers might have (it may have a predictable answer)
Weak lead : In this paper I will attempt to show you what Alfonso did to fit in.
Attention-getting : Have you ever felt so out of place that you would do almost anything to fit in?
Weak lead : The narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart” is crazy.
Attention-getting :The narrator, while claiming to be perfectly sane, immediately placed doubt within the reader’s mind with his nervous repetition of thoughts.
Weak lead : Squeaky always wins because she trains hard.
Attention-getting :Running instead of walking, doing breathing exercises, and focusing on the goal are just a few things Squeaky does to prepare herself for the annual May day race.
Weak lead : This story was about a crazy landlady who poisoned her guests.
Attention-getting :Has something ever drawn your attention as if it was like gravity pulling you in? The hidden gravity that grabs your attention, maybe something as amazing as winning the lottery ticket or as miserable as watching the news about Hurricane Katrina.
Thesis Statement: A statement that gives the main idea or focus of an essay.
Examples of thesis statements:
Directions: Please rewrite each simple thesis statement into a more complex statement with 3 dominant traits. Be sure to show some insight into how the traits correspond with each other or reflect the overall character. (Take the statement from a “barebones” thesis to one with substance or “meat”.
Example: Barebones: The landlady is kind, dotty, and harmless.
Substance: She made herself be thought of as very kind, slightly dotty, and entirely harmless; yet she had a secret zest for stuffing handsome young men; she had no obvious motivation for this, but her actions were still very definitely effective.
1.The landlady is cunning, deceitful, and contemptible.
2. Squeaky is tough, athletic, and responsible.
3. Mrs. Flowers is kind, aristocratic, and intelligent.
4. Marguerite is timid, insecure, and intelligent.
5. Alfonso is insecure, shy, and caring.
6. Charlie Gordon is determined, sensitive, and brave.
7. The narrator is deceitful, mad, and brutal.
8. Mr. & Mrs. White are greedy, curious, and hasty.
“The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once – once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor and pulled the heavy bed over him” (205).In the strange story, “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, the narratorends up being a cold-hearted murderer.The narrator tells the reader he is not crazy, but his irrational actions, like obsessing on the old man’s eye, convince the readers otherwise.The narrator is quite arrogant and devious, but eventually his cruel insanity overtakes his intentions to appear calm to the police.
“…I made up my mind to take the life of the old man. …But why will you say that I am mad?” (81)In the story, “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe,the narratoris planning and executing the murder of an old man whose eye is bothersome to him. The narrator is so vain and sly that it is safe to say that the old man never had a chance.In the end, though, the narrator’s paranoia causes him to confess the crime he had executed so cleverly.
“The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed – not dulled them” (203).The Narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poestates that the disease sharpened his senses, but is it really true? After all, he is a madman. He claims he loves the old man, and yet the old man’s body was cut up and carefully stored beneath the floor.It is obvious that the narrator had all the traits of a deadly murderer; he is determined, clever, and malicious.
Have you ever had someone in your life that made you feel accomplished?In “Mrs. Flowers” by Maya Angelou, Mrs. Flowersmeets a young girl named Marguerite. Marguerite is an insecure young girl who needs someone to help her change her perspective.She will finally get that and so much more when she meets the practical, wise, and compassionate Mrs. Flowers.
Has something ever drawn your attention as if it was like gravity pulling you in?For some, the hidden gravity may grab their attention as they pass by a television or sale rack. For Billy Weaver it was when he “caught sight of a printed notice propped up against the upper panes. It said BED AND BREAKFAST” (172). Who would have thought that a simple sign would bring so much trouble?Not Billy Weaver, the main character of the short story “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl. In this story, Billy is tricked into staying at a bed and breakfast by a seemingly sweet landlady who actually has deadly motives for luring him into her home.Mr. Weaver is both curious and enthusiastic as he strives to be independent, but in his youth he still tends to be quite naive and suffers dire consequences as a result.
• NEVER end an essay with “I hope you enjoyed my essay.”
• Summarize the essay’s main points.
• No first person. (I, You) (Instead, use “one”or “the reader”) (See example below)
1. Review the traits from your thesis statement/summarize main points
2. Connect to the introduction and reflect on the significance or character
The Landlady was a cunning and deceitful woman, who could give the appearance of being a sweet, old, loving lady. She was an interesting character who remained cool and calm through the poisoning and stuffing of the boys, and then through Billy’s questions.The reader can only guess how many more times she will prey on innocent young men before she gets caught.
“Don’t write endings, find them,” novelist Thomas Williams used to say. Endings grow from beginnings and reveal themselves through clues within the story, characters or ideas.
You should have a relationship between your beginning and ending ~ they should be connected and refer back to one another.
“The old man’s hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once – once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor and pulled the heavy bed over him” (205). In the strange story, “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator ends up being a cold-hearted murderer. The narrator tells the reader he is not crazy, but his irrational actions, like obsessing on the old man’s eye, convince the readers otherwise. The narrator is quite arrogant and devious, but eventually his cruel insanity overtakes his intentions to appear calm to the police.
The narrator is a very disturbed character to kill a defenseless old man because he was bothered by the old man’s eye. Furthermore, he felt sure his crime would never be detected, but then his own insanity causes him to confess to the police. The narrator thinks that he is a sane man and that his murder was justified, but the reader knows he is an arrogant, devious, and insane person indeed.
“…I made up my mind to take the life of the old man. …But why will you say that I am mad?” (81) In the story, “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, the narrator is planning and executing the murder of an old man whose eye is bothersome to him. The narrator is so vain and sly that it is safe to say that the old man never had a chance. In the end, though, the narrator’s paranoia causes him to confess the crime he had executed so cleverly.
The narrator was obviously mentally disturbed, killing an innocent old man for no reason except that he did not like the old man’s eye. Although the narrator was sly, his vanity and paranoia revealed his dastardly deed which led to his capture. One can only guess who would have been his next victim if the narrator’s insanity had not betrayed his violent nature.
“The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed – not dulled them” (203). The Narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe states that the disease sharpened his senses, but is it really true? After all, he is a madman. He claims he loves the old man, and yet the old man’s body was cut up and carefully stored beneath the floor. It is obvious that the narrator had all the traits of a deadly murderer; he is determined, clever, and malicious.
The narrator is truly a psychopath to kill a defenseless aged person for absolutely no logical reason. He is determined, clever, and malicious, which means he has all the characteristics of a deadly assassin who kills for no reason. If not for the neighbor’s call to the police, the narrator may well have continued his deadly behavior.
Have you ever had someone in your life that made you feel accomplished? In “Mrs. Flowers” by Maya Angelou, Mrs. Flowers meets a young girl named Marguerite. Marguerite is an insecure young girl who needs someone to help change her perspective. She will finally get that and so much more when she meets the elegant, wise, and practical Mrs. Flowers.
All in all, Mrs. Flowers is a magnificent person. She is an elegant and wise woman who uses her influence to help Marguerite. Through practical means, she shows Marguerite the intricate beauties of life and the power of words--both written and spoken. Marguerite went through Mrs. Flower’s doors as a simple little girl and came out a changed person.
Has something ever drawn your attention as if it was like gravity pulling you in? For some, the hidden gravity may grab their attention as they pass by a television or sale rack. For Billy Weaver it was when he “caught sight of a printed notice propped up against the upper panes. It said BED AND BREAKFAST” (172). Who would have thought that a simple sign would bring so much trouble? Not Billy Weaver, the main character of the short story “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl. In this story, Billy is tricked into staying at a bed and breakfast by a seemingly sweet landlady who actually has deadly motives for luring him into her home. Mr. Weaver is enthusiastic and curious as he strives to be independent, but in his youth he still tends to be quite naive and suffers dire consequences as a result.
All in all, Billy Weaver is the kind of guy that everyone roots for. His independent and earnest nature initially give the reader the impression that he can handle almost anything thrown his way. Throughout the story he is curious enough to keep the reader aware of what is going on, but because of his naivety he misses the landlady’s real intent. He is the kind of character that deserves a happily-ever-after ending, but unfortunately, he did not get one.
Use these transitions to help you connect the ideas between your sentences and between your paragraphs.
TO INTRODUCE EXAMPLES
for example in fact in one instance
for instance in one case as proof
to illustrate to begin with in one example
TO ADD ANOTHER POINT
alsoin addition (to) furthermore
moreover another a second (third, fourth, etc.)
TO SHOW TIME RELATIONSHIPS
before since in the meantime
after meanwhile to begin with
next eventually at the same time
then at last not long after
finally afterward as time passed
TO SIGNAL RESULTS OR EFFECTS
as a result because (of) for this reason
due to therefore in response to
thus consequently in conclusion
TO SHOW COMPARISON OR CONTRAST
similarly in contrast different from
like unlike on the other hand
just as the same as on the contrary
as well (as) equally important
TO CONNECT IDEAS
yet however nevertheless
so though moreover
Miscellaneous things to remember when
writing an essay
*Never refer to yourself in the essay. Don’t say things like “I think...” or
“I saw...” Just make your point. It’s obvious that you believe what you say.
After all, it’s your essay.
*Avoid the use of contractions in a formal essay. The only exception would be if they appear in a quotation from the text that you are using word for word. Instead, spell out the two words in the contraction. “Douglass is not deterred in his plan”--not “isn’t”.
*Keep your writing in present tense. It seems more “alive” if you do. Say, “Douglass is a man who...” rather than “Douglass was a man who...” Again, you don’t want to change the wording of direct quotes, so if they use a verb tense other than present tense, copy it as it appears in the text.
* Use standard English when writing. Avoid using slang (‘sup or could of),
“texting” jargon (ppl, idk, lol, bff), or symbols (&).
Using and documenting quotations and passages from the text
There are several things to learn about using passages from the text to support your points.
*Remember, the majority of the essay is in your words. You need to explain your points clearly and thoroughly enough so that someone not familiar with the text can understand you.
*Use quotes/passages from the text to illustrate or support a point you make. They don’t have to be long passages. They should not be longer than two sentences. You should weave or blend short, but powerful, quotes or passages from the text into your essay. You want to avoid stringing one quote after another into an essay.
*When you weave or blend quotes they should not appear in your essay as a sentence by themselves. Instead, they should fit smoothly into your explanation so if you were reading your essay aloud, listeners wouldn’t even know where your words end and the quoted passage begins. (look at the sample essay I gave you to see this).
*For each quote or passage used, you must document where it appeared in the text. To do this for an essay in which all of the quotes are from the same source, the story you read, all you have to do is put the page number in parentheses before the final end punctuation. (look at the sample essay I gave you to see this). “quote” (68). DO NOT PUT “page” or “p.”--just the number.
* Don’t forget to use strong transitions between your quotes and specific examples.
The Responsibility, the Race, the Friendship
Have you ever been so good at something that you always took first place?In “Raymond’s Run” by Toni Cade Bambara, Squeaky is a responsible little girl who takes care of her mentally challenged brother, Raymond, yet she still maintains her title as “the swiftest thing in the neighborhood” (4).Although Squeaky isn’t afraid to speak her mind and can come across as being too candid, she is conscientious and accomplished.
“That’s right fatso. And the next word out of anybody’s mouth and I’ll be their mothers too” (7) spoken by Squeaky shows that she is not afraid to speak her mind, especially when others are teasing Raymond. Although she may seem rude, Squeaky’s forthrightness is to protect what she holds dear. When Mr. Pearson asked Squeaky to throw the race and give someone else a chance at winning the race this year, she “gave him such a look he couldn’t finish putting that idea into words” (11). Her candid attitude allows her to always do what she believes is right, whether it deals with her brother or with winning.
Squeaky values being the fastest runner in the neighborhood. Maintaining this title takes determination and a conscientious attitude. Squeaky is always training to make herself be the best she can be. She even states, “You can see me any time of day practicing running” (8). Even through her diligent training, she continues to keep Raymond safe.
A sense of accomplishment is very important to many people. Squeaky never settles for less than winning. “In first place – Miss Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker.” “For I have won again” (11). Because of her desire to win, Squeaky has never lost a race. However, this year she has won more than just a race. She has decided to coach Raymond along with her nemesis, Gretchen. Together, they are going to help Raymond to feel the rush they feel when they are running in a race and winning.
Squeaky is a loyal character; the confidence that she has in herself allows her to stand up to others for what she believes is right. Her desire to win and persistence to do what it takes to be successful, will always allow her to feel a sense of accomplishment.One could only hope for a friend or sister like Squeaky.
What we need to know in order to peer edit
What does peer editing mean?
Peer editing is when students give each other feedback on writing. Effective feedback is based upon the question, “How will my response help the writer?”
When someone reads my paper, I want them to:
1. Be specific
2. Tell spots or parts to improve
3. Be honest
When I read someone’s paper, I want to:
1. Read the entire paper
2. Compare with the grading rubric
3. Offer constructive criticism
We should not use the following words during peer editing
1. Overly Negative
2. Overly Positive
1. List the FOUR things that need to be included in your introduction. (4 points)
2. What is a thesis statement? (2 points)
3. What should be included in your thesis statement? (2 points)
4. Where is the thesis statement located? (2 points)
5. Yesterday you wrote down 3 ways to grab the reader’s attention in the introduction. List TWO of these ways! (2 points)
6. There are three things that need to be included in your conclusion. Please list them. (3 points)