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Expository Essay. The five paragraph essay. The introduction should consist of 4 sentences: The hook The statement of situation Theme Thesis. Hook. The first sentence of an essay; should capture the reader’s attention.

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the five paragraph essay

Expository Essay

The five paragraph essay


The introduction should consist of 4 sentences:

  • The hook
  • The statement of situation
  • Theme
  • Thesis


  • The first sentence of an essay; should capture the reader’s attention.
  • Santiago stares silently as the sharks devour his greatest accomplishment.
statement of situation
Statement of Situation
  • A sentence that establishes the topic of the paper. It should be limited in scope.
  • In Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago stoically fights an unwinnable battle against nature.


  • The author’s main idea; a universal truth developed by the author.
  • Hemingway illustrates how man can be destroyed, but he can never be defeated.


  • The main, controlling idea of an essay.
  • Subject + verb + opinion + 3 sub-topics to support your opinion.

Through _______, ________, and _________, (subject) (active verb) (opinion).

Through Santiago, the marlin, and the sharks, Hemingway creates symbols that reinforce his theme that man can never be defeated.

body paragraphs
Body Paragraphs
  • The body paragraph should develop one main idea (one of the three sub-topics in your thesis statement.)

Topic Sentence

  • The main idea of the paragraph. It should state the topic of the paragraph and explain how the sub-topic proves or reinforces your thesis opinion.
  • The protagonist of novel, Santiago, symbolizes a Christ figure who endures great suffering, yet refuses lose his self-respect.

Concrete Detail

  • Concrete Detail is a direct quote from the novel or literature. You must add quotes to support your main idea.
  • State the speaker of the line before the quote.

Santiago reflects, “Man is not made for defeat; a man may be destroyed, but he can never be defeated.”


Concrete Detail

  • When writing an expository Interpretive Essay, use:
  • short specific anecdotes (narrative stories,)
  • current events
  • specific references to movies or television shows,
  • specific references to novels or plays to support your ideas.


  • Commentary explains how the quote supports or reinforces your thesis opinion. Choose specific words, images, symbols, etc to focus your commentary on—explain how and why the quote is significant.
Santiago’s wounded hands symbolize the wounds of Christ, otherwise known as stigmata. Hemingway creates this symbolic allusion to show how the common man can endure great suffering without losing his will to live. Indeed, Santiago does not allow events in the novel to defeat his soul.


  • Commentary must explain how your concrete details supports your thesis


  • Use transitions to move from one idea to the next.
  • Moreover, however, although, In addition, furthermore, unlike, etc.


Topic Sentence

Concrete detail #1

3 sentences of commentary

Concrete detail #2

3 sentences of commentary


Restate your thesis or main idea in different words.

Explain how your sub-topics prove the thesis.

Clincher: connect final sentence back to the hook



Do not use I, you, our, my, etc in formal essays.

All verbs should be present tense

Never add anything new to the conclusion