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Cause and Effect Essays

Cause and Effect Essays

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Cause and Effect Essays

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  1. Cause and Effect Essays Mercy College Division of Literature, Language, and Communication English Program Elements of Exposition ENGL 110 Prof. Enikő Horváth © Enikő Horváth

  2. Overview • What are Cause and Effect Essays? • Why does something happen or does not happen? What made this happen? • These are the causes • What is the result? What is the effect? • These are the effects or results © Enikő Horváth

  3. Overview of presentation • A sample essay • Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) • Structure of the sample essay • Points to consider when writing a cause and effect essay © Enikő Horváth

  4. A sample essay • First read the essay • (If you have already read it in the book, go to page 10) • Then look at the reconstruction of the structure of the essay © Enikő Horváth

  5. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) I. Paul, the main character in Willa Cather’s short story “Paul’s Case,” is a young man on a collision course with death. As Cather reveals Paul’s story, we learn about elements of Paul’s personality that inevitably come together and cause his suicide. Paul takes his own life as a result of his inability to conform to society, his passive nature, and his emotional isolation. © Enikő Horváth

  6. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) II. 1. First of all, Paul cannot conform to the standards of his own society. At school, Paul advertises his desire to be part of another, more glamorous world by wearing fancy clothes that set him apart from the other students. At home on Cordelia Street, Paul despises everything about his middle-class neighborhood. He hates the houses “permeated by kitchen odors,” the “ugliness and commonness of his own home,” and the respectable neighbors sitting on their front stoops every Sunday, “their stomachs comfortably protruding.” Paul’s father hopes that Paul will settle down and become like the young man next door, a nearsighted clerk who works for a corporate steel magnate. Paul, however, is repelled by the young man and all he represents. It seems inevitable, then, that Paul will not be able to cope with the office job his father obtains for him at the firm of Denny & Carson; and this inability to conform will, in turn, lead Paul’s theft of $1,000. © Enikő Horváth

  7. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) II. 2. Paul’s suicide is also due, in part, to his passive nature. Throughout his life, Paul has been an observer and an onlooker. Paul’s only escape from the prison of his daily life comes from his job as an usher at Pittsburg’s Carnegie Hall; he lives for the moments when he can watch the actors, singers, and musicians. However, Paul has no desire to be an actor or musician. As Cather says, “What he wanted was to see, to be in the atmosphere, float on the wave of it, to be carried out … away from everything.” Although Paul steals the money and flees to New York, these uncharacteristic actions underscore the desperation he feels. Once at the Waldorf in New York, Paul is again content to observe the glamorous world he has craved for so long: “He had no especial desire to meet or to know any of these people; all he demanded was the right to look on and conjecture, to watch the pageant.” During his brief stay in the city, Paul enjoys simply sitting in his luxurious rooms, glimpsing the show of city life through a magical curtain of snow. At the end, when the forces of ordinary life begin to close in again, Paul kills himself. But it is typical that he does not use the gun that he has bought. Rather, more in keeping with his passive nature, Paul lets himself fall under the wheels of a train. © Enikő Horváth

  8. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) II. 3. Finally, Paul ends his life because he is emotionally isolated. Throughout the story, not one person makes any real contact with Paul. His teachers do not understand him and merely resent the attitude of false bravado that he uses as a defense. Paul’s mother is dead; he cannot even remember her. Paul is completely alienated from his father, who obviously cares for him but who cannot feel close to this withdrawn, unhappy son. To Paul, his father is only the man waiting at the top of the stairs, “his hairy legs sticking out of his nightshirt,” who will greet him with “inquiries and reproaches.” When Paul meets a college boy in New York, they share a night on the town. But the “champagne friendship” ends with a “singularly cool” parting. Paul is not the kind of person who can let himself go or confide in one of his peers. For the most part, Paul’s isolation is self-imposed. He has drifted so far into his fantasy life that people in the “real” world are treated like invaders. As he allows no one to enter his dream, there is no one Paul can turn to for understanding. © Enikő Horváth

  9. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) III. The combination of these personality factors—inability to conform, passivity, and emotional isolation—makes Paul’s tragic suicide inevitable. Before he jumps in front of the train, Paul scoops a hole in the snow and buries the carnation that he has been wearing in his buttonhole. Like a hothouse flower in the winter, Paul has a fragile nature that cannot survive in this hostile environment. © Enikő Horváth

  10. Structure of the Sample Essay • Look at the different parts of the essay now • Try to recreate its structure • Create the outline of the essay © Enikő Horváth

  11. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) I. Paul, the main character in Willa Cather’s short story “Paul’s Case,” is a young man on a collision course with death. As Cather reveals Paul’s story, we learn about elements of Paul’s personality that inevitably come together and cause his suicide. Paul takes his own life as a result ofhis inability to conform to society, his passive nature, and his emotional isolation. © Enikő Horváth

  12. I. Introduction of the Essay • What is the essay about? • The protagonist of Willa Cather’s short story “Paul’s Case” • What is the topic of the essay? • The reasons why Paul commits suicide • Look at the thesis and how it outlines the essay: • Paul takes his own life as a result ofhis inability to conform to society, his passive nature, and his emotional isolation. © Enikő Horváth

  13. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) II. 1. First of all, Paul cannot conform to the standards of his own society. At school, Paul advertises his desire to be part of another, more glamorous world by wearing fancy clothes that set him apart from the other students. At home on Cordelia Street, Paul despises everything about his middle-class neighborhood. He hates the houses “permeated by kitchen odors,” the “ugliness and commonness of his own home,” and the respectable neighbors sitting on their front stoops every Sunday, “their stomachs comfortably protruding.” Paul’s father hopes that Paul will settle down and become like the young man next door, a nearsighted clerk who works for a corporate steel magnate. Paul, however, is repelled by the young man and all he represents. It seems inevitable, then, that Paul will not be able to cope with the office job his father obtains for him at the firm of Denny & Carson; and this inability to conform will, in turn, lead Paul’s theft of $1,000. © Enikő Horváth

  14. II. Body of the Essay–First paragraph • The first point of the plan of development of the thesis was his inability to conform to society • It is reworded in the second paragraph: • Paul cannot conform to the standards of his own society • And support is given: • wearing fancy clothes that set him apart from the other students • At home Paul despises everything about his middle-class neighborhood • houses • neighbors • the young man next door • not be able to cope with the office job © Enikő Horváth

  15. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) II. 2. Paul’s suicide is also due, in part, to his passive nature. Throughout his life, Paul has been an observer and an onlooker. Paul’s only escape from the prison of his daily life comes from his job as an usher at Pittsburg’s Carnegie Hall; he lives for the moments when he can watch the actors, singers, and musicians. However, Paul has no desire to be an actor or musician. As Cather says, “What he wanted was to see, to be in the atmosphere, float on the wave of it, to be carried out … away from everything.” Although Paul steals the money and flees to New York, these uncharacteristic actions underscore the desperation he feels. Once at the Waldorf in New York, Paul is again content to observe the glamorous world he has craved for so long: “He had no especial desire to meet or to know any of these people; all he demanded was the right to look on and conjecture, to watch the pageant.” During his brief stay in the city, Paul enjoys simply sitting in his luxurious rooms, glimpsing the show of city life through a magical curtain of snow. At the end, when the forces of ordinary life begin to close in again, Paul kills himself. But it is typical that he does not use the gun that he has bought. Rather, more in keeping with his passive nature, Paul lets himself fall under the wheels of a train. © Enikő Horváth

  16. II. Body of the Essay–Second paragraph • The second point of the thesis was his passive nature • It is repeated in the third paragraph: • his passive nature • And support is given: • an observer and an onlooker • usher • at the Waldorf in New York - sitting in his luxurious rooms • fall under the wheels of a train © Enikő Horváth

  17. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) II. 3. Finally, Paul ends his life because he is emotionally isolated. Throughout the story, not one person makes any real contact with Paul. His teachers do not understand him and merely resent the attitude of false bravado that he uses as a defense. Paul’s mother is dead; he cannot even remember her. Paul is completely alienated from his father, who obviously cares for him but who cannot feel close to this withdrawn, unhappy son. To Paul, his father is only the man waiting at the top of the stairs, “his hairy legs sticking out of his nightshirt,” who will greet him with “inquiries and reproaches.” When Paul meets a college boy in New York, they share a night on the town. But the “champagne friendship” ends with a “singularly cool” parting. Paul is not the kind of person who can let himself go or confide in one of his peers. For the most part, Paul’s isolation is self-imposed. He has drifted so far into his fantasy life that people in the “real” world are treated like invaders. As he allows no one to enter his dream, there is no one Paul can turn to for understanding. © Enikő Horváth

  18. II. Body of the Essay–Third paragraph • The third point of the thesis was his emotional isolation • It is reworded in the fourth paragraph: • he is emotionally isolated • And support is given: • His teachers do not understand him • his mother is dead • he is alienated from his father • a college boy in New York (a “singularly cool” parting) • isolation is self-imposed (fantasy life) © Enikő Horváth

  19. Paul’s suicide (Langan 263-264) III. The combination of these personality factors—inability to conform, passivity, and emotional isolation—makes Paul’s tragic suicide inevitable. Before he jumps in front of the train, Paul scoops a hole in the snow and buries the carnation that he has been wearing in his buttonhole. Like a hothouse flower in the winter, Paul has a fragile nature that cannot survive in this hostile environment. © Enikő Horváth

  20. III. Conclusion • Look at how the conclusion is the summary of the essay first (compare it to the thesis) • Conclusion: • The combination of these personality factors—inability to conform, passivity, and emotional isolation—makes Paul’s tragic suicide inevitable. • Thesis: • Paul takes his own life as a result ofhis inability to conform to society, his passive nature, and his emotional isolation. • Then the writer finishes with a final thought. © Enikő Horváth

  21. Look at the outline of the whole essay: I. Paul takes his own life as a result ofhis inability to conform to society, his passive nature, and his emotional isolation. II. 1. Paul cannot conform to the standards of his own society • wearing fancy clothes that set him apart from the other students • At home Paul despises everything about his middle-class neighborhood • houses • neighbors • the young man next door • not be able to cope with the office job 2. his passive nature • an observer and an onlooker • usher • at the Waldorf in New York - sitting in his luxurious rooms • fall under the wheels of a train 2. he is emotionally isolated • His teachers do not understand him • his mother is dead • he is alienated from his father • a college boy in New York (a “singularly cool” parting) • isolation is self-imposed (fantasy life) III. The combination of these personality factors—inability to conform, passivity, and emotional isolation—makes Paul’s tragic suicide inevitable.

  22. Summary • As the thesis stated, this essay gives the reasons why Paul commits suicide (causes): • Paul takes his own life as a result ofhis inability to conform to society, his passive nature, and his emotional isolation. • If it had been about what happened as the result of his suicide (how his environment reacted, such as his father, his teachers, his neighbors), that would have given the results of his suicide (effects). © Enikő Horváth

  23. Overview • You saw a sample of a Cause and Effect essay with reconstruction of its outline • What are Cause and Effect Essays? • Giving reasons (causes) why something happens or happened • Giving the effects of some event, outlining the resulting effects (reword here!) © Enikő Horváth

  24. Overview • When writing a Cause and Effect Essay, you usually either focus on the factors that lead to an event (causes) or the consequences of the event (effects). • Find three distinctive reasons, events, emotions, results (depending on the topic), and find supporting details (examples) for each of your point. • Your points will be your topics in your body paragraphs, and your supporting details will be the supporting points of your paragraphs. © Enikő Horváth

  25. Outline You might want to keep to the following outline: • Introduction (lead-in and thesis) • Body • Reason 1./Result 1. Examples, support • Reason 2./Result 2. Examples, support • Reason 3./Result 3. Examples, support • Conclusion (summary and final thought) (see also the outline under handouts) © Enikő Horváth

  26. Structure Words • Some useful vocabulary you might want to use: • To introduce cause (or reason) /Why something happened?/: • for, because, since, as, to result from, due to, because of, the result of, the effect of, the consequences of, as a result of, as a consequence of • To introduce effect (or result) /What are the consequences of an event?/: • as a result, as a consequence, so, therefore, thus, consequently, hence, accordingly, to result in, to cause, to have an effect on, to affect, the cause of, the reason for © Enikő Horváth