Step 1: research and development • Your first step will be to complete some initial research on your given topic. • Find FACTS and EVIDENCE and construct your opinion on the topic based on these facts. • FOR EXAMPLE: If the essay question is: What is the greatest movie of all time? • I will search and find various articles which detail that the best movie of all time is indeed Rocky IV
STEP 2: DEVELOPMENT • Once you have done ample research, and defined your stance on the topic you need to QUALIFY your argument. • That is, how do you know your argument is sound? • WHAT THREE FACTORS CAN BE USED TO PROVE YOUR POINT? • FOR EXAMPLE: (Argument)Rocky IV is the greatest movie of all time because (Qualification) of the realistic depiction of American fears in the Cold War era (1), it exemplifies the height of montage-related production (2), and Sylvester Stallone gives arguably the best performance of any actor ever (3).
Step 2: development (cont’d) • BE SURE that the three factors you introduce in your thesis correspond to each of your three body paragraphs , and, accordingly, you have the Concrete Details (CDs) to back them up. • FOR EXAMPLE: • of the realistic depiction of American fears in the Cold War era (1) • I will cite a NY Times article from 1985 detailing the the very real fears of Americans when it comes to the threat of Russian violence.
STEP 2: development (cont’d) • Then, for the 2nd part of my thesis: , it exemplifies the height of montage-related production (2) • I will cite a Roger Ebert review (Who is a recognized authority on such subjects) that describes the montage-production in Rocky IV as “apex of montage film-making to date…” (Ebert 16).
Step 2: development (cont’d) • And finally, the 3rd “prong” of my thesis: and Sylvester Stallone gives arguably the best performance of any actor ever (3) • For this, I will have to establish that Sly Stallone’s performance is singular and impressive. So, I will cite that he won the Oscar for acting that year (Academy of Arts and Sciences 1985), received the Screen Actor’s Guild Award (SAG 1985), and “made Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Meryl Streep all cry and throw themselves at Stallone’s feet, begging for acting lessons at any price” (Curtezri 63).
Step 3: (Body paragraphs) • Now that we have our focus, we can begin to construct the body paragraphs (which I feel should come first and then when you have a feel of the overall tone of the piece, we will construct the Introduction and Conclusion), then we will proceed to do the following…
Step 4: intro • The Intro should begin with the often-mentioned “Hook.” Something that is interesting, unique and will make the reader WANT to read on. This should be a BROAD take on your subject… • FOR EXAMPLE: Even though I am working with a single movie, I will want to address its larger relevance. Maybe the fear of Russian power in the 80s as shown in the movie…. • A boxer sits in the darkness and shakily and blindly eases the straw into his lips. The wired jaw is an inconvenience, the detached retina painful and blinding, but the concussion and onset of dementia is disorienting and terrifying. This boxer has sustained all of these injuries as a result of one punch from the fictitious boxer Ivan Drago, the Russian super-pugilist who delivers a 2,000 pound-per-square inch punch.
Step 4: intro • As you can note from the example, I have started with a broad yet (mildly) interesting idea. Who is this boxer? What has happened to cripple him so profoundly? Then, I begin to FOCUS the idea into my particular arena of argument. • BOXING -> PAIN, FEAR -> RUSSIAN BOXER
STEP 4: intro • I will then further focus my argument to fit the VERY SPECIFIC thesis statement I have constructed. • A boxer sits in the darkness and shakily and blindly eases the straw into his lips. The wired jaw is an inconvenience, the detached retina painful and blinding, but the concussion and onset of dementia is disorienting and terrifying. This boxer has sustained all of these injuries as a result of one punch from the fictitious boxer Ivan Drago, the Russian super-pugilist who delivers a 2,000 pound-per-square inch punch. • This threat of large-scale force provides the tone for the Cold War Classic, Rocky IV. Rocky must surpass overwhelming odds in order to protect his country and avenge his friend, Apollo Creed. Not only is this movie fantastic, but presents the Cold War conflict with terrific performances and the perfection of the 80s-era device of the montage.
Step 4: intro • THEREFORE… • Your intro should look like a FUNNEL… • WHAT BEGINS VERY BROAD…. • MOVES TO THE VERY SPECIFIC (THESIS)
Step 5: conclusion CONVERSELY… Your Conclusion should Function in the opposite manner BEGIN NARROW and SPECIFIC (Restate Thesis) AND END BROAD AND GENERAL YET INTERESTING (Reverse Hook)
Step 5: conclusion • For all the above reasons, Rocky IV will live on as a classic of modern cinema: Its inflated (yet relevant) depiction of American Cold War fears, the use and perfection of montage effects, and the top-notch performance of Sly Stallone (SPECIFIC Restated thesis). Few movies are able to so successfully combine form, performance, and theme as well as Rocky IV (General relevance of movie). By using and perfecting the form of montage and subtle, yet powerful acting, Stallone is able to preserve the feeling of Man versus Machine and raw power that so aptly summarizes the feelings of Cold War Era Americans (Even more general). Stallone shows us that not only can America survive a” 2,000 pound-per-square-inch punch,” but can be victorious detached retinas and all (More General and related to original hook).
Now, it’s your turn… • Compose and Intro and Conclusion for the following question: • What is the greatest movie of all time? • Start with research: find three factors you can use as evidence. • Construct you thesis (ARGUMENT + 3 FACTORS) • Build your hook and then work to specify and focus on your thesis • Work your conclusion as a mirror image (Specific to General)