Shaping College Writing Paragraph And Essay

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” She does a little brainstorming, and she says, “Well, in class, my professor talked about the economy, politics, and slavery.

I guess I can do a paper about that.” So she writes her introduction: A civil war occurs when two sides in a single country become so angry at each other that they turn to violence.

” because the last sentence in the paragraph only lists topics. Her first sentence is general, the way she learned a five-paragraph essay should start.

But from the professor’s perspective, it’s far too general—so general, in fact, that it’s completely outside of the assignment: she didn’t ask students to define civil war.

The Civil War between North and South was a major conflict that nearly tore apart the young United States.

The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons.High school students are often taught to write essays using some variation of the five-paragraph model.A five-paragraph essay is hourglass-shaped: it begins with something general, narrows down in the middle to discuss specifics, and then branches out to more general comments at the end.If you’ve seen a lot of five-paragraph essays, you can guess what Alex will write next. ” Then she will decide how to organize her draft by thinking about the argument’s parts and how they fit together.Her first body paragraph will begin, “We can see some of the different reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War by looking at the economy.” What will the professor say about that? After doing some brainstorming and reading the Writing Center’s handout on thesis statements, Alex thinks of a main argument, or thesis statement: Both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, but Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their rights to property and self-government.The third and fourth sentences say, in so many words, “I am comparing and contrasting the reasons why the North and the South fought the Civil War”—as the professor says, they just restate the prompt, without giving a single hint about where this student’s paper is going. ” After three such body paragraphs, the student might write a conclusion that says much the same thing as her introduction, in slightly different words. This time, Alex doesn’t begin with a preconceived notion of how to organize her essay.The final sentence, which should make an argument, only lists topics; it doesn’t begin to explore how or why something happened. Alex’s professor might respond, “You’ve already said this! Instead of three “points,” she decides that she will brainstorm until she comes up with a main argument, or thesis, that answers the question “Why did the North and South fight the Civil War?Finally, having followed her sketch outline and written her paper, Alex turns to writing a conclusion.From our handout on conclusions, she knows that a “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it” conclusion doesn’t move her ideas forward.In some cases, these reasons were the same, but in other cases they were very different.In this paper, I will compare and contrast these reasons by examining the economy, politics, and slavery.

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