By this time you should already have a thesis sentence, outline, and an idea for a conclusion. If you do not, then see the handout, "Writing an Essay I: Planning," before continuing. This paper shall examine the process of composition from the perspective of execution (actually writing the paper) in order to provide writers and their tutors with systematic means of completing an essay.
I. What is the relation of an outline to the written theme?
A. The first important connection between the outline and the written theme is how the thesis is written. It might happen that, after you have decided on a thesis, the outline forces you to rewrite it, because the outline revealed some problem you hadn't expected
(such as a lack of evidence) or suggested some improvement. Since one of the purposes of a good thesis is to give a general indication of the plan of the paper, this plan must be reflected in the final outline. In any case, the outline—and, of course, the theme written from it—must not contradict the thesis and vice versa.
B. The other connection between an outline and the written theme involves paragraphs.
How do paragraphs relate to parts of an outline? It depends. The theme that was written from the sample outline given in the handout, "Writing an Essay I: Planning," contained five paragraphs. In the sample theme, there is a separate paragraph for the introductory paragraph (see p. 3 above) and for the conclusion. Each major section (I,
II, III) took one paragraph to complete. The paragraphs written from the outline for
Sections I and II were, of course, the longest. Compare the outline for I and II with the paragraphs written from it:
I. Beneficial programs
A. Nature specials
1. Are realistic
2. Teach appreciation of all life
B. "Sesame Street" and similar programs
1. Develop interest in school
2. Encourage creativity
C. Christmas programs
D. Some commercials
The beneficial programs are mainly those that educate the young.
There are often nature specials on animal life that are realistic, and that teach children an appreciation for all life. There are
a few regular children's programs, such as "Sesame Street" or
"Electric Company," that develop the child's interest in school-type learning by stressing numbers and the alphabet, and that encourage him or her to be creative. Children's Christmas specials can offer a warm, wholesome form of entertainment, and the beneficial commercials, such as those on anti-smoking, anti-litter, and health, should be included in this category.
A. Many commercials
B. Adult programs containing violence or sex
1. Confuse the child
2. Harden him to violence
3. Frighten him
4. Warp his attitudes
C. Many cartoons
On the opposite side are the shows which are generally harmful to children. Many commercials, especially those sponsoring the children's programs, are deliberately written to create a desire for an unnecessary product such as sugar-coated cereals and candy.
All adult programs that include violence or overdone sex scenes can at best fill a child's mind with confusing or misleading ideas, and could possibly harden the child to violence, leave him terrified, or warp his viewpoints toward human life and sexual love. Many children's cartoons should be classified as bad because of their constant ridiculing of all adults.
Looking at this, you can see why the theme was only 5 paragraphs long. The material is dealt with in an uncomplicated manner, and the evidence is mainly in the form of listing brief examples of programs. As a result, each major section of the outline (I, II, III) could easily be handled in one paragraph each. But imagine for a moment that section II. B. ("affects of adult programs containing violence or sex") interested the writer so much or was so important to understand clearly how harmful TV programs can be that it was expanded into a paragraph of its