A literary essay consists of four main parts: Title Introduction Body Paragraphs Conclusion TITLE: Provide a succinct statement of the thesis. INTRODUCTION: Contains a lead, plan of development and thesis.
LEAD A lead, the first part of the introduction, may consist of 2 or 3 general statements related to your topic. These sentences should not mention the title of the novel, play or poem being discussed, nor should they name the author, or any of the characters in the work. The purpose of these sentences is to capture the reader’s interest and gently lead him into your opinion statement. How does one create a lead? 1. Write out your thesis statement. 2. Underline all of the nouns in your thesis statement. 3. Compose general statements about one or more of those nouns. PLAN OF DEVELOPMENT A plan of development consists of 1 or 2 sentences which briefly mention the proofs you will elaborate in your essay. If you are using terms that you think may be unfamiliar to your reader, you should define them. How does one create a plan of development? 1. Decide on and list the proofs that you will be using to support your thesis. 2. Condense these proofs into short phrases which give concise information. 3. Write out a parallel sentence which includes these phrases. EXAMPLES: The antagonist lacks courage, honesty and imagination. (all nouns) OR
The antagonist is courageous, honest and imaginative. (all adjectives) “Do nots” in creating a plan of development:
Do not explain too much. (This is the purpose of the body paragraphs; if you give too much information about your proofs in the introduction, you will run out of things to say in the body and will ultimately become repetitious) THESIS: A thesis, the most important part of the introduction, is your opinion reduced into one arguable statement. A thesis is that which you are going to prove in the body of your essay. How does one develop a thesis? Suggestion. 1. Read the essay question carefully and clarify what it is you are being asked to prove. 2. Usually the thesis is inherent in the question.
THE BODY: The body of an essay consists of separate paragraphs, each one using proofs from the literature to support the argument/thesis. Each body paragraph can be divided into 3 sections: topic sentence, explanation and proof, and summary statement(s). TOPIC SENTENCE A topic sentence, usually the first sentence in each body paragraph, introduces what you will be discussing in that paragraph. It should not be too broad or too specific. EXPLANATION AND PROOF The sentence and/or quotations which follow the topic sentence are called the explanation proofs. They prove that your thesis is true and correct. Direct and indirect quotations may be used. A sentence or two must lead into or introduce your quotation. You must also draw conclusions related to your thesis from the quotation which must be properly footnoted. SUMMARY STATEMENT A sentence or two which concludes the point you are making in the paragraph is the final part of each body paragraph. USEFUL INFORMATION FOR BODY PARAGRAPHS:
Transitional Phrases: Use a transitional device in your topic sentence to smoothly move from one sentence/body paragraph to the next. EXAMPLE: In addition to courage, Romeo clearly demonstrates his honesty. a) b) c) d) e) f) moreover, further, furthermore, similarly nevertheless, on the other hand, on the contrary then, at present, eventually, meanwhile next, to begin with, in conclusion for instance, for example for this reason, it follows that
How does one create good body paragraphs? Suggestions: a) First, find proof from the literary work which strongly supports your thesis. b) Organize the proofs into distinct categories. c) Write a concise topic sentence for each of these categories. If ideas in topic sentences overlap, you will have structural problems in the essay. d) Introduce your quotation with a clear explanation of the circumstances surrounding the