At least once during the course of writing your essay, isolate what you consider to be your thesis. Is your proposition both arguable and reasonable? If it is obvious (i.e. Mary Rowlandson used the Bible for comfort during her captivity) you don’t have an argument. Argument requires analysis (i.e. taking things apart and explaining them). One test that may help is asking yourself what the opposite "side" of your argument would be. A good, complicated thesis (which was proposed by one of your classmates) is that "Although Mary Rowlandson says she often used the Bible as a source of comfort during her captivity, a closer reading of her narrative suggests her faith may have been more troubled by her experience than she lets on." One useful structure for writing thesis statements is the "although" form used above: "Although x seems to be true about this piece of literature, y is in fact more true (or makes our thinking about x more complex)." In this form you present both sides of your argument at once and show which side you’re on. Your job in the paper is to convince your reader to join you. Another way to write an effective thesis statement is to use the form "If we look closely at x (e.g. how Bradford defines freedom) we discover y (that ).
For example, if I wanted to write about Social Networking sites, I'd need to write different thesis statements depending on my compare/contrast assignment. Sample thesis statement for contrast paper: In terms of social networking sites, Facebook focuses on presenting your daily life to others, whereas MySpace allows you to focus more on demonstrating your personal style.Sample thesis statement for compare/contrast paper: While both Facebook and MySpace allow you to meet other users who have similar interests, only MySpace allows you to demonstrate your personal style. If you want to write a successful compare/contrast essay, you'll need to avoid writing about really obvious differences and similarities. For example:Tell us something we don't know (or might not notice)! It would be better to write about how sensitive both horses and cats are to human needs and emotions. You could also suggest that though both basketball and football require a lot of teamwork, basketball players are expected to be a lot more versatile than football players. You don't have to be a genius to write an interesting compare/contrast essay--you just have to look at ordinary things in a new way! Unless you're being asked to do some research as part of your compare/contrast project, make sure that you choose 2 things that you feel comfortable discussing, at length.Your instructor may ask for multiple similarities and differences--make sure you're prepared to write a well-developed, meaningful essay on a topic that you know well before you get started! There are two primary ways to organize your compare and contrast paper.Chunking: placing all of the information for each individual subject in one place (chunk), and then using similarities as transitions.Here’s a sample outline:Piecing: giving pieces of the information for each individual subject in each paragraph—arranging the information by topic rather than by subject. Here’s a sample outline:
Look for images or metaphors that the author uses consistently. What other sort of pattern can you identify in the text? How do you interpret this pattern so that your reader will understand the book, essay, poem, speech, etc. better?
Be clear about whether you’re writing about a book, an essay (non-fiction, short prose), a story (short fiction) a poem, a novel (book-length fiction), an autobiography, a narrative (as in Captivity Narratives) etc. Walden is a book comprised of chapters. Each of these chapters could also be called an essay. Within these essays, Thoreau sometimes tells stories. The book itself is not a story, but closer to a narrative, which is non-fiction.
The Parts of an Argument - Duration: 4:45
On the most basic level, you should be able to consciously justify the presence and placement of every word in every sentence, every sentence in every paragraph, every paragraph in every essay. To repeat: in revising your papers after the first draft (which is always, inevitably to some degree confused because you are involved in the process of working your ideas out), you should be highly conscious of what you are doing and why you are doing it.
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Although we are no longer accepting new essays on our website, we thought we would share these essay writing suggestions in case you wished to write an essay for your own benefit. Writing your own statement of personal belief can be a powerful tool for self-reflection. It can also be a wonderful thing to share with family, friends, and colleagues. To guide you through this process, we offer these suggestions:
The essay below demonstrates the principles of writing a basic essay
Please title your paper and make the title apt and enticing--I LOVE a good title. It puts me in a good mood before I start reading.Be clear about whether you’re writing about a book, an essay (non-fiction, short prose), a story (short fiction) a poem, a novel (book-length fiction), an autobiography, a narrative (as in Captivity Narratives) etc. Walden is a book comprised of chapters. Each of these chapters could also be called an essay. Within these essays, Thoreau sometimes tells stories. The book itself is not a story, but closer to a narrative, which is non-fiction.Always go through at least two drafts of you paper. Let your paper sit, preferably for 24 hours between drafts sometime during the process of your writing.Eliminate first person pronoun ("I") in your final draft (it’s OK for rough drafts and may help you write).