Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Constructing a Paragraph In Essay Writing

  Samim Hossain       Tuesday, 25 December 2018
Constructing a Paragraph In Essay Writing Far too many students have very little idea quite where they are heading in any paragraph of an essay, but the fact is that every paragraph can and should be tightly, and even self-consciously, organized. Just as an essay as a whole sets up an issue, deviances, and arrives somewhere, so each paragraph of an essay needs to locate itself, advance, and arrive somewhere new.

Constructing a Paragraph In Essay Writing

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Constructing a Paragraph In Essay Writing  If you look back at the opening paragraph of a Thackeray essay in the last section you should be able to see that it conforms to this pattern. It actually consists of three sentences which fulfill these three functions. In a rather similar way, this opening paragraph of an essay on Mary Kinsley, a Victorian traveler and writer, and the problem of ‘place’ starts with a ‘topic’ sentence that locates the issue, then advances by elaborating on that, finally arriving somewhere new. We have marked (/) the three steps of the paragraph:
The life and works of Mary Kingsley illustrate the different relationship men and women often experience towards ‘place’. / For men, the image of home is likely to suggest security, confidence, and nourishment. For women, however, home can prove to be just the opposite: a place of oppression, work, and perhaps even physical and sexual abuse. / In order to escape this oppressive sense of home, Kingsley detached her from it by traveling ‘away’ to Africa, where she would experience a new sense of place.
Very efficiently, the issue has been located, the paragraphs has advanced, and in no time at ail has arrived somewhere new. In the essay as a whole, the student elaborated on the sense of oppression Kingsley felt at home, then considered the sense of liberation she experienced in Africa, but then moved on to a complication, that Kingsley in Africa became an oppressor, just as other people had oppressed her at home. So, while the introduction set the essay up, the student then took advantage of that clear start to see how far she could take things. Section 1 was about oppression, section 2 about Africa, but then in section 3 the complications in the topic were brought out further than the opening paragraph initially suggests. That is because the student was using the essay structure to full advantage: while the first two stages deal with the complications of the topic, the final stage takes the essay on, breaking new ground with new ideas about the way in which Kingsley recreated the oppressive tyranny of home in Africa.
This three-part structure works well in an opening paragraph, and is just as effective in the body of an essay. This is the third paragraph of a student’s essay looking at the poetry of T. S. Eliot from the viewpoint of feminist literary criticism:
Feminist criticism is concerned with locating the place of women in an oppressive patriarchy. In Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of Alfred j. Prufrock’ the references are masculine: Michelangelo and Shakespeare, Lazarus and John the, Baptist. Throughout history, men are deified, whereas women remain anonymous. / Yet Eliot’s poem is a love poem, presumably addressed to a woman. Her questioning of the man, however, is subdued, and when a female voice is introduced it is only conveyed through Prufrock’s narrative. Women are, in fact, mainly represented in abstract terms, through images such as arms, bracelets and shawls, and at times as a perfumed figure of temptation. / The associations are stereotypical. Prufrock’s disjointed reflections avoid the whole woman, as if in fear. The woman is incomplete in poetry, just as she is unequal and incomplete in society.
This is quite complex work, but it is also much organized. The student locates the topic by identifying the masculine atmosphere of the poem; he or she then advances by considering how this is revealed in the poem; and then finally arrives at a running conclusion for the essay, which here takes the form of a fairly ambitious claim about how women are seen both in poetry and in life. At this stage, the end of the first section of the essay (paragraph 3 in an eight-paragraph scheme of things), the student is ready to move on and push the argument along in the second section.
-The method, then, is essentially a ‘rule of three’: start the paragraph with one or more topic sentences that locate where the argument has arrived at by this stage of the essay; in the body of the paragraph, look at the evidence, the movement from the opening to the middle of the paragraph is a movement from a general sentence to more precise and particular sentences. Then, having considered the evidence, as a third move, try to stand back a rattle at the end of a paragraph. One of the advantages of a paragraph constructed along these lines is that it serves the needs of your reader. At the start of each paragraph, you lead the reader into the issue. You then confront me reader with the evidence. Then, at the end of each paragraph, you pull the threads together for the reader. By stepping back a little in this kind of way at the end of each paragraph, you are also asserting your control over the overall movement and development of the essay.

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