Using the information presented, your own experience, observations, and/or readings, write an article for your school newspaper about the meaning of loyalty.
As you write your speech, remember to:
Focus on the definition of friendship.
Consider the purpose, audience, and context of your article.
Organize your ideas and details effectively.
Include specific details that clearly develop your article.
Edit your speech for standard grammar and language usage.
Example Essay on the Meaning of Loyalty “In sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, 'til death do us part." With these well-known words, couples around the world become married every day. Their friends and family gather from distant places with excitement and hope to watch them make one of life’s most important promises: marriage vows, vows of loyalty. Loyalty often makes us think of scenes like these where people show love and courage unconditionally to those around them. In reality, loyalty is far more complex than this. Loyalty can be both positive and negative and it is something that we must show ourselves in addition to giving to others.
At its best, loyalty means supporting and caring for those you care the most about, even in the hardest situations. When I was in middle school, I learned the power of loyalty first hand from my best friend Kierra. For most of middle school, I was an outgoing, bubbly, hardworking student, so I had many friends. Then, when I was in 8th grade, my parents got divorced, and I become extremely depressed. I stopped smiling and joking. I even began failing math and science. Most of my friends turned away from me because I was no longer fun to be around, but Kierra stood by me. She listened and waited while I cried, she reassured me again and again that things would get better, and she stayed with me even when it meant that our old friends ignored her, too. She cared about me so much that she was willing to continue caring for me, even when it was difficult. Kierra’s continued support for me, even when I was not at myself, perfectly exemplifies what loyalty can be at its best.
Unfortunately, loyalty is not always such a positive force. Often, people act loyally out of fear or insecurity, instead of care and it causes us to harm others, instead of helping them. Throughout history, there have been many examples of people who have been loyal to evil countries or leaders simply out of fear. For example, during the Holocaust, when Hitler first began killing Jews, many German soldiers went along with his plans even though they knew that what they were doing was wrong. They showed Hitler loyalty by carrying out his most appalling orders simply because they were afraid to loose their own lives. Their loyalty to Hitler led to 11 million deaths! Although the best sort of loyalty can lead us to care for others, loyalty caused by fear and insecurity leads us to harm others rather than help them.
Sometimes, it is not entirely clear whether our loyalties are positive or negative, which is why it is important to remember that loyalty is something that we owe ourselves in addition to those around us. Only through loyalty to yourself can you truly understand what is good and bad. My parents are the perfect example of the need to have loyalty to one’s self. For the first twelve years of their marriage, they made each other truly happy, but they gradually grew apart and began having extremely serious and dangerous fights. They both became more and more depressed, until my father finally left. By divorcing my mother, my father broke one of the most important vows of loyalty that a person can make: marriage vows. At the same time, he knew that neither of them was able to be happily themselves in the marriage. Even if they stayed loyal to their marriage, they would be destroying themselves. By choosing loyalty to himself and his happiness over his marriage, my father hurt my mother, but ultimately, they were both able to find happier marriages because they were true to themselves.
Loyalty is clearly not as happy and straightforward as simply promising to stay with someone through thick and thin, sickness and health. At its best, it is very positive and can help us to support others just as Kierra did for me. But at its worst, loyalty can cause us to hurt others in fear like during the Holocaust. It is important to realize that loyalty has these two sides, so that when we are faced with a situation where it is not clear whether or not a particular loyalty is positive, we know to examine ourselves and our beliefs critically, just as my father did. As Shakespeare says, “To thine own self, be true.” Ultimately, by being true to ourselves, we will be true to others in the best possible way.
Example Essay Questions: These questions will help you to look for the things that make essays really excellent. Read the essay on the backside of this sheet and then do the following things:
Circle the attention grabber.
Find and highlight the thesis.
Find and highlight topic sentence of each support paragraph.
Find and highlight the concluding sentence of each support paragraph.
List the main idea of each support paragraph.
Support paragraph 1 - Support paragraph 2 - Support paragraph 3 -
Underline the transition between each of the support paragraphs. (It may be the same as the as the topic sentence or it may come before the topic sentence.)
Looking at how the author transitions from one body paragraph to the next, explain why he or she organized his or her ideas in this order. In other words, how does the main idea of each support paragraph lead to or relate to the main idea of the next paragraph?
Circle transition wordswithin paragraphs.
Circle the essay’s concluding thought. Is it a quote, thought provoking question, or dramatic statement?
(10) What is one specific thing about this essay that you want to try in your own writing? Use examples. (Do NOT just say: “I like the attention grabber!” Instead, say, “I like how the author uses marriage vows as an attention grabber because everyone is familiar with marriage vows and readers will be intrigued to find out how the essay will relate marriage and loyalty. It also connects to the third support paragraph!)