Basic essay structure intro paragraph

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“Motivator” or “Lead-in” – This is optional – comprised of the introductory slides from your presentation

Title slide: “Not every journey takes place on the road.”

Explanation: In many works of literature a physical journey is a metaphor for internal change.

Thesis YOUR Thesis slide – but focused on the ONE book YOU read

Thesis: The journey a character takes often parallels changes or growth that occurs within that character. In the “Telemachy,” which includes books 1-4 of Homer’s Odyssey, Telemachus is just such a character.
Blueprint – Suggests the STRUCTURE of your essay – indicates topics for body paragraphs.
Blueprint: Telemachus embarks on a journey to find news of his father, who has been missing for twenty years. In the process of this search, his character develops from an immature, insecure “boy” into a strong, self-assured man, the true Prince of his kingdom.
BODY PARAGRAPHS – Topics are indicated by the BLUEPRINT
Paragraph 1 – Initially, Telemachus is _____________ as very immature.

  • Provide DIRECT references to text (paraphrase or quote) AND citation (21).

Paragraph 2 – Through his journey to find word of his father, Telemachus begins to ___________

  • Provide DIRECT references to text (paraphrase or quote) AND citation (25).

Paragraph 3 - At the end of the epic, Telemachus is no longer a boy; he is decidedly a man.

  • Provide DIRECT references to text (paraphrase or quote) AND citation (29).

CONCLUSION – Restate/Summarize


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY for each body paragraph

CLINCHER” - DEFINITIVE - DECLARATIVE STATEMENT that brings the discussion to a close

Often in literary works, a journey is much more than a journey; it is a means for character growth and change. This is most certainly the case for Telemachus in Homer’s Odyssey. As Telemachus begins his quest for his father, he might at most be called adolescent in behavior and attitude. As he faces challenges, and as Athena provides experiences that both stretch and encourage him, he begins to develop a much stronger sense of self, which results ultimately in Homer naming him – not “boy” – but “Prince Telemachus, true son of the King.” Without a doubt, Telemachus’ “road” made him.


Sample Thesis/Blueprint: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a clear illustration of the statement, “Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.” Through his characters as well as through foreshadowing and irony, he suggests that there are always negative consequences for impulsive behavior.
Body Paragraph Structure:

  • Topic Sentence: Transitional phrase, reference to thesis, reference to part of blueprint

    • First of all, Shakespeare’s characters Mercutio and Romeo both illustrate the unfortunate results of hasty choices.

    • Secondly, foreshadowing incidents indicate that there will be negative events that flow from reckless acts.

    • Finally, Shakespeare’s use of irony offers eloquent evidence that tragedy is the natural and inevitable consequence of rash behavior.

NOTE: Variety of vocabulary:

  • suggest, illustrate, indicate, offers evidence

  • negative consequences unfortunate results, negative results, tragedy

  • impulsive behavior, hasty choices, reckless acts, rash behavior

Climactic order: Transitional phrases AND ideas suggest increasing importance

  • Supporting evidence from text, explanation, link to thesis

  • Concluding sentence


What is utopia? The dictionary defines it as the perfect place, free from conflict or difficulties of any kind. However, the ancient Greeks felt that such a place could never exist. In fact, their word for “perfect place” – or “utopia” – in fact means “no place.” They believed that utopia is impossible to achieve. Many science fiction writers share this opinion. In Lois Lowry’s novel, The Giver, the author supports the idea that utopia is impossible through her use of diction and irony.

Utopia is impossible. Lois Lowry’s novel, The Giver, supports this idea. Lowry proves perfection is impossible through her use of irony and diction.
The dictionary defines utopia as “perfect society.” But is it possible to create such a world? Lois Lowry clearly feels utopia is impossible, and supports this idea in her novel, The Giver. In The Giver, Lowry uses diction, irony, and characterization to show that an attempt at utopia will result in dystopia.
Many science fiction writers use their stories to prove that when a society tries to achieve perfection, it often creates a dystopia instead. Lois Lowry’s novel, The Giver, is such a work. The community attempts to be utopian, but miserably fails. Lowry communicates this failure through…
“It’s not what an author shouts, but what he whispers that is most important.” In other words, what an author conveys “between the lines” is more telling than the literal words on the page. Many literary works include literary elements and devices that provide subtle hints to the meaning or message in a text rather than stating that meaning outright. One work that accomplishes this is Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson. This novel uses characterization, motif and symbolism to quietly suggest the idea that Melinda is a troubled adolescent.

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