The Five Paragraph Essay

The Five Paragraph Essay-32
This is why I grade descriptive essays so relatively low: they only prove that someone did the reading.

This is why I grade descriptive essays so relatively low: they only prove that someone did the reading.

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The key to doing well here is tight discipline and focus, remembering that this is for “argument’s sake” but also making sure that the criticism on offer is notarbitrary, a wildly inconsistent grab-bag of fault-finding or a mouth-frothing disproportionate polemic.

The good thematic writer just needs to have enough faith in the heuristic they’re using to isolate a single issue or problem”a thematic essay goes wrong when the theme is very badly chosen or when the writer loses confidence and switches halfway through to something else. When it is done right, this is just about my favorite kind of short analytic essay, and it is one of the structures well worth learning for its general utility outside of the college environment.

In this structure, the writer explores some simplistic or banal assumption or argument for the first part of the paper, carefully bracketed off as a sort of Let’s suppose that X is true, where it is clear that the author is just thinking it through.

I often suggest some pre-built analytic structures that go beyond the usual five-paragraph essay that students are taught to write in K-12 schooling.

These are hooks, conceptual heuristics that I hope can help a student find an argument, a structure, “flow” to the analysis.

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