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An essay is a short piece of writing that generally gives the writer’s personal viewpoint on any given subject. An essay is comprised of three separate parts: an introductory paragraph, a thesis statement (3 or more paragraphs) and a concluding paragraph. At the very least, an essay will have five paragraphs.
Introductory paragraph: An introductory paragraph informs the reader what the essay is about or, in other words, what is the topic of the essay. For example, let’s look at the following introductory paragraph. (Remember, the introductory paragraph needs to follow the rules of writing a complete paragraph.)
Charlotte Simpson, a fourteen-year-old girl living in the early 1800's, is learning how to be a proper young lady. She is learning how to dress properly, speak properly and even eat properly. However, all of that changes when she goes on board the Flying Sparrow bound for America.
This paragraph tells us what the essay is going to be about, i.e., Charlotte Simpson, and how her life changes.
Thesis statement: The thesis statement is the main body of an essay and will include at least three paragraphs. To make an essay complete, three points should always be addressed that relate back to the introductory paragraph. For example, let’s look at a portion of the following thesis statement:
Charlotte comes from a very wealthy English family. She attended the best schools in her country. She also wore the finest clothes in the latest fashions. She never wanted for anything. Life couldn’t be more perfect for a young girl on her way to becoming a young lady.
Once on board the Flying Sparrow, the first change that affected Charlotte was learning to communicate with the crew. Being considered a lower class than herself, this was something a lady did not do. Before long, however, Charlotte found that she very much enjoyed the crew’s friendship and even their questionable use of unsavory language.
The next change came when Charlotte put on a pair of baggy pants. If her grandmother could have seen her at that moment, she would have fainted. However, Charlotte found the pants to be very freeing as she walked out across the ship’s deck.
In these paragraphs there is one main point given in each. In the first paragraph we learn that Charlotte came from a wealthy family and it details some of the benefits she had from that. The second paragraph points out that Charlotte is communicating with a class of people that were different from her class and she was enjoying it. Finally, in the third paragraph, we have Charlotte putting pants on and telling the readers how she felt about it.
Concluding paragraph: The concluding paragraph is just as important to the essay as is the introductory paragraph. It sums up how the thesis statement supported the introductory paragraph and finishes the essay by resolving the topic at hand. For example, let’s look at the following concluding paragraph:
By the time the Flying Sparrow reached America, Charlotte had turned into a new person. No longer was she kept in a little box of proper respectability. Now she was a free young woman with a world of endless possibilities before her. Although she would miss the girl she had been, she was far more excited about getting to know the new girl she was blossoming into becoming.
This paragraph sums up the supporting paragraphs and readdresses the introductory paragraph that advised us that Charlotte would change.