Project #81839 - Essay 1 Thesis and Body Paragraph


Since one of our course-level student learning outcomes is all about writing processes, I've designed this assignment to help you move through a slow, careful writing process for Essay 1. The first time around, my goal is to regularly jump into your process of writing your first essay and to guide you towards a strong final product--one that communicates a carefully focused and constructed main idea and carefully designed and developed supporting paragraphs. I hope you will see all these assignments that are due before your Essay 1 final draft as opportunities to learn what's working and what's not working and what you can do to revise your thinking about Essay 1. I will put a lot of my time and thought into your assignment submissions as I respond to each of you through this process; I hope you will put in the same time and thinking, too.

This assignment targets Unit Learning Outcomes

  • 8. Compose an effective analytical thesis (targets SLO 1)
  • 9. Compose effective "claim-evidence-explanation" paragraphs (targets SLOs 1, 2, 3 and 4)


First, make sure you have studied Chapter 5 in Wilhoit and read the Essay 1 assignment sheet at the top of Unit 1.

Second, complete the following three-part assignment in a word processor document (Word, Pages, GoogleDocs) and save it as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf.

PART 1: Essay 1 Thesis

Before you attempt this part, study Page 88 in Wilhoit to get familiar with "open" and "closed" thesis statements. As the book says, your thesis is your interpretation of the poem based on the criteria you've used to analyze it. You won't find your interpretation until you work hard at analyzing the poem through the lens of the criterion or set of criteria you have selected.

Complete these two tasks for Part 1 of this assignment.

  1. Type out your Essay 1 thesis statement as an "open thesis." An open thesis states your interpretation but not the criterion you use to analyze the poem. Recall that your thesis, for Essay 1, you will analyze the poem through the lens of only one criterion.
  2. Type out your Essay 1 thesis statement as a "closed thesis." A closed thesis states your interpretation and announces the criterion you use to analyze the poem.

Here are samples:

  1. Open Thesis: In "All in a Day's Play," William Scone blurs fantasy and reality to warn readers the two are rarely the same.
  2. Closed Thesis with one criterion: Analyzing the imagery in "All in a Day's Play" reveals how William Scone blurs fantasy and reality to warn readers the two are rarely the same.


PART 2: Essay 1 Body Paragraph

Before you attempt this part, which asks you to write out a body paragraph that supports the thesis you created above, study page 88 in Wilhoit to get familiar how to organize your essay around a single criterion.

This semester, you will be learning and applying what I call "Claim-Evidence-Explanation" body paragraphs. I've given them this name because the kind of writing you do for this course and other college courses require you to make claims, support claims with evidence, and explain how the evidence supports the claims so that readers see what you see. When you study pages 88-9 of Wilhoit, you will see that it's this kind of paragraph he is teaching you. As Wilhoit demonstrates on page 88, analyzing a work through one criterion sets you up for three or so body paragraphs, each one with a distinct idea you've drawn from interpreting the text through the lens of your one criterion. It's important that each body paragraph you compose for the essay has only one main idea and that the main is crystal clear to readers. You will then support that main idea by offering the passages that led you to the main idea AND by explaining how those passages led you to your main idea; in other words, you make a claim (main idea), offer evidence (the passages in the poem that led you to the idea) to support the claim, and explain how those passages led to your main idea so that readers see precisely what you see.

Complete the following task for Part 2 of this assignment; label each element (claim, evidence, explanation) with the corresponding letter you just below (A, B, C, etc.):


  1. Type out the claim: This is the paragraph's main idea. The claim is one of the conclusions you drew, or one of the interpretations you made, that led you to your thesis. Since you will analyze the poem with one criterion, this claim will be one of two, three, or more conclusions you draw as you analyze the poem through that one criterion.
  2. Offer your evidence: Offer an example from the poem that proves your claim; this will be a passage from the poem that led you to your the main idea you want to share with readers.
  3. Explain the link between evidence and claim: Explain how that example or passage from the poem actually supports your paragraph's claim or main idea.
  4. Offer another evidence. This will be another passage that further supports your claim. Typically, you will need more than one bit of evidence to support a claim. The more evidence you provide, the more persuasive your argument or, in the case, interpretation.
  5. Explain the link between that evidence and the paragraph's claim. Show us how that evidence actually supports the main idea.
  6. And so on.
  7. Close with a sentence that wraps up the paragraph's claim (or main idea) and points back to the essay's thesis. Make the link between this body paragraph and your essay's thesis clear for your readers

Here is a sample of what I'm asking for; notice how all the "explanation" parts connect the evidence back to the claim:

  1. Claim: In the beginning of "All in a Day's Play," Scone illustrates how fantasy can become reality but reality may not be what we fantasized.
  2. Evidence: In stanza two, Scone describes a young boy pretending to be a soldier, but, in a complex technique, Scone puts the child in a real Vietnam battle scene, though the child is not aware of the setting. While the boy is fantasizing in his own world, Scone describes the real Vietnam battle scene for readers and places the boy in it: [Insert quotation from poem here.]
  3. Explanation: The image shows readers that eventually this pretending will become a reality for this boy: one day, he may find himself or put himself in a reality that he used to fantasy about as a child.
  4. Evidence: But Scone complicates this idea. When the boy plays dead, Scone describes him as though he is really dead. Scone describes with excrutiating detail the wounds the child has suffered in the Vietnam battle scene: [Insert quotation from poem here].
  5. Explanation: In this moving dramatic irony, Scone shows readers the boy's death, and readers see that the boy is not the conquerer he fantasizes he is. Readers see that reality is not fantasy.
  6. Evidence:  And this is further scene in the last image of the stanza: [Insert quotation from poem here].
  7. Explanation: Scone shows us the boy rising and continuing to fight, showing us that reality may not be what we fantasize it to be since, clearly, in reality the boy cannot rise and fight again as he can in fantasy or, say, in a video game.
  8. Wrap up sentence: This image of the boy pretending to be a soldier perfectfully, and movingly, illustrates how Scone blurs the lines between fantasy and reality to show that the two, fantasy and reality, aren't the same.

Note: This is a rather strict paragraph structure. If this structure does not help you or if it hinders you, you are welcome to mix it up, but your paragraph must have a CLEAR CLAIM, SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE from the poem to support the claim, and CLEAR EXPLANATIONs of how the evidence supports your claim.

Why? Let's say you claim the poet's concrete details deepen the reader's sensory experience of the poem. Then you offer the concrete detail of "the red bird" as your evidence. Your readers won't know how the red bird [the evidence] "deepens the sensory experience" of the poem's readers [the claim] until you explain fully, clearly, and persuasively how the evidence does so.

Does this make sense? If it doesn't, please post a question in the Class Cafe so we can help.

PART 3: Essay 1 Unity and Focus

    1. Answer the following question and explain your answer: Does your body paragraph's claim (or main idea) develop your essay's thesis, as you havestated each of them above? In perfect clarity, explain how.



  • 15 Points = The entire assignment is complete. The thesis part demonstrates the writer's full attempt to understand and apply the open and closed thesis concepts. The paragraph part demonstrates the writer's full attempt to understand and apply the claim-evidence-explanation paragraph concept. There's clear evidence the writer is consistently engaged in thinking analytically about the poem for the purpose of generating ideas for Essay 1.
  • 8 Points = The entire assignment is complete. Though there is evidence the writer has not made full attempts to understand and apply the concepts and/or has not made consistent attempts to think analytically about the poem.
  • 0 Points = Not all questions are answered. Or the attempt shows evidence of plagiarism. Late attempts and no attempts will earn 0 points.
  • There is no “partial credit” for this assignment. Either it’s complete or it’s incomplete. Complete attempts may earn credit if the content demonstrates the targeted skills and strategies of the assignment. Incomplete attempts will not earn credit.
I will not award this project right away I will make my decision by Monday or Tuesday thanks to all

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 09/18/2015 12:00 am
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