More Essays for Introductory Humanities Courses
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For example, an English Literature essay might start with a plot summary of the work being discussed, a quote from the work or a quote from critical writing on the work. The important thing is to use your starting point to say clearly what you are going to write about and why; and to make the rest of your discussion flow naturally from it. This is probably the one feature that distinguishes humanities essays from other sorts of writing.
Humanities essays What are the humanities?
One student used the metaphor of a camera right. In a philosophy class, a sample metaphor for critical thinking is a ship at sea surrounded by ethical mountains below, right; Pierce. Philosophy In a multicultural literature class, a student drew a baseball field in the final inning. Students can be asked to draw a simple image from the text that captures the essential meaning of the whole text. Synecdoche Maps! Student Anthologies Students perform the work of editors or curators A significant genre in the humanities is the anthology, collections of poems, stories, essays, artwork, etc, selected, researched, and annotated by an editor.
The rhetorical move of making an assertion and supporting it with evidence is of course used in the humanities as well. The focus of that work is PowerPoint slides for presentations, but the framework can be applied to a single slide for a poster by stating the assertion and then illustrating it with visual images or text boxes.
Using them as examples, though, will inspire some students to go further than the simpler models described above. There are plenty of websites with step-by-step instructions on how to make academic posters using the traditional scientific poster model. Teaching English in the Two-Year College , Hallock, Patrice W. Sept 17, Faculty Focus. Magna Publications. Creating effective poster presentations. North Carolina State University. Pierce, K. Concept maps in philosophy courses.
Shulman, Lee S. This introduction clearly establishes the purpose of the essay and lists many accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. As such, it is both adequate and also painfully boring. A good essay begins with an invitation into a rich discussion. The writing is crafted in such a way that it sparks anticipation and excitement in the heart and mind of the reader. Simply stating your opinion or the topic of the essay will never accomplish this. Engaging writing requires thoughtful attention to creating a hook for the reader. Hooks can be created in an infinite number of ways, but here is a list of approaches that often prove valuable.
Note that this is a list that you have likely seen before most schools provide such a list , but be sure to read on as it is in the implementation of these ideas that they either succeed or fail:.source site
Conventions of Writing Humanities Papers
Each of these options presents an approach to opening an essay that can work if it is implemented effectively. Of course, implementing them effectively is where things get tricky. Depending on the topic of your essay and the resources you have available, it can be very effective to begin with a direct quotation from a relevant source on your topic that brings up key ideas or presents controversial opinions. You, as the author, can then respond to them and establish your position in relation to this statement. Be certain the quotation you choose directly relates to your chosen topic.
Sample TOEFL iBT Essay
Opening essays with questions is dangerous because they only work if the question causes your reader to genuinely wonder about something. Simplistic or obvious questions turn your reader off, so try another approach unless you are sure you have a question that really ties your essay topic to something personal for the reader or to some intriguing idea in the world.
As a fiction writer, this is my personal favorite. There are two options available here. One approach is to tell a true story in close-up intimate detail that directly relates to your topic. The other option is to craft a story around the factual details of your topic and helps to humanize it—taking your reader into the personal human experience of someone in a given situation related to your subject.
This one is also a tricky way to go unless you have come across a very striking fact or are dealing with a controversial subject. In order for this approach to work, the statement must include something that will genuinely surprise the reader, which is difficult to do. In addition to shock value, the statement must also have direct relevance to your topic so that a strong transition can still be made into your central argument. Similes and metaphors are among the most powerful linguistic devices available. When used well, they can bring profound interest and insight to a given topic.
Using them well is, of course, the hard part. The trick to using them well is be sure that the nature of the symbol you use shares a great deal in common with the subtleties of the topic you are discussing. The broader and more specific those connections are, the stronger its linguistic power.
The very best way to use a simile or metaphor in an essay is to introduce it with the opening paragraph and then continue to weave the connections between the symbol and the subject throughout the entire essay, eventually bringing the idea back together in the conclusion to create a circular structure to the writing.
This requires insightful thinking and hard writing work, but makes for an exceptional essay. Keep in mind that, contrary to what is often taught in elementary school, the opening paragraph does not necessarily require a complete listing of the main points of your essay, though that can be helpful at times. The only non-negotiable requirement for an introduction is a direct and clear statement of purpose somewhere within that first paragraph.
Writing an essay
With more creative openings, it generally occurs near the close of the first paragraph, anticipating the deeper explanations that take place in the body paragraphs of the essay. Feel free to be creative, but do not forget to directly address the question you have been asked! Once again, to make this discussion clear, here is a sample introduction that that models the effective use of one of the hook techniques followed by a clear thesis statement.
This conclusion is also written from the perspective of a late middle school or early high school student. More advanced writers should follow the same approach using deeper and more nuanced language. He stood on a grassy hill beneath a clear blue sky in the soft breeze of spring.
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Around him, the birds chattered in the trees, completely oblivious. They did not see the stains that lay strewn across the field.
They paid no attention as the men, with grim and dirty faces, removed the last of the bodies. They were children—or, at least, they seemed so to him. His countrymen killing one another. He closed his eyes and sighed. At that moment, he did not know that, with the help of his decisions and the influence of his character on those around him, the slaves would soon be free and the Union would be restored. He did not understand how history would remember Abraham Lincoln—as one of the greatest presidents in American history.
Notice how the story is written to engage the heart of the reader and lead directly into a statement about the great accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln during his presidency. This is the purpose of an introduction. Learn to craft introductions that catch your reader and lead him into the heart of what you have to say. In this case, I would likely begin with the telling of a story or a very carefully crafted description. It would focus on the most important elements of what I am trying to describe. Indeed, I would likely try to foreshadow some of the key points that I hope to make by the time I conclude.
I would likely think of this type of writing more as a fiction writer than an essay writer right at the beginning. That is, I would work in the introduction not necessarily clear to explain where I am going, but, instead, to very carefully craft an intriguing hook that gets the reader wondering or reflecting on the material I intend to present to them later in the essay.
Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. I certainly saw the difference between your 2 examples of introductions. Examples really work. Thank you. The wife of Doctor Who--pretty amazing!
What Can You Write About?
Heh, heh. I'm so please that this article was useful. Thanks for reading!