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19th - 20th English Literature
A thought for today
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How to write a good essay
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How to write a good essay
Let's try a different page layout, the following is the typical one for Learning Objects
Aims and Objectives
To write good paragraphs
To write good medium length essays
To understand how important to use both spoken and written language is
Students at secondary schools aged 15 or older
To write correct sentences in English (syntax, grammar)
Knowlege of the most commmon linkers
Understanding of coherence and |cohesion concepts (coherence= ideas given in a logical order; cohesion= sentences and paragraphs linked each others)
How to use this resource
Student can use this resource
to better understand the topic during their individual or group study;
to practise writing paragraphs and essays following the given models
"The ability to consciously shape one's language, whether written or spoken, gives one a power over one's destiny that no other skill can match. With adequate language skills one can enter into interior dialogue with oneself to reinforce or re-direct one's own being, and one can thus often influence the thoughts and behaviour of others."
From paragraph to essay" by Maurice Imhoof & Herman Hudson - Longman
Let's start with an example of
JFK speaking at the Berlin Wall, June 26, 1963
You can help yourself watching and listening to the video and reading the speech transcription here below.
"Two thousand years ago …….Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was "civis Romanus sum!" Today in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner!" There are many people in the world who really don't understand -or say they don't - what is the greatest issue between the free world and Communist world. Let them come to Berlin! There are some who say that "communism is the wave of the future." Let them come to Berlin! And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere, "we can work with the Communists." Let them come to Berlin! And there are even a few who say "yes, that it's true, that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress." Lass' sienach Berlin en kommen! Let them come to Berlin! Freedom has many difficulties, and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us! I want to say on behalf of my countrymen who live many miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, who are far distant from you, that they take the greatest pride that they have been able to share with you, even from a distance the story of the last eighteen years. I know of no town, no city, that has been besieged for eighteen years that still lives with the vitality and the force and the hope and the determination of the city of West Berlin! While the wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the communist system, all the world can see, and we take no satisfaction in it. For it is an offense not only against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and dividing a people who wished to be joined together! What is true of this city is true to Germany: Real lasting peace in Europe can never be assured as long as one German out of four is denied the elementary right of free men, and that is to make a free choice. In eighteen years of peace and good faith this generation of Germans has earned the right to be free, including the right to unite their families and their nation in lasting peace with goodwill to all people. You live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you, as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin and all your country of Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall, to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind. Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, no man is free. When all are free, then we look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one, and this country and this great continent of Europe, in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades. All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner!"
Some news about John Fitzgerald Kennedy and period when he gave the speech above
John F. Kennedy is remembered for many different aspects of his life. One is for his success as a speaker. President Kennedy gave the historic Berlin speech on June 26, 1963, to a crowd of 450,000 from a platform erected on the steps of Rathaus Schöneberg, in front of the Berlin Wall. The speech was given in response to the Cold War and the tension between the non-Communist countries and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had built the Berlin Wall as a way to keep people from fleeing to non-Communist countries, mainly West Berlin. Kennedy praised the character of the people of Berlin in their pursuit for freedom. With "Ich bin ein Berliner" the U.S. President also wanted to underline the support of the United States for West Germany 22 months after the Soviet-supported East Germany erected the Berlin Wall. The message was aimed as much at the Soviets as it was at Berliners, and was a clear statement of U.S. policy in the wake of the construction of the Berlin Wall. Another notable (and defiant) phrase in the speech was also spoken in German, "Lass' sie nach Berlin kommen" ("Let them come to Berlin")--addressed at those who claimed "we can work with the Communists", a remark which Nikita Khrushchev scoffed at only days later.The speech is considered one of Kennedy's best, both a notable moment of the Cold War and a high point of the New Frontier. It was a great morale boost for West Berliners, who lived in an exclave deep inside East Germany and feared a possible East German occupation.
For more information about John Fitzgerald Kennedy, please
And now let's go to written language
To write a good essay you have to know how to write a good paragraph first!!!
Watch this video, don't worry about the sound, there isn't any!!!
Read carefully the examples, instead, and keep in mind the followings:
Topic sentence (Introduction)
Supporting sentences (Body)
Closing sentence (Conclusion)
Now it's up to you
Read the model paragraph below. As you read, pay close attention to both the meaning and the organization of the ideas discussed. Then do this simple exercise
"The sentences in most well written paragraphs may be analysed into four general functions. First, there are paragraph introducers, which are sentences which establish the topic focus of the paragraph as a whole. Second, there are paragraph developers, which present examples or details of various kinds that support the ideas set forth by the paragraph introducers. Third, there are viewpoints or context modulators, which are sentences which provide a smooth transition between different set of ideas. Fourth there are paragraph terminators, which logically conclude the ideas discussed in the paragraph in a psycologically satisfying manner. Not all pieces of writing conform to this analysis; however, most succesful paragraphs usually contain some combination of these four sentence types."
The type of paragraph presented above is called "a list" paragraph. To avoid a "shopping list" appearance, certain words or phrases are used to help the paragraph proceed smoothly. Point out the words or devices that are employed to aid the listing of details.
Now read the paragraph below:
Black African Nations
"During the decade of the 1960's, most of the European colonies of Sub-Saharan Africa achieved independence. In the west, Nigeria (1960), Sierra Leone (1961), and Gambia (1965) - all former British colonies - joined the family of free and independent nations. In the east, Tanzania (1961), Uganda (1962), Kenya (1963), and Zambia (1964) also became sovereign states free of British rule. As the African empire of Great Britain was being dismantled, France, the other major European coloniser, withdrew from vast area south of the Sahara. Thirteen former French colonies gained national status in the single year 1960: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Dahomey (Republic of Benin), Niger, Chad, Central African Republic, Cameron, Gabon, and Congo. Although a few European colonialists still occupy African Territory, the 1960's witnessed the birth of more than twenty free, black nations."
Does the paragraph above contain the essential elements of a well written paragraph - introducer, developers, terminator? Point out the sentence or sentences that serve as the introducer, the developers, the terminator.
In addition to the three types of sentences mentioned in the previous question, this paragraph contains a viewpoint or context modulator. That is, a sentence that provides a transition between different sets of ideas. Identify the sentence that performs this transition function
Here below you'll find an incomplete paragraph. You have to complete it with the information you can read in the chart
no. of islands
Large islands include:
Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan,
Sulawesi, West Irian
Four major islands:
"Many Americans and Europeans are accustomed to thinking of a country only as a governmental unit that occupies part of a large continent, but the fact is that there are some very important countries - especially in Asian Pacific waters - that are composed entirely of widely scattered islands. As a first example, the Republic of the Philippines has a gross national product (GNP) of over $4,856,000,000 and a population of 37,008,419 inhabitants, spread over approximately 3,000 islands, the largest of which are Luzon, Mindanao and Samar. ... ......... ............ ........... ...............................................................................................................................................................
On the basis of these three instances (and others could be mentioned such as New Zealand, Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), and Singapore), it may be concluded that some of the island nations of South-East Asia are among the more prominent governments in the international affairs."
Does the paragraph meet the requirements of a list paragraph?
Is there anything missing or inappropriate?
Write a list paragraph on the following topic, remember to respect the structure we examined above.
"Pros and cons of a long break away from school caused by a snowstorm (as the one we had in the first ten days in February)"
Now let's understand what an essay is.......
But please, keep in mind the structure of paragraphs you analysed above.
Adapted from a Wikipedia article:
"The definition of an essay is vague, overlapping with those of an article and a short story. One definition is a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse". Anyway, as concerns us, we can say that an essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view.
Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author.
It is difficult to define the genre into which essays fall. Aldous Huxley, a leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject. He notes that "like the novel, the essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything, usually on a certain topic. By tradition, almost by definition, the essay is a short piece, and it is therefore impossible to give all things full play within the limits of a single essay".
Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been dubbed essays (e.g. Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man).
While brevity usually defines an essay, voluminous works like John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population are counterexamples.
In some countries (e.g., in the United States), essays have become a major part of formal education. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants and, in the humanities and social sciences, as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams.
The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other mediums beyond writing.
A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary film making styles and which focuses more on the evolution of a theme or an idea.
A photographic essay is an attempt to cover a topic with a linked series of photographs; it may or may not have an accompanying text or captions.
The word essay derives from the French infinitive essayer, "to try" or "to attempt". In English essay first meant "a trial" or "an attempt", and this is still an alternative meaning."
So, to write a good essay, especially when you will be a university student, you have to keep in mind the following.....
"From paragraph to essay" by Maurice Imhoof & Herman Hudson - Longman and some ".edu" websites I visited to look for some ready-made examples. Some more videos to help
Coherece and cohesion
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"