Bare Bones Structure for Multi-paragraph Essay
Remember to use the header required for your essays, Times New Roman 12 pt. font,
your name and page number in the upper right corner, and proper MLA documentation
format when citing quotations, as presented in ?The Wright Way.? Please make careful
use of The MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition whenever you have questions about
documentation, citation, or formatting for textual evidence.
Do your best to craft a short title that helps your reader anticipate and focus on the
essay?s main interest.
? Hook: introduces thesis?your essay?s Big Idea?in a context removed from the
text (or texts) under discussion and presumably familiar to the reader. Doing so
helps you introduce the idea that is your thesis. Please note that, with rare
exceptions, quotations make poor hooks.
? Segue: makes a transition to text and author (or, in some cases, multiple texts and
authors), and, if applicable, characters, setting, conflict; in short, whatever
information establishes the context for the thesis.
? Thesis 1.1: answers a question such as, ?What is the author trying to show by
developing, in the literary selection under discussion, the over-arching theme that
unifies the work as a whole?? In the event you are comparing and contrasting
multiple works, your thesis answers a question such as, ?What are the authors
trying to show by developing, in the literary works under discussion, the overarching
themes that make a comparison and contrast of the selected works
? Thesis 1. 2: an argument that restates Thesis 1.1 in a broadly applied context (a
statement that stands clear of direct reference to the text(s) or author(s) under
discussion, a statement that applies to what is sometimes referred to by the clich?
?the human condition?).
Note that the ?Hook? is the main idea sentence (MI) for this paragraph.
Each Body Paragraph (you need at least 3)
? Main idea sentence (MI): clearly argues a position or makes a claim that requires
proof and clearly supports the essay?s thesis, or main argument;
? Context 1: introduces 1st quotation, or textual evidence, so that the context for the
evidence is clear to your reader;
? Evidence 1: actual quotation, accurately cited according to MLA formatting
guidelines; avoid quoting long passages; work on quoting only the phrase, line, or
clause that gives the evidence that best supports your claim; endeavor to weave
quotation into your analysis;
? Analysis 1: clearly shows that the evidence provided supports the claim made in
the MI (may need more than one sentence; also, do not merely restate the
quotation or begin your analysis with ?fluff? such as ?This quote shows . . . ?);
? Transition to Context 2: introduces 2nd quotation (as above);
? Evidence 2: actual quotation (as above);
? Analysis 2: shows how evidence supports claim (as above);
? Transition to Context 3: introduces 3rd quotation (as above);
? Evidence 3: actual quotation (as above);
? Analysis 3: shows how evidence supports claim (as above): (note: a fourth or
fifth cycle of C!E!A may be beneficial or necessary, especially when analyzing
? Concluding sentence: ?wraps up? paragraph; may gesture toward next
? Return to hook (recommended): 2-3 sentences;
? Gesture toward broader implications of the work?s (or multiple works?) impact on
audiences: What ideas are the work(s) under study meant to provoke in readers,
viewers, listeners, etc.?
? Advance (deepen, extend, ?clinch?) argument: 2-3 sentences.