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1 Expository Essay Writing Student Name: Date: Period: An expository essay is.... PROMPT: SAT Style Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below. Families are difficult. They are groups of people forced to interact because they share the same blood. There is no guarantee that these people will have anything else in common. In fact, differences within families often lead to painful, life-long conflict. And yet, George Moore, an Irish novelist, once said: A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it. Are family relationships necessary for personal happiness and satisfaction? Write an essay in which you answer this question and EXPLAIN your answer with reasoning and examples from literature, the arts, history, politics, science and technology, current events, or your experience or observation. SAMPLE ESSAY: Families fail. Our families are tasked with the job of raising us, protecting us, loving us, and teaching us how to live. In theory, families lead to happiness; however, the connection of blood does not guarantee understanding and acceptance. Family relationships are not necessary for personal happiness and satisfaction because families fail to provide necessary support and end up causing more harm than good. Joyce Carol Oates writes of a failed family in her short story Where are you going? Where have you been? Connie, a young teenager, fails to find satisfaction in any of her family relationships. Connie s mother pushes Connie away by nagging her and comparing her to her perfect sister, June. June cannot offer emotional support because the comparison causes Connie to resent her sister. Connie s father is at best a distant parental figure. Because Connie s family relationships fail to provide her with satisfaction, she seeks self-fulfillment through unhealthy relationships with boys. The failure of her family relationships results directly in Connie s downfall as perpetrated through the boy Arnold Friend. Her family has caused her more harm than good. Similarly, in Shakespeare s famous drama The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, family relationships fail. However, here, romantic relationships provide happiness where family relationships cannot. Romeo and Juliet are born of feuding families. Each of these two young people is misunderstood by their families. Romeo s father cannot fathom the cause of Romeo s depression so sends Romeo s friend Benvolio to his aid. Juliet s family attempts to force her into an unwanted marriage with Count Paris which not only fails to make Juliet happy but, in fact, causes her harm. Failing to find understanding in their respective families, Romeo and Juliet find satisfaction and happiness in each other. The young lovers go to extreme lengths to protect this happiness. Their family relationships are not necessary for personal happiness. In fact, their family relationships are the root of their problems. Only in their romantic relationship do they find joy. In Where are you going? Where have you been? family relationships cause the opposite of self-fulfillment, despair and depression. In Romeo and Juliet the lack of fulfillment in family relationships pushes the two lovers into a romantic relationship that does give happiness. Although relationships in general are necessary for self-fulfillment, family relationships are not. 1. What is the overall purpose of this specific essay above in your own words? Which 4 tests will you see this on?

2 2. On a basic or fundamental level, how is an expository essay different from a literary analysis essay (literary analysis writing is the type of writing we have done thus far in the class)? List two different ways. 3. What do the first three sentences of the introductory paragraph accomplish? 4. How is the thesis different in an expository essay from a literary analysis essay? Hint: The thesis is the last sentence of the introductory or first paragraph. List two different ways. 5. Using the topic sentences in the example essay above as examples, how do you write a topic sentence for an expository essay? 6. What is one convincingly specific detail that the author uses in body paragraph 1? 7. What is one convincingly specific detail that the author uses in body paragraph 2? 8. What evidence did the author use to explain his or her thesis statement? Where did this evidence come from? 9. Using the concluding paragraph above as an example, what are three things that a concluding paragraph should include for an expository essay? NOTES ON EVIDENCE SELECTION Strong Evidence Weak Evidence NEVER USE:

3 THINK ALOUD STEP 1: READ THE PROMPT Read the following quotation. Take risks. Ask big questions. Don t be afraid to make mistakes; if you don t make mistakes, you re not reaching far enough. David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Taking a risk means acting without knowing whether the outcome will be good. Think carefully about this statement. Write an essay explaining why it is sometimes necessary to take a chance. Be sure to clearly state your thesis organize and develop your ideas effectively choose your words carefully edit your writing for grammar, mechanics, and spelling STEP 2: BRAINSTORMING What are different kinds of chances that people take? What are different reasons that taking chances can be good? Think of evidence in which people take chances and what the results of those chances are. Why do those people take chances? What good comes of those chances? You should brainstorm as many pieces of evidence as you can think of! STEP 3: EVIDENCE Decide on your three strongest pieces of evidence and what each one proves. Fill in the chart accordingly. STEP 4: THESIS Decide on an argument that answers the prompt. Your thesis should be specific and include support or explain why your argument is true. Hint: Include a because statement that hints at both pieces of evidence you will use. Look at example from essay above for help.

4 EXAMPLE Prompt # Three Pieces of Convincing Evidence Thesis

5 1. STAAR Style Read the following quotation. "Things are never quite as scary when you've got a best friend." Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes Think carefully about the quotation. What are the benefits of friendship? Write an essay explaining the importance of friendship.

6 2. STAAR Style Read the information in the box below. Jane Austen ( ) and Franz Kafka ( ) are considered great writers. Their books continue to sell, and they are widely read and studied in schools everywhere. Neither of them, however, received much recognition while they were alive. Should people do things only to be recognized? Think carefully about this question. Write an essay explaining whether a person must always be acknowledged in order to have accomplished something.

7 3. STAAR STYLE PROMPT Read the information in the box below. In 1955 medical researcher Jonas Salk introduced an effective polio vaccine. At the time polio was considered the biggest threat to public health, yet Salk refused to profit by patenting the vaccine because he was more concerned with preventing disease than with personal gain. Although many people work to benefit themselves, some people choose to put others first. Think carefully about this statement. Write an essay explaining whether people should be more concerned about others than about themselves. Be sure to clearly state your thesis organize and develop your ideas effectively choose your words carefully edit your writing for grammar, mechanics, and spelling

8 4. SAT STYLE Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below. Being unwilling to change is often seen as a limitation. For example, a common accusation people often make in arguments is that the other person refuses to even consider taking new positions on issues. But being consistent is not always a bad thing. In fact, firmly supporting a position or point of view shows that one is stable and constant and does not change one's position whenever circumstances change. This consistency is far more important than a willingness to adjust one's thinking. Assignment: Is it more important to remain consistent than to change one's mind when circumstances change? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

9 5. SAT Style Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below. Getting people to work well in teams is crucial to accomplishing ambitious goals. Teams work a kind of magic in developing important ideas and getting hard work done, and they give us the close human contact and shared purpose that we all need. But there s a dark side to teams too: group identity can be too powerful. The desire to be an accepted member of a group can prevent individuals from forming their own moral judgments. Adapted from Peter S. Temes, The Power of Purpose Assignment: Are teams or groups beneficial for individuals, or does group membership prevent individuals from forming their own moral judgments? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

10 6. SAT STYLE Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below. The old saying be careful what you wish for may be an appropriate warning. The drive to achieve a particular goal can dangerously narrow one s perspective and encourage the fantasy that success in one endeavor will solve all of life s difficulties. In fact, success can sometimes have unexpected consequences. Those who propel themselves toward the achievement of one goal often find that their lives are worse once success is achieved than they were before. Can success be disastrous? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your answer with reasoning and examples from literature, the arts, history, politics, science and technology, current events, or your experience or observations.

11 7. SAT STYLE Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below. It has been said that "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing." This statement suggests that people should do more than merely think about themselves and a few others, that they should feel responsible for issues and concerns that affect the larger society or community. But aren't most people already doing a lot more than "nothing" by taking responsibility for their own well-being and that of their families and friends? Assignment: Should individuals take responsibility for issues and problems that do not affect them directly? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

12 8. AP Style Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant. Horace Consider this quotation about adversity from the Roman poet Horace. Then write an essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies Horaceʼs assertion about the role that adversity (financial or political hardship, danger, misfortune, etc.) plays in developing a personʼs character. Support your argument with appropriate evidence from your reading, observation, or experience.

13 9. AP Style For centuries, prominent thinkers have pondered the relationship between ownership and the development of self (identity), ultimately asking the question, What does it mean to own something? Plato argues that owning objects is detrimental to a person s character. Aristotle claims that ownership of tangible goods helps to develop moral character. Twentieth-century philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre proposes that ownership extends beyond objects to include intangible things as well. In Sartre s view, becoming proficient in some skill and knowing something thoroughly means that we own it. Think about the differing views of ownership. Then write an essay in which you explain your position on the relationship between ownership and sense of self. Use appropriate evidence from your reading, experience, or observations to support your argument.

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