Do you remember the last words spoken by your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, the final advice given in your senior year by your favorite teacher, the words spoken by your mother or father as you left for college? These important moments ended a passage in your life; thus, they took on heightened significance and resonated long after they were spoken. In the same way, a good conclusion continues speaking to and resonating with a reader long after he or she has finished reading it.
A good conclusion should
- Remind the reader of the thesis statement and answer the question, “So What?”
- Give the essay a sense of completion and closure
- Leave the reader with a final, lasting impression
- Make the reader glad that he or she read your paper
Several types of effective and memorable conclusions
The Simple Summary
If you choose this common type of conclusion, be sure to synthesize, rather than merely summarizing. Avoid a dull restatement of your major points. Don't monotonously restate your major ideas; instead, show your readers how the points you raised fit together and why your ideas matter. Also, try to avoid the phrase, “and in conclusion.” This can insult the reader's intelligence: After all, if you've organized your paper well, it will be obvious that you have begun your concluding remarks.
The Frame or Circle Technique
Here, a writer circles back to the beginning, returning to the metaphor, image, anecdote, quotation, or example he or she used in the introductory paragraph. Echoing the introduction gives essays a nice sense of unity and completion.
The Panning to the Horizon Technique
This technique moves the reader from the specifics of a paper or essay to a larger, perhaps even universal, point. It redirects the readers, giving them something meaty to chew over. You can demonstrate the importance and broad significance of your topic by using an appropriate analogy, tying the topic to a larger philosophic or political issue, posing a challenging question, or encouraging the reader to look to the future.
The Proposal or Call to Action
Especially useful in a persuasive or argumentative essay, in this type of conclusion the writer makes a proposal and/or asks the readers to do something, calling them to action. It is frequently seen in sermons and political speeches.
The Concluding Story Technique
Here, the writer sums up the essay by sketching a scene or by telling a brief anecdote that illustrates the topic's significance. Often, this approach makes an emotional connection with the reader.
The Delayed Thesis Conclusion
In some essays, the writer takes an exploratory approach, perhaps dealing with a variety of proposals and solutions. The conclusion states the thesis almost as if it is a discovery, allowing the reader to make the discovery along with you. However, this can be a difficult technique to carry off. The thesis, even though it may go unstated until the very end, should nevertheless serve as the inevitable controlling force for the entire essay.
Teresa Sweeney & Fran Hooker, Webster University Writing Center, 2005
Guide to Writing an Effective Essay
[Note: For this example I will be using an essay written by me responding to: " Did life in the colonies to1750 reflect the values of freedom, justice, equality and republican government as was claimed by 1776?Consider social, economic, and political experiences of the colonists"]
In my opinion
, this is the most important part of every essay. A strong introduction will set the reader'smood and attitude towards the essay in a positive direction while a weak opening paragraph can causelack of interest. First and foremost we need a hook or a sentence or two used to real the reader in.
“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” (US National Anthem) is a phrase that most Americans are familiar with. According to America's founders, freedom, liberty, equality and republican government were all words that reflected American values since the start of the colonies in Jamestown in1607.
are in fact familiar with this phrase and can relate to the essay. After we create a hook (for our purposes) we will write a thesis. The This is the main idea of the essay, stated in a single sentence,called the thesis statement. You must limit your entire essay to the topic you have introduced in your thesis statement. Your Thesis can be put anywhere within your essay but it is recomended to put it in your introduction for the sake of flow.
The colonies up to the year 1750 failed to demonstrate the values they proclaimed due to inequality for all people (especially blacks and women), limited freedom of religion, injustice to the innocent, and thecolonies being under the control of England.
The thesis clearly
states my opinion on the matter and includes all of the arguments I present within myessay. This thesis was written during an in class essay and litterally took about 30 seconds to come upwith. If you are writting a thesis for a take-home essay, it should include more advanced vocabulary. (Athesaurus is your best friend here!) After your thesis you should include a sentence or two as transitioninto your essay.
Compared to parts of Europe the colonies were actually farther behind in reflecting these values thanmost other countries.
Note that this
section is entitled "Body Paragraphs meaning there should be more than one. These paragraphs convey your main ideas, points, or analysis on the topic/question you are writting about. In myessay I had four body paragrphs (one for each argument I provided in my thesis). Each paragraph shouldinclude facts supporting your argument. These facts should be clear and concise and may be taken fromyour personal knowledge or from history. Due to the exam being an AP US History exam... you probablywant your facts to come from history. As long as you provide good historical insight and information inyour essays you should do well. Most teachers grading the exams will not take points off if you missed adate by a year or so. Here is my first body paragraph for reference:
Inequality was a major injustice of the colonies not only since their start but chiefly since 1619 whenthe first slave market arrived in Virginia. Slaves were by no means equal to any other group in society.