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Checklist for Purposeful Essay Revisions

_____ Did I include a hook sentence?
_____ Did I include the title and author?
_____ Did I put my short story in quotation marks
_____ Did I write an angled summary as opposed to a regular summary?
_____ Do I have a claim?
_____ Does my intro include the topic of my essay, the order of my essay, and the figurative
elements I am analyzing?
Body Paragraph and Analysis

Does my evidence match my thesis?

Does my body paragraph have 1-2 pieces of evidences?
Does each body paragraph have at least 4-5 sentences of analysis (not summary)?
Am I analyzing every piece of evidence I cite?
Do I include context that the reader should know?
Do I have a topic and concluding sentence for each body paragraph?

Using Transition words

_____ Do I include at least two transition words for each paragraph?

_____ Am I using a different transition word every time?
_____ Am I rephrasing my claim/thesis statement?
_____ Am I summarizing the main points of my body paragraph?
_____ Am I leaving the reader with an interesting final impression?
Making a Literary Essay Title
_____ Does my literary essay title include the subject and focus of my essay?

Your introduction paragraph should make the reader interested in reading your essay, Introduce
your story by writing an angled summary, and introduce your topic and argument.

How do I make the reader interested?

Use a hook sentence! Your hook sentence should grab the readers attention and lead into your
essay topic. Try starting with a(n):
Anecdote: This is a short and interesting story about a real event or person. Use
this so that the reader can ease into your topic.
As a young boy I often got into trouble for taking revenge on my
younger sister.
Comparison: Take something that the reader is familiar with so that they can relate to
your essay topic.
Many of us have felt betrayed in one way or another but not all of
us have acted on it and taken revenge. In the Cask of Amontillado
Quotation: Start with a quote that introduces what you will be writing about.
Walter Scott once said described revenge as the sweetest morsel
to the mouth that ever was cooked in hell.
An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.
Argument: Introduce a counter argument and then your argument.
Although some may say that revenge is not a solution, I would
argue that
How do I introduce the story?
Introduce the title and the author
Novels are underlined
For example: The Absolutely True Diary of a PartTime Indian
Short stories and poems are in quotation marks
For example: The Tell-Tale Heart
Introduce the story by writing an angled summary.
A summary of the story that focuses on the topic you will be
writing about. This summary is a transition to your thesis statement.
An angled summary only summarizes part of the story that connect
to your claim.
How do I introduce my topic and argument?
Write your thesis statement/claim:
It is usually one sentence
It usually appears in the last sentence of your introductory
It introduces your essays topic and the order of your essay
It introduces the figurative language elements you are using
Body Paragraph and Analysis

Your body paragraph should support your thesis statement with evidence and analysis, have
context that the reader needs to know, and have a topic sentence and a concluding sentence.
How do I support my thesis statement?
Use evidence from the story that will help prove your claim. Your evidence
should match your thesis.
Find the best pieces by using pivotal moments and big moments of conflict.
For each body paragraph you should be using 1-2 pieces of evidence and
analyzing them.
Each body paragraph should have at least 4-5 sentences of analysis
*Someone who doesnt know the story should still be able to understand your essay.
How do I analyze my evidence?
Analysis means examining something critically by looking at it in pieces. For this
essay we are examining a story and thinking of it critically by looking at figurative
elements (the pieces).
ANALYSIS IS NOT A SUMMARY. It doesnt describe what is happening in the
story. It describes why something is happening and what it says about a big idea.
Every evidence that you cite in your essay needs to be closely analyzed and
looked at.
When analyzing your evidence you have to think about what the story is telling
you about the topic you chose. Ask yourself:
Why is this in the story?
What does this say about an overall meaning or theme in the story?
What important role is this playing in the story?
What does this say about the characters?
How do I include context that the reader should know?
By showing how your evidence connects to the whole story.
Your analysis should include not just an analysis of the whole quote but this idea
fits in with the rest of the story. It should always prove your claim (big idea/theme).
Topic sentence: should introduce your body paragraph and tell the reader what the paragraph
will focus on.
Concluding sentence: should finalize your thoughts on the paragraphs topic.

Transition Words

Instructions: Take the time to review the transition words listed on this sheet. Then, start
finding places in your essay where you can add a transition word to make your essay easier
to follow along with.
We use transition words to link sentences and paragraphs together so that you guide your
reader from one thought to another.

Example: In conclusion, the symbolism in the The Tell-Tale Heart not only reinforces
negative consequences of guilt but also shows us that ones sanity and well-being can be
threatened by them.
Transition Words
(beginning of the sentence, often followed by a (,) comma)
Transitions to compare (show similarities) two things:
In the same way,
Transitions to contrast (show differences between) two things:
On the other hand,
Even though/ Although, the.
Transitions to emphasize a point:
Thats why
For this reason,
Transitions to add information:
In addition,
For example,
For instance,
In light of the it is easy to see that.
Transitions to conclude:
As a result,


Transitions to show sequence:

Second, Then, Next, Later, Soon after
Finally, last, lastly

Other ideas for cohesion (linking ideas together):

Some people think
Conventional wisdom shows
But the truth is
In fact,
With that in mind
Keeping [in mind] that
Generally speaking,
Following this line of thinking
It appears that

The conclusion is the last chance to leave an impression on the reader.
The goal of the conclusion is to:
Restate/paraphrase the main idea of your essay/thesis statement
Summarize the main points of you made in your body paragraphs

Leave the reader with an interesting final impression

How do I rephrase my claim/thesis statement?
Dont copy down your claim word for word!
Remind the reader that you have proven your thesis/claim throughout your paper.
Do this through summarizing your main points and how they connect to your overall
How do I summarize the main points of my body paragraphs?
Do not introduce new analysis. Instead, paraphrase the most crucial ideas in your
Try to each paraphrase each paragraph in one sentence. Then try to connect them
all in your conclusion.
One strategy is to focus on the concluding sentence of each body paragraph to
remind you of the main point of that paragraph.
How do I leave the reader with an interesting final impression?
Explain why your main idea/claim is important (not only for your essay but for
their own life).
Finish your essay by leaving the reader able to make his/her own argument about
the topic.

Making a Literary Essay Title

A title should be is specific and precise
A title should let you know the subject and the focus of your essay
The subject is usually the story that youre working with and/or the

The focus is the specific thing you are writing about in your essay.
This can be the literary elements you are writing about.

Three types of essay titles to try:

(1) Try to name your focus followed by your subject:
________(FOCUS)_________ in _______(SUBJECT)________
Symbolism, Setting and Revenge in The Cask of Amontillado
Internal and External Conflict in The Good Girls
(2) Try to link the subject and the focus by using a semi-colon:
_______(SUBJECT)_______ : ________(FOCUS)________
Alligator Mystique: The Relationship Between Secrets and Conflict
(3) Try to use a quote from the story followed by a colon, focus and subject:
____(QUOTE)____: _______(FOCUS)______ in ______(SUBJECT)______
Finally Equal: Dystopic Equality and Irony in Harrison Bergeron