August 8, 2020 HSC Marking

What are the five parts of an essay?

Essay writing is like writing a story, only analytical! Therefore for an essay to feel complete and to tick all the markers boxes you need to have a introduction, body and conclusion.

The introduction is the first part of your essay – it refers to the question you have been given and voices the “topic” of your essay. The introduction is normally 2-3 sentences. The first sentence is often a conceptual statement which is drawn from your knowledge of the course. With this opening statement you want to draw the marker into your piece and conceptually answers the question. Near the middle of your introduction you need to include your thesis – a statement that reflects the topic you wish to argue.

Below is an  example introduction I have written for  Hamlet.

Emotions add the color to every thought and action, a key ingredient to which one constructs their own life and equips for survival. These metaphysical threads define whom we are in our minds eye as well as in the eyes of others. It is through literature and delving into the psychological mindscape of characters that one interacts with the interior worlds, to introspect on their own desires and motivations that shape how one perceives, thinks and feels. Within William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Pablo Picasso’s the Weeping Woman, one is confronted by humanities ability to live life as a performance. Both these texts examine how emotions if left unresolved sew together a life of existential questioning, and how metathetically permeates the underbellies of our existence.

The next three paragraphs of your five part essay are referred to as the body paragraphs – those in which the student explores their argument (their thesis). Each body paragraph needs to have an argument that relates to the thesis. For example, a student writing an essay about Hamlets turmoil may include a paragraph on meta-theatricality, another on Hamlets characterization and another on his existential questioning – as arguments to support how each of these points lend to his overbearing turmoil.Within these body paragraphs remember to use the structure PETAL – point, evidence, technique, analysis and link – as it will make sure you include everything the marker is looking for. Make sure that the discussion of each body paragraph has appropriate evidence to support your point and the overall thesis statement of your essay. Each body paragraph needs to state your point and then be followed by 4-5 pieces of evidence and detailed analysis (the amount will vary depending on your grade and how much you can write in a given time period). Make sure throughout these body paragraphs you link to the question to show the marker you are thinking about the question throughout. The final sentence of each body should be a linking sentence to your point and the overall question as well as providing a transition into the next paragraph. By ending each paragraph with a transitional sentence, it allows you to make a segway into your next argument and also provides a cohesion between each point to show the marker that each body paragraph is supportive of your overarching thesis statement

The final piece of a 5 part essay is the conclusion. This paragraph is only 1-2 sentences long and is included within the essay to confirm your thesis statement. Within these final lines you should restate you thesis, however do not duplicate the opening thesis statement – say it another way! you then need to summarise the three major points you have discussed (the points of each body paragraph) – as this allows you to reiterate your points. The final sentence needs be conclusive and a clear signal that the essay is complete. A common way to end is to provide an application to your argument or to include a statement that causes the reader/marker to think about your thesis once they have finished reading your essay.

By Isabella Matthews

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