Conclusions Lesson

Notes from the lesson I taught on the conclusion part of the five paragraph essay.


What should they do?

  • Stress the importance of the thesis statement
    • The thesis statement is the backbone of your essay. It is the reason why your essay was written and the reason why it is being read. Impress upon your readers one final time before your essay ends. Stress the importance of the thesis statement by restating it, either exactly or in new but similar way, as the first sentence of the conclusion.
  • Complete the essay
    • You made your claim in the introduction and then proved that claim in the body paragraphs. Use the conclusion to show that you have proven your argument and there is nothing more that needs said.
  • Leave a final impression on your readers
    • You made a claim then proved it. The conclusion gives you final chance to again impress upon your readers that you have proven your character is dynamic and they should think so too. Finish the conclusion with a strongly worded sentence that will leave readers with no doubt that what they have read is the truth and they should believe it too.
  • Echo the introduction
    • Bring your readers full circle. You began your essay by stating that your chosen character is dynamic. You went on to prove that in the body paragraphs. Now complete the circle by connecting the conclusion to the introduction by restating your claim.
  • Restate your main points
    • Remind readers what makes your character dynamic. Do not list all the evidence from your body paragraphs. Just elaborate slightly on the three reasons you mentioned in the introduction, perhaps giving each its own sentence.

How long should a conclusion be?

  • Approximately the same length as the introductory paragraph, only a little shorter. The conclusion to a five paragraph essay should just be long enough to restate the thesis and main points, as well as providing with a strong closing statement.

What they should not do:

  • Introduce new ideas. In the thesis you wrote that these are the three reasons why your character is dynamic. You then proved those reasons in the body paragraphs. Do not bring up new evidence that goes to prove your thesis. That would require more paragraphs explaining that proof. You proved your case. Your essay is finished. Finish it.
  • Apologize or qualify your arguments
    • Do not write things like “In my opinion…” or “Those are my reasons…” By stating your arguments or proof is only yours you are saying that no one needs to believe them.
  • Ask your readers if they now think your character is dynamic as well.
    • Ending your essay with the question “So that is why I think this character is dynamic, do you think so too?” or “…don’t you agree?” you are giving readers a chance to disagree with you. If one were to answer no to either of these questions, what could you do? Your argument is finished; you have nothing left to say. Be confident that your position is the correct one and that nothing more needs to be said (or written).

Example of conclusion:

Introduction:   I am a movie fanatic. When friends want to know what picture won the Oscar in 1980 or who played the police chief in Jaws, they ask me. My friends, though, have stopped asking me if I want to go out to the movies. The problems in getting to the theater, the theater itself, and the behavior of some patrons are all reasons why I often wait for a movie to show up on TV.

Conclusion: After arriving home from the movies one night, I decided that I was not going to be a moviegoer anymore. I was tired of the problems involved in getting to the movies and dealing with the theater itself and some of the patrons. The next day I arranged to have cable TV service installed in my home. I may now see movies a bit later than other people, but I’ll be more relaxed watching box office hits in the comfort of my own living room.

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