The toddler climbed laboriously up onto the stool, determined to “help” her mother. But her mother did not notice; she was far too busy with the frantic preparations for the birthday party. Ten three-year-olds and their mothers coming for an afternoon of treats, games and face painting: a herald of another party, ten years from now, when make up would be the order of the day, the child’s father had observed. As the mixer whirred and the dishwasher swished and the oven beeped its warning of impending culinary disaster, the child’s attempt to be a part of the busy-ness was more than her mother could attend to. She did not notice when the girl reached the top of the stool, nor did she see the tiny hand reach out toward the glinting beaters as they beat the pale golden batter. As she faced the oven, removing the first cookie tray, she heard the scream. Whirling, she took in the tiny hand held high, the tragic face, and the stream of scarlet mixing itself into the cake. A kiss, a cuddle and a band-aid calmed the birthday girl; a shake of her head and a moment of revelation calmed her mother. A birthday candle in a cookie would be just fine.
Purpose: to tell a brief story
Structure: no real thesis statement, as there is nothing to be proven in this paragraph, but there is an introductory sentence that establishes character, setting and situation, there are body sentences, and there is a concluding sentence that summarizes the resolution of the main conflict Language: language is relatively casual and includes a single example of the language of the three-year-old child to help establish character Features: narrative components such as plot, characters, setting, conflict and resolution are evident; use of onomatopoeia (“whirred,” “swished,” “beeped”) to mimic the distracting effects of the busy kitchen
An expository paragraph explains something; its purpose is to help the reader understand. In order to ensure that the purpose is achieved, the writer of the paragraph may utilize a number of paragraph features and language techniques. One essential feature is logical organization. This may take a number of forms, including demonstrating cause and effect or following a chronological order. Another important feature is providing support for the explanation being made. This support may consist of examples, illustrations, statistical or expert evidence, or even appropriate anecdotes.
A final critical feature is clarity of language. The paragraph may make employ language devices such as metaphors or allusions to help illustrate its points, but they must be relatively straight forward and easy to follow so that no misunderstanding of the important points will occur. By employing these kinds of features and techniques, the writer of an expository paragraph will ensure that the paragraph’s meaning is clear to the reader.
Purpose: to explain some of the techniques used by the writer of an expository paragraph to achieve his or her purpose (!) Structure: The first sentence is a topic sentence; the second is the thesis statement. The body sentences list, explain and give examples of the paragraph’s features, and the concluding sentence summarizes the main point of the paragraph. Language: language is relatively formal
Features: The paragraph uses a format of making a point followed by examples. There is “listing” transition (“One essential feature,” “Another important feature,” “A final critical feature”) between sentences to help the flow of the paragraph.
Telephone solicitation is more than just an annoyance to those on the receiving end of the calls. In fact, telephone solicitation can be disastrous for people in all kinds of situations and, thus, must be stopped. For one thing, telephone solicitation typically occurs in the late afternoon and early evening, prime family time. This can cause chaos in two ways. One, continual interruption of shared family meal times, rare as they can be, can put a significant strain on family relationships; this is a troublesome point in light of the divorce statistics of today. Even worse, when families are embroiled in homework wars or are having trouble getting toddlers to bed, a poorly-timed telephone call may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, moving the suffering parents to lose their cool completely.
This could result in a form of domestic violence, verbal or even physical: yet another reason for a family to break apart. Another way in which telephone solicitation can prove dangerous to people stems from its very familiarity. Because so many telephone calls come from telephone solicitors, offering everything from insurance opportunities to vinyl siding, the calls become accepted as a legitimate way to do business. This plays into the hands of criminals. The trust individuals place in the honesty of the legitimate solicitors is extended to those who are, in fact, dishonest and out to abscond with the proceeds of others’ bank accounts. Clearly, in order to save families and their hard-earned dollars, telephone solicitation should be banned.
Purpose: to convince the reader that telephone solicitation should be banned Structure: introductory sentence, thesis statement (sentence #2), body sentences which provide examples for points made, a concluding sentence which states the thesis in stronger terms Language: language is emotionally loaded at times (ex., “disastrous,” “chaos,” “embroiled in homework wars,” “domestic violence”); added words such as “Clearly” in the concluding sentence makes it difficult to argue against the point Features: strong rhetorical language; a variety of sentence lengths keep the paragraph moving; short sentences highlight and give “punch” to inflammatory statements (ex., “This plays into the hands of criminals.”); stops argument by stating that the evidence “clearly” supports the thesis
Holden Caulfield, the narrator and protagonist of J.D.Salinger’s well-known novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is an unreliable narrator. This leads the reader to suspect that Holden’s story is not all that is appears, and coaxes the reader to look more deeply into the character and his situation. Very early in the novel, Holden himself casts doubt on his reliability as a narrator when he confesses to his in-story audience, a psycho-therapist, that he is “the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful” (Chapter 3). This self-indictment alerts the reader to the fact that everything Holden says will need to be taken with a grain of salt and that it will be important to look beyond the surface of the text. Later in the novel, Holden relates a story about his date with a girlfriend in which she tells him to stop yelling at a club.
He protests that he “wasn’t even yelling” but it is clear from his description that he probably was yelling, and that his girlfriend was trying to calm him down. This incident, and others like it, suggests that Holden is not good at monitoring his own behaviour. This again calls into question Holden’s explanations of what goes on in the novel and encourages the reader to look seriously at the words spoken by the other characters, even if they are related through Holden’s eyes. Thus, through both Holden’s explicit assessments of his own personality and the implicit meaning of the events in the story, the reader can see that Holden Caulfield is a less-than-reliable narrator whose story must be examined deeply in order to be understood.
Purpose: to interpret and explain an aspect of a literary text Structure: First two sentences work together to alert the reader to the topic and the thesis. The body sentences extend the discussion, and the conluding sentence restated the thesis. Language: language is formal and makes use of integrated quotations to add to the authority of the interpretation Features: identifies the title of the work and the author in the introductory sentence; uses literary terms (i.e., “unreliable narrator”); uses integrated quotations to support the discussion; remains focused exclusively on the text (no “real life” references)