Introductions, Topic Sentences, Parenthetical Notation and the Evils

A Review
The Beginning: After a brief, general discussion of your topic, focus on the specific
issue your thesis statement addresses. This strategy grounds the reader in your
topic, reveals your thought process and steers them toward your thesis. Your thesis
statement will seem not just logical, but almost inevitable. A great introduction sets
readers up for what they’re going to encounter in your essay, and ideally it
establishes that the writer is knowledgeable and credible.
Introducing Your Arguments: Once you’ve introduced your topic and included
your thesis statement, you will want to include a brief statement that introduces
your arguments. The reader will find out soon enough what your arguments are, but
the benefit of telling them what your arguments are up front is that they’ll know
what to expect going into your essay.
Length: The introduction should account for about 10% of your total paper. If you
have a five-page paper, than your introduction should be no more than ½ a page.
You should strive to deliver your introduction in no more than one paragraph.
The good of the one as weighed against the good of the many has
been a subject of debate since the very first caveman decided he wanted
to stay home and paint instead of hunting big, scary saber-toothed tigers
for the rest of his family to eat. In contemporary Western society, some see
the ability of an individual to follow their own whims and impulses as the
only path to true happiness. The literary and philosophical traditions of
Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau have all contributed to the American
mythology of the noble individual, standing against injustice. The Peter
Weir film, Dead Poets Society uses the characters of John Keating, Neil
Perry, and Todd Anderson to develop the idea that no matter how noble
their intentions, any individual who decides to travel the path of
nonconformity, will ultimately walk that path alone.
Connection between topic and wider world
Narrowing of the topic
Connection between topic and the text
Thesis statement
The topic sentences in your essay should
do three things:
1. Transition from the previous paragraph.
2. Tie back to your thesis.
3. Clearly establish the topic of the
 The
first way in which Dead Poets Society
illustrates the isolation that comes with
nonconformity is through the idealistic, if
somewhat naïve figure of John Keating.
 Finally, the
anguished development of
the character of Todd Anderson drives
home the loneliness, as well as the
nobility of the individual.
A sentence containing a quotation has several parts:
your words, quoted material, parentheses containing
page number, end punctuation
Your words, quoted material, parentheses, end punctuation
The story opens with George thinking “glimmeringly about his
abnormal son” (35).
Notice the order:
First, quotation marks
Then, parentheses
And last, end punctuation
You NEED TO integrate the textual evidence, or make them
part of your sentence. The combination of your sentence and
the textual evidence needs to be grammatically correct—not a
run-on or fragment. Take and use parts of the quotation that
work well with the ideas you are trying to present.
Instead of this: The story opens with George. “He began to think
glimmeringly about his abnormal son.”
Do this: The story opens with George thinking “glimmeringly about
his abnormal son” who sits hopelessly in his jail cell (35).
The combination of your sentence and the textual evidence can take any of the forms
Your words, “quote.” OR “Quote” your words. OR “Quote” your words “quote.”
Textual evidence (from Frankenstein): “I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an
abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on.”
Ways to integrate evidence into your sentence:
The Creature comes to the conclusion that he is ,“an abortion, to be spurned at”(160).
“I…am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on,” concludes the
“I…am an abortion,” concludes the Creature “to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled
on” (160).
 Use
Brackets when you want to change
the verb tense or any other part of the
 Original sentence: Walton states,
“What may not be expected in a country
of eternal light?”(12).
 Example
with brackets: Walton is
unsure what he can, “[expect] in a
country of eternal light”(12).
 When
using MLA documentation style, you
need to reference your sources by using a
works cited page and parenthetical
 Generally, brief parenthetical notations
consisting of the author's last name and a
page reference are sufficient. For
example: (Drucker 30).
 Note: If you mention the author in your
sentence, then you need only cite the page
Rules for Citing Poetry:
The name of a poem is always enclosed in quotations
When quoting or paraphrasing from a poem, always capitalize whatever
is capitalized in the original.
Be certain to identify the name of the poet in your text or in parentheses
following the quotation. Also, be certain to give the line reference in
parenthesis following your quotation. Once you have established that the
numbers designate lines, it is only necessary to use numbers (and the
poet’s name) in subsequent citations.
Example: "For the Anniversary of My Death" begins with the suggestion that
after death the soul starts a journey through time "Like the beam of a
lightless star" (Merwin, line 5).
Put punctuation--except commas or periods that come at the end of the
quotation--in where it is in the original.
When directly quoting only one line of poetry, the line should be worked
into the text.
Example: Gerard Manley Hopkins presents his view of life best in a single
line: "The world is charged with the grandeur of God" (line 7).
Note: Name of poet is omitted from parenthesis because it is specified in the
If you quote two to three lines of poetry, separate each line with a slash
(with space before and after the slash) and enclose the entire quotation in
quotation marks.
Example: Reflecting on the "incident" in Baltimore, Cullen concludes, “Of all
the things that happened there / That’s all that I remember" (lines 11-12).
Note: Name of poet is omitted from parenthesis because it is specified in the
If you need to leave a few words out of a line of
poetry you are quoting, make sure you indicate that
you have done so by using an ellipsis mark -- 3
periods with a space before each and a space after
the last
( . . . ). Use a row of evenly spaced
periods to indicate that one or more lines of
poetry have been omitted from a quotation.
 Earth has not anything to show more fair ...
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty