How to Write an Essay: Body Paragraphs

Tuesday, September 21

A body paragraph needs three things; a topic sentence, facts/examples, and commentary.

Topic Sentence
The topic sentence always comes first and is always an opinion.
My old LA teacher drilled this into my head; "Facts can't be supported. Facts are the supports."
(Jean Valjean, despite being a convict, is essentially noble.)

Facts/examples
Cut and dry; use evidence to support your topic sentence.
(After changing his name, Valjean settles down in a small town, always fearful that he will be discovered. When the police arrest another man in his name, Valjean must decide whether to turn himself in, or to keep silent in order to retain his liberty. In the end, Valjean reveals himself to save the innocent man from life imprisonment.)

Commentary
This is where you have free rein. Write your opinions, clarify statements you've made or make connections between statements.
(Jean Valjean would rather die, abased and despised, then allow someone to suffer on his behalf. Jean Valjean would rather “re-enter into hell and there become a demon” than "remain in paradise and there become a demon!")

Example:
(Les Misérables)
Jean Valjean, despite being a convict, is essentially noble. [Topic Sentence] After changing his name, Valjean settles down in a small town, always fearful that he will be discovered. When the police arrest another man in his name, Valjean must decide whether to turn himself in, or to keep silent in order to retain his liberty. In the end, Valjean reveals himself to save the innocent man from life imprisonment. [Example] Jean Valjean would rather die, abased and despised, then allow someone to suffer on his behalf. Jean Valjean would rather “re-enter into hell and there become a demon” than "remain in paradise and there become a demon!" [Commentary]

Part 1: The Introduction
Part 2: Body Paragraphs (You are Here)
Part 3: The Conclusion (Coming Soon)

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