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January 29, 2020, 03:00:37 am

Author Topic: Essay Formula- Text Response  (Read 16500 times)  Share 

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anthony99

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Essay Formula- Text Response
« on: March 15, 2012, 01:16:41 pm »
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Hi guys, the following is the essay structure I devised in year 12. It works. Well.

Before actually writing the essay, a skeleton of it needs to be made. This is the most important part of the formula.

Contention: 2 parts. First part begins with something Like "while X". The second part builds on this "it is, ultimately Y". This is the key to scoring over 45. It shows a nuanced and complex understanding of the topic. Do not, however, use the "Dialectic" model of thesis, antithesis, synthesis. This is used by many students because it seems impressive, but it ultimately forms an incoherent response that contradicts itself twice.  The key is not to contradict yourself in the second part of the contention, but to build on your ideas. This is imperative, as the first part of the contention forms the first paragraph, the second part forms the second paragraph of the essay, and the last paragraph ties it all together.
Topic Sentence 1(Part 1 of Contention): Evidence point A, Evidence Point B
Topic Sentence 2 (Part 2 of Contention): Evidence point A, Evidence Point B
Topic Sentence 3 (Basically the contention): Evidence point A, Evidence Point B


Now that we have dealt with the skeleton, all you have to do is apply the filler of the formula. I will go through this systematically.

Introductions: Having already planned the essay, you should know your contention. Now pick a moment in the text where you think your contention is best demonstrated. This is best a snapshop image.Use this image as a starter point and jump straight into analysis. This should build towards your contention (which is the last sentence of your intro), while also expressing your argument. This manner of intro is infinitely better than the simple signposting technique, as images grab the examiner from the get go, and you waste no time with rambling.

Paragraphs: First para is the first part of your contention, second para is second part. Your second paragraph should start with "however" or "yet" and your last paragraph should start with "For [Author]". This maintains coherence and proves to the examiner that your are also arguing with the author's intentions in mind. With that in mind, you should realise that each paragraph only ever has one idea. Never exceed this. Paragraphs should start broad (an idea, not moment), then hone into a single defining moment which encapsulates your topic sentence. Now, analyse and explain how and why this moment proves your point. Simply explaining what happens is useless and earns only minimal marks.  Broaden out from the moment/ image while you do this with your second evidence point (moment/ image) in the back of your mind. You are bridging the two moments/ images to demonstrate the coherence of your argument. With that in mind, after the broadening analysis, hone into that second moment/ image, and explain how it is proof of your point. Focus on imagery, metalanguage and subtext. Always centre your discussion on arguing. You must never deviate from proving your point. Remember, your contention from the intro is your total argument, which is in turn, supported by paragraphs. But each paragraph has its own contention (we call this a topic sentence), which you must prove within each paragraph. Proving your topic sentences proves your contention. Marks in VCE English come from how well you analyse and prove. This means that analysis/ argument should be the purpose of everything you write.  Once you have adequately demonstrated why this piece of evidence supports your complete argument, move onto your next paragraph.

Conclusions: Like the intro, start with an image/ moment that encapsulates your argument. Explain the image/ moment then explain how it proves your argument as a whole. Remember, the conclusion ties off your essay. Make it pithy and absolutely full of analysis. Talk about how it is emblematic of the picture at large, what do characters say/ do? How do they act/ speak? Is the scenery/setting a hint towards what the author is trying to communicate? Why is what the characters are saying/ doing/ the writing style typical of the whole text, and why does it lead to your understanding of it, and hence your contention? These sort of questions need to be answered the whole way through, especially in your paragraphs.

Overall: Make sure that your ideas always flow on from one another. I have tried to guarentee this by having the contention set the topic sentences, but still remember to maintain coherence at all times, and within paragraphs. Words and phrases like "Therefore, yet, but, thus, from here, It is, therefore clear that, however, but"are perfect for this. Use them. At all times, keep the big picture in your mind, and follow your plan.
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aiming_95

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Re: Essay Formula- Text Response
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2012, 06:06:02 pm »
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Great tips :D do you have an example of an essay where you've used this structure ?

angelaa43

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Re: Essay Formula- Text Response
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2012, 08:04:46 am »
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Where have you been all my life? Thankyou so mcuh!

anthony99

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Re: Essay Formula- Text Response
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2012, 03:21:34 pm »
+8
Pretty much all my best essays were handwritten, but I do have a few typed that correspond to this formula. Here is one (ignore the few typos):

By placing himself above social values, Richard is doomed-Anthony Antoniadis

Shakespeare juxtaposes the almost psychopathic Richard with empathetic and emotionally aware characters such as Anne, the Scrivener and Richmond to explore the various ways in which adhering to our conscience can influence our character and people’s conception of us. Richard gladly boasts about taking advantage of people’s trust and out of balance “humour” to fortify to the audience that his wit and ability to stage manage his environment is what earns him the crown of England. Often however, Shakespeare undermines Richard’s myopically cruel perspectives with images intended to evoke sympathy and disgust with Richard, so as to encourage us to notice that “outward fame” is not what determines our character.  While Shakespeare does paint Richard’s demise as divine justice, his fall is not inherently due to his megalomania, but, as Shakespeare tacitly alludes, Richard could only have attained and consolidated power by exploiting societal conventions.

Richard purposefully manipulates others in order to benefit himself. Richard does not try to appear to himself as altruistic or even remotely virtuous, he is, as he sees himself a “villain” that “loves Richard”.  We are subject to many soliloquies and mid-scene puns that remind us that Richard is either outwardly conveying his ability to use others for his own end, or through deception, showing us. After we witness Richard insult the Woodville’s, make illegitimate Margaret’s testimony then deceptively earn their trust as a “penitent”, remorseful Christian, Richard boasts alone on stage to us that he can “seem a saint when [he] most play[ s ] the devil” as if to remind us that he had not become weak and peaceful. For Shakespeare, Richard’s sinister arrogance exemplifies the sort of depraved lust for power that he sees as having marred the English monarchy. Moreover, while this play serves the overall purpose of legitimising Elizabeth’s rule, Richard’s ability to “clothe [his] naked villainy” has an undercurrent of warning to the Sovereign, as if suggesting that power gained through sin is still judged by God.  Richard however believes he is beyond God’s jurisdiction, blasphemously using an image of being “aloft, between two bishops” as public “props of virtue” that serve to portray him as “a Christian prince”.   Though this image is meant to convey unity and Divine right, the crowds are hardly moved until after lengthy speeches and being prompted by the Mayor. Even then, the crowd’s supposed support is dictated to us, not shown. We do not see the crowd supporting Richard, nor do we believe they truly go from “[speaking] not a word” of support to cheering and encouraging Richard’s coronation.  Nonetheless, his pious act wins support of the people who matter most: The Nobility and politicians, furthermore supporting the assertion that Richard is a cunning manipulator.  Shakespeare continually peppers these scenes of Richard’s conniving success with mostly drowned out foreboding omens of his fall, suggesting that for people who try to gain influence through manipulation, the signs of their demise is evident in the way other people react to being used or deceived. As Shakespeare tacitly contends, people loathe being used as means to an end and will therefore become hostile to us when they learn of our subterfuge.
 
However, such flagrant duplicity and lack of remorse leads to Richard being scorned and “cursed’ by enemies he has thus created. As Machiavelli warns in The Prince, “it is far better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both” as long as you are not “not hated”.  For Shakespeare’s audience, Machiavelli’s words would have shadowed Richard’s, creating an aura of sinisterness and distrust around him. For some characters in the play who are seduced by his “childish-foolish” act such as Anne, Richard is loved. However for all in the end; he is hated because of his inhumane treatment of people. The Old Queen Margaret serves as an image of political survival in the play, a hardened veteran who has gained and lost the Crown and therefore understands the subterfuge around the court. Margaret herself is introduced as spying, present on stage yet speaking “aside” to the audience.  Margaret calls Richard a “devil” because she does “remember... to well” Richard’s butchering of her family, conveying that by his own actions to bring himself closer to the throne, Richard is amassing enemies. Shakespeare uses Margaret’s memory as a symbol of people’s experience, suggesting that though we- like Richard- can take advantage of the naive and weak for now-these people will often eventually learn that they are being used and will come back for revenge. Unfortunately for the Court, Margaret’s “quick curses” are ignored both because she is a woman and because she explains the long term consequences that conflict with their short term interests.  Shakespeare wants us to be aware of how the actions of ourselves and those around us affect us in the future, portraying his message through the repetition of “Margaret’s curse is fall’n upon our heads” in various instantiations by different characters, especially in the denouement of the play. The periphery character Blunt states Shakespeare’s sentiments perfectly when stating that Richard “hath no friends”, fortifying for the audience Shakespeare’s belief that our treatment of others has consequences further than our own autonomy can dictate. Such a regard for other people’s preferences and basic volition is what Shakespeare contends is fundamentally human and necessary for any social order.  Ultimately, Shakespeare illustrates that while we can circumvent the feelings of others in selfish deeds, we are, by doing so, eroding the very social values that we rely on to live amongst others. And it is this anti-social mentality that causes Richard’s demise.

For Shakespeare therefore, Richard’s ability to negate guilt, traditional morality and exploit other people’s naive belief in common humanity is what launch Richard to power and generate the hostility to overthrow him.  Richard oscillates between believing in free agency and in a deterministic world, paradoxically outlining his motivations as being “determined to prove a villain”. Shakespeare encourages us to analyse Richard’s motivation, as he is quite visibly “deformed” and even more so, aware of it, with nearly half his introduction to us utterly preoccupied with his “unfinished” appearance. As Richard notes by saying he is “cheated of feature”, he had no say in how he looks, encouraging us to consider him as fatalistic. Yet Richard fights against this restriction to his agency, laying “Plots” and “inductions” to usurp the throne.  And it is this villainous intent that Shakespeare claims brings about Richard’s fall.  Shakespeare pushes us to see that Richard is paradigmatic of most cruel and ambitious people, stating that it was their desire to forge a life for themselves at the expense of others that leads, in an almost deterministic causation, into people losing trust or outright hating them. Shakespeare uses Richard to outline the sort of motivations and treatment that he wants us to avoid, indicating that by doing so we help ourselves in a social and even moral way. For Shakespeare, Richard falls because he “seem[ s ] a saint when most [he] play[ s ] the devil”, transcending morality and seeing other people’s lives as expendable, encouraging his victims and greater society to overthrow him in both retaliation and self-defence.

Ultimately, Shakespeare depicts Richard’s rise and fall as the very image of cheating, trying to win while breaking the rules. Richard wants to reign Sovereign over England, embodying social order yet without either remorse or conscience. In doing so, he tarnishes the Magna Carta at every turn. Shakespeare does at times convey this irony with humour but retains a strong undercurrent of condemnation, continually portrayed through the motif of nature and plants which are inverted into decay for Richard. Shakespeare’s sentiments are echoed through Elizabeth when she asks “Why grow the Branches now the root is wither’d”, illustrating that a solid social order cannot be built upon corruption. As such, Shakespeare’s tacit urge for empathy is a social as much as moral one, and it is through the myth of King Richard III’s demise, Shakespeare clothes his Tudor propaganda with a message of common humanity.

Mod edit: removed strikethrough x3 :)
« Last Edit: July 31, 2015, 12:19:01 pm by bangali_lok »
2010: Business Management [42]
2011: English [49], Philosophy [42], History: Revolutions [42], Literature [44], Further Maths [35], University Philosophy [5], ATAR:98.65
2012: Bachelor of Laws/ Bachelor of Banking and Finance @ Monash
Tutoring English and Literature. PM me or send me a text on 0425 755 473

TonyEcon

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Re: Essay Formula- Text Response
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2012, 03:32:06 pm »
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^ This guy is possibly the best English tutor around. Fully endorsed by moi.
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VivaTequila

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Re: Essay Formula- Text Response
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2012, 06:57:34 pm »
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This is frigging amazing. I tip my hat to you sir.

cat69

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Re: Essay Formula- Text Response
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2012, 09:54:29 pm »
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Very good explanation..thank you. Could u plz put up a few more samples...will be greatly appreciated..

Scribe

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Re: Essay Formula- Text Response
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2018, 04:12:14 pm »
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Thanks for the advice!