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How to Write a Strong Conclusion

all right this is it a screencast about the last paragraph in your analytical essay I’m going to walk you through the steps that need to be in a strong conclusion and then I’m going to model it for you all along the way to wrap up my essay on milkweed okay so there are four components that need to be in your conclusion you’ve heard these before some of them restating your thesis is something that you’re going to kick off your conclusion with now I’m going to go into a little more detail on that because I don’t want you to just copy and paste the exact same sentence you ended your intro with you need to restate it you’ve already spent your entire essay proving it you don’t need to say the exact same thing again you’ll see I’ve got synthesized standing out because you need to synthesize your main points that you made in each three body paragraph next you don’t repeat them you synthesize them and I’ll show you how to do that finally you need to wrap up your conclusion by pulling back to the big picture here and showing your reader why your ideas should matter to them in the larger context of reading not just about this novel but in the big picture why do your ideas matter why should your reader remember them and learn from them and then in the end you just need to make sure that you end it feeling finished so I want to use this graphic again to remind you that we started our essay with an introduction that was quite broad big ideas were expressed a summary large statements about empathy and techniques used to create empathy and you just introduced those techniques as you move into the body you get a narrower focus you zero in on particular examples in this specific novel that prove these big ideas from your intro now we’re moving into the closing the conclusion where you pull back again you step back away from your specific novel and with each sentence in your conclusion you should feel like you’re stepping further and further away from your specific novel the first sentence of your conclusion is going to be pretty novel specific the couple sentences might be too but by the end you should be making large statements about reading in general okay let’s start off with the first point in a conclusion which is restating the thesis you just spent the entire body proving your thesis each body paragraph related back to your thesis and went into great detail now you need to remind your reader you need to pull back and remind your reader what your thesis was here is the original thesis statement from my introductory paragraph on my novel or my essay on milkweed the best authors are those who create characters that readers can empathize with in milkweed spinelli uses several techniques masterfully to create empathy in his readers including dramatic irony revealing character emotions and a unique choice of narrator this is the first sentence of my conclusion paragraph where I restate my thesis by skillfully blending moments of dramatic irony vivid descriptions of character emotion and a unique narrator Jerry Spinelli creates characters with whom we can truly empathize do you see how similar they are but it’s a bit of a shift it’s bringing back my three main points of dramatic irony descriptions of character emotion and the unique narrator it’s bringing back the idea that those create empathy but it’s pulling back to that big idea that techniques are used on purpose to create empathy okay so that’s going to be my first sentence of my conclusion paragraph that’s restating my thesis now let’s move on to the second task in a conclusion which is synthesizing your main points you can believe two things are true number one I just read your piece in number two I am NOT a moron I do not need you to repeat what you just wrote in the body paragraphs exactly in the way that you said it instead I need you to look at the closing few sentences from each body paragraph let’s think about this for a second for each body paragraph you started out with a topic sentence and identified the technique then you went into specific examples from the novel to prove how that technique creates empathy you wrote sentences of your own thinking that explained how that example from the book made you feel something and in the end of each body paragraph you wrote a closing sentence that specifically concretely explained the impact that each technique has on the reader why it works why it creates empathy those are the sentences you need to go back and look at to synthesize your main points let me show you my example these are the three sentences that I’m going to write in my conclusion to synthesize my main points my first body paragraph was about dramatic irony and at the end of that paragraph the understanding that I developed was this that anxiety and tension mount as readers are repeatedly placed in the position where they understand the events taking place more than the characters do that’s really the end result of that whole paragraph of dramatic ironies is the fact that we feel anxiety in tension and it builds and increases when we keep getting put in a position to know more than the characters do secondly my second body paragraph was about revealing character emotion so I’m going to say that detailed descriptions of body language and carefully crafted dialogue reveal emotions and make it easy for readers to place themselves in the shoes of Janina Misha and others now this sentence in blue did not appear anywhere in my body paragraph I am synthesizing the whole point of that second body paragraph but because of these descriptions of body language and the dialogue that each character speaks it’s easier for me to put myself in their shoes finally my last body paragraph was about the unique choice of narrator so here is the sentence that I’m going to use to synthesize the whole point of that third body paragraph a narrator who has no eye or emotional interpretation of the events around him allows readers of all identities to experience these events without bias and to form their own interpretations that’s the major understanding I came to at the end of that body paragraph so those are going to be the three sentences that calm after I restate my thesis because they synthesize my three main points now moving on to the third job that you have in your clusion conclusion paragraph we’re going to take an even further step away from the novel and we’re going to focus on why should the reader of your S or si care about what you just wrote your conclusion is going to show your reader why your analysis should matter to them when they put your paper down in your paper and your essay you’ve taught them something you’ve taught your reader how that authors specifically use techniques to create empathy on purpose but they might not read the book thief or the boy in the Striped Pyjamas or a mouse they might read something else but their authors are doing the same thing yours did for similar reasons that’s what you need to talk to them about at the end of their conclusion paragraph go back to the big idea why should they why did you bother to write this stuff down I know it’s good I told you to do it but I want you to pull back from that narrow focus on this book and make the point that a skilled author any author of any book is going to create characters that we will miss when we leave them and that authors create characters with whom we’re invested so that we in turn are receptive to the message they’re trying to communicate in their book if you don’t care about the characters you don’t care what the author’s trying to say either there’s a reason why we need to care about these characters regardless of what book it is you need to make a statement about that at the end of your conclusion let me show you what mine is like readers we are drawn to texts that allow us to step outside our own reality and experience another time place or people at the same time we crave connection and the ability to see ourselves in these times and imagine our own response to events this right here these two sentences in pink are the sentences where I step away from my specific book and I talked about as a reader in general we want to experience a different reality but at the same time we want to be able to imagine ourselves in it okay now the sentence in red makes a connection for the reader of my essay about why this is so important by using techniques that create empathy in their readers authors make this possible that sentence tells the reader of my essay why everything I just wrote should matter to them that it’s all these little techniques that create empathy that make it possible for us to go in our minds to a different place a different time be with the different people and imagine ourselves in their shoes because we can empathize now the last thing you needed to do in your conclusion paragraph was to end with a sense of closure make it feel like it’s finished wrap it up and the sentence in black is the way that I’m doing that the authors who do this most skillfully create characters that we miss spending time with when we when the final page is turned the end okay so now I’m going to come over and show you on my model essay this is the way that whole paragraph looks start to finish I’d like you to pause the screencast now and read this all the way through and see how I started by restating my thesis I moved into a synthesis of my three main ideas I pulled back from the big picture right here and talked about why this should matter for any book in general and I left them with a sense of closure pause the screencast read this conclusion paragraph and write your own