Belonging Related Text Essay Writing

Essay writing is the most important skill you need to develop in your HSC year. Success in HSC English will depend on your ability to write convincing, powerful essays that convey your understanding of both the Area of Study and Modules units. It’s understandably daunting to think that so much of your mark revolves around one skill but fortunately, with a bit of direction and structure, a Band 6 essay is achievable.

When marking an essay, teachers and HSC markers want to see that you’ve developed a complex and in-depth understanding of a text (or pair of texts, as the case may be) and in order to show them this, you need to express your ideas clearly. As such, nothing is more important than simplicity and structure!

The first is self-explanatory – if you misuse complex words because you think they’ll make your essay look more intelligent, you’re more likely to lose marks on account of their misuse. If you get a point across using straightforward language you’re guaranteeing that the marker will understand you and you’re more likely to get marks that way. If you are not confident about how to use a new word, it’s best to leave it out and replace with a word you are comfortable with.

Structure is another story altogether. A good essay is a circular (in that the conclusion always links back to the introduction), self-sustaining (in that all arguments put forward will be thoroughly explored in the essay) beast, one that gives the reader everything they need to know. In order to achieve this, you need to structure the following elements.

Introduction

The introduction is the first impression your reader will get, so it’s the most important part of an essay. You need to answer the question asked within the thesis statement then expand on your thesis in the introductory paragraph by introducing the texts, the themes within the texts and their relation to your Area of Study or particular Module. You also need to give an overview of the key techniques you will discuss later.

Example:

Question: How does the comparative study of two texts from different times deepen our understanding of what is constant in human nature?

Introduction (the thesis is bolded):

The comparison of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s 1992 film Blade Runner  the Director’s Cut  facilitates the examination of transforming societal values and the human condition. An examination of the transition from early 19th century England when Romanticism was challenging aspects of the dominant Enlightenment discourse founded upon science and rationalism to late 20th century America, a period influenced by Reaganomics and rampant scientific development in cloning and technology, reveals a shift in societal values.

However, both texts explore similar aspects of humanity including humanity’s pursuit of  progress and power, questioning of the human identity and refusal to consider the morality of their actions, albeit in different paradigms. Thus, as texts are a reflection of their context and its values, it is evident that aspects of human nature remain constant irrespective of context.

If you would like more detailed information on how to write introductions, you should look at our essay writing series. Read the first post How to Write a Thesis Statement – a step-by-step guide and we’ll explain why a thesis statement is so important, and walk you through the process of creating them.

 

Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph must deal with a particular theme or text, and must start with a topic sentence. A topic sentence, similar to a thesis statement, will tell the reader what you plan on discussing. From there, you must justify your statements with evidence. A basic tool you can use is the T.E.E. system – highlight a technique, identify an example and explain the effect – the effect will relate to your topic sentence, which in turn relates to your thesis! The conclusion of a body paragraph must sum up your argument for the paragraph and relate it to the thesis once again.

In terms of what should be in your body paragraphs, you should aim for analysis which is insightful and informed. It is not always easy to form an insightful opinion of a complicated text, so to get started, you will have to do some reading of critical analysis written by experts like academics, reviewers of plays or productions.

Example:

The T.E.E structure in practice has been indicated with the following colours:

Technique
Evidence 
Effect

In Frankenstein, Shelley explores the transgression of the natural order in the Romantic ideal by humanity’s ongoing pursuit for progress and knowledge, a consequence of the Enlightenment Era and the Industrial Revolution. Victor’s overreaching ambition to overcome the natural boundaries of mortality by taking God’s creator role is highlighted in the metaphor “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds… I should break through“.Victor’s hubristic ambitions criticises aspects of Enlightenment rationalism which attempted to control natural processes, exemplified in Galvani’s experimentation with “animal electricity”.

If you would like to know more about writing topic sentences, you should read our posts on How to Write a Thematic Framework and How to Write a Topic Sentence to see learn how the introduction and topic sentences work together. In addition, our step-by-step guide will walk you through how to write a body paragraph.

 

Conclusion

A conclusion can often be both the easiest and most difficult part of an essay. You must never introduce new arguments or information in a conclusion, nor can you merely restate the introduction. A conclusion must draw on the fundamental idea that you have extracted from the question, and which you have based your entire essay on – in essence, you need something reflective and thought-provoking to leave with the reader.

Example: In the shift from 19th century England to Reaganite America, the foundation of power migrated from scientific knowledge to a greater focus on economics and capitalism. However, despite their differing contexts, both Frankenstein and Blade Runner  suggest that humanity’s pursuit of power and progress has resulted in a continuous foregoing of the moral and ethical concerns of their actions. Thus the comparison of these two texts reveals how these fundamental flaws are ingrained in human nature and that they will paradoxically remain constant even as society and its values inevitably shift.

For more detail on how to write a conclusion, read our step-by-step guide.

Want to take your English skills next level?

 

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Belonging Speech – the Outsiders and Fight Club Related Texts

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Belonging, What is it? Why do we need it? Belonging is to be a part of society. It’s the ability to make a conscious decision to be a part of a group of people. A sense of belonging gives a person a sense of strength and security so that they can make the right choices for themselves. Though belonging does have a positive aspect on any person’s life, there are some circumstances where people have to give up what they once were to belong to a group. So in the process of trying to belong you lose a sense of your own individuality. S. E.

Hinton explores a similar concept of belonging to a group in the novel ‘The Outsiders’. The novel presents two different groups separated by social barriers, and how they are labelled ‘Greasers’ and ‘Socs. ’ The novel shows both the external benefits of belonging to a group or a ‘hood’ or ‘gang’ as referred to in the novel but as the plot unfolds it shows the inner sacrifices people have to make to belong to a group. There are two main themes of belonging throughout the novel. The main aspect the novel focuses on is belonging to a group or a ‘gang’ or ‘hood’.

The second aspect of belonging that is made very evident throughout the novel is belonging to a family. These two aspects can dramatically affect anybody’s view on life and how they go about their business. The antagonist Ponyboy narrates the novel, this allows us see what he goes through and his experiences through his eyes. This in turn invites the reader to experience and feel the expressions and emotions that he goes through in the novel. “I wanted to cry, but greasers don’t cry in front of strangers. Some of us never cry.

Like Dally and Two-bit and Tim Shepard – they forgot how to cry at an early age. ” This extract shows what Ponyboy had to give up to belong to the group. The repercussions of belonging to a ‘gang,’ are that you’re not allowed to show weakness and emotion at all. Symbolism is used in many different ways to express the difference between the social classes and the character differences through the novel. The Greasers hair symbolises they belong to a different social class. Their hair represents the greaser’s freedom, their independence and most of all their dignity.

An example is when Johnny and Ponyboy are in the church and they cut their hair, this is an example of when they lose their freedom and independence. A reoccurring motif throughout the novel of is the reference of Robert Frosts Poem ‘Nothing Gold Can stay. ’ This is also is an example of intertexuality; this poem is used in the novel when Johnny and Ponyboy are on the run. This poem helps them understand about the hardships of growing up and facing reality is a necessary part of life. David Fincher also explores a similar concept in the film that he directed ‘Fight Club’.

The entire film is in the perspective of the alias narrator. The narrator discovers an absolute hatred about his entire life; as a result his subliminal mind creates an alter ego who acts upon all his suppressed desires. Through the persona of Tyler Durdan, the narrator creates ‘Fight Club’ its where men can take their frustrations out on each other. Fight club explores a similar aspect of belonging to the novel ‘The Outsiders. ’ The common aspect they both explore is the wanting to belong to a social group. It shows the positives and negatives of what belonging to a group does to someone.

Symbolism is used throughout the film. When fight club is first formed all the participants are all similarly groomed. This allows them to fight ‘themselves’ at ‘fight club, enabling them to gain the same power, this in turn gives them a sense of security and belonging to a group when they were originally misfits of society. The fight scenes that are depicted throughout the film are means to end a metaphor for something beyond them. Though the title of the film is in fact ‘Fight Club’ it is not literally about men fighting one another. Fighting in the film serves as a purpose beyond its superficial connotations.

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The film is more apprehensive with the ‘why’ behind the fighting and not focusing on the fighting itself. In that sense the fighting is devoted with a symbolic meaning. The symbolic meaning that the violence creates and helps the people involved to belong to something other than a society that miss understood them. Thus our sense belonging is definitely affected by the groups that we belong to and the relationships we form in our lifetime. In novel ‘The Outsiders’ and in film ‘Fight Club’ both reflect upon the human necessity to belong to a group and how it helps us thrive and survive through life.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in The Outsiders

Belonging Speech – the Outsiders and Fight Club Related Texts

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