Getting Started–the Openng of Paper 1

6. Paper 1 Preparation
6.1. Module 6.1: Getting Started–the Openng of Paper 1

Getting Started–Paper 1

Your topic is not a matter of life and death, yet the idea of the American dream is an important myth in American culture and history. Thus, your first paragraph (I), the opening, must have three elements: Thesis, Three Organizing Ideas, and Statement of Significance.

Opening for Paper 1

How to get started and things to keep in mind as you write:

1.  To start your essay, use the following phrasing:

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (verb of your choice)….

Make this first sentence of the essay be your thesis statement.

See for a discussion of thesis statements.

There is discussion in textbooks about where to place your thesis: Should it be the first sentence? Should it be in the middle of the first paragraph or at the end of the first paragraph?

For this class, for the purpose of uniformity and clarity for your reader (me), make your first sentence be your thesis statement.

Sample: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby devotes itself primarily to the failure of the American dream.

2. Follow that thesis statement with your organizing idea sentences. There should be three of these sentences, one for each 20-sentence paragraph in the body of the essay.

The organizing idea sentences tell the reader in advance what is in the three-part body of the paper. You probably should not try to write these organizing idea sentences (some call them advanced organizers or controlling ideas) until your paper is completed because you may not be clear about what exactly your three-part body is about until after you have written it.

An example:

This paper will explain what the American dream is.

It will place the dream into the context of The Great Gatsby‘s setting.

Finally, it will relate the ideas of the dream to three characters.

3.  Last, create a statement of significance, which explains why this paper is important, significant, or interesting. Some call it a hook to get the reader’s interest.

An example:

The American dream helped to build the United States for two centuries, and Fitzgerald was testing its effectiveness in the 20th century.


One test for you is:

Does the thesis statement align with the conclusion?  Another is does the title align with the thesis and conclusion?

The total length of Paper 1 is five paragraphs.



6.2. Module 6.2: Evaluation Criteria

This Module applies the planning for Paper 1 to the Evaluation Criteria

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