Occasionally, you will find a paragraph that doesn't seem to accomplish much. Some paragraphs, for instance, are purely illustrative: the "for example" type of paragraph. Some are just comments or impressions by the author . The "that reminds me" type. A third very common type is the transitional paragraph, which just takes you rather gracefully from one point to another. When you come across a paragraph like one of these, label it in the margin.
6. Within each structural subdivision find out what points the author is making. (In the essay about the English 1 ...view middle of the document...
If you are still having trouble, try scribbling a word or two in the margins and summing up the paragraphs as if you were annotating a textbook. In the essay about the English 1 final, for instance, you might write "Mark up textbooks" in the margin after one paragraph, and "but not too much" after the next. You can also underline key transitional or structural words or phases like "but", "however", "moreover", "on the other hand", "nevertheless".
8. Now write out , at the beginning or end of the essay, a thesis statement for the essay. Remember, the thesis was his guiding PURPOSE? What audience did he have in mind? What assumptions did he make i.e., what did he take for granted his audience already knew, or already believed, or both? Is his audience hostile or friendly?
9. Finally, and very important, consider two other questions: WHY did the author write this, and for WHOM? What audience did he have in mind? What assumptions did he make, i.e., what did he take for granted his audience already knew, or already believed, or both? Is his audience hostile or friendly?
10. If you know you are to be examined on the rhetorical techniques the author uses, now is the point to go on a deliberate hunt for them after you have thoroughly understood the essay.