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Essay Writing
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The body of the essay

The function of the essay's body is to fully develop the argument outlined in the introduction. Each paragraph within the body of the essay elaborates on one major point in the development of the overall argument (although some points may consist of a number of sub-points, each of which will need a paragraph). The main point in each paragraph needs to be clearly stated in the form of a topic sentence, which is then supported with evidence. Let's look at how the student's essay on why Italy in 1860 was seen as an unlikely nation developed (remember the argument is that Italy was seen as an unlikely nation because of the many obstacles in the way of unification). The example below shows only the first (or topic) sentence of each paragraph, and not the remaining sentences of each paragraph. This is to highlight the way the main points in the argument can be presented at the beginning of each paragraph to show the logical steps in the argument.

Body of the essay(skeleton framework)1

One of the obstacles to the unification of the Italian nation was the failure of the majority of the population to take up the cause of unification........... Main point in the paragraph presented as the topic sentence
The divisiveness between the states was another major obstacle to national unity..................... Main point in the paragraph presented as the topic sentence
The mistrust that existed between the states also created an obstacle for unification..................... Main point in the paragraph presented as the topic sentence
A further obstacle obstructing the formation of a united Italy was the lack of common goals and the poor planning associated with the unification uprisings that were occurring throughout Italy..................... Main point in the paragraph presented as the topic sentence
The final major obstacle to the unification of the Italian nation was the dislike and disagreement between the main agitators in the independence movement know as "Il Risorgimento".............. Main point in the paragraph presented as the topic sentence

1This essay has been adapted from material developed by R. Woodward-Kron, E. Thomson & J. Meek (2000) Academic Writing: a language based guide (CD-ROM), University of Wollongong

In each of these paragraphs several words are written in coloured type, eg. the final, another, a further. These connective words serve to establish relations between the various parts of the essay. They are an important element in developing an argument that is cohesive and flows logically through your essay.



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