The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne ~ Analyzing Theme Essay

             People who hide their wrongdoings do not escape the results of sin.

Write a five-paragraph essay in which you discuss how this statement is true for the novel you have just completed. This is your Thesis Statement. You will add specifics to this, but it must be the main part of your thesis statement. See examples in the next paragraphs about how you can use it as you organize your essay:

Introductory Paragraph: You may want to write a thesis statement that previews your paper by including the names of the characters about whom you will write. For example: A close look at the lives of Hester Prynne, Reverend Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth, reveals the truth that people who hide their wrongdoings do not escape the results of sin. This thesis statement indicates that your first body paragraph will be about Hester Prynne, your second about Reverend Dimmesdale, and your third about Roger Chillingworth. Since it does not include the title of the book about which you are writing, you would have to include that (along with the author’s name) in the earlier sentences of the introductory paragraph.

You could also choose to organize your essay around ideas instead, and include a discussion of each of the three main characters in each paragraph. For example: The Scarlet Letter, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, illustrates that people who hide their wrong doings do not escape the results of sin physically, emotionally, or spiritually. If this is your thesis statement, your first body paragraph will be about the physical effects of sin on each character. Your second body paragraph will be about the emotional effects of sin on each character. The third body paragraph will be about the spiritual effects of sin on each of the three characters.

Three Body Paragraphs: Regardless of which type of thesis statement you choose, you must use at least two quotes in each of your body paragraphs to support your ideas.  These must be copied directly from the novel. Make sure that you are quoting just what is necessary to make your point. Never let a long quote take the place of your thoughtful, insightful discussion of your point.

Conclusion: You must also have a concluding paragraph (paragraph 5) that brings closure to the essay and does more than just restate your three points. Try to come up with a memorable statement that intrigues the reader or causes him/her to think.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not a research paper. Use only your close reading of the novel and your own insights when writing this essay.


Essay Requirements:  5-Paragraph Essay

A.   First Paragraph and Outline:  Before writing your first draft, send your teacher a copy of your first paragraph which should end with your Thesis Statement.  Additionally, include a simple outline that shows your three main points (body paragraphs).  These could be the three characters around which you are organizing your essay, or the three ideas around which you are organizing your essay.  On your outline, list 3-4 ideas under each point, to make sure you have enough to discuss. Attach this document to an email in the Message Center for this class.  Your teacher will give you feedback and the go-ahead to write your First Draft.

B. Write your First Draft using the suggestions given in the feedback and checking to make sure you have done all of the following:.

  • Invented a creative title for your essay.
  • Followed the Formatting Guides for Essays in Eagle Hall. (Don’t just guess, go check.)
  • Written an essay that is approximately 2 pages long (typed, double-spaced).
  • Have not written a book reportWe have already studied the book in depth. Assume that we all know what happened!
  • Written an Introduction which draws the reader in and includes the title of the book, the author’s name, and the Thesis Statement given in this lesson.
  • Written three well-developed body paragraphs–with the required two quotes for each.
  • Written a concluding paragraph that is thought-provoking and does more than just restate your thesis statement.
  • Used spell check and grammar check. Proofread!
  • Pay attention to paragraph breaks and created smooth transitions.
  • Asked for help along the way, if you needed it.

C. Final Draft: After asking someone else to read your essay, write your Final Draft. Check again to make sure you have included everything in the Checklist above. Consider any suggestions your reader has made regarding your essay. Make sure that it is double-spaced with the proper font. Your teacher will be using this Checklist while grading your essay.


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