A classic format for compositions is the five-paragraph essay. It is not the only format for writing an essay, of course, but it is a useful model for you to keep in mind, especially as you begin to develop your composition skills. The following material is adapted from a handout prepared by Harry Livermore for his high school English classes at Cook High School in Adel, Georgia. It is used here with his permission.
See, first, Writing Introductory Paragraphs for different ways of getting your reader involved in your essay. The introductory paragraph should also include the thesis statement, a kind of mini-outline for the paper: it tells the reader what the essay is about. The last sentence of this paragraph must also contain a transitional “hook” which moves the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper.
Body — First paragraph:
The first paragraph of the body should contain the strongest argument, most significant example, cleverest illustration, or an obvious beginning point. The first sentence of this paragraph should include the “reverse hook” which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the introductory paragraph. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional hook to tie into the second paragraph of the body.
Body — Second paragraph:
The second paragraph of the body should contain the second strongest argument, second most significant example, second cleverest illustration, or an obvious follow up the first paragraph in the body. The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the first paragraph of the body. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional hook to tie into the third paragraph of the body.
Body — Third paragraph:
The third paragraph of the body should contain the weakest argument, weakest example, weakest illustration, or an obvious follow up to the second paragraph in the body. The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the second paragraph. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional concluding hook that signals the reader that this is the final major point being made in this paper. This hook also leads into the last, or concluding, paragraph.
This paragraph should include the following:
- an allusion to the pattern used in the introductory paragraph,
- a restatement of the thesis statement, using some of the original language or language that “echoes” the original language. (The restatement, however, must not be a duplicate thesis statement.)
- a summary of the three main points from the body of the paper.
- a final statement that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end. (This final statement may be a “call to action” in an persuasive paper.)
A Sample Paper
1 Stephen King, creator of such stories as Carrie and Pet Sematary. stated that the Edgar Allan Poe stories he read as a child gave him the inspiration and instruction he needed to become the writer that he is. 2 Poe, as does Stephen King, fills the reader’s imagination with the images that he wishes the reader to see, hear, and feel. 3 His use of vivid, concrete visual imagery to present both static and dynamic settings and to describe people is part of his technique. 4 Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a story about a young man who kills an old man who cares for him, dismembers the corpse, then goes mad when he thinks he hears the old man’s heart beating beneath the floor boards under his feet as he sits and discusses the old man’s absence with the police. 5 In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a careful reader can observe Poe’s skillful manipulation of the senses.
The introductory paragraph includes a paraphrase of something said by a famous person in order to get the reader’s attention. The second sentence leads up to the thesis statement which is the third sentence. The thesis statement (sentence 3) presents topic of the paper to the reader and provides a mini- outline. The topic is Poe’s use of visual imagery. The mini- outline tells the reader that this paper will present Poe’s use of imagery in three places in his writing: (1) description of static setting; (2) description of dynamic setting; and (3) description of a person. The last sentence of the paragraph uses the words “manipulation” and “senses” as transitional hooks.
1 The sense of sight, the primary sense, is particularly susceptible to manipulation. 2 In “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Poe uses the following image to describe a static scene: “His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness. ” Poe used the words “black,” “pitch,” and “thick darkness” not only to show the reader the condition of the old man’s room, but also to make the reader feel the darkness.” 3 “Thick” is a word that is not usually associated with color (darkness), yet in using it, Poe stimulates the reader’s sense of feeling as well as his sense of sight.
In the first sentence of the second paragraph (first paragraph of the body) the words “sense” and “manipulation” are used to hook into the end of the introductory paragraph. The first part of the second sentence provides the topic for this paragraph–imagery in a static scene. Then a quotation from “The Tell-Tale Heart” is presented and briefly discussed. The last sentence of this paragraph uses the expressions “sense of feeling” and “sense of sight” as hooks for leading into the third paragraph.
1 Further on in the story, Poe uses a couple of words that cross not only the sense of sight but also the sense of feeling to describe a dynamic scene. 2 The youth in the story has been standing in the open doorway of the old man’s room for a long time, waiting for just the right moment to reveal himself to the old man in order to frighten him. 3 Poe writes: “So I opened it [the lantern opening]–you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily–until, at length, a single dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.” 4 By using the metaphor of the thread of the spider (which we all know is a creepy creature) and the word “shot,” Poe almost makes the reader gasp, as surely did the old man whose one blind eye the young man describes as “the vulture eye.”
The first sentence of the third paragraph (second paragraph of the body) uses the words “sense of sight” and “sense of feeling” to hook back into the previous paragraph. Note that in the second paragraph “feeling” came first, and in this paragraph “sight” comes first. The first sentence also includes the topic for this paragraph–imagery in a dynamic scene. Again, a quotation is taken from the story, and it is briefly discussed. The last sentence uses the words “one blind eye” which was in the quotation. This expression provides the transitional hook for the last paragraph in the body of the paper.
1 The reader does not know much about what the old man in this story looks like except that he has one blind eye. 2 In the second paragraph of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Poe establishes the young man’s obsession with that blind eye when he writes: “He had the eye of the vulture–a pale blue eye, with a film over it.” 3 This “vulture eye” is evoked over and over again in the story until the reader becomes as obsessed with it as does the young man. 4 His use of the vivid, concrete word “vulture” establishes a specific image in the mind of the reader that is inescapable.
In the first sentence of the fourth paragraph (third paragraph in the body). “one blind eye” is used that hooks into the previous paragraph. This first sentence also lets the reader know that this paragraph will deal with descriptions of people: “. what the old man looks like. ” Once again Poe is quoted and discussed. The last sentence uses the word “image” which hooks into the last paragraph. (It is less important that this paragraph has a hook since the last paragraph is going to include a summary of the body of the paper.)
1 “Thick darkness,” “thread of the spider,” and “vulture eye” are three images that Poe used in “The Tell-Tale Heart” to stimulate a reader’s senses. 2 Poe wanted the reader to see and feel real life. 3 He used concrete imagery rather than vague abstract words to describe settings and people. 4 If Edgar Allan Poe was one of Stephen King’s teachers, then readers of King owe a debt of gratitude to that nineteenth-century creator of horror stories.
The first sentence of the concluding paragraph uses the principal words from the quotations from each paragraph of the body of the paper. This summarizes those three paragraph. The second and third sentences provide observations which can also be considered a summary, not only of the content of the paper, but also offers personal opinion which was logically drawn as the result of this study. The last sentence returns to the Edgar Allan Poe-Stephen King relationship which began this paper. This sentence also provides a “wrap-up” and gives the paper a sense of finality.
Pope wrote his “Essay on Man” in rhyming verse. Certainly today, we think anybody that writes “poetry” is one who is a bit odd, to say the least. Back in the eighteenth century, it was not so strange. Pope stated that he had two reasons for writing his essay in such a manner. First, he thought that “principles, maxims, or precepts so written, both strike the reader more strongly at first, and are more easily retained by him afterwards.” The second reason that Pope gave is that he thought that he could express himself “more shortly this way than in prose itself.”
My copy of Pope’s “Essay on Man” runs approximately 30 pages, 30 pages of a smaller poetry book. It is broken down into four epistles.1
I here make comments about the expressions and thoughts of Pope in his essay. I have quoted at length from his essay. Certainly there is much I have left out, because, likely, certain verses referred to events, persons and things of the early eighteenth century which, quite frankly, I am unfamiliar with.
Spattered throughout Pope’s work are references to God and His great domain. Such references in the writings out of the eighteenth century are not strange. The livelihood of writers, by and large — as was with the case of all artists back then — depended almost entirely on the generosity of church and state, so it was necessary in those days that writers give due regard to religious authority. Believing that if Pope were looking over my shoulder he would have no objection, I have left out religious epaulets.
Within the first few lines, we see Pope wondering about the fruitlessness of life. We have no choice: we come to it, look out and then die. What we see as we look out on “the scene of man” is a “mighty maze!” But Pope does not think this complex of existence is “without a plan.” Man might sort through the maze because he has a marvelous mental faculty, that of reason; man can determine the nature of the world in which he lives; he can see that all things have bearings, ties and strong connections and “nice dependencies.” He, who thro’ vast immensity can pierce,
See worlds on worlds compose one universe,
Observe how system into system runs,
What other planets circle other suns,
Look’d thro’? or can a part contain the whole?
Is the great chain that draws all to agree, –
And, drawn, supports – upheld by God or thee?
In his next stanza, Pope makes reference to presumptuous man! Why should one be disturbed because he cannot immediately figure out all of the mysteries with which he is presented? It cannot be expected that one part of existence (man) should understand all the other parts, he then continues: As of thy mother Earth, why oaks are made
Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade.
And all that rises, rise in due degree;
Then, in the sale of reas’ning life, ‘tis plain
There must be, somewhere, such a rank as Man.
When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod,
Is now a victim, and now Egypt’s god, –
Then say not Man’s imperfect, Heav’n in fault, –
Say rather Man’s as perfect as he ought:
His knowledge measur’d to his state and place,
His time a moment, and a point his space.
Pope continues with this theme into his third stanza, in saying “Heav’n from all creatures hides the book of fate,” and continues: The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day,
Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?
Pleas’d to the last he crops the flow’ry food,
And licks the hand just rais’d to shed his blood.
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl’d,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
Then giving way to his religious bent, makes reference to the “great teacher Death” and continues with his most famous lines: Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blest:
The soul uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rest and expatiates in a life to come.
Next, Pope deals with native people of the uncivilized territories of the world, and how they do not get hung up on such large questions as are expressed in Pope’s essay: Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor’d mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind;
His soul proud Science never taught to stray
Far as the solar walk or milky way;
Yet simple Nature to his hope has giv’n,
Behind the cloud-topp’d hill, a humbler heav’n;
Some safer world in depth of woods embrac’d,
Some happier island in the wat’ry waste,
Where slaves once more their native land behold,
No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold!
To be, contents his natural desire;
He asks no angel’s wing, no seraph’s fire:
But things, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company.
Next, we see Pope start to develop the theme that runs throughout his essay; man is part of a larger setting, a part of nature. Man depends on nature for his very substance, and yet, treats her roughly. Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
Yet cry, if Man’s unhappy, God’s unjust;
Ask for what end the heav’nly bodies shine,
Earth for whose use, Pride answers, “‘Tis for mine!
“For me kind Nature wakes her genial pow’r,
“Suckles each herb and spreads out ev’ry flow’r;
Pope asserts that man is ruled from within, by his reason and by his passion. Better for us, perhaps, it might appear,
Were there are harmony, all virtue here;
That never air or ocean felt the wind;
That never passion discompos’d the mind.
But all subsists by elemental strife;
And passions are the elements of life.
The gen’ral Order since the whole began
Is kept in Nature, and is kept in Man.
Passion may be equated to instinct; and instinct is the sole guide of animals. Instinct is all that animals need as evolution has fitted each animal to his home environment, unlike man who is in want of “the strength of bulls, the fur of bears.” Here with degrees of swiftness, there of force:
All in exact proportion to the state;
Nothing to add, and nothing to abate.
Each beast, each insect, happy in its own:
Is Heav’n unkind to Man, and Man alone?
Shall he alone, whom rational we call,
Be pleas’d with nothing, if not bless’d with all?
Again, Pope emphasizes how nature “all good and wise. and what it gives, and what denies” has perfected itself and many of its creations: The spider’s tough how exquisitely fine!
Feels at each thread, and lives along the line:
In the nice bee, what sense so subtly true
From pois’nous herbs extracts the healing dew?
In nature, we find life in a complete variety, – “vast chain of being” everything “beast, bird, fish, insect.” Or in the full creation leave a void,
Where, one step broken, the great scale’s destroy’d:
From Nature’s chain whatever link you strike,
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
The point, I think, is that there is a fearful balance of nature in all its variety, and we dare not destroy one aspect of nature for fear of destroying the whole. All this dread order break – for whom? for thee?
Vile worm! – oh madness! pride! impiety!
In the last line of Pope’s first epistle, he bangs home the importance of the “ruling mind” of nature, that while some parts might seem to us to be absurd, it is part of the “general frame” that all of nature, including ourselves, are but “parts of one stupendous whole.” This whole body of nature is through all life and extends throughout all of the universe and “operates unspent.” Pope concludes his first epistle: Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow’r,
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see
All discord, harmony not understood,
All partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite,
One truth is clear, whatever is, is right.
Pope opens his second Epistle much the same as he opened his first. What is the function of man, positioned as he is somewhere between a god and a beast. Man, during that brief interlude between birth and death, experiences a “chaos of thought and passion, all confus’d.” He finds on earth the “Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all.” Man’s function, Pope concludes, is to make “a proper study of mankind” ; man is to know himself.
What man will come to know is that he is ruled by passion; passion is the ruler and reason it’s counsellor. Alas what wonder! Man’s superior part
Uncheck’d may rise and climb from art to art;
But when his own great work is but begun,
What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone.
It is in the nature of man to first serve himself; but, on account of reason, to do so with the long range in view. Two Principles in human nature reign;
Self-love, to urge, and Reason, to restrain;
Self-love still stronger, as its objects nigh;
Reason’s at distance, and in prospect lie:
A person is driven by passion, driven by his desire for pleasure; temptation is strong and passion is “thicker than arguments.” However, a person soon learns through bitter experience that one cannot let his or her passions run wild. Attention, habit and experience gains;
Each strengthens Reason, and Self-love restrains.
Self-love and Reason to one end aspire,
Pain their aversion, Pleasure their desire,
Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood,
Our greatest evil, or our greatest good.
Passions, tho’ selfish, if their means be fair,
List under reason, and deserve her care
On life’s vast ocean diversely we sail,
Reason the card, but passion is the gale;2
Love, Hope, and Joy, fair Pleasure’s smiling train,
Hate, Fear, and Grief, the family of Pain,
These mix’d with art, and to due bounds confin’d,
Make and maintain the balance of the mind:
Pope’s theme is again repeated: the two driving forces of man are his reason and his passion. However, passion is the king and reason but a “weak queen.” What can she more than tell us we are fools?
Teach us to mourn our nature, not to mend.
A sharp accuser but a helpless friend!
Reason (“th’ Eternal Art, educing good from ill”) is not a guide but a guard. Passion is the “mightier pow’r.” Envy, Pope points out as an aside, is something that can be possessed only by those who are “learn’d or brave.” Ambition: “can destroy or save, and makes a patriot as it makes a knave.”
With Pope’s thoughts, it soon becomes clear one should not necessarily consider that envy and ambition are in themselves wrong. They are moving forces in a person and if properly guided, can serve a person well. As, in some well-wrought picture, light and shade
And oft so mix, the diff’rence is too nice,
Where ends the virtue, or begins the vice.
And virtuous and vicious ev’ry man must be,
Few in the extreme, but all in the degree;
Each person is driven by self-love, but on the same occasion “each on the other to depend, a master, or a servant, or a friend, bids each on other for assistance call.” Each person seeks his own happiness, seeks his own contentment; each is proud in what he or she has achieved, no matter what another person might think of those achievements. Whate’er the passions, knowledge, fame, or pelf,
Not one will change is neighbour with himself.
The learn’d is happy nature to explore,
The fool is happy that he knows no more;
The rich is happy in the plenty given,
The poor contents him with the care of Heaven,
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing
The sot a hero, lunatic a king;
The starving chemist in his golden views
Supremely bless’d, the poet in his Muse.
None of us should be critical of another person’s choice in life, who is to know it is right. Behold the child, by nature’s kindly law,
Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw:
Some livelier plaything give his youth delight,
A little louder, but as empty quite:
Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage,
And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age:
Pleased with this bauble still, as that before,
Till tired he sleeps, and life’s poor play is o’er.
Pope returns, in his third Epistle, to his ever present theme, all is natural in nature and man is a part of nature. He first observes how “plastic” nature is, how everything is dependant on one and the other, is attracted to one and the other, down even to “single atoms.” Everything “it’s neighbour to embrace.” (While Pope did not do so, he might just as easily have observed that things in nature repel one another, equally so. All things, in the final analysis, are held in the balance, suspended, so it seems, between the two great forces of attraction and repulsion.) All forms that perish other forms supply,
(By turns we catch the vital breath, and die)
Like bubbles on the sea a matter borne,
They rise, they break, and to that sea return
Nothing is foreign; parts relate to whole:
Then, Pope picks up once again his theme of the ruling principles, reason and passion. Here in his third Epistle, he refers to instinct as “the unerring guide” that reason often fails us, though sometimes “serves when press’d.” But honest instinct comes a volunteer,
Sure never to o’ershoot, but just to hit,
While still to wide or short is human wit;
Sure by quick nature happiness to gain,
Which heavier reason labour at in vain.
Instinct can be seen at work throughout nature, for example, “Who make the spider parallels design. without rule or line?” Not just the spider does things by instinct, man does. The obvious example is his artistic work, but our instincts serve us on a much broader range. Think! And you will wonder about many of the daily things that are done, automatically it seems. What, exactly, is it that prompts us to do things. Who calls the council, states the certain day,
Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way?
Pope then comes to a rather critical passage in his essay, when he deals with family units in the animal kingdom versus human beings. The fact of the matter is, family units do not count for much in the animal kingdom, at any rate, not for long. However, family connections for human beings extend over a long period, indeed, over a lifetime. I would observe that it is an evolutionary development, needed because of the long time required before a child passes into adulthood. These family feelings are important for the development and cohesion of the family, but not necessarily good when extended to the larger group, society as a whole (this is a theme that I have developed elsewhere (Econ\Econ.doc) and which someday I hope to put up on the ‘net.). Thus beast and bird their common charge attend,
The mothers nurse it, and the sires defend:
The young dismiss’d to wander earth or air,
There stops the instinct, and there ends the care;
The link dissolves, each seeks a fresh embrace,
Another love succeeds, another race.
A longer care man’s helpless kind demands;
That longer care contracts more lasting bands:
Reflection, reason, still the ties improve,
At one extend the interest, and the love;
With choice we fix, with sympathy we burn;
Each virtue in each passion takes its turn;
And still new needs, new helps, new habits rise
That graft benevolence on charities.
Still as one brood, and as another rose,
These natural love maintain’d, habitual those:
The last, scarce ripen’d into perfect man,
Saw helpless from him whom their life began:
Memory and forecast just returns engage;
That pointed back to youth, this on to age;
While pleasure, gratitude, and hope, combined,
Still spread the interest, and preserved the kind.
Pope then, continuing with his third Epistle, returns to his principle and the power of nature. Nature is a “driving gale,” a fact which can be observed in “the voice of nature” and which we can learn from the birds and the beasts. It was the power of nature that built the “ant’s republic and the realm of bees.” Pope observes “anarchy without confusion.” Their separate cells and properties maintain.
Mark what unvaried laws preserve each state;-
Laws wise as nature, and as fix’d as fate.
In vain thy reason finer webs shall draw;
Entangle justice in her net of law;
And right, too rigid, harden into wrong,
Still for the strong too weak, the weak too strong.
Yet go! and thus o’er all the creatures sway;
Thus let the wiser make the rest obey;
And for those arts mere instinct could afford,
Be crown’d as monarchs, or as gods adored.
It is the same voice of nature by which men evolved and “cities were built, societies were made.” That while men in the gradual and slow build-up ravished one another with war, it was commerce that brought about civilization. Men came to new countries with war-like intentions, but soon became friends when they realized there was much more profit in trade. When love was liberty, and nature law:
Thus states were form’d; the name of king unknown,
Till common interest placed the sway in one
‘Twas Virtue only, or in arts or arms,
So, it was trade that built civilizations, and Pope observes, that it was tradition that preserves them. Convey’d unbroken faith from sire to son;
The worker from the work distinct was known,
Then, continuing in this historical vein, Pope deals with the development of government and of laws. So drives self-love, through just and through unjust
To one man’s power, ambition, lucre, lust:
The same self-love, in all, becomes the cause
Of what restrains him, government and laws:
For, what one likes if others like as well,
What serves one will, when many wills rebel?
How shall we keep, what, sleeping or awake,
A weaker may surprise, a stronger take?
His safety must his liberty restrain:
All join to guard what each desires to gain.
Forced into virtue thus by self-defence,
Ev’n kings learn’d justice and benevolence:
Self-love forsook the path it first pursued,
And found the private in the public good.
‘Twas then, the studious head or generous mind,
Follower of God or friend of human-kind,
Poet or patriot, rose but to restore
The faith and moral Nature gave before;
Relumed her ancient light, not kindled new;
If not God’s image, yet his shadow drew;
Taught power’s due use to people and to kings;
Taught not to slack nor strain its tender strings;
The less or greater set so justly true,
That touching one must strike the other too;
Till jarring int’rests of themselves create
Th’ according music of a well-mix’d state.
Such is the world’s great harmony, that springs
From order, union, full consent of things:
Where small and great, where weak and mighty made
To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade;
More pow’rful each as needful to the rest,
And in proportion as it blesses, blest;
Draw to one point, and to one centre bring
Beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king.
Pope makes a side observation that while government is necessary, its form is of less importance, what is important, is a good administration: For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate’er is best administer’d is best:
Pope then concludes in his third Epistle, emphasizing that regard for oneself and his family has to be different than regard for the whole of society, that nature “link’d the gen’ral frame and bade self-love and social be the same.”
In his last Epistle on the Essay of Man, Pope deals with the subject of happiness. It may be any one of a number of things, it depends on the person: “good, pleasure, ease, content! whatever thy name.” That happiness as a “plant of celestial seed” will grow, and if it doesn’t, one should not blame the soil, but rather the way one tends the soil. Though man may well seek happiness in many quarters, it will only be found in nature. Man should avoid extremes. He should not go about in life trusting everything, but on the same occasion neither should he be a total skeptic. Take Nature’s path, and made Opinion’s leave;
All states can reach it and all heads conceive;
Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell;
There needs but thinking right, and meaning well;
And mourn our various portions as we please,
Equal is common sense, and common ease.
To Pope, pleasure does not last, it “sicken, and all glories sink.” To each person comes his or her share “and who would more obtain, Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain.” To be rich, to be wise: these are both laudable goals and a person looking about will always be able to find others who have riches and wisdom in varying degrees, but it cannot be concluded to any degree that they are happy. Happiness comes when one has “health, peace, and competence.” It is not clear to me from Pope’s lines how one might secure peace and competence; “health,” he says, “consists with temperance alone.”
It is in the nature of man to attempt to change things; he is never happy with things as he finds them; never happy with his fellow man; never happy with the world about him. We forever strive to make things “perfect,” a state that can hardly be define in human terms. Those that reflect on man’s condition will soon have Utopian dreams. But still this world, so fitted for the knave,
Contents us not. A better shall we have?
A kingdom of the just then let it be:
But first consider how those just agree.
The good must merit God’s peculiar care;
But who but God can tell us who they are?
It all too often appears to us that “virtue starves, while vice is fed.” One might wish for man to be a God and for earth to be a heaven, both God and heaven coming from the imaginations of man. But, Pope concludes: ‘Whatever is, is right.’ — This world, ‘tis true. Of fame, Pope says, it is but “a fancied life in others’ breath. All that we feel of it begins and ends in the small circle of our foes and friends. ” It will get you nothing but a crowd “of stupid starers and of loud huzzas.” Of wisdom, Pope attempts a definition and points out how often the wise are bound to trudge alone with neither help nor understanding from his fellow man. In parts superior what advantage lies!
Tell, for you can, what is it to be wise?
‘Tis but to know how little can be known ;
To see all others’ faults, and feel our own:
Condem’d in business or in arts to drudge,
Without a second, or without a judge:
Truths would you teach, or save a sinking land?
All fear, none aid you, and few understand.
And so we arrive at the last of Pope’s lines. Show’d erring Pride, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT;
That Reason, Passion, answer one great aim;
That true Self-love and Social are the same.
1 The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope which includes Dr. Johnson’s 65 page biography on Pope, Essay on Man (31 pp.); Essay on Criticism (17 pp.), Rape of the Lock (19 pp.), The Dunciad (31 pp.). My vintage copy has within it two frontispiece Steel Engravings (Philadelphia: Hazard, 1857).
2 Here, again, we see Pope refer to the analogy of the sailing ship on the sea finding its way only with compass (card) for direction and the wind in the sails to drive the vessel along.
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Essay Review: Essay On �The Necklace�–Theme Analysis.
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Thank you for submitting this essay for review. Roughly, your essay has three parts. The first part is largely summary. The second part seems to be aimed at analysing the theme of the story. The third part focuses on the character of Matilda�s husband. I�m not sure this is the best way to organize your essay, especially if the main purpose of the paper is to analyse the story�s theme. If that is the main purpose, then a lot of the summary is redundant. At present you devote over half the essay to summarizing elements of the story. It is not until the ninth paragraph that you begin to tell the reader what you think about the story. I would suggest that you reorganize the entire paper around your attempt to specify the story�s themes. Use summary of relevant parts of the story as evidence. That is, don�t include summary just for the sake of summary, but instead include it when necessary as evidence. Use this evidence support your claims about the theme or themes of the story. You can incorporate character analysis (such as your analysis of the character of Matilda�s husband) in the same way. Because I think you need to reorganize the entire essay in this way so that it is focused on elaborating the themes of the story, and because there were really quite a lot of random sentence-level errors in the essay as originally submitted, there is no point in my commenting here line-by-line on your essay. I have, however, made some unmarked and relatively minor edits in the essay below. Best, EJ.
The title of this story is �the Necklace.� The title does not give much information on what this story is about. This story portrays a woman who has suffered a life of poverty. She has been married to a desk clerk and has become accustomed to live a life she had never hoped for.
Matilda Louise had always hoped for a life of riches and beauty. Knowing she was a beautiful woman only added to the hopelessness of living a life that had chosen her. Matilda was always hoping she could have more riches in her life. Although this seemed impossible, her husband surprised her with an invitation to a ball.
Knowing she wouldn�t feel she could fit in, she wept with sadness in the presence of her husband. He rushed to her side hoping he could satisfy her. She told her husband she was sad because she did not have anything to wear for the event.
To Matilda�s shock her husband reluctantly gave her the money to buy a dress to wear to the ball. Feeling as though she was just one of the fortunate people who had money and good fortune for just one night was all she had wanted and it seemed as though she intended to not allow any thing get in the way of her dream. It was far better in her eyes than to not have this opportunity at all.
Matilda still seemed unhappy. She longed for all eyes to be on her. She hoped for jewels to allow her to capture the eyes of every one attending the ball. Her husband had suggested that perhaps she could borrow something from her longtime friend Jeanneto wear to the ball. Jeanne graciously offered any jewelry of her choice to wear to the ball.
After much time spent examining all of Jeanne�s jewels, Matilda finally found a necklace that seemed to speak to her. It was perfect for the ball, and had satisfied her needs. When the night of the ball came she was stunning with radiant beauty and enjoyed all of the attention the night had offered her. She knew all eyes had been on her the whole evening, and she had sucked it all up loving all the attention she had never felt before.
On the way home from the lavish ball, it seemed as though tragedy struck. Matilda had tragically discovered she had lost her friends necklace. She and her husband searched frantically, but never found it. The only other option they had was to purchase one that was very close to the original necklace. Over time Matilda and her husband would have to pay the money back for the purchase of the new necklace. They thought it was worth far more money than they could ever afford, and this would put them in debt their entire lives.
Matilda�s mistake was that she had expected the necklace to be worth a great deal and never thought to ask. She always thought others had more than her in every aspect of life. So thinking the necklace was worth far more when it wasn�t seemed to shock her.
I feel the theme of this story is that some people cannot appreciate what they have themselves and waste all of their time envying what others have. The story suggests that if you spend your life wishing you could live someone else�s life you will simply miss out on your own life and all of the happiness you could have had. It is important to take pride in what you have yourself before you miss out on all the good that your own life may have to offer you.
Matilda sees riches in terms of money and social rank, although others may see riches at the amount of love and happiness a person can be surrounded by. Matilda is more of a materialistic person which she has to pay for as she always expects others to have much more than her.
From this story I have learned that it is far more important to take pride in your own life and all that it has to offer you, and that is when the true riches of life fall into place.
It also seems as though Matilda doesn�t seem to realize any of this. She and her husband must work their whole lives to pay back a debt that they assumed was far more than it actually was. In the end Matilda should have realized she had a great life before she lost all the happiness life could have offered her.
Life should be about far more that money and jewelry and wishing you could have more that your own life has to offer you. In the end Matilda stripped her own riches from her life. The only riches she had were those of hope, happiness, and real life shared by her husband.
If Matilda had taken more pride in what she had before, she would have possibly realized that it was not right to try and be something that she was not. Matilda�s husband would do any thing to make her happy. This shows she has many riches of life. He gives her money for a dress that thy cannot afford and support when she loses her friend�s necklace, helping to search everywhere they can. And when it seems all is lost and there are no other options and they must replace the necklace, he helps her to work his whole life to be able to pay back the debt.
It seems as though he would do any thing he could to please Matilda and find happiness for her in even the worst circumstances in their life. I found in this story he spent most of his time trying to please his wife and not focusing on what they did not have. He seemed he was living for her and his purpose was to always try and make his wife happy.
He seems to take a great deal of pride in his life and wife and that he�s okay with not having money and fortunate things showing that he sees his life fulfilled knowing he has a woman he loves. However, it doesn�t seem as though Matilda sees their life in the same way and now they are stuck with a life stripped of all happiness.
Tagged. essay about “The Necklace,” translated by Marjorine Laurie,