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Writing Conclusion Paragraphs Help

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Updated on Sep 7, 2011

What a Conclusion Should Do

Like the introduction, the conclusion of an essay serves a specific function. Its job is to wrap things up in a way that makes readers feel satisfied with their reading experience. Writers create this sense of satisfaction by:

  1. restating the thesis in different words
  2. offering a new understanding
  3. providing a sense of closure
  4. arousing the reader's emotions

Restating the Thesis

Before your reader finishes your essay, remind him or her of what your goals were.What did you want him or her to take away from your essay? Reminding readers of your thesis (without repeating it word for word) will help ensure that they get, and remember, your point.

Introduction: What's in a name? Nothing—and everything. It is, after all, just a name, one tiny piece of the puzzle that makes up a person. But when someone has a nickname like "Dumbo," a name can be the major force in shaping one's sense of self. That's how it was for me.

Conclusion: I don't blame my brother for how I turned out, of course. He may have given me the nickname, but I'm the one who let that nickname determine how I felt about myself. I could have worn the name proudly—after all, Disney's Dumbo is a hero. Instead, I wore it like a dunce cap. I wish I had known then what I know now: You are what you believe yourself to be.

Offering a New Understanding

To conclude means to bring to an end. But it also means to arrive at a belief or opinion by reasoning. And that's what a good conclusion should do: It should both bring the essay to an end and end with a conclusion—the understanding that you have come to by working through your essay. After all, you stated a thesis and then supported it with evidence. That has to add up to something. You should now have a deeper understanding of your subject, and it's this understanding that you need to convey to your readers in your conclusion. This understanding makes readers feel as if their time was well spent; it is their "reward" for reading your essay.

In the previous example, the writer offers a new understanding of how names can shape people. Readers learn that he had the choice to let the nickname shape him in a positive or negative way. The understanding is his "gift" to his readers, and he shares it in his conclusion.

Providing a Sense of Closure

Good conclusions often offer a new understanding, but that new understanding is very closely related to the thesis. The conclusion is not the time to introduce a new topic. Don't bring up assertions that have not already been supported by the body of your essay. Doing so will not only frustrate your reader, but will probably cause him or her to lose sight of your thesis. In the following examples, one conclusion provides closure while offering a new understanding, while the other one goes off on a tangent unrelated to the original thesis.

I don't blame my brother for how I turned out, of course. He may have given me the nickname, but I'm the one who let that nickname determine how I felt about myself. I could have worn the name proudly—after all, Disney's Dumbo is a hero. Instead, I wore it like a dunce cap. I wish I had known then what I know now: You are what you believe yourself to be.

I don't blame my brother for how I turned out, of course. He may have given me the nickname, but I'm the one who let that nickname determine how I felt about myself. I could have worn the name proudly—after all, Disney's Dumbo is a hero. Disney knew what he was doing when he created the Dumbo character—he's someone most of us can relate to, and he has a lot to teach children.

Even without reading the body of the essay, it is evident that the last sentence of the second conclusion doesn't relate closely to the thesis. The writer leaves his reader with thoughts about a movie and its creator, and not about his nickname and how it affected his sense of self. The first conclusion is successful because it maintains close ties with the thesis, even as it draws a new conclusion, or gives a new understanding, about that thesis.

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