Writing Conclusion Paragraphs Help (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 7, 2011

The Art of Framing

One of the most effective ways to provide a sense of closure is to "frame" your essay with a conclusion that refers to the introduction. The introduction and conclusion use the same approach, presented in different terms. The conclusion then serves as a reminder of where the essay began.

In the sample conclusions offered later in this lesson, notice how the "anecdote" conclusion frames the Dumbo essay by repeating the opening question and providing a more sophisticated answer. Similarly, the "call to action" conclusion frames the To eat or not to eat? essay by referring to the essay's opening lines.

Arousing the Reader's Emotions

Good conclusions can also move readers by appealing to their emotions. Because your conclusion restates and extends your thesis by offering a new understanding, and because you want your essay to end with impact, it makes sense to write a memorable ending. One of the best ways to do that is through emotion. The conclusion to the Dumbo essay, for example, touches our emotions by making us think about how we may have let negative beliefs about ourselves dictate who we have become. At the same time, it inspires us by suggesting that we have the power to change ourselves if we have a negative self-image.

Strategies for Conclusions

Just as there are many strategies for creating an attention-getting introduction, there are a number of strategies for creating a powerful conclusion. These are among the most effective:

  1. a quotation
  2. an anecdote
  3. a prediction
  4. a solution or recommendation
  5. a call to action

A Quotation

You may have noticed that three of the introduction strategies we discussed in the previous lesson—quotations, questions, and anecdotes—are also effective for conclusions. Here's how you might use a quotation to sum up an essay:

In Grand Illusion, the whole idea of nationhood is exposed as an illusion, and the fact that we go to war over an illusion is the film's greatest irony—and tragedy. It is a tragedy Renoir hopes we can avoid repeating. If "losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding the truth," as Ludwig Borne wrote, then Renoir has succeeded in making us all more wise.

A Question

Here's how you might use a question to conclude an essay:

"What kind of place is America?" you asked. In short, America is an idea and an experiment. We call the idea "democracy," and we see what happens when we let people say whatever they want, go wherever they want, and in most cases, do whatever they want. True, the results aren't always pretty. But it certainly is a beautiful experiment, isn't it?

An Anecdote

Anecdotes add interest and impact to conclusions. Notice how this anecdote frames the essay by repeating the question used in the introduction.

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: What's in a name? Enough to make me think long and hard about what to name my son before he was born. I spent months researching names and their meanings and thinking about the nicknames people might come up with. Once we finally settled on a name, I spent many sleepless nights worrying that we'd made the wrong choice and petrified that Samuel James would hate us for giving him that name. But I've realized that along the way, Sam will have to learn the same lesson I did. I only hope that I can help make it less painful.

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