It’s essay season! Gear up with the Recursive Paragraph model. lt is best used for persuasive essays and is especially useful in integrating research to support your claims. I will overview the six steps that will get you writing brilliant paragraphs for your next essay. Keep in mind, by the time you are using this paragraph model, you will probably have a thesis and an outline and your research ready.

Part One: The Controlling Idea

  • a.k.a. the “topic sentence”
  • Give your reader and idea of what this paragraph is going to be about.
  • This is usually one of the “points” that is supporting your thesis.

Part Two: Contextualize

  • This is where you introduce your quotation/citation that will support your argument.
  • How does it relate to your “controlling idea”?
  • How would you introduce it to a friend?
  • Assume your audience (your professor or teacher) is familiar with the material–no need to over-contextualize.

Part Three: Citation

  • This is where you integrate your citation, whether it be an in-text citation, block quote, or summary.
  • Make sure to use proper citation so as not to plagiarize!
  • Be sure to smoothly integrate the citation, using author names, for example: “Even Herbert Blau states that…” That is just one of thousands of possibilities.

Part Four: Analyze

  • This is where you break apart and close read your citation.
  • Thinking about how you would explain to a friend is helpful.
  • Try to break down the citation into smaller parts and analyze those.
  • Make sure your analysis is as close to the text as possible; in other words, don’t stray from the crux of your citation.

Part Five: Synthesis

  • This is by far the most important step!
  • This is the “so what?” of your point: why it matters.
  • How do these smaller parts relate to your controlling idea?
  • How does your interpretation/analysis develop your overall argument?

Part Six: Restate

  • You’re almost done with your brilliant paragraph!
  • All you need to do is restate your thesis in terms of your new synthesis.
  • In other words, recall back to your thesis statement.
  • The beginning of the next paragraph will call back to the end of this paragraph.

I hope this was helpful! Message me with any questions.

Imagine telepathic aliens.  Imagine aliens who have no concept of language, who maybe didn’t figure out writing or math until they were figuring out electronics, who still struggle with the entire idea of symbolic thinking, and then they find us.  And they’re going “I can see the technology and cities, and it all looks made for and by these bipeds, but where is the sapience and WHAT IS ALL THIS EFFING HOOTY MOUTH NOISE?!” until someone wonders if the hooty mouth noise has meaning in it.

Imagine aliens going “OMG they’re communicating by noise” and “OMG they’re using code naturally” and “OMG they’re using open-ended productive recursive code how is that POSSIBLE” and “OMG writing” and “OMG they have THOUSANDS of codes”, and it’s all paroxysms of academic delight and then someone discovers metaphor, and someone discovers encryption, and someone discovers slang and l33t and txting and emoji, and this entire telepathic species has its minds completely blown and the one who went “what if the hooty noise has meaning” wins the alien Nobel.

DIGITAL FUN̷̢̛͝ FACT #7281/a: By the year 2025, all of human̵͔̦̟͔̖̣͇̘̬̱̜͘͟͞ͅ kind will be caught in a recursive software iń̤̹̙stallation̯̺ loop wheņ̵̸́ the the only n̸̷̨͙̯̱̼̗̦͎͙͎̼̰͇̠̹͉̥̰͓̖͢͞ew computer programs available are for in̯̟̗͢͡͞͞͞stallin̷̷̗̟̩̤͍̥͕̻̭̞͓̜̥̟̹ͯ͒ͥͫͪͦ͛ͣ̓ͫ͐̃͗̀g n̛͜͝͠ew computer programs to iǹ̕stall n̸̡͝ew computer programs ad n̶̥̪͓̣̺̤̭͖̯̞͉̝̍ͧ̇̄̿̓ͤ͑ͨ̐ͪ͢͢͡͡ͅauseam.