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One Approach to Structuring Analytical/Expository Writing

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is Expository Writing?

Analytical/expository compositions are usually designed to explain, analyze, interpret, speculate, evaluate, persuade, or reflect. But, regardless of what they are about or their intent, analytical/expository compositions usually have a three-part structure consisting of an introduction, main body and a conclusion.

What is a Response to Literature?

A response to literature is a piece of writing that responds to or discusses questions given in a writing prompt for a specific novel, short story, or poem.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis is a sentence that appears at the end (ideally) of the introductory paragraph, which tells the reader what the paper will prove or discuss. The thesis is the key proposition or argument to be supported, advanced or defended by the writer throughout the remainder of the paper.

What should a response to literature introductory paragraph contain?

• Hook (generalizations work great for this domain of writing) • Author & Title
• Brief bit of overview/background of story/text
• Thesis

Example: Prompt: Discuss how Rosaura was actually just used and how her view of herself and of the world might be altered as a result of attending the party.

(Generalization) In most people’s lives there comes a time when they are forced to confront some of the harsher realities of the world. Often these eye-opening experiences lead to a greater sense of self- awareness or understanding about human nature. (Author/Title) In “The Stolen Party” by Liliana Hekker, (Overview/Background) a young girl, Rosaura, gleefully accepts an invitation to a birthday party. When the matron of the house attempts to pay Rosaura for helping out, Rosaura discovers the actual reason she was invited. (Thesis)Rosaura quickly learns that she was just being used and as a result, Rosaura’s view of herself and of the upper class is quickly and callously shattered by Señora Ines’s small token of thanks. What is the format for a “Jane Schaffer Chunking” body paragraph?

One Chunk Paragraphs are 5 sentences in length. Two Chunk Paragraphs are 8 sentences in length. Three Chunk paragraphs are 11 sentences in length.

(You should aim for 2-3 chunks)

One Chunk Structure —5 Sentences—

1. Topic Sentence (TS)
2. Concrete Detail (CD)
3. Commentary (CM)
4. Commentary (CM)
5. Concluding Sentence (CS)

To create a multi-chunk paragraph, you simply add 1-2 chunks after the first one, but before the concluding sentence.

What the heck is a “chunk” anyway?

One chunk is made up of 1 concrete detail sentence (CD) followed by 2 commentary sentences (CM).

What is a topic sentence? (TS)

Usually it’s the first sentence in a body paragraph that tells what the entire paragraph is about/will prove. It should be in direct support of thesis. Sometimes its called a micro-theme or micro-thesis.

Example: A careful reading of the story reveals that Señora Ines was using Rosaura as the hired help from the very start.

What is a concrete detail? (CD)

This is the evidence from the text that helps support your main points. It can take the form of direct quotes, examples, facts, plot references etc.


“Senora Ines asked Rosaura if she wouldn’t mind serving the juice and hot dogs as she knew the house so much better than everyone else”.

What does a concrete detail sentence look like?

It has three parts—referred to as TLCD

1. a transition (T)
2. a lead in (L)
3. a concrete detail (CD)

What’s a transition?

Transitions are words and phrases that take your reader smoothly from one idea to the next. (Refer to your Transition/Signal Word Sheet for a comprehensive list) Below are a few of the most common ones for a TLCD

• For example,
• For instance,
• To illustrate,
• Namely,

What’s a lead-in?

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