Ending Your Essay

Ending Your Essay

By Chris Cherry

 The conclusion of your essay is probably the easiest thing to write. All you really have to do is summarize everything you’ve already written. You can usually write your conclusion as a mini-outline of your essay. You can begin by rephrasing your thesis and the topic sentences that support it. That way you can remind your reader of each of your arguments.

For example, let’s say an outline of your essay looks like this:

  1. Thesis: Romeo and Juliet is not a tragedy about true love, but a tragedy about warring families
    1. Topic sentence for body paragraph one: The tragic flaw belongs not to Romeo or Juliet, but to their families
    2. Topic sentence for body paragraph two: Shakespeare goes out of his way to show us that Romeo falls in love with girls all the time
    3. Topic sentence for body paragraph three: The Friar only marries Romeo and Juliet as an attempt to end the feud

So your conclusion might start out like this:

In the end, Romeo and Juliet is not a play about love, but about hate. True tragedies are about the tragic flaws of their characters, and the tragic flaws in the play belong to the families, not the couple. If not for their hatred, Romeo probably would have forgotten about Juliet in the same way he forgot about Roseline. Even Friar Lawrence mostly saw their marriage as a way to reconcile the families, as opposed to as an expression of love.

The difficulty of a conclusion comes after this point. Once you’ve restated your argument, you need to explain to your reader why they should care about what they’ve just read. Ask yourself: why does all this matter? A good way to think of this is to finish the following sentence in your head: “This is significant because…”

In the case of our Romeo and Juliet essay, we ask ourselves, “Why does all this matter?” Well, lots of people read Romeo and Juliet. It’s part of our culture. So we might say “This will be important in the future because…so many people view the play as an example of what true love should look like. But evidence in the play suggests the contrary, and it is harmful to think that Romeo and Juliet’s love is ideal. Romeo and Juliet focuses on the tragedy of families in conflict. If readers view the couple’s demise as a tangible result of that conflict rather than something to aspire to emulate, then the play might productively shift how families relate with each other.” And then we just plug everything after the “because…” into our conclusion and suddenly our essay has an ending, and a thoughtful one at that.

In the end, Romeo and Juliet is not a play about love, but about hate. True tragedies are about the tragic flaws of their characters, and the tragic flaws in the play belong to the families, not the couple. If not for their hatred, Romeo probably would have forgotten about Juliet in the same way he forgot about Roseline. Even Friar Lawrence mostly saw their marriage as a way to reconcile the families, as opposed to as an expression of love. So many people view the play as an example of what true love should look like. But evidence in the play suggests the contrary, and it is harmful to think that Romeo and Juliet’s love is ideal. Romeo and Juliet focuses on the tragedy of families in conflict. If readers view the couple’s demise as a tangible result of that conflict rather than something to aspire to emulate, then the play might productively shift how families relate with each other.”

 

 

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