Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PIE Paragraph Structure

The PIE structure for paragraph development is a great tool to use for analytical essays. You should recognize the Point, Illustration, Explanation component of the paragraph because that's what your blog post over the weekend was like.

Organize your body paragraphs like this:

TOPIC SENTENCE: This sentence must serve as the blueprint for the paragraph and is similar to a thesis statement. The topic sentence focuses on one aspect of the thesis statement that will be proven in the paragraph.

POINT: This general analytical statement goes beyond plot summary to make a claim about a sub-point of the paragraph topic sentence. On a multi-flow map, these general statements may come from the general ideas in the cause and effect boxes.

ILLUSTRATION: Direct quotations from a text are the most credible proof for your points. Be sure to use MLA in-text citations so that the reader knows the page where the quotation appears. If you know a specific example from the book that proves your point and you are unable to locate the quotation in the book, you may re-tell the detail for the illustration--as a last resort. Also, be sure that you select the most relevant portion of the passage to include so that your essay does not contain a number of lengthy quotations. On a multi-flow map these illustrations are found in the frame of reference as supporting details for the cause and effect boxes.

EXPLANATION: This sentence is often the most difficult to write because it requires that the essay writer think about how the point being made intersects with the illustration to give a deep understanding of the central meaning of the text as a whole. If you are having trouble thinking of further explanation, try thinking about how the point relates to the thesis or other paragraphs in the essay (in other words, other boxes on the multi-flow map). For the explanation you might also wish to analyze the connection between the ideas developed in the point and the style of the author. In other words, how does the figurative language of the quotation relate to the thematic ideas.

Additionally, REPEAT PIE one or two more times in the paragraph to provide enough detail to prove your topic sentence.

CONCLUDING SENTENCE: This sentence goes beyond simply recapping the paragraph. It also provides an extension of ideas. This is the So what? of the paragraph that relates to the thesis statement that you are proving. When writing this sentence consider what is relevant and meaningful to readers about the ideas expressed in the paragraph.

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