If your thesis statement sounds hollow or irrelevant, then you may need to revise your argument or refine your thesis statement. Don"t worry, this happens to writers all the time. They often argue themselves into a position that they might not have thought of when they began.
Writing, just like reading, is a process of self discovery. Do not merely restate your thesis statement here, as that would be redundant. Your essay should present this main thought with a fresh perspective, and encourage readers to reflect on what they have already learned.
As you shape your closing statements, here are some points to keep in mind:
1) Don"t end with a sentimental proclamation that shows you"re trying to do too much. It"s probably enough that your essay on recycling will show the growth of the Seoul Sudokwon landfill. You don"t need to claim that recycling soda bottles is going to save the world for our children"s children. This may be true, in fact, but it"s better to claim too little than too much. The conclusion should contain a definite, positive statement or call to action, but that statement needs to be based on what you have actually presented in the essay.
2) Avoid bringing up new ideas altogether. If you find that a brilliant idea slips into your final paragraph, you need to pick it out and give it its own paragraph earlier in the essay. If it doesn"t fit the essay"s structure or argument at all, leave it out and make it a separate essay later on.
3) Just as you would avoid doing in the introduction, likewise never apologize or otherwise belittle your argument or opinion. As with the opening, the closing is not the place to express any personal anxieties about your abilities to express yourself. Give your readers a sense that they have been listening to someone who knows what she is talking about.
4) Also, if you promised in the introduction that you would address four points and you touched on only two, do not try to cram the remaining points into the closing paragraph. The "hack job" will show through too clearly. Instead work on your introduction or take the time to cover these other points.
Here"s what you could put in your closing paragraph(s). There are, of course, other things that you can do, and you certainly do not have to do all these things. These are merely suggestions:
* briefly summarize your essay"s main points.
* ask a provocative question.
* include a quotation.
* bring to mind a vivid image.
* call for some sort of action.
* end with a warning.
* compare to other situations.
* suggest results or consequences.
Mary French and Warren Chung are instructors at the English Program Office.
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