Guidelines for Writing an Essay
Foundation Course: HUMA 2440 – India, Life, Culture & the Arts
Organization of Essay
The title of your essay should be informative and interesting.
Include on title page: Title of paper (centered)
Your name and student number
Lower right-hand corner include:
Assignment: Essay #1 or first/second term essay
Number of essay topic you are answering
Course title and number (India: Life, Culture and
the Arts, HUMA2440)
Tutorial number or time and tutorial leader
Body of Essay
Introduction: Your introduction should be directly relevant to the specific essay
topic. Don’t repeat the question and avoid vague and meaningless
generalizations that contribute little to your essay. (ex.: India is an ancient and
mysterious land. All women are oppressed in India.)
Of utmost importance in your introduction is your thesis statement: a clearly
defined sentence, indicating what argument or conclusion you are making in
relation to the essay topic, based on your sources/texts. If you are writing a short
story, of course, there would most likely not be a thesis statement!
Your thesis is a general statement that indicates the major conclusion(s) you have
reached after a thoughtful analysis of all your sources or texts, around a particular
theme or topic. This statement should be in the first paragraph of your
introduction; the main body will then explore, illustrate, argue for, or in some
sense “prove” your thesis.
Main text: This should consist of a series of concepts, themes, proofs, evidence,
comparisons or points that you wish to make and which are logically organized.
In other words, the main purpose of your paper is to explain, argue for or prove
your thesis stated in the introduction. From a careful examination of the literary
texts, you will have to demonstrate how and why you came to a particular
conclusion about a topic. It is important to give quotes from these texts in the
body of your essay to “prove” your points. In this way you can avoid vague
generalizations or statements which have little meaning and are not based in your
analysis of specific readings.
Some writing hints: There should be a transitional phrase or sentence leading
from one paragraph/section to the next. In general, there should be an
organizational flow in your essay so that the reader can easily follow your points,
evidence and conclusions. It is helpful in a longer essay to organize it into
1 sections or subsections. Each section should contain a related series of ideas or
points that logically follow from each other.
Avoid paragraphs that are over one page as well as one-sentence paragraphs.
Remember also that your essay should have a logical progression from point A to
B to C, etc. There should be movement through your points, evidence or
comparisons towards an insightful conclusion.
Conclusion: Your conclusion is important and should be more than just a
summary of what you have already written. It should also contain an interesting
final point or insightful analysis – a climax or culmination of what you have
learned by researching, thinking about and writing your essay. You can also
restate (in different words) your thesis from your introduction which reflects the
evidence that you have presented. In addition, your conclusion should bring your
paper to a satisfying close with a statement that sums up what you think your
textual analysis or research has shown. It is also interesting or satisfying for the
reader if you give some special insight or thought which is a result of your
Bibliography or References: On your final page list alphabetically by author’s
last name, the books, articles, videos, lecture notes or material from web sites
that you have actually cited or used. Don’t