© Damen, 2002
24. Introduction and Conclusion.
These represent the most serious omission students regularly make. Every essay or paper designed to be persuasive needs a paragraph at the very outset introducing both the subject at hand and the thesis which is being advanced. It also needs a final paragraph summarizing what's been said and driving the author's argument home.
These are not arbitrary requirements. Introductions and conclusions are crucial in persuasive writing. They put the facts to be cited into a coherent structure and give them meaning. Even more important, they make the argument readily accessible to readers and remind them of that purpose from start to end.
Think of it this way. As the writer of an essay, you're essentially a lawyer arguing in behalf of a client (your thesis) before a judge (the reader) who will decide the case (agree or disagree with you). So, begin as a lawyer would, by laying out the facts to the judge in the way you think it will help your client best. Like lawyers in court, you should make an "opening statement," in this case, an introduction. Then review the facts of the case in detail just as lawyers question witnesses and submit evidence during a trial. This process of presentation and cross-examination is equivalent to the "body" of your essay. Finally, end with a "closing statement"—that is, the conclusion of your essay—arguing as strongly as possible in favor of your client's case, namely, your theme.
Likewise, there are several things your paper is not. It's not a murder mystery, for instance, full of surprising plot twists or unexpected revelations. Those really don't go over well in this arena. Instead, lay everything out ahead of time so the reader can follow your argument easily. Nor is a history paper an action movie with exciting chases down dark corridors where the reader has no idea how things are going to end. In academic writing it's best to tell the reader from the outset what your conclusion will be. This, too, makes your argument easier to follow. Finally, it's not a love letter. Lush sentiment and starry-eyed praise don't work well here. They make it look like your emotions are in control, not your intellect, and that will do you little good in this enterprise where facts, not dreams, rule.
All in all, persuasive writing grips the reader though its clarity and the force with which the data bring home the thesis. The point is to give your readers no choice but to adopt your way of seeing things, to lay out your theme so strongly they have to agree with you. That means you must be clear, forthright and logical. That's the way good lawyers win their cases.
A. How to Write an Introduction. The introduction of a persuasive essay or paper must be substantial. Having finished it, the reader ought to have a very clear idea of the author's purpose in writing. To wit, after reading the introduction, I tend to stop and ask myself where I think the rest of the paper is headed, what the individual paragraphs in its body will address and what the general nature of the conclusion will be. If I'm right, it's because the introduction has laid out in clear and detailed fashion the theme and the general facts which the author will use to support it.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. The following is an introduction of what turned out to be a well-written paper, but the introduction was severely lacking:
The role of women has changed over the centuries, and it has also differed from civilization to civilization. Some societies have treated women much like property, while others have allowed women to have great influence and power.
Not a bad introduction really, but rather scant. I have no idea, for instance, which societies will be discussed or what the theme of the paper will be. That is, while I can see what the general topic is, I still don't know the way the writer will draw the facts together, or even really what the paper is arguing in favor of.
As it turned out, the author of this paper discussed women in ancient Egypt, classical Greece, medieval France and early Islamic civilization and stressed their variable treatment in these societies. This writer also focused on the political, social and economic roles women have played in Western cultures and the various ways they have found to assert themselves and circumvent opposition based on gender.
Given that, I would rewrite the introduction this way:
The role of women <in Western society> has changed <dramatically> over the centuries, <from the repression of ancient Greece to the relative freedom of women living in Medieval France. The treatment of women> has also differed from civilization to civilization <even at the same period in history>. Some societies <such as Islamic ones> have treated women much like property, while others <like ancient Egypt> have allowed women to have great influence and power. <This paper will trace the development of women's rights and powers from ancient Egypt to late medieval France and explore their changing political, social and economic situation through time. All the various means women have used to assert themselves show the different ways they have fought against repression and established themselves in authority.>
Now it is clear which societies will be discussed (Egypt, Greece, France, Islam) and what the general theme of the paper will be (the variable paths to empowerment women have found over time). Now I know where this paper is going and what it's really about.
B. How to Write a Conclusion. In much the same way that the introduction lays out the thesis for the reader, the conclusion of the paper should reiterate the main points—it should never introduce new ideas or things not discussed in the body of the paper!—and bring the argument home. The force with which you express the theme here is especially important, because if you're ever going to convince the reader that your thesis has merit, it will be in the conclusion. In other words, just as lawyers win their cases in the closing argument, this is the point where you'll persuade others to adopt your thesis.
If the theme is clear and makes sense, the conclusion ought to be very easy to write. Simply begin by restating the theme, then review the facts you cited in the body of the paper in support of your ideas—and it's advisable to rehearse them in some detail—and end with a final reiteration of the theme. Try, however, not to repeat the exact language you used elsewhere in the paper, especially the introduction, or it will look like you haven't explored all aspects of the situation (see above, #7).
All in all, remember these are the last words your reader will hear from you before passing judgment on your argument. Make them as focused and forceful as possible.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Have you ever heard that different people learn in different ways? Well, it’s true.
And while some people may be able to learn just by reading the theories on how to do something, you learn differently—you need actual examples.
Just like a protester, politician, or superhero, I’m here to lead by example. I’ve put together a list of essay conclusion examples that covers a range of topics and essay formats to serve as a stepping stone for your own writing.
Why Do You Need a Strong Conclusion?
Before I get into the essay conclusion examples, you should know why writing a strong conclusion is so important. Your conclusion isn’t just a summary of what you’ve already written.
True, it’s a little bit about summarizing, but it should take your essay one step further. Your conclusion should answer any unresolved questions and end your essay with a bang!
In short, an awesome essay conclusion is super important because it rounds out your essay and makes it feel complete.
Now on to the good stuff…
Analytical Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #1: Analyze the theme of compassion for one character in the Hunger Games series.
The obvious choices for compassion in the Hunger Games may be Katniss or Peeta, but the character who personifies compassion best was Prim. Throughout the series, her compassion is seen when she keeps secrets from her mother for Katniss, when she heals Gale after he gets whipped, and through the last act of her life as she rushes to save children in the Capitol. She truly lives Albert Schweitzer’s words, “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
Topic #2: What caused the Civil War?
The importance of each cause of the American Civil War can be debated, but what is fact is that there were several factors that led the South to secede. Slavery, states’ rights, and the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency—even though no state in the South voted for him—all contributed to the war. While it has been nearly 150 years since the Civil War ended, some of the leftover divide between North and South can still be seen in modern America.
Topic #3: Analyze Facebook’s influence on America’s youth.
Though social media allows young users to connect with people across the world and get instantaneous news about the world around them, it also has come with many complications. From access to inaccurate information to the rise of cyberbullying, the bad can sometimes outweigh the good among younger users. With 73% of young Americans ages 12-17 years old using Facebook, it may be time to devise better rules for promoting responsible use.
Topic #4: Analyze the theme of disguise in The Taming of the Shrew.
The theme of disguise in The Taming of the Shrew is evident from the very beginning. The play within a play lets the reader know that every character is an actor. The main characters—Kate, Bianca, and Petruchio—all disguise their true identities and intentions for the same reason: to get what they want.
(Learn how to write an analytical essay outline.)
Expository Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #5: Explain how to write an essay conclusion.
Essay conclusions are pretty simple once you know the framework. It all boils down to three main parts: a transition from the last body paragraph, a summary of the thesis statement and main points of the essay, and a closing statement that wraps everything up. If all students knew this simple formula, maybe essay writing would be easier for everyone.
Want extra guidance with the conclusion framework? Read How to Write a Killer Essay Conclusion.
Topic #6: What is the scientific method?
The scientific method is common sense. First, a person must have a research question he or she wants answered and a little background knowledge on the subject. Then the person forms a hypothesis, or what he or she thinks the answer to the research question is, which the person tests with an experiment. Finally, the person should analyze the data and draw a conclusion. This method can be used both in and out of the scientific realm, testing everything from history to social issues.
Topic #7: What are the causes of homelessness?
Passing by a homeless person is not uncommon, especially in urban settings. Homelessness can be caused by many factors, including job loss, lack of family support, and the diminishing availability of affordable housing. Although it is easy for some to think that homelessness is caused by mental problems or general laziness, there are other factors to consider. Only when the whole scope of the problem is known can society begin to come up with a comprehensive solution.
Topic #8: What is the main cause of global warming?
Most scientists agree that global warming is due to the rapid rise of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. While some may argue that factory farms are the main cause of global warming and others may say it is modern society’s transportation methods, the main cause is clear: mankind.
(Learn more about writing expository essays.)
Narrative Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #9: Write about what it would be like to be put into the pages of Romeo and Juliet.
Being catapulted into the pages of Romeo and Juliet would definitely come with some culture shock. Men would be carrying swords and fighting each other in the street. Girls would be getting married at 13 years old. Had I the knowledge of what would become of the star-crossed lovers, I would have warned Romeo that Juliet’s death was a hoax and to wait until she woke up. This, of course, would make the play quite different, but I would feel that it was my duty after having spent so much time with the characters.
Topic #10: A time machine has taken you back to meet your favorite author (Edgar Allan Poe in this case). Write about that meeting.
As Edgar and I were discussing the common themes and dark imagery of his works, the waiter interrupted us. I reached for the wine decanter, poured myself a glass, and asked if he would like some.
“No thanks,” he said, laughing grimly. “After all, it might be poisoned.”
Topic #11: Tell about your proudest moment.
Standing up for my little brother made me feel like the character who everyone likes in those after-school sitcoms. I was able to confront the kid who was bullying my little brother without using threats or physical force. In the end, encouraging the two to have an open dialogue brought them closer, and while they may never be best friends, at least they can respect each other.
Topic #12: Write about an event that made you who you are today.
My abuse did not and does not define me, but I would not be the same person had I not gone through it. It took a while and there were setbacks, but I’m a stronger, more compassionate person because of the traumatic events that happened. I hope others never have to go through the same thing I did, but if they do, I hope they can learn from my example and find the help they need to change their situation for the better.
(Learn more about writing narrative essays.)
Persuasive Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #13: Should Hermione have ended up with Harry instead of Ron in the Harry Potter series?
Harry may be the main character of the Harry Potter series and J.K. Rowling may have stated recently that even she thinks Hermione and Harry should have ended up together, but the characters are much too similar. They are both natural leaders, which would create a lot of relationship tension. Ron, on the other hand, is the Type B to balance Hermione’s Type A personality. Since Harry ended up with Ron’s sister, Ginny, all three main characters are married into the same family. That certainly would make holiday get-togethers much more entertaining.
Topic #14: Should college education be free?
The amount of student loan debt is an indication that something is definitely wrong with the system. Although universities need an income to survive, getting a college education should still come at no direct cost to the student. Free education would allow for a more educated nation as a whole, it would leave some students with more time to work more on their studies than their jobs, and it could encourage universities to get more creative. If more universities embraced the Pay It Forward model, the United States might become one of the most educated countries in the world.
Topic #15: What is the most important thing high school students should be learning but aren’t?
There are many areas where public high school education could improve, but the most important is financial planning. While some may argue for better nutrition or fitness programs, that information is easily available online and even in commercials—and should actually be taught starting in elementary school. Stronger financial planning curricula would teach high schoolers how to establish credit, how to save for retirement, and how to budget. All of these are important for life in the real world but can be filled with confusing jargon and advertising schemes. With Americans having more than $11 trillion in debt, it is time the younger generation be taught how not to be another statistic.
Topic #16: Should kids get participation trophies?
Many Baby Boomers believe that participation trophies serve as a symbol of millennials’ sense of entitlement. In reality, the participation trophy does not diminish any sense of competition or drive for improvement. When there are performance-based awards in addition to participation awards, it mirrors the real world where average-performing employees still get paid and well-performing people get bonuses, raises, and promotions.
(Learn more about writing persuasive essays.)
Argumentative Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #17: Should nuclear weapons be banned in all countries?
Because of the political tensions between different countries, it is not likely that a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons would be followed by every world leader. It is important that other countries be able to protect themselves from potential attacks with equally strong weapons. However, more limitations on testing and launch authorizations should be enforced to ensure hot-headed leaders do not use or even advertise these dangerous weapons simply as a show of force.
Topic #18: Are pre-employment drug tests an invasion of privacy?
Although companies need to hire capable, dependable employees, they should not be able to dictate what their employees do in the comfort of their own homes. There are better ways of determining whether someone is right for a position, including education, past employment, personal and professional references, and trial periods.
Topic #19: Should prisoners have the right to vote?
Although some people fear that granting prisoners the right to vote may lead to more relaxed laws surrounding specific crimes, prisoners are part of the American population. A truly democratic process includes everyone’s voices, even those who have made mistakes.
Topic #20: Should parents be allowed to spank their children?
Spanking has become an outdated and lazy way of punishing children. It teaches them that meeting other people’s bad behavior with violence is acceptable. If children are old enough to understand why they are being spanked, they are old enough to think about their bad behavior logically and understand why it was wrong.
(Learn more about writing argumentative essays.)
A Final Word on Final Paragraphs
As you probably noticed given the variety of essay conclusion examples above, there are a lot of ways to end an essay. Generally, there will be a summary, but narrative essays might carry an exception.
These types of essays allow you to be more creative with your conclusion. You should still try to end the essay with a sense of closure even if, as in the case of Topic #8, this means ending on a somewhat ominous note.
No matter how you learn, it’s pretty helpful to have practical examples. And now that you do, you can get to finishing your own essay.
Once your essay is drafted, have one of Kibin’s talented editors take a look at it for you.
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