Essay Breaking The Five Paragraph Theme Barrier By Thomas Nunnally

Essay Breaking The Five Paragraph Theme Barrier By Thomas Nunnally

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Based on my high school experience, my view of writing has always been that the five-paragraph essay will be able to carry me through my life, and therefore, I would not have to learn another essay writing style but master this one. But in the essay “Breaking the Five-Paragraph-Theme Barrier” by Thomas Nunnally, we are told that “Students need to understand that they practice on the FPT to learn the principles of effective composition, principles that can be applied to any writing task, not to master a single format that will answer all their writing needs.” (70-71). In other words, Nunnally is saying that the five-paragraph theme (FPT) is supposed to be a guideline to determine ideas and a general concept of an essay but not be the only way of writing. I agree that the FPT is a good starting point in essay writing, a point that needs emphasizing since so many people believe that they cannot stray from this template, as I once did. In this essay, I will summarize the main ideas of Nunnally’s essay, and my response focuses on the idea that high school teachers should start to change our thinking about essays from the beginning.
In the first half of Nunnally’s essay he goes over how the five-paragraph essay has helped his students. Nunnally first goes through how to write a five-paragraph essay, he explains that there must be an introduction that determines what the thesis will be, then there are three paragraphs which have three different ideas in each, and to complete the essay there is the conclusion which briefly goes over what the whole essay is about. He then goes into detail of why this form was introduced, to give students a writing technique they can rely on to get them through the SAT’s. Nunnally says, “Our students were...


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...y expands into having critical thinking and being able to think on your feet so then you can examine many different angles on your subject. This writing style is highly effective in learning to write in many different ways and being able to explain your thoughts on a subject thoroughly.
The ways that universities have taught the essays are ideal because they follow Nunnally’s thought of having the five-paragraph essay being a guideline. The guideline can be greatly expanded on with your own thoughts and ideas. The FPT format is taught at a young age to be able to master this essay format but they do not expand on this technique until university. If essay writing was expanded into Nunnally’s thoughts in high school, students are more likely to succeed in university. Therefore, students would be able to pull their grades up higher and might get a more rewarding job.

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