Chapter 5: Maintaining Focus and Purpose: The Body Paragraphs

Keep Your Thesis Close

It is important to have a hardcopy of your thesis handy so that you can always remind yourself of your claim as you determine the purpose and structure of your body paragraphs. As you imagine what your first body paragraph will look like, it is worth remembering one of the central notions we discussed in Chapter 2.


You should look to begin your analysis with an examination of what you believe to be the most important and revealing piece (or pieces) of evidence. Was there a moment in the text or a key repetition or consistent contrast that confirmed for you what this text was really about? Begin with that. Using that strong base you can move to your second and third strongest pieces of evidence. Continue with all your evidence, building your analysis until you reach your final points which should examine the less-than-obvious supportive aspects of the text. A close reading doesn’t just rely on one or two obvious statements that prove you are “right.” Imagine that you are luring your reader into your understanding of the text: “Do you agree with my reading of the first piece of evidence? The second? The third? Well, then perhaps you would like to consider what I have to say about this part of the text that you may be surprised to find in this argument.”

We have identified as central to Justice’s argument his examination of language as a human invention that drives debates and divisions but is more importantly developed out of a desire to connect. Our first body paragraphs will analyze aspects of the text that establish this “common” tendency to connect. This is the approach we have sketched in our essay outline.


Paragraph 1 (First Storey): Quote and unpack the contrast of “cooperation” and “conflict.”

Paragraph 2 (First Storey): Quote and unpack the repetition of the word “common.”

Paragraph 3 (Second Storey): Overlap the contrast of “cooperation” and “conflict” with the repetition of the word “common” by answering what the two pieces of evidence have to do with each other? How are they similar? Contrasting?

Paragraph 4 (Second Storey): Explain how those two pieces of evidence lead to Justice’s argument that “humans have become distanced into “occupying different places” through technological, agricultural and domestication evolution.”

Paragraph 5 (Second Storey): Explain how those evolutions are offset by the fact that “it is the shared historical fact that humanity grew from the same original roots of collective language construction that unites every modern person to their human counterparts around the globe.”

Keeping your outline and three-storey thesis always in view, work through your lists and annotations to find the specific textual elements you will use in each of your purposeful, analytical paragraphs.

Watch Video 5.2 to see how we create the first five paragraphs of our analytical essay on Justice’s “The Ultimate Communication App”.