Table of contents:
- Body paragraphs
For thousands of years, everyone has at one point or another asked themselves, “what is the meaning of life,” or “how do I live a meaningful life?” The world’s great philosophers and religions have tackled this question too, so there’s a great deal of discussion out there about this topic, making it a great subject for an expository essay.
Now, bear in mind that expository essay writing is all about teaching the reader something new, using evidence to back up the points you make. This isn’t the essay to write if you want to persuade someone to think the way you do, or to highlight your own opinion.
The first thing to do when approaching this extremely broad topic is to figure out your thesis. There are five different kinds of expository essays you can write, and they are: descriptive, comparison, how-to, cause/effect, and problem/solution. So, your thesis should fall roughly into one of these categories. Below are some examples of thesis statements you could use. Which category do each of these samples belong in?
Thesis idea 1: Comparing the Christian view of the meaning of life with the Muslim view, it immediately becomes apparent that they are quite similar.
Thesis idea 2: I was way out in the Australian boondocks, cut off from everyone I loved, when I discovered the meaning of life in an encounter with a kangaroo.
Thesis idea 3: Success in life is all about following these seven principles I’ve invented.
Thesis idea 4: The great problem that is how to live a meaningful life has only one solution: you can’t guarantee anything.
Thesis idea 5: Most religious people think they’ve discovered the meaning of life, but the effect of this is that they consider anyone who isn’t part of their religion beneath them.
Once you’ve decided on your thesis, the next step is to outline the body of your essay. The easiest way to do this is to take a piece of paper, write your thesis at the top, then write a short summary of your main points below, even with just a word or two. It’s this outline you can use to flesh out for the essay’s body.
Now at last you are ready to start writing. Your introduction should “hook” the reader from the start; the best way to do this is with some startling fact or interesting anecdote. Also, at this point, make sure you know who you are writing to. Is your audience your friends, members of your own religion, members of other religions, the world in general? The last part of your introduction is your thesis, stated clearly and succinctly.
Next, write your body. This should be quite straightforward if you’ve done the outline, as all you’re doing is completing and putting into sentence form what you’ve already figured out.
Finally, write your conclusion. Again, this is pretty straightforward. Just briefly sum up your points, followed by restating your thesis in terms of the lesson you and your audience have just learned. And, last of all, close by framing your question in broader terms or thinking about a similar question that you haven’t answered yet.
There you go! You’ve written a great expository essay. Give yourself a pat on the back and get prepared to wow your teacher.