But Alex’s professor doesn’t want it. She underlines the first two sentences, and she writes, “This is too general. Get to the point.” She underlines the next and fourth sentences, and she writes, “You’re just restating the question I inquired. What’s your point?” She underlines the sentence that is final and then writes in the margin, “What’s your thesis?” because the past sentence when you look at the paragraph only lists topics. It doesn’t make a disagreement.
Is Alex’s professor just a grouch? Well, no—she is wanting to teach this student that college writing isn’t about following a formula (the five-paragraph model), it’s about making a disagreement. Her first sentence is general, the way in which she learned a essay that is five-paragraph start. But through the professor’s perspective, it is way too general—so general, in fact, she didn’t ask students to define civil war that it’s completely outside of the assignment. Continue reading