Basic Essay Sample

In reading below a sample of a personal example essay, you may wish to note the strategies used for writing the introductory paragraph and concluding paragraph. In addition, the thesis statement appears in these paragraphs in two different forms. It may be helpful to introduce the student to the diagram provided at the beginning of the Process Summary section and then analyze the sample essay together.

Type of Essay: Personal example essay
Assigned Topic: People you would like to meet

Desired Meetings

I've been fortunate to have met many wonderful people. I have had the chance to meet some elderly family members before they died and also some well-known people. When I was young, I met my great grandfather, which is nice because my mother talks about him so much. I've met I. King Jordan, who became president of Gallaudet University following the "Deaf President Now" protest. I've also met famous people such as Maya Angelou, former U.S. President George Bush, and Terry Bradshaw. However, three people I wish I could have met are Emeline Pratt, Zora Neale Hurston, and Laurent Clerc.

One person I would like to have met is Emeline Pratt, who was my great great grandmother. I have recently done some family history research with my mother and found out a lot about this amazing woman. I would love to be able to meet her to ask her about her life. For example, I know that her parents died when she was still young and she went to live with another family. I wonder why the other family didn't adopt her legally? How did the family agree to take Emeline and raise her? Also, Emeline had 10 children and moved a lot when she was in her childbearing years. I wonder how she did it and why they moved so much. Meeting Emeline Pratt would answer many of my questions. It would be interesting to get her views on her life and find out what she was like as a person.

Another person who would be fascinating to have met would be Zora Neale Hurston. Ms. Hurston, who died about forty years ago, wrote one of the best books I have ever read. The book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was not recognized as a great book while Ms. Hurston was alive. I would like to have told her how important her book was to me and ask her about how she wrote it. Often, when I read a book, I feel I get to know who the writer is. I would be curious to see if Ms. Hurston is like I imagine or if she was different. It would also be interesting to know what Ms. Hurston thinks about contemporary African American women writers such as Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison.

Finally, I think that most Deaf Americans would like the opportunity to shake hands with Laurent Clerc. I would like to thank him for agreeing to come to America with Thomas Gallaudet and tell him how much Deaf people, even today, appreciate him. Because Clerc grew up in France and later moved to the United States, I would love to chat with him about differences between the two cultures. Clerc also could share with me his experiences with Abbe de l'Epee, who founded the first Deaf school in the world, and Jean Massieu, the first Deaf teacher of the Deaf. I think that if Clerc allowed me to watch him teach a class of Deaf students, I would still learn a lot from him. I wonder what Clerc would think of mainstreaming, cochlear implants, and TTYs. Just meeting him would be a great honor.

Thus, the three people I would like to chat with include a family member, a writer, and an educator of Deaf people. These people reflect my interests and my love of history. All these people have been dead for many years. However, if they could come back to life for just a brief meeting with me, I think that would be a dream come true.

Strategies Used

In the essay "Desired Meetings," the writer used several strategies to introduce the topic and lead her readers to the thesis statement. The opening sentence "I have been fortunate to have met many wonderful people" is a much more general statement that the closing sentence of the introduction which mentions three particular people. Thus, there is an overall sense of beginning with a broad statement and leading to a more controlling statement-broad to narrow.

The writer then gives snapshots, that is, brief examples of various people she has had the opportunity to meet. These snapshots also provide a bit of background information about the writer and her interests. This use of background information, while not a prominent strategy, does allude to the type of people the writer will focus on.

The concluding paragraph of this essay offers a summary of the subpoints of the essay. The first sentence refers to each of the three people who appear in the previous body paragraphs. Clearly, it is also the sentence in the conclusion which relates most directly to the body of the essay. One could argue that there is a sense of the future about the ending of this essay even though it has a greater sense of fantasy.