Chapter 6: One Last Time Before You Go: The Conclusion and Final Review
The structure of the five-paragraph essay also calls for just three body paragraphs, which means the introduction usually includes three main points. This is a serious limitation of the hamburger model: Why are there only three points? Must an analytical writer have always and only three points to discuss on any given topic? What if the author feels only two points are worth discussing? What if the author believes four points are needed for a meaningful analysis? Using this approach, the writer becomes trapped by the form and either inflates or ignores ideas to fit into a rigid structure of disconnected, observational paragraphs:
Body Paragraphs as Meat Patties
Three separate points that stack one on top of the other, but do not connect:
- Body Paragraph One on language as a “communications app”
- Body Paragraph Two on language as “a common way”
- Body Paragraph Three on language as a “Tower of Babel”
This is the most misleading aspect of the five-paragraph essay: the illusory notion that inserting data into the awaiting slots can create analysis. But the hamburger approach makes filling these spaces the end and only goal. When writing a five-paragraph essay, success is achieved not by connecting one’s reading of specific aspects of a text but by finding three things to fill the space between the top and bottom buns. Without the evolution of an actual analysis, there is little for the conclusion to do but repeat what has been written.