Basic Essay: Addenda

I. The Dog and the Wolf: a Re-telling of Aesop’s Fable

Once upon a time a hungry Wolf was wandering in the forest in search of food. But the land was as bare as a baby’s bottom.  It was winter; the snow was a heavy frozen lid over the earth. There was no food anywhere, and the Wolf was suffering.

Just then through the trees the Wolf noticed a farmhouse in front of which sat a well-fed Dog.

“Good-day, Cousin,” the Dog called out. “You don’t look very cheerful. Do you have a problem?’

“Yes, I do,” answered the Wolf. “I have not eaten in several days, and my stomach is groaning like a dry branch in the wind. How are you feeling, Cousin?”

The Dog’s smile was a bright light on the gloomy day.

“I feel just fine,” said the Dog. “I have a home and food that I can depend on.”

“How do you get such fine gifts?” asked the Wolf.

“My master gives them to me,” said the Dog.

“Do you think that your master would give me such gifts too?” asked the Wolf hopefully.

“Of course he would,” said the Dog cheerfully. “All you would have to do is obey his commands because he would own you. You would simply have to agree to do anything he wants.”

“Does your master own you?” asked the Wolf thoughtfully.

“Of course,” replied the Dog.

The Wolf studied the Dog closely.

“Tell me, Cousin,” he asked the Dog. “Why is the hair on your neck so thin and worn?”

“Oh, that’s from the collar that my master forces me to wear when he chains me outside at night,” explained the Dog.

“And do you like to wear this collar?”

“Well it rubs my neck and sometimes it irritates my skin. And the chain is quite heavy.”

“So why do you wear it?” asked the Wolf.

The Dog lowered his head in embarrassment.

“I don’t have any choice,” he said, “because my master gives me food and shelter. So, come along, and I will introduce you to him.”

“Thanks, Cousin, but no thanks,” said the Wolf. “I think I’d rather remain hungry in the forest.”

With these words, the Wolf returned to the forest to continue his search for food. And although he was still very hungry, he nonetheless felt quite satisfied.


II, Examples of Hooks

  1. Startling statement

a. Surprising image

On the stage stood the high school’s prom queen: her classic Down’s Syndrome features radiating happiness.

(Essay on diversity)

b. Contradiction of a standard belief or assumption (what is not so)

The Prince and Cinderella rode off into the sunset in their golden

carriage. However, their chances of living happily ever after were

very slim if that sunset was in California.

(Essay on divorce rates.)

c. Interesting or obscure fact

At the Battle of Agincourt in the autumn of 1415, some 7000 sick and exhausted Englishmen defeated a rested and well-equipped French army estimated at 20,000. According to the casualty figures, the English lost 400 men, the French 6000.

(Essay on determination, military strategy, divine intervention/miracle, environmental and geographical conditions, importance of innovation in weaponry, etc.)

d. Revelation (can be personal)

I will never forget the moment when I realized that all parents do not necessarily love their children.

(Essay on family dynamics, mental illness, raising healthy children, etc.)

2. Quotation: proverb, literary or pop culture reference, wise statement by a relative or by a famous person. For example, Mark Twain is said to have commented that as a writer his job is not resurrect the dead but the living.

(Essay on how literature engenders awareness of life.)

  1. Dialogue

“Where are you going?”


“What will you be doing?”


(Essay on difficulty of communicating with teenagers or with parents.)

  1. Narration: Location and/or event

Although it was only 4 pm, the autumnal gloom had descended like a shroud, and the six girls at the foot of the stairs looked blurry and indistinct in the cold grayness. I knew that they were waiting to catch me without any teachers around. Behind me the heavy school door clicked shut with metallic finality.

(Essay on courage, resourcefulness, bullying, etc.)

  1. Rhetorical question

“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?” asks Thornton Wilder’s Emily.

(Essay on cultivating awareness, wasting time, etc. This is both a quotation and a rhetorical question.)

  1. Philosophical observation

When René Descartes announced, “I think therefore I am,” he was guilty of a logical fallacy because thinking presupposes a state of being.


III. How to group the categories?

Choose one or more of the following techniques to group your categories in the thesis statement of the Introduction.

Causes ­– What are the motivating factors behind the main event(s) in the story? Why does the contradiction or main occurrence in the story happen?

ElementsWhat makes up the main event, phenomenon, or contradiction in the story? what are its main parts?

ProcessHow does the central event, phenomenon, contradiction in the story function and develop? What forces or influences make the story turn out the way it does? Can include the effect of the natural, social, emotional, and political environments on that functioning.

SequenceWhat are the steps (or what is the order) in the development of

a character or central event, especially of any contradiction?

Influence How does a main event or phenomenon affect the story’s environment or its characters?

Results What are the consequences of the central event, choice, or phenomenon?