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5 tips for a mic-drop worthy essay conclusion

August 1, 2017

mic drop essay sentence examples

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It’s time your conclusions got the attention they deserve! So grab a massive piece of chocolate, a glass of water and prepare to be taught about the beginning of the end (of your essay, that is).

Having a rushed conclusion is like forgetting to lock your car after an awesome road trip- that one rushed decision could jeopardise the whole experience for your assessor. A mediocre conclusion is the same as powering through a 500 metre race then carelessly slowing down seconds before the finish line! Dramatic comparisons aside, the way you choose to end your text response either leaves the marker with a bad taste in their mouths or increases your chance of hitting a home run. On the other hand, if you’re feeling discouraged by how your essay has shaped up to be, having a killer conclusion could set you up for a pleasant surprise.

5 Tips for a mic-drop worthy conclusion

1. make a plan for the conclusion.

It has been said many times, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and it could not be more true when it comes to crafting a killer conclusion. By setting a few minutes aside before even beginning your essay to plan everything out, you get to see the necessary elements which you will want to address in your conclusion. In simpler terms, an essay plan reminds you of your contention and your main points, so that you are able to start gathering all of your arguments and create the perfect concluding paragraph. Planning for each paragraph sets you up for a win as you begin to refine key ideas and explore the many ways of expressing them, which is crucial for a conclusion.

2. Don't tell the reader you are concluding!

Time and time again I have seen people fall into the trap of using phrases such as “in conclusion” or “in closing”. The person marking your work may be blown away by the majority of your response, then reach those rotten words and will reconsider this thought. Being this ‘obvious’ with opening a conclusion does not earn any points. In fact it’s simply not sophisticated. The main reason many students are tempted to begin in such a clumsy way is that they don’t know how to begin their conclusion. If you are having difficulty to start and experiencing a bit of writer's block, simply go back to your essay plan and start to unpack the contention - it’s that easy! Rephrase your answer to the actual essay question.  In most cases, you can just cut out those nasty little words and the opening line of your conclusion will still make perfect sense.

3. Rephrase, not repeat

The definition of a conclusion is literally to “sum up an argument”, thus your last paragraph should focus on gathering all of the loose ends and rewording your thesis and all of your arguments. It’s great to reinstate what you have said throughout the body of your response but repeating the same phrases and modes of expression becomes bland and bores the reader. Instead, aim to give them a fresh outlook on the key ideas you have been trying to communicate in the previous paragraphs. All it takes is a little time to change the way you are saying key points so that the conclusion does not become tedious to read. Conclusions are there to unite all of your points and to draw a meaningful link in relation to the question initially asked.

4. Keep things short and sharp

Your closing paragraph is NOT for squeezing in one or more ‘cool’ points you have- no new points should be brought into the conclusion. You should focus on working with the arguments and ideas that have ALREADY been brought up throughout your response. Introducing new arguments in that last paragraph will cause a lack of clarity and may cause the paragraph to become lengthy. A long conclusion will slow down the momentum of your piece and the reader will begin to lose interest and become impatient. Having a clear aim before writing your conclusion will help avoid a lengthy paragraph as your final thoughts will be more concise and refined.

5. The last line is where you get to really shine

Your closing sentence is the ultimate make or break for the entire essay so it is a shame to see many responses ending awkwardly due to students running out of time or becoming lazy with that final sentence. Last words are so important but don’t spend too much time on it! One awesome way to finish is with a very well thought-out phrase which summarises your contention one last time. Imagine dropping the mic after the final sentence of your essay, your conclusion needs to be stronger.

If you need further help on Text Response (including essay structure), check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

Get our FREE VCE English Text Response mini-guide

Now quite sure how to nail your text response essays? Then download our free mini-guide, where we break down the art of writing the perfect text-response essay into three comprehensive steps. Click below to get your own copy today!

mic drop essay sentence examples

Struggling to answer the essay topic?

Has your teacher ever told you:

"You're not answering the prompt"

"You're going off topic"

Then you're not alone! If you struggle to understand and stay on topic, learn how to answer the prompt every time with our How To Write A Killer Text Response study guide.

mic drop essay sentence examples

All the Light We Cannot See is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

Breaking Down an All the Light We Cannot See Essay Prompt

We've explored themes and symbols and provided a summary of the text over on our All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr blog post. If you need a quick refresher or you’re new to studying this text, I highly recommend checking it out!

Here, we’ll be breaking down an All the Light We Cannot See essay topic using LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, you can learn about it in our How To Write A Killer Text Response study guide.

Within the THINK strategy, we have 3 steps, or ABC. These ABC components are:

Step 1: A nalyse

Step 2: B rainstorm

Step 3: C reate a Plan

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

‍ ‘In All the Light We Cannot See there is a fine line between civilised and uncivilised behaviour.’ Discuss.

Step 1: Analyse

Taking a look at this prompt, the first thing to note is that it is theme-based. Specifically asking about the line that separates civilised and uncivilised behaviour within the novel, this prompt focuses directly on the theme of human behaviours and how you ultimately interpret the fine line (i.e. seamless, difficult, changing, manipulative) between such ideas. Fundamentally, you have to discuss how this theoretical line drawn between the contrasting behaviours is explored within the novel in various ways throughout Doerr’s examination of humanity. 

The question tag of Discuss is the most flexible type of prompt/topic you will receive, providing you with a broad and open-ended route to pretty much discuss any ideas that you believe fit within the prompt’s theme of uncivilised and civilised behaviour. Although this may seem hard to know where to start, this is where Step 2: Brainstorm , comes into play. You can read through LSG’s Question Tags You Need To Know section (in How To Write A Killer Text Response ) to further familiarise yourself with various ways to tackle different prompt tags.

If you’re not sure what it is meant by ‘theme-based prompt,’ take a look at The 5 Types of Essay Prompts. 

Step 2: Brainstorm

A fundamental aspect of writing a solid Text Response essay is being able to use a diverse range of synonyms for the keywords outlined in the prompt. Our keywords are in bold. When you are brainstorming, if any words pop into your head, definitely list them so you can use them later. You may want to have a highlighter handy when unpacking prompts so you can do just this!!

‍ ‘In All the Light We Cannot See there is a fine line between civilised and uncivilised behaviour .’ Discuss.

  • How people have grown up determines the civil and uncivilised behaviours shown by individuals of different backgrounds and childhoods - Bastian is symbolised as the eagle that circles the youth camp, which is an uncivilised /unwanted form of hawk-like behaviour . This compares to Fredrick's love of birds as a young boy which makes him a softer character. - Bernd had ‘no friends’ as a child - showing his isolated past - which could be described as the reason he leaves his father and goes off to join the Hilter Youth ‘just like the other boys.’ (find this analysis in the chapter ‘The Death of Walter Bernd’)
  • There is a fine line that Doerr draws between the stereotypes of women and their ability to remain civilised despite being suppressed by uncivil livelihoods and experiences. - Jutta is characterised as a strong and independent woman instead of the traditional ‘pretty girl in a propaganda poster’. Society expects most women to stand on that side of human behaviour and representation however she defies this.
  • The strength of women to cross/overcome the line of uncivilised behaviour is significant within the sexual abuse and misconduct driven by soldiers. Can remain true to oneself despite the horrific behaviours a woman faces. - The role of women on the homefront (i.e. Fredrick’s Mother) highlights the stark contrast between men fighting and thinking about the ‘men they killed’ and mothers who put on a ‘fake smile to appear brave’ (the line between barbaric behaviours of many soldiers and caring/loving behaviours of those on the homefront) - women and their sacrifices is an important topic here
  • It is one’s ability to adapt to change that draws the line between civil and uncivilised behaviours . - Marie Laure’s ability to look past being a ‘blind girl’, and move on from this hardship. She adapts to the ‘changing times’ around her despite others who are suppressed in such an environment (e.g. Etienne and his ‘dread’).
  • The game of flying couch is a symbol of escaping the uncivilised world around them (metaphorical line of the human imagination). - Werner is predominantly overwhelmed by the world around him, which reflects his inability to no longer ask questions as he did as a young boy. Instead, he succumbs to the uncivilised world of death and destruction as he is unable to change. 
  • Symbolic use of Werner’s ‘soft covered notebook’ in epilogue - symbolises his loss of perspective and wonder of the world,
  • Ultimately it is this line that makes the human existence so unique

Step 3: Create a Plan

After having brainstormed all the ideas that came to mind, I’ll be approaching the essay prompt with the following contention. 

In a world where society is grounded by behaviours both civil and uncivil, there is a clear distinction between humanity's response and representation of these behaviours.

Coming up with a clear contention allows you to put together a cohesive and strong essay that answers all aspects of the prompt question. 

Now, onto developing our topic sentences for each paragraph!

P1: Embedded within Doerr’s nonlinear narrative*, the environment in which individuals have grown up consequently influences their behaviours later in life.

*A nonlinear narrative is a storytelling technique Doerr uses to portray events out of chronological order. 

P2: Encompassing the social paradigms that pervade a woman’s existence, the strength and civilisation of females allow them to traverse a line of unjust behaviours that suppress them.

P3: In essence, it is the human response to change that divides individuals from ultimately displaying civil or uncivil acts in the world.

The art of recognising the ephemera of the human existence is painted by Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See as a fine line between behaviours of civilisation and extreme brutality (1) . In the inordinate scheme of history, Doerr fosters the dichotomy between those who remain socially aware and others who are marred by desolation as a reflection on one's past. Further subverting the traditional depiction of women in a ‘war story’, the strength of women is established as a key turning point for individuals to escape barbaric behaviours and cross the line to civilisation. Fundamentally, however, it is the overall response to change that crafts human behaviours that Doerr underpins within society (2) .

Annotations ‍ ‍ (1) it is important to include synonym variation in your opening sentence to ensure that it does not look like you have just copied the prompt and placed it on your page. This idea should be carried out throughout your essay - vary your words and try not to repeat anything, this will ensure you are clear and concise!

(2) In order to improve the flow of your writing, the final topic sentence of your introduction can be a concluding statement on why/how the topic is OVERALL expressed within the novel. When you formulate your contention, it is not enough just to state it, you must also provide reasoning as to why you are writing from this point of view or how you came to this conclusion. For example, my final topic sentence here is a concluding sentence about how I believe a fine line between uncivilised and civil behaviour has an influence throughout the entire novel and Doerr’s intention, one’s response to change. As you read on, you’ll also see that this sentence relates to my final paragraph, thus linking together ideas throughout my essay.

Embedded within Doerr’s nonlinear narrative, the environment in which individuals have grown up consequently influences their behaviours later in life. The initial illustration of the ‘smokestacks hume’ and the ‘black and dangerous’ imagery (3) of the war paints a clear picture of the destruction and trauma that individuals have lived amongst, thus why people were ‘desperate to leave’. Empathising with an ‘old woman who cuddles her toddler’ on the streets, Doerr laments how young individuals who end up ‘surg[ing] towards one cause,’ which this toddler may similarly grow up to do in the Hitler Youth, directly reflects the ‘intense malice’ of their childhood. This idea that one’s past affects the future behaviours of a generation is further captured within the chapter ‘The Death of Walter Bernd’ (4) , which outlines how Bernd’s upbringing with ‘no friends’ promotes him to ‘just leave’, in order to experience something new, despite knowing this something new would bring unjust decisions into his life. Becoming ‘just like the other boys’, Doerr suggests that the line between civil and uncivil behaviours is so thin (5) that a mere need to escape one’s past is enough to create feelings of negativity and at worst death. Encapsulating the darkness that prevails over such individuals, the symbolism of Bastian’s ‘sharp eyes’ (6) poetically describes the eagle that circles the youth camp where Doerr seeks to paint a metaphorical cruel depiction of Bastian as a harmful hawk. Underpinning the fine line between human behaviour, Fredrick’s ‘love of birds’ is ‘so beautiful[ly]’ representative of his respectful nature and approach to life while Bastian’s immersion in ‘the self interest of the world’ ultimately explains how his fallacious behaviour towards others is embodied by his environment within the war. Overall, the behaviours displayed by humanity are a reflection of past experiences and how they shape the individual.

Annotations (3) Imagery is a key aspect of All the Light We Cannot See and goes hand in hand with the vast symbolism Doerr uses within his novel. When including imagery, it is great to include a few related quotes; however, you must then ensure you analyse and delve into how this technique (imagery) demonstrates the idea you are writing about. In this case, the imagery of the chimneys and foggy/dirty air illustrates the desolate environment individuals lived in during the war.

(4) This chapter is something not many students analyse or touch on so if you’re looking to add some spice to your writing I would definitely take a look and see what you can extract from some of those more unique and nuanced chapters!

(5) Referencing the ‘fine line’ continually throughout your essay ensures that you are staying on track and not talking about topics away from the prompt. 

(6) Symbolism is very important in All the Light We Cannot See . The use of the quote ‘sharp eyes’, really shows that you have considered not only how Doerr simply explores the behaviour of each character but also the physical interpretations of how individuals may demonstrate a certain persona within the novel. This focus on character description on top of dialogue adds extra layers to your writing. 

Encompassing the social paradigms that pervade a woman’s existence, the strength and civilisation of females allow them to traverse a line of unjust behaviours that suppress them. Instead of characterising Jutta as a ‘pretty girl in a propaganda poster’, whom the soldier will ‘fight and die for’, Doerr proffers the unconventional humanisation of women on the home front to pay tribute to the power of staying true to oneself (7) . Despite facing the barbaric reality of ‘sex crazed torturers’, Doerr illuminates Jutta’s capacity to ‘look them in the eye’ rather than shy away from them as a meditation on her own morals of (8) ‘what is right’. The tragic nature (9) of such abuse is specifically chronicled by Doerr to concatenate (10) the continual brave behaviours Jutta portrays even when succumbing to the line that attempts to draw women away from strength and independence. Further referencing her desire to ‘lock away memories’ of the past in her life after the war, the novel posits the importance of women during a period of inordinate history as a powerful force that remained civil even in times of ‘absolute blackness’. From the perspective of Fredrick’s mother, Doerr seeks to display how her ‘fake smile to appear brave’ outlines how many mothers and women had to remain strong for their children, such as Fredrick with brain damage, even though they were so close to falling into a world of sorrow and isolation. A clear segregation between soldiers who thought about ‘the men they killed’ and women who were made to ‘feel complicit in an unspeakable crime’ (11) they did not commit overall affirms the sacrifices women made during the war and without such sacrifices and strength the thin line between behavioural acts would be broken.

Annotations (7) Here I have included an analysis of Doerr’s message - what he is trying to say or show within his novel. Ultimately an author has a message they seek to share with the world. Providing your own interpretation of certain messages the author may be attempting to send to his readers adds real depth to your writing, showing that you are not only considering the novel itself but the purpose of the author and how this novel came to explore the fundamental ideas of the essay prompt.

(8) This quote directly relates to the keyword: civilised behaviour. Finding quotes that are also specific to your prompt is crucial to producing an essay that flows and has meaning. 

(9) The use of adjectives within the essay paints the picture of whether an act is civil or uncivil which is ultimately what we are attempting to discuss from the prompt. Here the phrase ‘tragic nature’, underpins the essence of unjust behaviours shown by the soldiers.

(10) Concatenate - link/connect ideas together

(11) Comparing aspects within the novel is a great way to show your understanding and how the same theme or idea can be shown in many different ways. 

In essence, it is the human response to change that divides individuals from ultimately displaying civil or uncivil acts in the world. Established by Marie Laure’s characterisation as a ‘blind girl’ who can ‘project anything onto the black screen of her imagination’, Doerr illuminates her ability to adapt to the ‘changing times’ around her. She is seen to be ‘carried away by reveries’ rather than a plethora of voices who ‘forgo all comforts’ and ‘eat and breathe nation’. Through the chapter and make-believe game ‘flying couch’ (12) , Marie’s nature to ‘surrender firearms’ with Etienne in their imagination is a symbolic adoption to escape the world around them, hence the uncivilised society they are learning to live in. Doerr’s congruent imagery of Etienne’s changing voice of ‘dread’ to ‘velvety’ as he becomes intertwined within ‘Marie’s bravery’ underpins the ability for individuals to seamlessly cross the line from a lack of cultured behaviour to a world of hope and prosperity. Contrasting this, however, Werner, an individual who was initially curious about ‘how the world works’, is so ‘overwhelmed by how quickly things are changing around [him]’ that his ‘interest in peace’ is stripped away and no longer exists due to his inability to change with a changing world. Doerr, therefore, laments the transmogrification of his character as a reflection of his uncivil thoughts and ideals as a soldier, ultimately resulting in his loss of ability to ask questions. This idea places emphasis on Volkheimer receiving Werner’s ‘soft covered notebook’ in the epilogue (13) where the translation of the book’s title ‘Fragen’ - to ‘ask’ in English - is symbolic of the moment Werner decided to ‘work, join, confess, die’ he immediately lost the open mind and curiosity he once had. Ultimately, the dichotomy between these two lives and their opposing character transformations resembles the line between remaining calm or acting out of haste when subject to change.

Annotations (12) Analysing not only the game but the whole meaning behind chapters and why Doerr has given them certain names is an interesting avenue to take. Here ‘flying couch’ not only underpins the imagination of Marie Laure but also symbolises freedom and bravery within just the name itself.

(13) The analysis and evidence used from the epilogue is a crucial part of this paragraph and is significant to Doerr’s novel. Unpacking All the Light We Cannot See , there is a lot of evidence and juicy ideas you can draw from the beginning and end of the novel. Here I have almost analysed the meaning of Werner’s ‘soft covered notebook’ to the bone; however, this adds a lot of depth to your writing as I’m sure your ultimate goal is to make your essays as unique as possible?!

As a project of humanism, Doerr seeks to portray a fine segregation in people's behaviours as the microcosm (14) of what makes the human existence so unique. Following the journeys of individuals who even ‘see a century turn’’ the novel displays how one’s past has an immense influence on how their future values, actions and behaviours grow and develop. Further subverting the stereotypical representation of women living in a war, Doerr establishes an acknowledgment of their roles and strength in the face of cruel situations. Ostensibly, it is the human capacity to adapt to change that marks the difference between what is just and unjust in a society that weighs both on a very unstable scale. 

Annotations ‍ ‍ (14)   Microcosm - a community, place or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristics of something much larger.

If you find this essay breakdown helpful, then you might want to check out our All the Light We Cannot See Prompts blog post. You can have a go at those essay prompts and feel free to refer back to this essay breakdown whenever you need. Good luck!

Measure for Measure is currently studied in VCE English under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

INTRODUCTION ‍

Ahh William Shakespeare. That guy. You’re probably thinking, “Great. More fancy language. Hasn’t he been dead for centuries? Why does he keep popping up in our English curriculum?”

At least, that’s how I reacted.

Shakespeare is actually a huge figure in the history of the English language, and really no high school English curriculum is complete without a mandatory dose of him. In fact, the current VCAA study design demands that one of his texts must be on the text list. What a legend.

Shakespeare doesn’t only influence our world in the classroom. The Bard coined many words and phrases that we use today. We can thank this playwright for “be -all, end-all”, “good riddance”, and my personal favourite, “swagger”.

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The Bard’s play “Measure for Measure” was first performed in 1604; over 400 years ago. So why do we still study his works today? In fact, the ideas and themes that are evoked in his plays are universal and timeless; pertinent to his contemporary counterparts, as well as today’s audience. Shakespeare’s plays are like soup (bear with me, this is going somewhere). One could say the playwright is a master chef; he mixes tales of the human condition and experience and asks us to question people and ideas. Everyone, regardless of their time, will gobble up the story.

So, what is this soup- I mean ‘Measure for Measure’ about? The play is known as a “problem play” and/or “tragicomedy”. That’s right, it’s both a tragedy and a comedy. Dire trials and tribulations are intertwined with humorous gags and jokesters. I guess Shakespeare couldn’t choose just one.  

‘Measure for Measure’ is also a problem play. Critic W.W Lawrence defined a problem play as one in which "a perplexing and distressing complication in human life is presented in a spirit of high seriousness ... the theme is handled so as to arouse not merely interest or excitement, or pity or amusement, but to probe the complicated interrelations of character and action, in a situation admitting of different ethical interpretations".

Ok, crazy, but he also said that "the 'problem' is not like one in mathematics, to which there is a single true solution, but is one of conduct, as to which there are no fixed and immutable laws. Often it cannot be reduced to any formula, any one question, since human life is too complex to be so neatly simplified.”

In short, a problem play presents lots of complications and issues that are open to different ethical interpretations. As in “Measure for Measure”, the “problem(s)” is/are not always solved.

So, what actually happens in this play that is problematic? What are our ingredients in this problem soup?

‍ P(L)OT SUMMARY

Get it? Cause soup is cooked in a pot. Sorry.

The Duke of Vienna appoints his deputy, Angelo, as the temporary leader. This Duke then pretends to leave town but instead dresses up as a friar to observe what happens in his absence. Angelo, strict and unwavering in his dedication to following the rules, decides to rid Vienna of all the unlawful sexual activity; including shutting down the brothels. Prostitutes like Mistress Overdone (pun alert) and her pimp Pompey are poised to lose their livelihoods. Laws against this activity exist, but they’ve gotten lax over the years. Angelo, a stickler for the rules, has Claudio arrested because young Claudio has gotten his engaged wife-to-be (Juliet) pregnant before they were officially married. Claudio is to be executed.

The virtuous Isabella, Claudio’s sister, is poised to enter a nunnery. Upon hearing of her brother’s arrest and sentence, she goes to Angelo to beg him for mercy. He hypocritically, in an absolutely dog move, propositions her, saying he’ll pardon her brother if she sleeps with him (with Angelo, not Claudio). She immediately refuses, being the religious and chaste woman that she is. At first Claudio is upset because he wants to live, but then he calms down and accepts death.

Luckily, the Duke (secretly dressed as a friar) helps in their sticky situation. He brews up a plan; Angelo’s former flame Mariana was engaged to him, but he broke off their engagement after she lost her dowry in a shipwreck. The Friar (Duke) plans to have Isabella agree to sleep with Angelo, but then send Mariana in her place. In theory, Angelo would pardon Claudio and be forced to marry Mariana by law.

The old switcheroo goes off without a hitch. But come morning, Angelo refuses to pardon Claudio, fearing he will seek revenge. The Duke, in collaboration with the Provost, send Angelo the head of a dead pirate (Ragozine) who died of natural causes. They claim that it’s Claudio’s head, and Angelo is satisfied, thinking him to be dead. Isabella is also told that her brother is dead and is encouraged by the Friar (Duke) to complain about Angelo to the Duke, who is returning home.  

The Duke makes a grand return to Vienna, saying he will hear any complaints immediately. Isabella tells her story, and the Duke feigns disbelief, despite having orchestrated the plan himself. In an act filled with more twists and turns than a Marvel movie, everything comes out; the Duke reveals he was a friar all along, Angelo is forced to confess, and Claudio is pardoned amongst other things. To top it all off, the Duke proposes to Isabella. Crazy!

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

It’s important to acknowledge what was going on in the world during the writing of a text. This may help give insight into why the author has included (or not included) some aspect of their work.

The Divine Right of Kings

This holy mandate states that a monarch derives his right to rule from the will of God and is not subject to earthly authority. The “king” or monarch is hence practically divine, and questioning his orders is also questioning god; blasphemy.

The Great Chain of Being/Class divides

This chain is a hierarchy of all life forms and matter in the following order:

  • Kings & Royalty
  • Commoners (Gentry, Merchants, Yeoman, Laborers)
  • Non-living things

Hence, alongside The Divine Right of Kings, this ideal gave monarchs huge power over their subjects.

In early 1600s England, there was a defined social hierarchy and class system. Everyone had a place in the hierarchy, and there was little movement between the classes. Within each class, men were considered superior to women.

Shakespeare encourages us to ask a few questions of our supposedly holy leader and his actions. According to the Divine Right of Kings, the Duke is god’s right-hand man, and thus all his decisions are holy and backed by heaven. However, the Duke is pretty shady when he plots his bed-trick plan with Isabella and Mariana. Is this deceptive behavior still holy? Furthermore, is it not sacrilege to pretend to be a holy friar when one is not truly a holy man?

Moreover, when the Duke assigns Angelo as his deputy, would this transform Angelo into a divine ruler too? Could he be divine, considering his cruel rule and despicable request to Isabella?

Women were considered subservient, lower class citizens then men. Alliances were forged between powerful families through arranged marriages of daughters. These girls may have received an education through tutors attending their homes (there were no schools for girls), but their endgame would be marriage, children and maintaining the home. Women and girls of a lower class did not receive any formal education but would have learned how to govern a household and become skilled in all housewifely duties. Impoverished and desperate women (Mistress Overdone) would turn to prostitution to stay alive.

Shakespeare perhaps highlights the struggle of women in his female characters; Isabella, Mistress Overdone, Juliet, and Kate Keepdown. Their futures appear bleak; Isabella is poised to enter a nunnery, Juliet’s husband (her only source of income and protection) is to be executed, while the brothels that facilitate Mistress Overdone and Kate Keepdown’s livelihoods are being closed down by Angelo.

Jacobean Audience

It was a tumultuous time when Shakespeare penned ‘Measure for Measure’ in 1604. A year earlier came the end of the 45 year long Elizabethan era and began the Jacobean era under the rule of King James. Since the late Queen Elizabeth had no direct heirs, King James of Scotland (a relative) took to the throne. Little was known by the English people of this foreign king.

Perhaps, as Shakespeare portrays the ruler in ‘Measure for Measure’ as clever and good-hearted, the Bard sought to appease the king by calming the people and encouraging them to trust in their new monarch.

The playwright characterizes the Duke as loving his people, but not enjoying being before their eyes and in the spotlight; much like King James, a quiet ruler who relished studying privately in his great library.

‍ Playhouses and Brothels

The general public (commoners) paid a penny (could buy you a loaf of bread back in the day) to see Shakespeare’s plays, standing in the “yard”; on the ground, at eye-level of the stage. The rich (gentry) paid 2 pennies for seating in the galleries, often using cushions. The really rich (nobles) could watch the play from a chair set on the side of the stage itself. Shakespeare’s plays were performed at the Globe Theatre. Playhouses in Shakespeare's time were often close to brothels, both in terms of their physical locations in the suburbs and the way they were viewed by some of polite society. Thus, Shakespeare's relatively sympathetic portrayal of sexual deviance in ‘Measure for Measure’ may also constitute a defence of other suburban entertainment—his plays—and a way to humanize lower classes who patronized them.

WRITING ABOUT 'MEASURE FOR MEASURE'

If you’re lucky enough to study this interesting piece, the study design requires you to prepare “sustained analytical interpretations…discussing how features of the text create meaning and using textual evidence to support (your) reasons”. Basically, you’ll be given a topic; this topic could surround themes, characters, etc., and you must write analytically.

While you may choose to structure paragraphs around themes, ideas or characters, make sure to embed some historical context in there; that’ll show the examiner that you’ve done your research and have a thorough and deeper understanding of why Shakespeare put this or that in. Talking about authorial intent in your analytical essay leads to a more in-depth analysis.

“Shakespeare portrays characters that are flawed as a result of pre-destined circumstances. These characters, such as bawd Pompey and prostitute Mistress Overdone, lived in a time when there existed strong class divides, and movement within the social hierarchy was rare. As per the “Great Chain of Being”, a contemporary religious dogma, there was a hierarchy of all living things and matter, from lofty God and his angels down through the ranks of men and finally to animals and non-living things. In some cases, attempting to move up the social ranks was even considered a blasphemous rejection of the fate chosen by God.”

- embedding historical context (The Great Chain of Being) into a paragraph that discusses characters being flawed because of their circumstances

“Shakespeare offers characters such as Isabella and The Duke who strive for self-improvement through understanding and temperance. Perhaps the playwright suggests that perfection is very difficult if not impossible to attain, even for a ruler like the Duke and a pure soul like Isabella. However, he posits that it can be strived for and that perhaps this attempt to become better is what truly matters.”

- talking about authorial intent - what is Shakespeare trying to tell us?

Think of it as an opportunity to make your very own soup! Add some themes, stir in character analysis, sprinkle in some quotes and serve with historical context and authorial intent. Just like with a soup, there’s got be a good balance of all your ingredients; test out different structures during the year to find what works for you. (Just try not to overcook it, like I have done with this soup metaphor). If you need more help, How To Write a Standout Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare Essay is for you!

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So, you see, there’s more to Shakespeare and ‘Measure for Measure’ than just fancy old language and iambic pentameter (What’s that? Well...). Keep on reading this blog post, where we’ll delve into themes, characters and symbols/motifs. In the meantime, let’s have a break. Grab a snack, a drink, and enjoy this tasty Shakespeare meme.

...Aaaaand we’re back!

Are you ready for part 2 of the Shakespeare train? Hop on board as we explore themes, characters and symbols/motifs. ‍ ‍

These are the major themes in ‘Measure for Measure’.

As you can see, the themes are interconnected. (Do you like the diagram? Made it myself :)) Why does this matter? Well, if you get an essay topic about Justice, for instance, you can also link it to Sexual and Gender Politics as well as Social Decay/Cohesion.

So, why is any one theme an important theme?

Which moments and characters are these themes related to?

Is there a link to historical context?

What are some key quotes?

What could be Shakespeare’s potential message? (Keep in mind that depending which pieces of evidence you look at, the Bard could be saying something different. In this piece, we’ll only discuss one or two authorial messages. The beauty of Shakespeare is that much is open to interpretation. You can interpret characters and ideas in so many different ways!)

Those are some great questions. Let’s explore some of the biggest themes...

Power and Authority

Power not only dictates the Viennese society, but we see it is a basis for moral corruption (I’m looking at you, Angelo!). The Duke is the leader of Vienna, ordained by God. He hands this power to his deputy Angelo, who misuses it in his request of Isabella. Now consider Isabella - she has power too, but a different kind… Also consider characters who have little to no power - Mistress Overdone, Pompey etc.

This theme could be linked to the Divine Right of Kings, the Great Chain of Being and Women.

  • “O, it is excellent to have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant” - Isabella when she pleads to Angelo to not kill her brother (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 130-132)
  • “He who the sword of heaven will bear should be as holy as severe” - The Friar (Duke) to himself, not happy with Angelo’s dog move (Act 3, Scene 1, 538-539)
  • “When maidens sue, men give like gods” - Lucio to Isabella, encouraging her to convince Angelo not to kill Claudio (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 87-88)
  • "Hence we shall see, if power change purpose, what our seemers be.” - The Duke lowkey suggesting that once Angelo gets power, he’ll change into something evil (Act 1, Scene 4, Line 57)
  • “Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.” - Escalus is sneakily hating on Angelo. This quote shows that power and authority often involve corruption (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 41)

Perhaps Shakespeare is suggesting that power is a dangerous weapon and that in the wrong hands, it could be deadly.

Morality and Sin

This is an interesting theme. What defines sin? For instance, if Isabella sleeps with Angelo she’s sinning before God. But if she doesn’t, then she’s letting her brother die, which is not good either. Bit of a pickle that one. Some characters to consider include Isabella, Angelo, The Duke, Claudio, Lucio, the Provost…. jeez just about everyone! So many of the characters take part in questionable deeds. Was it immoral for the Duke to pretend to be a holy friar? Is Claudio’s sin of impregnating Juliet really punishable by death if both parties were willing, and no one else has been punished for the same “crime”? Are Pompey and Mistress Overdone being immoral in being in the prostitution business, if it’s the only way to survive?

Deep stuff man. This can be linked back to class divides, women and the contemporary playhouses/brothels.

  • “What sin you do to save a brother’s life, nature dispenses with the deed so far that it becomes a virtue” - Claudio begs his sister to sleep with Angelo (immoral, especially since she’s poised to enter a nunnery), saying that it’s for a good cause, and will actually be a virtue/good deed (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 146-148)
  • “Might there not be a charity in sin to save this brother’s life?” - Angelo asking Isabella to sleep with him and trying to paint the act as a charitable deed (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 65-66)
  • “I am a kind of burr, I shall stick” - Lucio, who represents sin and immorality in Vienna (we’ll talk more about this later in symbols/motifs) (Act 4, Scene 3, Line 182)
  • “To bring you thus together ‘tis no sin, sith that the justice of your title to him doth flourish the deceit.” - The Friar (Duke), encouraging Isabella and Mariana to do the dodgy bed-trick and trick Angelo (Act 4, Scene 1, Line 79-81)

Perhaps Shakespeare tries to tell us that there is a fine line between something moral and something sinful. Maybe he’s asking, “who are we to judge?”, since we all do questionable things sometimes. Everyone from the almighty Duke to a lowly prostitute has committed potentially immoral acts. Perhaps audiences are encouraged to be more understanding of others, and their reasons for these deeds.

Mmm, this theme ties in nicely with just about all of the others. How does one define justice? The play explores this idea; does justice mean punishment? Or mercy? How do we balance the two to deliver the right punishment/lack thereof? Characters that dispense justice include The Duke, Angelo (although they have differing ideas of justice) and Isabella. Since Vienna is a religious place, consider the divine justice system (ie. a perfect, flawless system meted out by God) and the earthly one (ie. the flawed, human justice system). Laws exist in an attempt to ensure justice. But does it always work? Consider also the Old and New Testament ways of thinking - the former strict and punitive, while the latter is more measured and merciful (see symbols/motifs below for more info).

This theme can be linked to the Divine Right of Kings, Great Chain of Being, Women, and Jacobean Audience.

  • “Justice, justice, justice, justice!” - (Wait, are you sure this quote is about justice?) Isabella pleads for (you guessed it) justice to the Duke (no longer dressed as a friar), thinking Angelo has, in fact, killed her brother (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 26)
  • “The very mercy of the law cried out… ‘An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!’ Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure, like doth quit like, and measure still for measure” - The Duke, explaining that it’s only fair that Angelo die for “killing” Claudio. (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 437-441)
  • “liberty plucks justice by the nose” - The Duke tells Friar Thomas that the laws have slipped over the years, and the citizens of Vienna are not being punished for immoral deeds (prostitution, sex before marriage etc)

Perhaps Shakespeare says that since we humans are inevitably flawed, that any justice system created by us will too be imperfect. Who are we to decide the fates of our fellow man? Furthermore, the Bard may be encouraging us to be kind when dispensing justice, leaning more to mercy than punishment.

Sexual and Gender Politics

Who run the world? Gir- no it’s a bunch of men. This theme contributes to why ‘Measure for Measure’ is a problem play. The exploration of the female characters in this play are very interesting, and kind of sad. Of 20 named characters, only 5 are women. Together, their lines make up only 18% of the play. Yikes! There is a lot to unpack here. Our female characters are Isabella, Mariana, Mistress Overdone, Juliet, Francisca (a nun who speaks twice) and Kate Keepdown (who we never meet). Their situations: a maiden poised to enter a nunnery, a prostitute, a pregnant girl about to lose her husband, a nun, and another prostitute. Quite gloomy, isn't it? Meanwhile, the men are leaders (The Duke, deputy Angelo, and ancient lord Escalus) and gentlemen (Lucio, Claudio, and Froth). Over the course of the play, our female characters are put into worse situations by men. Their experiences are dictated by men. Consider taking a “feminist perspective” and exploring ‘Measure for Measure’ from a female point of view.

This theme links to the Great Chain of Being, Women and Playhouses/Brothels.

  • “see how he goes about to abuse me!” - These are the last words we hear from Mistress Overdone, as she calls out Lucio for betraying her even though she kept secrets for him. All this happens while she’s being carted off to prison in only Act 3! What do you think Shakespeare is saying to us? (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 481)
  • “Then was your sin of heavier kind than his” - The Friar (Duke) says to Juliet that she sinned more than Claudio, even though their sin was “mutually committed”. Even though they were both consenting, the woman is blamed more. Consider what would become of Juliet if Claudio was executed. She’d probably end up like Mistress Overdone... (Act 2, Scene 3, Line 31)
  • “Who will believe thee, Isabel?” - Angelo says this after Isabella threatens to reveal his disgusting request. Ouch. It really goes to show how untrustworthy women are deemed.  (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 163)
  • “Why, you are nothing then: neither maid, widow, nor wife?” - The Duke says this to Mariana. Basically, he says a woman can only be those 3 things. Jeez. (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 196-197)
  • “When maidens sue, men give like gods” - Lucio to Isabella, encouraging her to convince Angelo not to kill Claudio. So, perhaps women do have some power. But, it’s due to their sexuality; something evaluated by men. Peachy. (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 87-88)

Perhaps Shakespeare suggests that women are treated unfairly in society. Maybe he posits that women are afforded so few opportunities in a man’s world. The Bard potentially says that such sexual and gender politics do not create a cohesive and just society.

This theme, again, connects to many others. It can link to all groups of people (The wealthy, the poor, women, criminals etc). Most of the mercy is dispensed at the end of the play when the Duke does his grand reveal. Characters who choose to mete out mercy over punishment include The Duke and Isabella. Also consider Angelo, who instead of choosing to spare Claudio, decides to kill him to uphold a law that hasn’t seen anyone punished for the same deed. We might think this is harsh, but it a legal and lawful decision.

Connect this idea with historical context, specifically Jacobean audience and playhouses/brothels.

  • “I find an apt remission in myself” - Apt remission = ready forgiveness. The Duke says this after pardoning Angelo (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 539)
  • “pray thee take this mercy to provide for better times to come” - The Duke pardons murderer Barnadine, asking him to use it to do better. How lovely!  (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 525-526)
  • “let us be keen (shrewd/sharp), and rather cut a little than fall and bruise to death” - Escalus says this to Angelo, who wants to enact all strict laws immediately. The ever-reliable Escalus advises Angelo to be lenient and merciful. (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 6-7)
  • “Mercy is not itself that oft looks so, pardon is still the nurse of second woe” - Escalus says this, defending Angelo’s decision to punish Claudio. He suggests that sometimes being merciful can encourage further wrongdoing. (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 282-283”)
  • “I show it (pity) most of all when I show justice” - Angelo says to Isabella that he is showing Claudio pity/mercy by punishing him. A firm believer in the law, Angelo thinks he’s doing the right thing and teaching Claudio a lesson by punishing him.  (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 123)

Perhaps Shakespeare encourages us to look at mercy and punishment from different perspectives. Angelo believes he is punishing Claudio for his own good, and cleaning up Vienna of lechery too. Maybe we ought to be merciful in our opinion of the deputy. Nonetheless, the Bard shows that in the case of young Claudio, mercy and forgiveness is the right path to choose. Finally, consider why Shakespeare may have portrayed a merciful leader to his Jacobean audience. Maybe if he were to portray a leader as fair and merciful, the Jacobean audience would trust that their new king (a man similar in character to the Duke) could be kind and merciful too. Earning the favour of the king and writing a killer play? He’s killed two birds with one stone.

Human Frailty & Fallibility

I’ve encountered many essay topics about how humans are flawed and imperfect. It’s a pretty big theme in many texts, not just in our friend William Shakespeare’s. Human fallibility is to blame for a lot of the going-ons in ‘Measure for Measure’. Angelo takes the law too seriously, he gets heart eyes for Isabella and kills Claudio even though he thinks he’s slept with Isabella. Why? He wants to save his own ass, fearing Claudio will seek vengeance. The Duke is flawed too. He’s a leader, but he just avoids his problems, leaving Angelo in charge to deal with them. Then he plans to swoop in and look like a hero. Kinda dodgy. Consider Claudio and Juliet too. They, like Angelo, succumbed to lust and slept together before they were officially married. (Sigh, humans just can’t get it right.) It’s also worth thinking about the “low-lives” and poorer characters. Are the poor frail in a different way? For example, Mistress Overdone keeps Lucio’s secrets for him. In that way she is virtuous. However, she sells her body to survive. Perhaps she is not prone to desire like Angelo, but serves another desire - a desire to survive?

In terms of historical context, consider the Divine Right of Kings, the Great Chain of Being and Playhouses/Brothels.

  • “They say best men are moulded out of faults, and for the most become much more the better for being a little bad” - Mariana pleads to Isabella to support her in begging the Duke to pardon (her new husband) Angelo. She is optimistic for man, believing our bad deeds can lead to self-improvement. (Act 5, Scene 5, Line 473-475)
  • “Why, all the souls that were were forfeit once” - Isabella pleads to Angelo to pardon Claudio. She states that all souls were flawed before Christ offered redemption. (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 93)
  • “I speak not as desiring more, but rather wishing a more strict restraint” - Isabella is speaking to a nun as she is poised to enter the ranks of the nunnery. We usually think of a nun as living a very strict life, but Isabella wants it even stricter! Here we see her flaw is that her thinking is too singular and blinkered. (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 3-4)
  • “Lord Angelo is precise, stands at guard with envy, scarce confesses that his blood flows, or that his appetite is more to bread than stone.” - The Duke talks about how unhuman Angelo is. The deputy follows rules very closely, almost to the point where he’s like a machine. His nature is too strict.  (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 53-56)
  • “I love the people, but do not like to stage me to their eyes” - The Duke says this to Angelo and Escalus as he hands over power to his deputy. Even the Duke is not perfect, in that he does not like being before crowds of his people (Act 1, Scene 2, Line 72-73)

Perhaps Shakespeare suggests that no one is truly perfect, not even a leader supposedly ordained by God, a law-abiding deputy, or a maiden who is poised to enter a nunnery. Yet while Angelo is overcome by his lust and emotion, the Duke and Isabella attempt to better themselves by showing mercy and temperance. Maybe Shakespeare suggests trying to improve one’s flawed self is most important.

God, Religion and Spirituality

Phew, we’re at our last theme. So, society in Vienna is very much religious. Their beliefs dictate actions and laws within the city. Some very religious characters include Isabella and Angelo. However, our novice nun, who is obsessed with virtue and chastity, agrees to and takes part in the bed-trick, a deception that is not particularly Christian. Our lusty deputy also succumbs, hellishly propositioning a maiden to sleep with him in exchange for her brother’s life. Even The Duke, supposedly semi-divine, makes some dubious choices. He spends most of the play posed as a holy man, even though he is not. He plans the bed-trick to deceive Angelo and lets poor Isabella think her poor brother is dead, instead of saving her so much pain. Furthermore, the title of the tale, ‘Measure for Measure’, comes from the Gospel of Matthew. (See symbols/motifs for more deets). The question of how much we should let religion dictate us is another reason this piece is a problem play.

The theme of God and Religion can link to historical context such as the Divine Right of Kings.

  • “more than our brother is our chastity” - (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 194) and “Better it were a brother died at once, than that a sister by redeeming him should die forever” - (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 111-113) show that Isabella values her chastity and virtue over her brother!! Damn girl!
  • “Ay, but to die, and go we know not where, to lie in cold obstruction and to rot” - Claudio tells Isabella that he fears the uncertainty of death. Perhaps his belief in a heaven has left him in the wake of his impending death? (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 129-130)
  • “Let’s write good angel on the devil’s horns - ‘tis not the devil's crest” - Angelo is talking to himself about his lust for Isabella. It’s an appearance vs reality (ooh another theme!) kind of idea, where you can try to pretend something is something else (ie. Angelo doesn't lust after Isabella), but it doesn't change the thing (ie. he’s still keen). The deputy is comparing his emotions to these religious extremes. (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 16-17)

Perhaps Shakespeare criticises religious extremism in his portrayal of characters like Isabella and Angelo. Or maybe he just wants us to remain open-minded about ideas and our spirituality.

Yikes, there are so many themes in this play! Let’s move it along, and talk a little bit about characters.

Each character can be viewed in different lights, even more so than themes can be. We’re going to discuss characters very briefly because it’s up to you how you want to read them.

Here are the characters, in order of how much they speak in the play. To keep things short, let’s pretend these are all tinder bios. Who would you swipe right on? (Hint: not Lucio)

  • super chill (the benevolent ruler of Vienna who’s let the laws slip a little)
  • loves dressing up (actually spends most of the play disguised as a friar)
  • clever/cunning (secretly counteracts the injustices decreed by Angelo)
  • strong morals (would rather her brother die than she lives in shame)
  • can get wild (conspires with the Duke to complete the bed-trick)
  • holy gal (poised to enter a nunnery)
  • a gentleman (well, his title is. He’s rude about the Duke and abandoned a prostitute that he got pregnant, so maybe he’s not that kind of gentleman)
  • loves attention (legit! He’s a minor character but he has the third most lines of them all! Lucio loves to stir the pot!)
  • loves some symbolism (Lucio represents all the bad stuff in Vienna…..see symbols/motifs)
  • plays by the rules (a little too much)
  • hypocrite (Sentences Claudio to death for sex before marriage, while asking the same thing of Isabella…. wow we’ve found our antagonist)
  • Deep (Angelo is a bit of a complex character. He seems aware of his misdeeds and struggles to deal with these desires. It’s hard not to pity him at times)
  • reliable (consistently counsels Angelo against acting too harshly)
  • virtuous (he’s merciful, lets Pompey go with a warning in Act 2 Scene 1)
  • loyal (trusts in the Duke)
  • hard worker (he’s a prison ward)
  • virtuous (does what’s right by him, disobeying Angelo’s orders to behead Claudio)
  • magician (not really, but he makes Angelo believe that pirate Ragozine’s head is Claudio’s)
  • clever (philosophically debates whether prostitution is worse than murder)
  • funny (his character is the clown, and he’s got some sassy comebacks)
  • poor (Pompey is a bawd employed by Mistress Overdone. Not the best dating bio)
  • down for a good time ;) (impregnates Juliet before they are officially married)
  • cool family (he’s Isabella’s brother)
  • good hearted (initially is horrified at Angelo’s request of Isabella, saying she shouldn’t do it. Unfortunately, his fear of death get’s to him. After he’s calmed down, he’s accepting of death)
  • a man in uniform (a policeman)
  • a little dumb (he speaks a lot of malapropisms - hilariously using similar but incorrect words)
  • not like Pompey (Pompey is a clever poor man, while Elbow is a policeman who’s a little bit all over the place)
  • dedicated (still in love with Angelo even though he called off their engagement because her dowry was lost)
  • a willing accomplice (participates in the bed-trick)

Mistress Overdone

  • poor (she’s a prostitute, who fears for her livelihood when Angelo announces he’s destroying all the brothels)
  • good hearted (kept Lucio’s secret. What secret? Read on…)
  • works for the Duke (as an executioner…. there’s no way to make that sound nice)
  • doesn't have a great name (c’mon it’s true)
  • also likes to have a good time ;) (pregnant before official marriage)
  • dependent (if Claudio dies she will probably end up as a prostitute to survive)
  • can sing (Mariana asks him to sing a sad song about how she lost her beloved Angelo)
  • holy gal (she is a nun)

Kate Keepdown (we never actually meet this character)

  • a colleague of Mistress Overdone (a prostitute)
  • single mum (Lucio got her pregnant and then ran away. He thinks marrying a prostitute is akin to whipping and hanging)

Ragozine (we never actually meet this character)

  • dies (legit that’s all he does)

SYMBOLS & MOTIFS

These are people, objects, words etc that represent a theme or idea. For instance, the fact that I’ve used a bad soup metaphor AND a tinder reference means I need to go outside more. But let’s move on…

The title, “Measure for Measure” draws from the gospel of Matthew. The idea of heavenly justice vs earthly justice is prominent throughout the text. Moreover, it’s worth exploring the Old Testament ways of “an eye for an eye” and “measure for measure” in comparison to the New Testament teachings which lean towards forgiveness and mercy. Now, where do the Duke’s actions fit in? Is he harsh and equalising? Is he just and sympathetic?  

New Testament vs. Old Testament

When the Duke sentences Angelo to death, he makes a fancy speech which includes the play’s title.

“‘An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure.
Like doth quit like, and measure still for measure.”

Act 5, Scene 1, Line 439-441

This mimics the Old Testament views, which famously states “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21:24). These ideals teach that the person who committed a misdeed shall have the same misdeed done unto them. (For example, if you don’t like my new Facebook profile picture, I’m not liking yours…..but way more severe.)

In comparison, the New Testament states that we “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:36-37)

So, when sentencing Angelo the Duke employs the words of the Old Testament. However, he doesn’t go through with Angelo’s execution, instead showing the mercy encouraged by the New Testament. He’s not really following either way. Perhaps he’s instead choosing a middle road; one of temperance and justice.

Wait, who? We haven’t mentioned the “gentleman” Lucio much in the plot and in this blog post. That’s because he doesn’t really do that much other than buzz around and annoy everyone. Maybe that’s why his name rhymes with mosquito….

Regardless, we do see enough of Lucio’s character to learn that he’s not a very nice person. He treats Mistress Overdone and Pompey poorly, makes visits to the brothel, doesn’t take responsibility for his actions (getting Kate Keepdown pregnant) and bad-mouths the Duke. So yeah, we don’t like Lucio, what’s the big deal? Well, in Act 4, Scene 4 Line 182, Lucio says something very intriguing.

“I am a kind of burr, I shall stick.”

Burr - those little brown prickly things that get stuck to you.

We can think of Lucio as representing all the sins and misdeeds in Vienna - lechery, immorality, lack of justice, selfishness etc. Hence, Lucio is saying that these shortcomings and flaws will always be present to people and in Vienna, sticking to the city like a nasty burr. Damn, that’s deep.

Prose/Verse

The metre of the verse (ie. the classic Shakespeare writing) in ‘‘Measure for Measure”  is iambic pentameter. This means that each line is divided into 5 feet. Within each foot, there is one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one.

I’ll TELL him YET of ANgelO’S reQUEST, And FIT his MIND to DEATH, for HIS soul’s REST. (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 195-196)

Verse does not have to rhyme, as the above lines do. Shakespeare often employs a rhyming couplet to close a scene and add some drama.

Verse is usually reserved for the higher class citizens, with those who are less fortunate speaking in prose.

Prose is language in its ordinary form, with no metre.

Certain characters, such as Lucio, switch between verse and prose depending on who they are speaking to. This could allude to Lucio’s duplicity, or perhaps a deep understanding of class divides in Vienna.

Names: Escalus and Angelo

Escalus is the ever reasonable and loyal lord and close confidant of the Duke. His name gives connotations of scales and balance - characteristic of the rational man.

Angelo’s name has connotations of “angel”. If we judge him only by his name, he should be a pure and heavenly being. Bah! That’s so fake! We can see that appearance is very different from reality. Isabella notices this too, stating that “this outward-sainted deputy...is yet a devil” (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 95-98).

Angelo’s Words/Actions

There is so much to unpack about this douchebag. Let us briefly consider 2 ideas. When he propositions Isabella to sleep with him, he requests that she “lay down the treasures of (her) body” (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 100).

Firstly, that’s weird. Perhaps Angelo can be seen as someone who is obsessed with the physical - Isabella’s body and treasure. Maybe this obsession leads to his immorality and poor leadership.

Secondly, Angelo struggles to directly say, “hey, let’s sleep together”. He weaves his way around the request, propositioning Isabella so indirectly that at first, she does not even seem to understand his request! However, once she threatens to tell everyone about his vile demand, he speaks bluntly; “Who will believe thee, Isabel?” (Act 2, Scene 4, Line 163). Perhaps this shows Angelo is self-aware that he’s being an ass. Or maybe this scene is yet more evidence of a patriarchal society, with the men knowing very well the power they hold.

We never actually meet this fellow. Ragozine is a pirate who dies in jail while “Measure for Measure” unfolds. His head is used in place of Claudio’s to convince Angelo of the former’s execution. Fascinatingly, Ragozine is the only person who dies in the entire play. ALSO, he dies of natural causes. Interesting. It feels like the play is full of death, grief and many heads on the chopping block. But curiously, there is only one death, of a minor character, of natural causes. Perhaps this says something about fate and justice or offers some commentary on life and hope.

Elbow vs. Pompey

Elbow is a silly policeman who speaks in malapropisms (using a similar but incorrect word for humorous effect). Pompey is a clever pimp who seems to have a deep understanding of justice and the Viennese people. The comparison of these characters, fortunate and dumb to unfortunate and clever, perhaps serves to show that the law is not always apt and that sometimes those who break the law are more clever than it.

Mistress Overdone (or lack thereof)

Mistress Overdone is a pitiable prostitute. She worries for her survival when Angelo begins pulling down the brothels, and she keeps Lucio’s bastard child a secret, only for him to throw her under the bus to save his own skin. The last we see of Mistress Overdone is her getting carted off to prison, crying “See how he goes about to abuse me!” (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 481) Yes, the last we witness of one of five speaking female characters is of her imminent incarceration. Furthermore, this happens in Act 3 of 5, around halfway through the play! The audience never hears from Mistress Overdone again, and her future is left uncertain. Even Barnadine, a convicted murderer, is given freedom and a happy ending.

Consider writing a few sentences of your essay from a feminist’s perspective. Think about the events of the play from the female characters’ points of view. What is Shakespeare saying by portraying Mistress Overdone (and other women) in such a way? Perhaps he is pointing out the injustices of the patriarchal system, or how uncertain a woman’s life was in his contemporary time.

“Measure for Measure” truly is an incredible text. This blog post is by no means an exhaustive list of all its quirks and complexities. This play’s relevance has survived centuries, and I believe it will continue to be pertinent to audiences well into the future. You are very lucky to be studying a text with such universal themes and ideas that you can carry with you even after high school.

Last updated 20/10/19

Planning is an essential part of any successful text response essay. It helps you ensure that you’re answering the prompt, utilising enough quotes and writing the most unique and perceptive analysis possible! The hard part of this is that you only have about FIVE MINUTES to plan each essay in the Year 12 English exam… (more info on the best way to tackle that challenge in this video !)

So, I developed the FIVE TYPES of essay prompts to help students streamline their planning process and maximise every minute of their SACs and exams.

By identifying the type of prompt you’re being challenged with immediately, a number of parameters or guidelines are already set in place. For a specific type of prompt, you have specific criteria to meet – for example, in a metalanguage-based prompt , you immediately know that any evidence you brainstorm in your planning stage should be based around the literary techniques used in your given text.

If you’d like the full picture on our best FREE advice on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response here .

1. Theme-based prompt

‘Ambition in the play Macbeth leads to success.’ Discuss. ( Macbeth )

When you’re presented with a theme-based prompt, you can automatically shift your brainstorming and planning towards the themes mentioned in the prompt along with any others that you can link to the core theme in some way.

In regard to this Macbeth prompt, for example, you could explore the different ways the theme of ambition is presented in the text. Additionally, the themes of guilt and power are intimately related to ambition in the text, so you can use those other ideas to aid your brainstorming and get you a step ahead of the rest of the state come exam day.

2. Character-based prompt

‘Frankenstein’s hubris is what punishes him.’ Discuss. ( Frankenstein )

These prompts are pretty easy to spot – if you see a character’s name in the prompt, there you have it; you have a character-based prompt on your hands.

Once you know this, you can assume that each example you brainstorm has to be relevant to the specific character named in the prompt in some way. Also, you can explore how the actions of characters don’t occur in isolation – they’re almost always interrelated. Remember, however, that the actions of characters are always connected to the themes and ideas the author is trying to convey.

This type of prompt also grants you some freedoms that other types don’t give. For example, unlike a Theme-based prompt, a character-based prompt means that it’s perfectly fine to write about characters in the topic sentences of your body paragraphs.

3. How-based prompt

‘How does Grenville showcase Rooke’s inner conflict in The Lieutenant ?’ ( The Lieutenant )

Unlike other prompts, the ‘How’ positions you to focus more on the author’s writing intentions. This can be achieved by discussing metalanguage – language that describes language (read my blog post about it here ). These prompts tell you immediately that you need to be thinking about the literary techniques explored in the text and explain how they affect the narrative.

Rather than using specific techniques to frame your specific arguments, it’s best to use them as evidence to support arguments that attack the main themes/ideas mentioned in the prompt.

4. Metalanguage or film-technique-based prompt

‘Hitchcock’s use of film techniques offers an unnerving viewing experience’. Discuss. ( Rear Window )

This type of prompt is very similar to How-based prompts, specifically in the fact that the discussion of literary techniques is essential.

For this type of prompt specifically, however, the actual techniques used can form more of a basis for your arguments, unlike in How-based prompts .

5. Quote-based prompt

“Out, damned spot!” How does Shakespeare explore the burden of a guilty conscience in Macbeth ? ( Macbeth )

Countless students ask me every year, “What do I do when there’s a quote in the prompt?!” My reply to these questions is actually fairly straightforward!

There are two main things that you should do when presented with this type of prompt. Firstly, contextualise the quote in your essay and try to use it in your analysis in some way. Secondly, interpret the themes and issues addressed in the quote and implement these into your discussion. The best place to do both of these is in a body paragraph – it weaves in seamlessly and allows for a good amount of analysis, among other reasons!

When faced with unknown prompts in a SAC or your exam, it's reassuring to have a formulaic breakdown of the prompt so that your brain immediately starts categorising the prompt - which of the 5 types of prompts does this one in front of me fall into? To learn more about brainstorming, planning, essay structures for Text Response, read our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

The Erratics is usually studied in the Australian curriculum as a Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

Within the intimate Albertan landscape of her memoir, The Erratics , author Vicki Laveau-Harvie guides her readers through the inhospitable terrain that marked her family environment. Laveau-Harvie’s memoir is complex, showcasing the complicated dynamics that arise within her dysfunctional family. Understanding the ideas and values that underpin these family tensions is crucial to scoring well in The Erratics , which is why this blog will break down the key themes and quotes to help you analyse the memoir. 

Family & Trauma

Truth & perspective, choice & agency.

Family lies at the heart of The Erratics . Both sisters spent their childhoods navigating the hostile familial setting fostered by their mother’s turbulent behaviour, resulting in a profound trauma that manifests itself in their present lives. The ways in which they manage this trauma, whilst reestablishing a connection with their family, is a core aspect of Laveau-Harvie’s memoir. 

‍ ‘We’ve been disowned and disinherited…When something bad happens to them, we’ll know soon enough and we’ll deal with it together. I don’t realise at the time, but when I say that, I imply care. I imply there may be something to salvage. I misspeak. But I’m flying there anyhow. So is my sister. Blood calls to blood. What can I tell you?’ (p. 17) 

From the outset, Laveau-Harvie asserts the underlying tension of her memoir. Having established her mother to be as ‘mad as a meat-axe’ in the first chapter, the reader may find Laveau-Harvie’s decision to return to Canada bizarre, to say the least. However, for Vicki the choice makes sense, having promised her sister that she will return to support her when ‘something bad happens’. 

Laveau-Harvie suggests that people cannot completely separate themselves from their blood relations, and that most importantly, a moral obligation to one’s family and self-preservation are not mutually exclusive. Rather, she suggests that there exists a ‘precarious balance’ between these commitments and that one’s family cannot be ignored in times of need, because, ultimately, ‘blood calls to blood’. 

‍ ‘...everybody knows a family Christmas will always go badly, that even the most extremely lowered family expectations will not be met. Magazines publish the same articles…year after year, on why we harbour these wildly unrealistic expectations of family unity.’ (p. 54)

Laveau-Harvie challenges the ‘wildly unrealistic expectations’ of familial culture depicted in countless generations of Canadian magazines. She uses the imagery of a ‘family Christmas…go[ing] badly’ to dismantle the idea of a traditionally wholesome festive season, suggesting that such compassion is inaccessible in the presence of her mother’s ‘mercurial’ personality.

Additionally, Laveau-Harvie’s insistence that ‘everybody knows a family Christmas will always go badly’ is immediately juxtaposed by the gracious dinner she shares with her friends. Laveau-Harvie appreciates how they ‘light up their properties in such joyous fashion’ relative to the ‘Hotel California’ her parents reside in. Thus, Laveau-Harvie invites her readers to reflect upon the value she places on this fulfilment of familial duty; how all it takes is an act of selfless humanity to restore (to some extent) the vision that ‘family unity’ is not ‘unrealistic’, but rather, completely possible. 

‍ '...the giant Douglas fir…It has prospered, cutting off the view of the Rockies…even though it should have never flourished…The tree is full of tiny birds, red-breasted nuthatches who live in it year-round…' (p. 42)

Laveau-Harvie uses the Douglas fir as a symbol of survival, emblematic of the extraordinary circumstances under which she was able to 'flourish'. Laveau-Harvie recounts her numerous travels throughout the memoir – Canada, Australia and Hong Kong – her decision to 'opt for geography' acting as a means of self-preservation, placing distance between herself and her family (in particular, her mother). It is made clear from the prologue that the Okotoks Erratic foothills, also called the Rockies, are a motif for the indomitable presence of the mother ( see here for more on setting in The Erratics ) from which Laveau-Harvie escapes.

Hence when the Douglas fir is described to have '[cut] off the view of the Rockies' it conveys Laveau-Harvie’s success in physically removing herself from the hostile family setting she was trapped in. However, note that Laveau-Harvie’s geographical location does not relieve her of her trauma – she openly explains how she 'walk[s] like an invalid through life'. Regardless of this, Laveau-Harvie 'prosper[s]…even though [she] should have never flourished', parenting kind and compassionate children ('tiny birds') of her own despite the immeasurable anguish she endured during her own childhood. Thus, Laveau-Harvie demonstrates the capacity to break a vicious cycle of trauma created by her mother, instead using her own 'principle of pre-emptive karma' to limit passing on her grief.

A reflection of a specific six-year period of her life, Laveau-Harvie uses her memoir to explore the multifaceted nature of truth, how a shared experience can give rise to varying perspectives and responses. An intimate piece of storytelling in its own right, The Erratics is a platform from which Laveau-Harvie urges the reader to discover their own truth, whilst cherishing a balanced view of reality 

‍ 'This is not untrue. My sister feels differently. She has her truth and I have mine but she isn’t the one doing the talking right now.' (p. 12)

Consistently throughout The Erratics , Laveau-Harvie emphasises the differences between the sisters, and the varying extents to which their past trauma has affected and damaged them. She suggests that despite a shared upbringing, with the same malignant presence of their mother, one’s perspective is unique to the individual. It also raises discussion about the truth the reader is presented in the memoir. As the author, Laveau-Harvie guides her readership through events as they pertain to her memory - the subjectivity of her memoir is something Laveau-Harvie openly admits to her readers. 

Regardless, there are clear distinctions between how the sisters respond to their trauma. The sister struggles to 'negate a past that haunts her', feeling 'the blows of the past continuously in her present'. Conversely, Laveau-Harvie’s past 'is not merely faded…it’s not there', with many of her memories repressed to help her survive her anguish. Thus, Laveau-Harvie affirms how one’s response to trauma is dependent on the individual, how one’s truth is often adapted to their needs in order to survive. 

‍ 'The aurora borealis are fading. Well, he says, show’s over. Gotta see a man about a dog. You should move on too. You’ll have more scope now, for the good stuff. He waves his arm. Wider view, he says. Farther reach. But only for the good stuff.' (p. 217)

Bookending her memoir with the geological construction and spiritual origins of the Okotoks Erratic foothills, Laveau-Harvie ultimately uses her memoir as a reflective process that helps her find 'closure' towards her mother’s legacy. Initially conveying her mother’s menace through the 'danger' of the Rockies, Laveau-Harvie’s connection with the Albertan landscape helps her see hope within the 'landscape of uncommon beauty'. Her mother’s life 'tainted' by mental illness, Laveau-Harvie comes to an understanding that her behaviour, much like the harshness of the Canadian winter, was 'nothing personal'. Thus, upon her mother’s death, Laveau-Harvie crafts an intimate interaction between her mother and Napi the Trickster, closing her memoir with the hopeful wish that her mother now lives a life with 'wider view…farther reach…but only for the good stuff'. Hence, in a final act of forgiveness, Laveau-Harvie honours the life of her mother, whose potential was tarnished by mental illness. 

‍ 'My sister says her suburb is working-class; she also tells me that she considers herself working-class…I try to make her see that we have sprung desperately from a violently aspirational upper-middle-class background, and that I see that as part of the greater malaise we live with.' (p. 186)

Laveau-Harvie continues to emphasise the differences between her and her sister, with one focus being how their values have developed in response to their trauma. There is a clear difference between the sisters when they discuss their definitions of ‘working-class’; the sister argues that she and her suburb are working-class, defined by 'having a job'. Contrastingly, Laveau-Harvie 'tr[ies] to make her see that [they] have sprung…from a violently aspirational upper-middle-class background', and expresses some concern towards her societal status being 'part of the greater malaise [they] live with'. 

The sister chooses to identify as 'working-class', thereby highlighting how her parent’s obsession with the accumulation of material wealth has influenced her perception of class and privilege. Amassing an 'impressive wall of properties', the sister parallels her father’s 'pride…at the sight of watching his wife spend big'. On the other hand, Laveau-Harvie openly acknowledges her family’s privilege but instead perceives it as a 'malaise' and chooses to separate herself from any degree of avarice. Thus, the reader is invited to reflect upon the differences between the sisters’ perspectives, how the sister may still be in thrall to her parent’s values, whereas Laveau-Harvie’s sense of self is inextricably linked to the natural landscape over material possessions. 

Many characters that feature in Laveau-Harvie’s memoir are elderly, and experience a unique set of challenges that only comes with the ageing process. The mother and the father, for example, both endure deteriorating health conditions that compromise their independence and autonomy. As such, Laveau-Harvie offers an interesting insight into what it’s like to observe and deal with ageing parents who struggle to accept the limits of their age. 

‍ 'My father is looking far away, back in a moment when life was excitement and danger and possibilities…’ (p. 91)

Laveau-Harvie’s father often finds himself reminiscing over his past, reflecting on war-time memories or the wealth he accumulated from his work in the oil industry. Although, Laveau-Harvie does suggest to her readers that these stories become more exaggerated each time they are told, highlighting the difficulty the father has in coping with his ageing body. Laveau-Harvie illustrates how the ageing process inevitably incurs a loss of independence and autonomy, and uses the characterisation of her father to emphasise the challenge of reconciling with this isolating experience. 

By 'looking far away, back in a moment when life was excitement and danger and possibilities', Vicki’s father uses his memories to retain the feeling that 'he’s twenty and bullet-proof'. Reminiscing over his act of heroism during the war, the father commends himself for the 'precise calculations' that enabled him and his copilot to perform a 'remarkable manoeuvre'. Thus Laveau-Harvue uses this hyperbolic description of her father’s story to reveal how elderly people must often depend upon their past memories to maintain a sense of autonomy in the present. 

Laveau-Harvie suggests that elderly individuals such as her father must 'confront the real' in accepting that the ageing process will physically hinder their independence, leaving them to feel rejected by their own bodies. Hence, Laveau-Harvie exposes her readers to how the ageing process can be an inherently challenging experience for elderly individuals to accept. 

‍ 'It happens, they say. With older people They come to, and a whole married life of disappointment and bitterness slips out, like an organ escaping an incision, like a balloon filled with acid. It bursts on impact, burning holes in their spouses’ clothing and leaving little round scars on their flesh that never heal completely.' (p. 19)

There are many marriages and long-term relationships mentioned throughout the memoir: the mother and the father, the aunt and the uncle and the sister and her partner. Even Laveau-Harvie herself is divorced from 'the father of [her] children'. Laveau-Harvie acknowledges the difficulty in maintaining these types of relationships; how they are often marked by histories that invariably include events that are never resolved or forgiven. Laveau-Harvie explores this notion through her use of metaphor, likening the 'bitterness' of unresolved conflict to 'a balloon filled with acid…burst[ing] on impact'. Here, she asserts the importance of forgiveness in a long-term relationship, affirming its capacity to maintain and restore compassion, love and empathy. 

Moreover, Laveau-Harvie suggests that in the absence of forgiveness, marital conflicts are left to foster 'disappointment and bitterness' that is released when people enter elderly life. Laveau-Harvie conveys how the 'burning holes' in a long-term relationship can compromise its stability, leaving 'little round scars…that never heal completely' - thereby reinforcing the feelings of isolation and despondency endured by The Erratic ’s elderly characters. Thus, Laveau-Harvie reinforces the value of forgiveness, how a willingness to empathise with a partner, especially early in a relationship, can minimise the 'bitterness' experienced when one ages. 

‍ 'We’re like the king and the queen, my uncle says, every time we see any of them, whenever they visit. Like the king and the queen. They smile at the fullness of their life: love and problems, success and loss, pride and a hefty measure of grief. A well-worn life fully lived, perspectives widening with each new baby, blossoming like one of those paper flower buds that unfold into unexpected beauty when you plunge them into water. ' (p. 86) 

With Laveau-Harvie’s parents at the forefront of the memoir, it seemingly appears that she depicts only a grim image of old age. Whilst she does offer these insights, Laveau-Harvie also portrays the emotionally rich and satisfying life lived by her ageing aunt and uncle. 'Smil[ing] at the fullness of their life', the aunt and the uncle 'peer endearingly' over their extended family. Their 'perspectives widening with each new baby', Laveau-Harvie also uses the virtuous imagery of her aunt and uncle to emphasise the value of an emotionally rich elderly life. 

Metaphorically referred to as 'the king and the queen', Laveau-Harvie uses the connotations of royalty imbued in this metaphor to emphasise the richness of a life spent in a nurturing family environment, where widening perspectives help ageing individuals find a 'fullness' in their life despite the 'hefty measure of grief' endured. Thus, Laveau-Harvie juxtaposes her aunt and uncle’s willingness to engage with family against her parent’s 'disown[ment] and disinherit[ment]' of their daughters. 

Throughout their lives, the sisters have suffered immeasurable trauma at the hands of their parent’s decisions. Yet, despite this, the two daughters demonstrate that they possess a strength of character capable of making the most difficult of decisions. Laveau-Harvie explores the significance of employing one’s agency in reconnecting with, and restoring, familial relationships. 

‍ 'It means always try to do the decent thing, the rational thing, the selfless thing, the boring thing, because then you won’t have to beat yourself up with guilt until your early stress-induced death…Do nothing you know you will live to regret.' (p. 80)

'Tattoo[ed]' 'on the corner of [her] soul', the philosophy to live without regret is permanently engrained as part of Laveau-Harvie’s character, a testament to the integrity she holds that allows her to make the difficult decision to return to Canada and reconcile with her trauma. Laveau-Harvie fully understands the challenges, and even dangers, she would be facing upon her return. Despite having been disinherited two decades prior, and entirely aware of her mother’s volatility, Laveau-Harvie ultimately chooses to use her agency and confront, reconcile and heal from her past.

Interestingly, Laveau-Harvie’s sister also exhibits similar behaviour. When her mother is hospitalised, the sister also returns to Alberta; she takes upon herself several responsibilities involving the cleaning and organising of her parent’s house (which ultimately risks her life as she triggers an angioedema attack). This therefore invites the reader to reflect upon the sister’s willingness to do 'the selfless thing[s]' necessary to help her family; and perhaps suggests that to live with no regrets is a philosophy shared by two sisters 'petrified by grief'. 

‍ 'I reminded her that Dad went along with my mother in disinheriting us, removing any right we had to help him in his old age; that, most hurtfully of all, he believed everything she told him about us, even though he now holds other views. It is as a result of his own inability to act that he now barely has a connection with us and has none whatsoever with his grandchildren.' (p. 187)

When the reader is first introduced to the father, they are met with the imagery of a frail old man suffering from a starvation diet enforced by his cruel and narcissistic wife. However, as the memoir progresses, Laveau-Harvie limits the reader’s sympathy towards her father, who she instead affirms is a victim of his own design. Laveau-Harvie holds her father accountable for the passiveness that perpetuated the mother’s unpredictable behaviour. Illustrating how her father 'went along with [the] mother in disinheriting' herself and her sister, Laveau-Harvie challenges the extent to which her father’s intervention could have mitigated the devastating 'swathe of misery' cast by the mother. Therefore, Laveau-Harvie asserts the power of one’s voice, suggesting that had her father employed his agency then perhaps the extent of his daughters’ trauma could have been minimised. 

‍ 'There are the dangers and difficulties you summon up the courage to deal with physically, every day, in the lab or the forest, and then there are the blows that fall from the air, unseen, unpredictable, but nonetheless brutal and crippling. Confronting the real makes you a person of substance; fending off the invisible light that always blindsides you makes you Chicken Little, hoping to absorb a little warmth from the lights on the tree.' (p. 65)

'Confronting the real', Laveau-Harvie demonstrates that to begin the healing process and reconcile with the past, one must make the difficult choice to 'summon up the courage to deal with…the blow that fall from the air'. Upon her return to Canada, Laveau-Harvie faces the 'unseen' and 'unpredictable' challenges her mother has imposed. She deals with the web of lies spun by her mother, the bureaucracy of the hospital workers and her starved father’s declining health. However, despite the overwhelming trauma of her past and the challenge of being reunited with her parents, Laveau-Harvie ultimately chooses to use her agency and 'confront the real', enduring the 'brutal and crippling' blows along the way. 

Want to dive deeper into this text? Check out our blog post on Understanding the Symbolic Nature of Setting in The Erratics. 

Updated 19/01/2021

1. What Is Text Response? 2. What Are You Expected To Cover? (Text Response Criteria) 3. School Assessed Coursework (SAC), Exams and Allocated Marks 4. How To Prepare for Your Text Response SAC and Exam 5. How To Write a Text Response

1. What Is Text Response?

Like its name, Text Response is when you respond to a text. The most popular texts are novels and films; however, plays, poetry and short stories are also common. Your response will be in the form of an essay, in which you discuss themes, ideas and characters. Recall all the novels and films you've studied since Year 7 (there'll be quite a few!). You should be very familiar with the process of watching a film or reading a novel, participating in class discussions about themes and characters, and finally, submitting an essay based on the text.

As you graduate into higher year levels, you spend each year revising and improving on TEEL, learning to better incorporate quotes and formulating even longer essays than the year before (remember when you thought you couldn't possibly write an essay more than 500 words?).

The good news is, all of that learning is now funnelled into VCE’s Text Response, one of the three parts of the VCE English study design. Text Response, officially known as ‘Reading and Responding’ in the study design, is the first Area of study (AoS 1) - meaning that the majority of students will tackle the Text Response SAC in Term 1. Let's get into it!

2. What Are You Expected To Cover? ( Text Response Criteria)

What are teachers and examiners expecting to see in your essays? Below are the VCE criteria for Text Response essays.

Note: Some schools may express the following points differently, however, they should all boil down to the same points - what is necessary in a Text Response essay.

a) Critically analyse texts and the ways in which authors construct meaning;

Much of the ‘meaning’ in a novel/film comes instinctively to readers. Why is it that we can automatically distinguish between a protagonist from an antagonist? Why is it that we know whether or not the author supports or denounces an idea?

Here you need to start looking at how the author constructs their texts and why they have made that choice. For example, the author describes a protagonist using words with positive connotations (kind, brave, charming), whereas the antagonist is described with words using negative connotations (vain, egocentric, selfish).

For example, 'in Harry Potter , by describing the protagonist Harry as "brave", the author JK Rowling exhibits the idea of how possessing bravery when making tough choices or facing challenges is a strong and positive trait.'

b) Analyse the social, historical and/or cultural values embodied in texts;

Society, history and culture all shape and influence us in our beliefs and opinions. Authors use much of what they’ve obtained from the world around them and employ this knowledge to their writing. Understanding their values embodied in texts can help us as readers, identity and appreciate theme and character representations.

For example, 'through the guilty verdict of Tom Robinson in To Kill A Mockingbird , Harper Lee expresses the belief that the American legal system in the 1930s was not always fair or just.'

For more information on context and authorial intent in VCE English, read Tim's blog, Context and Authorial Intention in VCE English, or Olivia's on what authorial intent is and why it's important .

c) Discuss and compare possible interpretations of texts using evidence from the text;

Be open to the idea that many texts can be interpreted in many ways. Texts are rarely concrete and simple. Take The Bible , a book that is one of the most popular and famous books in history but is interpreted differently by every person. Acknowledging more than one perspective on a certain aspect of the text, or acknowledging that perhaps the writer is intentionally ambiguous, is a valuable skill that demonstrates you have developed a powerful insight into your text.

For example, 'in The Thing Around Your Neck , feminist readers condone Adichie's stories which all revolve around women either as protagonist or as narrators, giving voice to the disempowered gender in Nigerian society.'

‍ d) Use appropriate metalanguage to construct a supported analysis of a text;

While you should absolutely know how to embed quotes in your essay like a boss , you want to have other types of evidence in your Text Response essay. You must discuss how the author uses the form that he/she is writing in to develop their discussion. This encompasses a huge breadth of things from metaphors to structure to language.

For example, 'The personification of Achilles as "wolf, a violator of every law of men and gods", illustrates his descent from human to animal….' or 'Malouf’s constant use of the present voice and the chapter divisions allow the metaphor of time to demonstrate the futility and omnipresence of war…'.

To learn more about metalanguage, read our ' What Is Metalanguage? ' post.

e) Control and effectiveness of language use, as appropriate to the task

When examiners read essays, they are expected to get through about 12-15 essays in an hour! This results in approximately 5 minutes to read, get their head around, and grade your essay - not much time at all! It is so vital that you don’t give the examiner an opportunity to take away marks because they have to reread certain parts of your essay due to poor expression and grammar.

For further advice on the above criteria points, read Emily's (English study score 46): Year 12: How To Turn Your Text Response Essays From Average to A+ .

3. School Assessed Coursework (SAC), Exams and Allocated Marks

Reading and Creating is assessed in Unit 1 (Year 11) and Unit 3 (Year 12). The number of allocated marks are:

  • Unit 1 - dependant on school
  • Unit 3 English – 30 marks
  • Unit 3 EAL – 40 marks

Exactly when Text Response is assessed within each unit is dependent on each school; some schools at the start of the Unit, others at the end. The time allocated to your SAC is also school-based. Often, schools use one or more periods combined, depending on how long each of your periods last. Teachers can ask you to write anywhere from 800 to 1000 words for your essay (keep in mind that it’s about quality, not quantity!)

In your exam, you get a whopping total of 3 hours to write 3 essays (Text Response, Comparative and Language Analysis). The general guide is 60 minutes on Text Response, however, it is up to you exactly how much time you decide to dedicate to this section of the exam. Your Text Response essay will be graded out of 10 by two different examiners. Your two unique marks from these examiners will be combined, with 20 as the highest possible mark.

mic drop essay sentence examples

4. How To Prepare for Your Text Response SAC and Exam

Preparation is a vital component in how you perform in your SACs and exam so it’s always a good idea to find out what is your best way to approach assessments. This is just to get you thinking on the different study methods you can try before a SAC. Here are my top strategies (ones I actually used in VCE) for Text Response preparation that can be done any time of year (including holidays - see How To Recharge Your Motivation Over the School Holidays for more tips):

a) Reread your book (or rewatch the film)

After all the learning and discussion you’ve had with your teacher and peers, you should have now developed a solid foundation of knowledge. Rereading a book enables you to refresh your memory on subplots, popular passages and most importantly, helps you fill in any missing gaps in knowledge. Take this as an opportunity to get familiar with the parts of the texts you're less confident with, or to examine a particular theme that you know you're weaker in (HINT: A good place to start is to make sure you know the difference between themes, motifs and symbols !)

b) Do a close analysis

This is like an advanced version of rereading a book. A 'close analysis' - a term stolen from VCE Literature (thanks Lit!) - is basically where you select a passage (a short chapter or a few pages), and analyse it in detail.

As you move through the passage, you can pick out interesting word choices made by the author and try to interpret why they have made this choice. Doing a close analysis will immensely strengthen your metalanguage analysis skills, and also give you the opportunity to stand out from other students because you can offer unique and original analysis and evidence in your essay. I know this can be a bit confusing, so this video below shows a full close analysis of a Macbeth passage in action:

c) Read and watch Lisa's Study Guides' resources

Doing this study all by yourself can be rather daunting, so we've got your back. We specialise in supporting VCE English by creating helpful videos, study guides and ebooks. Here are some just to get your started:

YouTube Videos

We create general Text Response advice videos like this:

We also create text-specific videos:

And if you just need general study advice, we've got you covered too:

Check out our entire YouTube channel (and don't forget to subscribe for regular new videos!).

Study Guides

Our awesome team of English high-achievers have written up study guides based on popular VCE texts. Here's a compilation of all the ones we've covered so far:

After Darkness by Christine Piper

Cosi by Louis Nowra

‍ ‍ Extinction by Hannie Rayson

‍ Flames by Robbie Arnott

False Claims of Colonial Thieves by Charmaine Papertalk Green and John Kinsella

‍ Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck

‍ Like a House on Fire by Kate Kennedy

‍ Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

‍ Old/New World Selected Poems by Peter Skrzynecki

‍ ‍ On The Waterfront by Elia Kazan

‍ Ransom by David Malouf

‍ Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock

‍ Runaway by Alice Munro

‍ Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Sunset Boulevard by Billy Wilder (Analysis of Film Techniques)

Sunset Boulevard by Billy Wilder (Incorporating Cinematic Features into your VCE Essay)

‍ The Crucible by Arthur Miller

‍ The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman ‍

The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie (Setting)

The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie (Breakdown of Themes & Quotes)

‍ ‍ The Golden Age by Joan London

‍ The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville

‍ The Secret River by Kate Grenville

The White Girl by Tony Birch

‍ To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

‍ William Wordsworth: Poems Selected by Seamus Heaney

‍ ‍ Women of Troy by Euripides (Don Taylor's version)

‍ Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Tip: You can download and save many of these study guides for your own study use! How good is that?

mic drop essay sentence examples

And if that isn't enough, I'd highly recommend my How To Write A Killer Text Response ebook.

Most people seem to the think the most difficult part of Text Response is the writing component - and they're not completely wrong. However, what I've found is that not even students place emphasis on the brainstorming, preparation and planning of Text Response.

Think about it - if you don't come to the table with the best ideas, then how can you expect your essay to achieve A+? Even if you write an exceptional essay, if it doesn't answer the prompt, your teacher won't be sticking a smiley face on your work. We need to avoid these common teacher criticisms, and I have no doubt you've experienced at least once the dreaded, 'you're not answering the prompt', 'you could've used a better example' or 'more in-depth analysis needed'.

Enter my golden strategy - the THINK and EXECUTE strategy . This is a strategy I developed over the past 10 years of tutoring, and I've seen my students improve their marks every time. The THINK and EXECUTE strategy breaks up your Text Response into two parts - first the THINK, then the EXECUTE. Only with the unique THINK approach, will you then be able to EXECUTE your essay to its optimum potential, leading yourself to achieve those higher marks.

To learn more about the THINK and EXECUTE strategy, download my ebook sample on the shop page or at the bottom of this blog, or check out the video below:

‍ d) Get your hands on essay topics

Often, teachers will provide you with a list of prompts to practice before your SAC. Some teachers can be kind enough to hint you in the direction of a particular prompt that may be on the SAC. If your teacher hasn’t distributed any, don’t be afraid to ask.

We have a number of free essay topics curated by our team at LSG, check some of them out. Also go scroll back up to our list of study guides above, as most of those also have essay prompts included:

‍ ‍ All the Light We Cannot See Essay Topics ‍ Like a House on Fire Essay Topics ‍ ‍ The Handmaid's Tale Essay Topics ‍ ‍

e) Brainstorm and write plans

Once you've done some preliminary revision, it's time to write plans! Plans will help ensure you stick to your essay topic and have a clear outline of what your essay will cover. This clarity is crucial to success in a Text Response essay.

Doing plans is also an extremely time-efficient way to approach SACs. Rather than slaving away hours upon hours over writing essays, writing plans can will save you the burnout and will get you feeling confident faster.

I've curated essay topic breakdown videos based on specific VCE texts. In these videos, I explore keywords, ideas and how I'd plan an essay with corresponding examples/evidence.

f) Write essays

Yes, sad, but it’s a fact. Writers only get better by actually writing . Even if you just tackle a couple of essays then at least you will have started to develop a thinking process that will help you to set out arguments logically, utilise important quotes and time yourself against the clock. It will help you write faster as well – something that is a major problem for many students. With that said, let's get into how to write a Text Response next.

Take a look at some of the essays our amazing LSG team have written:

After Darkness Essay Topic Breakdown

All the Light We Cannot See Essay Topic Breakdown

‍ Extinction A+ Essay Topic Breakdown

‍ Station Eleven Essay Topic Breakdown ‍ ‍

Women of Troy Essay Topic Breakdown ‍

If you need any more tips on how to learn your text in-depth, Susan's (English study score 50) Steps for Success in Text Study guide provides a clear pathway for how to approach your text and is a must read for VCE English students!

And, if you're studying a text you hate (ugh!) be sure to check out Lavinia's guide which teaches you how to do well even when you don't like your text !

5. How To Write a Text Response

Before you start writing, make sure you're familiar with The Five Types of Text Response Prompts . Understanding the different types will help you move beyond a 'basic' one-size-fits-all structure.

Introduction

In an introduction, you're expected to have the following:

  • Context (or background)
  • Author's name
  • Title of text
  • Main arguments

Here's an example from Vindhya (English study score 46), in her post Dissecting an A+ Essay Using 'The Golden Age' by Joan London :

Perhaps nothing exemplifies the power of love and recognition more than the bond between Albert Sutton and his older sister, Lizzie, in Joan London’s ‘The Golden Age’. Many of London’s characters exhibit suffering that requires compassion and support to heal and grow, to distinguish present from past. However, London explores the perspectives of such characters from different aspects of trauma, and emphasise that love and recognition do not always work to heal and mature. Frank Gold, the novel’s resident “sneaky” boy who adjusts to newfound life in the Golden Age Convalescent Home seeks love as an adult, rather than eliciting sympathy as a supposed victim. Here love and recognition are unsuccessful in amending Frank’s troubles when given from the perspective of an outsider, a judgemental onlooker. In a similar sense, Ida Gold seeks recognition not from Australia, who she views as a ‘backwater’, but validation in herself after having been ousted from her Hungarian identity. London, however, makes sure to emphasise the impact that Sullivan has on Frank Gold’s life. Sullivan, a boy only a few years older than Frank, seems content with his future, with his fate, despite his sacrifice of rugby and conventional life. There is a lacking sense of urgency for love and recognition in Sullivan’s life, rather, it appears that Sullivan accepts his fate, regardless of his father’s sympathy or support. Thus, London explores a myriad of ways in which love and recognition may or may not heal wounds inflicted upon individuals.

Try to keep your introduction to the point. There's no need to prolong an introduction just to make a set number of sentences. It's always better to be concise and succinct, and then move into your main body paragraphs where the juicy contents of your essay resides.

Body Paragraph

Most of you will be familiar with TEEL. TEEL can stand for:

  • T opic sentence
  • L inking sentence

If your teacher or school teaches you something slightly different - that's okay too. At the end of the day the foundations are the same.

Early in the novel, London makes reference to Norm White, the resident groundskeeper of The Golden Age Convalescent Home. Norm White hands Frank Gold a cigarette, 'as if to say a man has the right to smoke in peace'. Here, there is a complete disregard for rule and convention, an idea that London emphasises throughout the text. This feature provides a counter-cultural experience for Frank, pushing him to realise that he is a strong human being rather than a mere victim. This is a clear contrast to the “babyishness” of the home, and is used as evidence of true humanity in an era where society judged upon the unconventional. Frank yearns for a traditional Australian life after his trauma in Hungary; 'his own memory…lodged like an attic in the front part of his brain'. Hedwiga and Julia Marai’s caring of him pushed him towards fear and reluctance to trust, yet also pressured him to seek acceptance in a world that ostracises him for his Jewish heritage and polio diagnosis. This here is why Frank desires a mature, adult connection – love that regards him as an equal human being. Frank seeks Elsa’s love and company as she too loathes being reduced to a victim, an object of pity. Frank thereafter uses humour to joke of his wounds; 'we Jews have to be on the lookout'. Elsa sees 'a look in his eyes that she recognised', thus their bond enables both characters to heal. London alludes that Frank requires love and recognition not from the perspective of a sorrowful onlooker, rather he longs to be recognised as a mature adult.

Conclusions should be short and sweet.

Although trauma is often treated with love and compassion, London details different perspectives on this idea. Whilst Frank Gold requires a specific kind of recognition, Ida and Meyer seek validation in themselves and their relationship, whilst Sullivan is at ease with his fate and does not yearn sympathy from his father.

For further detail from Sarah (English study score 45), read her advice on 5 Tips for a Mic-Drop Worthy Essay Conclusion .

That's it for the Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response . Good luck!

*Originally posted in 2011, this blog post has been revised for the latest English study design.

For a step-by-step explanation of everything you need to know to ace your SAC or exam, check out our How To Write A Killer Language Analysis ebook.

For many students, Language Analysis is their downfall. Here is the main reason why: Lots of students don’t think about  how language is used to persuade , instead they rely on lists of language techniques to tell them the answer. These sheets are usually distributed by teachers when you first start language analysis – see below.

mic drop essay sentence examples

Whether or not you’ve seen that particular document before, you’ve probably got something similar. You’ve also probably thought, ‘this sheet is absolutely amazing – it has everything I need  and  it tells me how language persuades!’ – I know I did. Unfortunately, this mindset is wrong. Don’t fall into the trap like so many other students have over the years. For a detailed guide on Language Analysis including how to prepare for your SAC and exam, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Language Analysis .

The following comes from VCAA 2009 English Assessment Report:

…some students presented a simple summary [when analysing]…with little development. These responses did not score well as they did not fulfil the task as required.

The ‘simple summary’ refers to students who rely on those technique sheets to paraphrase the explanations regarding how language persuades. There is ‘little development’ because copying the explanations provided on these sheets doesn’t demonstrate enough insight into the article you’re analysing. Let’s have a look at the VCAA English Practice Exam published in 2009, ‘Chickens Range Free’ so that we can demonstrate this point. We will look at two students, both analysing the same technique. Compare the two and determine who you believe provides the better analysis.

Student 1:  Emotive language such as “abominably cruel” and “dire plight” is intended to stimulate strong emotional reactions that manipulate readers’ responses.

Student 2:  The use of emotive language such as “abominably cruel” and “dire plight” intends to appeal to people’s instinctive compassion for the chickens by describing their dreadful treatment, hence causing readers to agree with Smith that urgent action is required to save these animals.

It should be clear that Student 2’s example is best. Let’s see why.

Student 1 has determined the correct language technique and found suitable evidence from the article. This is a good start. However, Student 1 goes on to merely reiterate the explanations provided by language technique sheets and as a result, their analysis is too broad and non-specific to the article.

Student 2 conversely, understands that this last step – the analysing part – is the most important and vital component that will distinguish themselves from others. Instead of merely quoting that the article ‘manipulates the reader response’ like student 1, they provide an in-depth analysis of  how   and why  reader feelings are manipulated because of this technique. Student 2 was able to use the information to illustrate the author’s contention that we should feel sorry for these caged chickens – and we do because of our ‘instinctive compassion.’ They explain that the sympathy expressed from readers encourages them to agree that some action needs to be taken to help the chickens. As you can see, Student 2 has gone beyond identifying that ‘strong emotional reactions’ will be displayed by readers, to  establishing  what emotions are involved, and the consequences of those emotions.

This is why it’s best to avoid paraphrasing language technique sheets. By all means, don’t totally disregard them altogether. They’re definitely great for learning new language techniques – just be mindful of the explanations given. The part regarding  how the author persuades  is the downfall of many students because even though teachers tell you to analyse more, they often don’t show you the difference between what you’re doing wrong and what you should be doing right.

For a detailed guide on Comparative, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Comparative.

[Modified Video Transcription]

In a previous video , we covered some of the themes found in both The 7 Stages of Grieving and The Longest Memory. I’d recommend that you watch that video first (or read it’s accompanying blog post if you prefer reading) because once you know some of the themes, you can get even more out of this video. In this video, we’ll be looking at a scene each from both The 7 Stages of Grieving and The Longest Memory , and trying to compare them a little bit. 

We’ll be applying the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy from LSG’s How To Write A Killer Comparative and exploring how ideas are developed in similar or different thematic directions in these texts. CONVERGENT ideas lead to similar conclusions and messages, while DIVERGENT ideas take us to different conclusions. If you’d like to learn more about this strategy which can help you build more insightful discussions of the text by finding unique points of comparison, then I’d recommend you check out the LSG’s How To Write A Killer Comparative study guide. 

The Play ( The 7 Stages of Grieving )

‍ Let’s go to scene 14 of the play - this should be the report of Daniel Yocke’s death in police custody. The woman recounts his death in a factual, impersonal style as if reading from a court report. She describes how the police pursued and arrested Yocke after he went out drinking with a group of friends, and how he was detained and taken to the watchhouse. He arrives without a pulse, but the report doesn’t go into detail about how that happened between his arrest and his arrival. The woman breaks into bursts of emotion toward the end of the scene.

While most of the play deals with issues that are universal and timeless for First Nations peoples, this scene looks at a specific real event . However, this doesn’t mean that this scene isn’t timeless - First Nations deaths in custody are still a major issue for which no police officer has been held legally accountable - but this scene chooses just one example out of several hundred. 

The emotionally detached tone makes the situation feel serious, but in a way, that distances us and the woman from the brutality and the violence of what must’ve happened. After all, how exactly was Yocke dead upon arriving at the watchhouse? How badly must the police have mishandled him for that to have happened? Along the way, there are little outbursts of emotion (like the little outburst of ‘people called him Boonie!’) and these remind us that the detachment belies the true significance of what happened - the needless loss of yet another Aboriginal person’s life. 

This has been such a persistent problem in our history - this scene happened in 1993, but even in today’s time we’re still dealing with the same problem. The institution of policing has been unaccountable and violent for decades, at least, and something desperately needs to change. 

The Novel ( The Longest Memory )

‍ Let’s go to the novel now and look at Chapter 6: Plantation Owners.

In this chapter, Mr. Whitechapel is talking to his peers about Chapel’s death in this clubhouse that his father had built for his own peers. Mr. Whitechapel is initially nervous that they’ll make fun of him, and they kind of do - they point out how hypocritical it is for him to think that he can treat the people he’s enslaved with humanity, and to stick to this argument even after Chapel had been whipped to death. At some point in this banter, he realises this physical violence is unjust and starts proposing ‘another way to organise the economy’ that isn’t slavery, but this draws even more mockery. He ultimately leaves feeling a little more convinced by the perspectives of his peers.

What does this chapter tell us, and how is it similar to the scene from the play?

Well, in both scenes, white men get away with murdering a Black man, and it comes down to socio-economic and institutional power. In this chapter, Mr. Whitechapel and his fellow enslavers all inherit significant wealth and extremely prejudiced attitudes from their fathers, and this creates not only pressure, but also a financial incentive, to conform to the system of slavery. He touches on the possibility of abolition, but this is seen as impossible - certainly, none of these men want to lose their power. 

Looking more closely at this chapter, we also see how Mr. Whitechapel is exactly the hypocrite that everybody says he is - it’s ridiculous for him to pretend he’s treating black people fairly when they are dying under his watch. He says he’s feeding enslaved workers adequately and treating them with respect, but none of this is actually going to protect them from violence, and none of this is going to level the playing field so that white enslavers are held accountable. Ultimately, Mr. Whitechapel isn’t seriously interested in making substantive changes to slavery in the name of morality; he is simply trying to save face. 

I’ve chosen these two scenes because they both illustrate the dynamics of race and power which pervade both texts, but these two scenes might not be the first ones that come to your mind as a pair that you can analyse together, and that’s totally fine! I encourage you to find your own scenes to compare because that’s what makes English powerful. If you, as a unique student, can compare two scenes that nobody else has compared, that’s going to give you an extra edge because you’re more likely to say something original. 

If you’re interested in finding more unique ways to compare these two texts, I’d recommend LSG’s The 7 Stages of Grieving & The Longest Memory study guide. I know there aren’t many resources out there for this text pairing, so what we’ve done at LSG is work really hard at ensuring that all the information in this study guide will actually be beneficial for you. We’re not here just to make you read more guides - we’ve really thought about what would be meaningful for you as a student learning this pairing. That’s why you’ll see that I’ve used some of the ideas mentioned in this video and turned them into an A+ essay, so you can see exactly how knowing this information translates into your SAC/exam.

There’s a free sample of the study guide you can check out to see if it’s right for you!

To elaborate further on the example using Macbeth and Animal Farm:

Avoid simply drawing connections between the texts which are immediately obvious. It is clear that both Napoleon and Macbeth are powerful leaders. The questions below start to delve into a more insightful comparison between the two men (comparative words are  bolded ):

Macbeth and Animal Farm: common theme = power

How do they achieve power?

In  Animal Farm , Napoleon is sly about his intentions and slowly secures his power with clever manipulation and propaganda.  However , Shakespeare’s Macbeth adopts very different methods as he uses violence and abuse to secure his power.

How do they maintain power?

Both  Napoleon and Macbeth are tyrants who go to great length to protect their power. They believe in killing or chasing away anyone who undermines their power.

What is the effect of power on the two characters?

While   Macbeth  concentrates on Macbeth’s growing guilty conscience and his gradual deterioration to insanity,  Animal Farm  offers no insight into Napoleon’s stream of consciousness.  Instead , George Orwell focuses on the pain and suffering of the animals under Napoleon’s reign. This highlights Shakespeare’s desire to focus on the inner conflict of a man,  whereas  Orwell depicted the repercussions of a totalitarian regime on those under its ruling.

For one of most popular posts on Comparative (also known as Reading and Comparing), check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Comparative.

Runaway is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Creative Response. For a detailed guide on Creative Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Creative Writing .

The biggest challenge of the creative writing SAC in VCE is figuring out how to balance your own ideas and style with that of the text you’re studying. The assessment requires you to incorporate elements of a text into your writing without copying the original narrative. In this case, Runaway by Alice Munro (2004) is a short story collection that explores themes of marriage, loss, mother/daughter relationships, womanhood and more. To be able to emulate Munro’s writing style within your original piece, it’s important to analyse the most frequent devices she incorporates into her work. By focusing specifically on the three stories ‘Chance’, ‘Soon’ and ‘Silence’, we can understand how Munro writes and how to embed that into a Creative Response. 

If you would like more information on the themes in Runaway , you can refer to this blog post.

Literary Devices

Literary devices can be defined as the techniques that an author uses in writing to convey meaning and their ideas within their work. These devices construct the story and emphasise key themes , which are particularly important to note when studying a text in VCE English. There are many devices that you may already be familiar with - metaphors, similes and repetition are commonly used in a variety of types of writing. For example, repetition of a certain word or phrase within a text highlights that it has significance and is reinforcing a particular idea or theme. By identifying which literary devices an author prefers to include in their novel, you can gain an understanding of their style and have a practical method for emulating it within a Creative Response. Below is a breakdown of some of the techniques woven by Munro throughout ‘Chance’, ‘Soon’ and ‘Silence.’

Embedded Narrative

An embedded narrative is like a story within a story, often with the intention of lending symbolic significance to the narrative. In ‘Chance’, Munro includes many references to Greek mythology, embedding a story within the broader narrative. The myths she has chosen are similar to events in Juliet’s life, creating an intentional comparison. 

For instance, Juliet’s affection for Eric prompts her to visit his home where she meets Christa and Ailo, two women Eric has had a relationship with. Upon meeting them, Juliet is reminded of ‘Briseis and Chryseis’, who were ‘playmates’ of a Greek king. Munro’s use of this embedded narrative within Juliet’s story reveals how Juliet feels jealous of the two women and sees them as incapable of having a serious relationship with Eric. To echo this in a Creative Response, you might want to include either a myth, folktale or historical event that relates to your narrative and the characters within it. 

Time Progression/Regression

Time progression/regression refers to jumping back and forwards in time within a story to give context to certain characters or events. For example, the narrative moves back and forth in ‘Silence’ to slowly reveal the before and after of Juliet and Penelope’s estrangement. This helps to inform the reader of Penelope’s motives for no longer speaking to Juliet, and how Juliet deals with the pain of losing a relationship with her daughter. Any movement through time is typically shown through section breaks in the writing, as it alerts the reader that one scene has ended and a new one has begun. These moments might interrupt the chronological narrative, or you might choose to jump backwards and forwards consistently, although this can make your piece more complicated.

Epistolary Elements

‘Epistolary’ is defined as literary work ‘in the form of letters’. Munro weaves elements of this within Runaway, including letters within several of the stories. The letters help to convey the narrative through one character’s perspective, providing insight into their motivations and perspectives. This is particularly effective when the story is written in the third person, as a letter is usually in the first person, allowing for characters to be understood on a deeper level.

In ‘Soon’, Juliet’s letter to Eric demonstrates their intimacy as a couple. Munro has constructed the letter so that it contains very mundane details about Juliet’s time with Sara, instead of just the exciting or alarming news she might have to share. The personal nature of the letter conveys just how close Eric and Juliet are, and how different her relationship with him is from that with Sara. Epistolary elements can be easily included as a small section of a Creative Response as correspondence between two of your characters.

Finally, Munro often uses italics to emphasise certain words or phrases that are particularly important. Italics can also convey the tone of a character, as they might draw attention to some words spoken in excitement or anger. For example, when Juliet meets Joan at the church in ‘Silence’, Joan’s dialogue often has italics to highlight when she is making passive-aggressive remarks about Juliet’s relationship with Penelope. Munro is demonstrating that Joan has been influenced by Penelope in her opinion of Juliet, as she clearly dislikes her and speaks in a condescending manner towards her. You might decide to implement italics only in dialogue, or to use it in other parts of your response, to highlight an important moment within the plot.

Tips for Emulating Munro’s Style

While emulating the style of an author is an important component of a Creative Response, coming up with your own ideas is equally important! To find an idea that you are invested in, think about the parts of Runaway that really spoke to you and that you would like to explore more; this could be a broad theme or a specific character. It is easier to write about something you are interested in than something you feel obligated to write about. Come up with potential responses that you are excited to write, and then plan accordingly by asking “How can I incorporate parts of Munro’s style into this piece?”

To plan out your piece, start by creating a simple plot structure to guide your writing. If it helps, this can include a 3-act structure consisting of a set-up, conflict, and resolution; or you might prefer to do a simple dot point plan instead. When considering what literary devices you would like to include, pick at least one literary technique, and work on making it fit with your idea. Focus on incorporating that one as best as you can before you move on to another one. You might want to pick a second technique that is more subtle, like italics, and start applying that in your second or third draft.

Whether you’re studying english, literature or even language it’s hard to avoid Shakespeare. So, we’re going to take a broad look at: Shakespeare’s historical context, his language, and of course, what this means for interpreting his plays. Since Shakespeare has so many plays chances are your text will be excluded. Instead I’m going to use Othello as a case study.

Before you start reading, LSG's Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response is a must-read for anybody studying VCE English.

Othello follows the Moorish general Othello and his relationship with his wife, Desdemona. The antagonist Iago is jealous that Cassio was made Lieutenant instead of him, and seeks vengeance on Othello. Iago attempts to destroy Othello’s reputation, and uses the rich but foolish Roderigo to fund his revenge plot. Through careful manipulation of his Wife Emilia, Roderigo, Cassio, and Othello, Iago convinces Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful, sending him into an obsessive jealousy. When Emilia steals Desdemona’s handkerchief, a token of Othello’s love, and Desdemona cannot produce it, Othello believes he has all the information necessary to condemn Desdemona. He smothers her to death, before Emilia reveals Iago’s involvement. Othello, struck by regret, stabs himself, declaring that he “loved not wisely but too well”

So who is this Shakespeare guy? And more importantly, what kind of a world did he live in?

Shakespeare was born in England in 1564, in the middle of the Renaissance Period. This period of “rebirth” was categorised by the increasing reliance on ancient classical authors for information about the world. This is why Shakespeare plots are famously reinterpretations of Ancient histories and Roman plays. Changes in education resulted in the Elizabethan moral and social customs being questioned. This included the Divine Right of Kings, and notions of gender and identity.

Religion is also significant in this period, and the Protestant Reformation is a subject often alluded to by Shakespeare. It is necessary to contextualise Shakespeare within the Renaissance period, because as you will see, themes, words, and references that make very little sense to us were common knowledge in Shakespeare’s time, and understanding them boosts our appreciation of his work.

The context and intent of the author are important considerations when studying VCE English or Literature. For more on this, read Context and Authorial Intention in VCE English .

The Language

Now that we understand when Shakespeare was writing, let’s look at how.

Starting as broadly as possible, Shakespeare’s difficult-to-read language is actually Early-Modern English, and so many words Shakespeare used are either lost or unused in modern English. Any good copy of Shakespeare will have definitions of these words in the margin or opposite page.

Moving in closer, we have the two types of plays, Tragedy and Comedy.

Comedy is tonally more light-hearted, and has an apparently happy-ending. These are Twelfth Night , Much Ado About Nothing, or As You Like It among others. Despite being made to entertain, they are rarely unsophisticated, and the genre may mask something more sinister. For example, the character of Malvolio in Twelfth Night is entertaining and presented as self-obsessed, but could be used as an example of Shakespeare critiquing masculinity in Elizabethan society, as Malvolio feels entitled to Olivia’s affections.

Tragedies cannot be defined by their tone, however. They are defined by a tragic hero, who has a fatal flaw or Hamartia that results in their downfall. This may be Othello’s Jealousy, Macbeth’s ambition, or Brutus’ naivety in Julius Caesar . These traits all cause the tragic heroes’ demise, as their hamartia leads them to make bad decisions or fail to address the real evil. Tragedies will usually end in the unnecessary loss of lives and an unhappy ending for all involved. Most of Shakespeare’s plays fit into tragedy, including most of those based on historical figures. An analysis considering the conventions of Tragedy--like hamartia and tragic heroes--is a great way to stand out when discussing Shakespeare, and so when interpreting a tragedy you should consider what about it is tragic. For example, is Othello a tragedy because Iago is able to manipulate Othello, or is Othello’s jealousy and mistrust ever-present? Either of these options reveals Othello to be a tragedy, however they both say different things about the characters and plot. If Iago manipulates Othello, the tragedy is because a fundamental good person is corrupted. However if Othello was always mistrusting, the play becomes tragic as the audience must watch an unloving marriage slowly dissolve.

Next, we have the two ways Shakespeare formats his dialogue. Students will often focus on what the characters say without considering how it is said. Knowing the difference between Verse and Prose and how they are used is an easy way to stand out in an essay.

Verse is essentially poetry, where one line follows another. It can rhyme, but often doesn’t. What Shakespeare verse will ALWAYS do, however, is follow the Iambic Pentameter. This is a line of poetry with 10 syllables where every second syllable is stressed. This creates a kind of bounce or flow like a heartbeat. The easiest way to recognise this is to count the syllables in each line: thus / do / i / ev / er / make / my / fool / my / purse. Pay attention to when it is not followed, or when characters are interrupted during the pentameter. When the pentameter is interrupted by another character, look at who is interrupting it. It is likely to reveal a power dynamic between the two characters. Alternatively, a character finishing the pentameter, literally finishing their sentence, could be a symbol of love or affection between them. Using linguistic devices like the iambic pentameter as evidence shows an understanding of the text beyond the words spoken

The alternative format is prose . It’s used quite sparingly so look out for it. Is the way we speak normally in conversation, or how a normal novel is written. You can tell a character is speaking in prose as it’s usually just a big chunk of text. Shakespeare’s prose can reveal different things, so it depends on the context and the character using it. In act 1 scene 3 of Othello, Iago speaks to Roderigo in prose and then transitions to verse once Roderigo leaves. This displays Iago’s ability to code-switch and manipulate those around him with words. Prose is considered more simplistic, so in order to control Roderigo, who is presented as quite dumb, Iago relies on simple language, bringing himself to Roderigo’s level. This is directly contrasted with Iago’s use of the complex verse form, which he uses at all other times.

Interpreting Shakespeare

We’ve now covered Shakespeare’s historical context, his play styles, and his dialogue, but what should we look for when reading Shakespeare that allows us to use this information in a text response or close passage analysis. I’ve already given some examples of how Shakespeare’s language is relevant to his themes, but I’m going to give a rough guide of what themes are common in Shakespeare’s plays, and how they are shown in the language.

Fate versus free-will

This is a theme that can lead to a long discussion and gives you the opportunity to express your own opinion. Are the characters acting with free-will, or is some other force impacting their fate? This isn’t really in Othello, so let’s look quickly at Macbeth; if we consider fate versus free-will with the characteristics of a tragedy in mind, then the tragic hero must act freely even though his ‘fatal flaw’ will lead to his demise. However, the inclusion of the witches in Macbeth subverts the tragic structure and implies Macbeth is being toyed with. Even though Macbeth believes he is in control his fate is met, so is it a coincidence that his decisions fulfill his fate, or was the Witches’ prophecy real?

Appearance versus reality

The different uses of verse and prose are a good way to show when characters are genuine or performing for others. I have already mentioned how Iago ‘code-switches’ by using prose to speak to Roderigo, appearing simple and ‘laid-back,’ but his revelatory soliloquy in verse displays his true nature, both in the content of the speech, and the way it is presented.

Order and disorder

In Othello, disorder could be represented by Iago, destabilising the lives of those around him through his use of rhetoric and manipulation. Order is then returned when Iago is revealed and Othello takes his life, recognising himself as tragically misused. Analysing the theme of order and disorder would support the interpretation that Othello is a good man controlled and abused by disorder and manipulation.

So, hopefully this very brief introduction helps you get into Shakespeare! Even if I didn’t cover your text, the use of tragic heroes, prose, verse, and iambic pentameter are things evident in all Shakespeare plays, so you just have to make it relevant to your text. And remember that in order to read Shakespeare, one must first read Shakespeare. It may take several readings or viewings to grasp what is happening in the play, only after that can you start to analyse in the way I have today.

Most people only think about EXECUTING their essay - the writing. Whether that be essay structure, memorising quotes or how to avoid repeating yourself in the dreaded conclusion. However, my strategy places emphasis on the THINK. 

THINK is the brainstorm, exploration, and development of ideas. Get this right, and you'll come up with ideas and a response that pushes you ahead of your peers. The EXECUTION comes next, only strengthening your lead to the finish line.

So what does THINK actually involve? 🤔

You need to consider aspects of an essay topic that most students gloss over, including:

💭What's the essay topic type ?

Knowing the essay topic type will change your essay structure. While you might wish for a one-size-fits-all essay structure, this is a limited viewpoint that stops you from reaching your potential. Different essay types include:

  • Theme-based prompts
  • Character-based prompts
  • Author's message-based prompts
  • Metalanguage-based prompts

By understand what's required in each one of these essay topic types, you'll have a template you can follow to ensure that you answer the prompt (no more complaints from your teacher complaining that you're going off topic!).

💭 What are the question tags ?

Never heard of this term previously? That's because majority of teachers don't teach you to change your Text Response according to the question tag. A ' do you agree?' essay topic expects a different response from a 'discuss' essay topic.

💭 How do I ensure I respond to each keyword ?

This is important so you don't go off topic (we've all at least experienced this once in our high school writing careers 😥). Sometimes, one missed keyword is all it takes to derail your entire essay. No matter how well you've written your essay, an essay that doesn't answer the prompt won't fare well.

For example, have a think about which keywords can be found in this essay topic "Jeff's attempt to pursue justice are entirely without honour. To what extent is this true?".

For me, the keywords include:

- 'Attempt'

- 'Pursue justice'

- 'Entirely'

- 'Honour'

- 'To what extent is this true?'

Even though I've labelled almost every word in the essay topic, individually, each of these keywords will shape my response. Majority of students will pick up the necessity to discuss the keyword 'entirely' in their essays. They will potentially argue that Jeff's attempt isn't entirely without honour, and mention instances where honour was shown. However, a less obvious keyword that needs further exploration is 'justice'. Most students will take this word for granted, and won't really explore what the word 'justice' means in this sentence. A more advanced student will understand that 'justice' in this essay topic is viewed from Jeff's perspective, meaning that what Jeff deems to be 'justice', might not be the same 'justice' for a viewer. These are the nuances in an essay topic that I'd like you to be very confident in.

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Examples

Clincher Sentence

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mic drop essay sentence examples

A clincher sentence is the finishing touch your writing needs to be unforgettable. Want to leave your reader awestruck? We’ve got you covered. In this guide, you’ll discover what a clincher sentence is, how to craft one, and see top-notch sentence examples that demonstrate its impact. Elevate your writing game by mastering the art of the clincher sentence today!

What is the Clincher Sentence? – Definition

A clincher sentence is the final sentence in a paragraph or piece that wraps up its main point, providing a sense of closure and completion. Essentially, it’s the “mic drop” moment in your writing that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

What is the best Example of a Clincher Sentence?

The best example of a clincher sentence would be: “In the end, it wasn’t just a game—it was the defining moment that changed my life forever.” This sentence neatly sums up the paragraph’s or essay’s main idea, while also offering a poignant insight that resonates with the reader, making it memorable.

Clincher Sentence Examples

  • “Ultimately, the choices we make shape our future; choose wisely and carve a path toward success.”
  • “Remember, every end is just a new beginning waiting to unveil its secrets.”
  • “Embrace the beauty of uncertainty, for it’s the birthplace of all our discoveries.”
  • “If today was tough, make tomorrow better by learning something new today.”
  • “True courage is found in the quiet moments of reflection and the bold decisions that follow.”
  • “In life’s symphony, your actions are the notes that create the music of your legacy.”
  • “As the sun sets, it promises the dawn of new opportunities and fresh starts.”
  • “Stand firm in your beliefs, for they anchor you amidst life’s tumultuous seas.”
  • “Every challenge you face today adds a layer of strength to your tomorrow.”
  • “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions louder than your words.”

100 Clincher Sentence Usage Examples

Clincher Sentence

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Clincher sentences are the linchpins of effective writing. They leave your reader with a compelling last impression and are vital for any well-crafted paragraph or essay. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-placed clincher sentence to elevate your writing. To help you become a clincher sentence connoisseur, here are 100 unique and thought-provoking examples you can use as inspiration.

  • In conclusion, perseverance is the key to success.
  • When all is said and done, family matters most.
  • As a result, the company’s profits soared.
  • At last, the mystery was finally solved.
  • So, what are you waiting for?
  • Clearly, the evidence is irrefutable.
  • Undoubtedly, this is a turning point.
  • Remarkably, she overcame all odds.
  • Therefore, we should proceed with caution.
  • To sum up, the choice is yours.
  • In the grand scheme of things, life is short.
  • So there you have it, a solution to the problem.
  • Consequently, our actions define us.
  • Nonetheless, the journey was unforgettable.
  • And that, my friends, is the essence of courage.
  • Ultimately, love conquers all.
  • Naturally, the project was a resounding success.
  • In retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise.
  • After all, isn’t that what life is all about?
  • All in all, it was a win-win situation.
  • In reality, change is inevitable.
  • Surprisingly, he turned out to be the hero.
  • Therefore, let us embrace the challenges.
  • Indeed, it was a night to remember.
  • Above all, never lose faith.
  • Incidentally, that was her best performance.
  • Truth be told, honesty pays.
  • Hence, we should be mindful of our actions.
  • Without a doubt, it was an epic adventure.
  • Admittedly, the task was daunting.
  • On the whole, it was a fruitful endeavor.
  • Even so, it was a remarkable achievement.
  • To put it simply, the impact was profound.
  • Nevertheless, she remained optimistic.
  • In essence, the legacy lives on.
  • Obviously, the outcome was favorable.
  • Fortunately, we found common ground.
  • To clarify, the objective was met.
  • For this reason, teamwork is essential.
  • So, take the leap of faith.
  • Yet, the memories linger.
  • Regrettably, opportunities were missed.
  • Granted, the situation was complex.
  • Specifically, the results were outstanding.
  • Given these points, we should reconsider.
  • And so, the legend was born.
  • Now, the focus shifts to the future.
  • As a matter of fact, timing is crucial.
  • In a nutshell, the benefits are numerous.
  • To conclude, the experience was enriching.
  • Conversely, the risks were minimal.
  • Then again, it’s never too late.
  • Likewise, he was a natural leader.
  • By and large, the campaign was effective.
  • Thus, the circle is complete.
  • Alas, the secret was revealed.
  • Actually, it was worth the effort.
  • In summary, don’t underestimate your potential.
  • To elaborate, preparation is key.
  • Largely, the initiative was welcomed.
  • Coincidentally, the timing was perfect.
  • Afterward, a sense of relief washed over me.
  • Ironically, the villain was the savior.
  • Evidently, the strategy worked.
  • Especially, the climax was unexpected.
  • Ordinarily, I wouldn’t consider it.
  • To reiterate, your voice matters.
  • Finally, we reached a consensus.
  • Importantly, don’t forget to be kind.
  • Surely, you can see the logic.
  • However, the final say is yours.
  • Generally speaking, the event was a hit.
  • Again, consistency is key.
  • As it turned out, the trip was worthwhile.
  • Notably, her courage stood out.
  • For instance, the impact was immediate.
  • On the contrary, the loss was a lesson.
  • Besides, you have nothing to lose.
  • Alternatively, consider the other options.
  • Unquestionably, this marks a new beginning.
  • Simultaneously, two worlds collided.
  • All things considered, it was a success.
  • Intrinsically, the value is immeasurable.
  • Chiefly, the focus is on quality.
  • Under those circumstances, it was the best choice.
  • And so, the mystery deepens.
  • Significantly, the goal was achieved.
  • Precisely, that is the point.
  • Occasionally, miracles do happen.
  • Analogously, the comparison holds.
  • Furthermore, seize the day.
  • Relatively, it was a minor issue.
  • Practically, it was a no-brainer.
  • Following this, we must adapt.
  • Oftentimes, simplicity is beauty.
  • Sensibly, precautions were taken.
  • Apart from this, focus on the positives.
  • Explicitly, the rules were stated.
  • Lastly, cherish the moments.
  • In finality, this is our mission.

Feel free to use these examples as a resource or inspiration for crafting your own clincher sentences that will leave a lasting impression on your readers.

Clincher Sentence Starter Examples

Clincher sentence starters serve as a dynamic tool to make your conclusions more impactful. These sentence beginnings set the stage for a memorable closing statement. They’re essential for essay writing, speeches, or any piece of content that aims for strong reader engagement. Below are 10 examples of distinct clincher sentence starters.

  • In the final analysis, we should…
  • All things considered, it’s evident that…
  • To sum up, the evidence clearly states…
  • Ultimately, this leads us to conclude that…
  • With this in mind, we can affirm that…
  • In conclusion, it’s imperative to note that…
  • As we’ve seen, it’s undeniable that…
  • To reiterate, let’s not forget that…
  • In essence, it all boils down to…
  • Lastly, let’s remember that…

Clincher Sentence Topic Examples

Clincher sentences are also versatile and can be tailored to suit various topics. Whether you’re covering technology, environment, education, or psychology, a strong clincher will amplify your message. Get your reader to sit up and take notice with these 10 topic-specific clincher sentence examples.

  • Given the climate crisis, sustainable living is non-negotiable.
  • Therefore, online education is the future of learning.
  • As demonstrated, mental health is just as important as physical health.
  • In the realm of politics, your vote can indeed make a difference.
  • When it comes to relationships, communication is key.
  • On the technology front, data privacy should be everyone’s concern.
  • Considering economics, investment in renewable energy is a must.
  • In matters of social justice, silence is complicity.
  • Relating to workplace dynamics, a good leader listens first and acts second.
  • In terms of personal growth, never stop learning.

Each of these examples is designed to offer a strong, definitive statement on its respective topic. Utilize them to create engaging and thought-provoking endings to your discussions.

What is a Clincher Statement?

A clincher statement is the final sentence or set of sentences in a paragraph, essay, report, or speech that reinforces the main idea and brings closure to the text. It serves to summarize the key points discussed and leaves the reader with something to ponder. A well-crafted clincher statement can effectively seal the message and make your writing memorable. Often, clincher statements can call the audience to action, provoke thought, or create a lasting impression.

What are Some Clincher Words?

Clincher words are specific terms or phrases commonly used to initiate clincher statements. These words signal to the reader that the text is drawing to a close, while emphasizing the essence of the discussion. Here are some clincher words commonly used:

  • In Summary : Used to encapsulate the main points.
  • Therefore : Implies a logical conclusion from the preceding information.
  • Hence : Similar to “therefore,” but often used to imply a more direct cause-and-effect relationship.
  • Finally : Indicates that the last and often most critical point is being made.
  • In Conclusion : Explicitly tells the reader that the end of the text has arrived.
  • Ultimately : Suggests the end result or final point in a chain of reasoning.
  • To Sum Up : Used to give a brief recap.
  • After all : Indicates a summary and emphasizes that all points have been considered.
  • All in All : Suggests a comprehensive summary has been provided.
  • Thus : Implies a wrapping-up of stated facts or observations.

What is a Clincher in a Speech Example?

In a speech, a clincher serves the same fundamental purpose as in written text—to sum up the message and leave a lasting impression. The difference lies in the oral delivery and the immediate audience engagement. Here’s an example of a clincher in a speech about climate change:

“Let’s not wait for the headlines to scream crisis; by then, it will be too late. As stewards of this Earth, it’s our collective responsibility to act now. The future of our planet depends on the choices we make today. Remember, we don’t have a Planet B.”

In this example, the speaker rounds off the discussion on climate change by emphasizing the urgency of the situation and calls the audience to action. The clincher also leaves the audience with something to ponder about—our shared responsibility for Earth’s future.

Clinchers are not mere summaries; they are your final shot at impressing your message upon your audience. A strong clincher will not only close your speech but also make it more impactful and memorable.

What are the Three Types of Clincher Sentences?

Clincher sentences can generally be categorized into three distinct types, each serving its own purpose:

  • Summary Clinchers : These clinchers restate the main points of your article or speech in a fresh way. They’re best suited for informational texts and serve to remind the audience of the essential aspects covered.
  • Call-to-Action Clinchers : These are designed to prompt an immediate reaction from the audience. They are often used in persuasive speeches or promotional materials, guiding the reader towards the next step, such as purchasing a product or engaging in social activism.
  • Thought-Provoking Clinchers : These types aim to make the audience ponder the subject even after they’ve finished reading or listening. Usually formulated as rhetorical questions, quotes, or future projections, they aim to continue the conversation in the minds of the audience.

What is the Purpose of a Clincher Sentence?

The purpose of a clincher sentence is multi-faceted. Firstly, it provides closure to your text or speech, rounding off the discussion neatly. Secondly, it amplifies the main idea, enhancing its impact and making it memorable. Lastly, depending on the type of clincher used, it can also drive action or provoke thought, thus extending the influence of your message beyond the immediate reading or listening experience.

How do you Write Clincher Sentences? – Step by Step Guide

  • Identify the Main Idea : Your clincher should reflect the core message of your text or speech. Make sure you know what that is before you start writing the clincher.
  • Select the Type : Decide whether you want your clincher to summarize, prompt action, or provoke thought.
  • Draft the Statement : Write a preliminary version. Aim for brevity but also for impact. Make every word count.
  • Review and Revise : Consider if the draft aligns with the main idea and whether it’s impactful. Edit for clarity, coherence, and concision.
  • Add a Clincher Word : Employ a clincher word or phrase as a signpost to indicate that this is the concluding statement.
  • Test for Effect : Read your clincher in the context of the entire text or speech to ensure it fits seamlessly and amplifies your core message.

Tips for Using Clincher Sentences

  • Be Consistent : Ensure that your clincher aligns with the overall tone and theme of your text or speech.
  • Avoid New Information : The clincher is not the place to introduce new points or arguments. Stick to what’s been covered.
  • Be Emotional : A touch of emotion can add a layer of relatability and make your clincher more memorable.
  • Use Repetition Wisely : A little repetition of key terms or phrases can make your clincher more impactful but use this technique sparingly.
  • Seek Feedback : Don’t hesitate to ask for opinions on your clincher. Sometimes, what seems clear to you may not be for others.
  • Practice Makes Perfect : The more you practice writing clinchers, the more naturally they will come to you. Each one is an opportunity to perfect your craft.

Clincher sentences are an essential tool for wrapping up your text or speech in a way that leaves a lasting impression. By understanding their types, purposes, and construction methods, you can significantly enhance the impact of your communication.

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How to Write an Essay Conclusion That’s Mic-Drop Worthy

Do you wish you knew how to write an essay conclusion? Do you struggle to know what you’re supposed to write in a conclusion? How long should it be? How is it different from an introduction?

Well I’m going to answer all these questions and more in this week’s episode. You’re going to learn exactly how to write an essay conclusion that knocks your tutor’s socks off. How to pull together the main threads of your arguments to write a punchy, compelling conclusion that leaves your tutor thinking ‘damn, that deserves a great grade.’

And to help you apply these strategies, of course I’ll walk you through some examples so you can see exactly how to write an essay conclusion AND how to add more evaluation and critical thinking to your whole essay.

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Mic Drop – Origin, Meaning & Sentence Examples

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| Danielle McLeod

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Danielle McLeod

Danielle McLeod is a highly qualified secondary English Language Arts Instructor who brings a diverse educational background to her classroom. With degrees in science, English, and literacy, she has worked to create cross-curricular materials to bridge learning gaps and help students focus on effective writing and speech techniques. Currently working as a dual credit technical writing instructor at a Career and Technical Education Center, her curriculum development surrounds student focus on effective communication for future career choices.

American English uses a lot of figurative phrases to add creative tone and emphasis to writing and speech. Unfortunately, to fully appreciate their use, the audience needs to have some knowledge of their influences or origins to make a connection between the words and the message the author wishes to portray.

Using the expression mic drop figuratively is fairly modern and is both a physical action (physical and feigned) and a saying to emphasize a message. If you’ve heard or seen it in action, it is generally self-explanatory, but you might not know its origins or how to use it in a sentence properly.

Below, we explore its meaning and interesting history.

What Does Mic Drop Mean?

Mic Drop Origin Meaning Sentence Examples

In a literal sense, mic drop means to drop the microphone and was the influence behind the figurative use and action – either by a speaker or musician. At first, the physical act was often done in anger or to tease the crowd into thinking the microphone may fall during a performance.

Today, a mic drop is an act of deliberately dropping a microphone at the end of a performance that the performer deems to be extremely impressive or unable to be surpassed. It is used to “brag” or claim through the action that their act is the best or that they’ve had the last word.

mic drop essay sentence examples

For example:

  • At the end of the set, the crowd was roaring their approval; a grin split his face as he dropped the mic and sauntered off stage to the cries of an encore.
  • It was a mic-drop moment as her eyes met the faces of the inquiring journalist as she stepped from the car, holding her head high and emerging in an exquisite gown.

It also can be used as a spoken phrase or feigned by holding your arm straight out with a downwards fist that you open deliberately – as if you were dropping the mic.

  • After explaining to the class that anyone failing at the quarter’s end would be in danger of not graduating, she held out her hand, fist down, and “ dropped the mic .” The students got the point, and late work began to appear on her desk the following day.

Mic drop is an abbreviation of microphone drop, which is why mic is spelled with a “c.” When used as an adjective before a noun, it is hyphenated, as in mic-drop .

What Is the Significance of Dropping the Mic?

Mic Drop Origin Meaning Sentence Examples 1

A mic drop acts as a punctuation when an impressive performance is given or an impressive point is made. It is not limited to stage performers either and is commonly used in informal speech and debate and amongst friends to draw further attention to what they’ve said. It is generally used to highlight an important point and signify that the conversation or speech is over.

  • As the debate ended, it was obvious who had won, and a lone voice in the audience yelled out, “ mic drop !” over the sound of applause.

Origins of Mic Drop

Mic Drop Ngram

The idea of the literal mic drop has been around since the 1950s when certain performers would “rock” the microphone stand or move it to make it look like it was falling. They would then reach out and pull it back to them. James Brown often used this move while on stage after “rescuing” a falling microphone and using the happy accident as a signature event while performing.

In 1978 Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols announced on stage that he felt cheated out of their performance and purposely dropped the mic before turning and walking off stage. This was the last time the group would perform together until a reunion tour in 1996. Essentially, he may have had the first verifiable mic drop in history, during which his actions emphasized that nothing more was to be said.

The action became mainstream in the 1980s when Eddie Murphy began to tie the action into his comedy skits, turning it from something that originated with anger into something funny. Rappers through the 80s and 90s also often dropped the mic during rap battles to indicate their superior skills after finishing a set.

And more recently, we’ve even seen politicians use it lightheartedly when discussing serious matters to help avoid high tensions.

The term mic drop was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015.

Let’s Review

The figurative use of dropping the mic can be both a physical and spoken action. It is a way to emphasize to your audience that you are finished, you are superior, and to figuratively offer a challenge to those who think, but most likely can’t, provide superior performance.

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Mic drop: Ending with a strong speech conclusion

A lot of people think the hardest part of composing a speech is figuring out where to start—until they get to the end, that is. It’s common for speakers to run out of steam delivering main points; the closing lines become an afterthought. Instead of building up to a mic-drop moment, the speech conclusion is a letdown—forgettable and rushed.

Don’t let your thoughtfully written speech fizzle out in its closing lines. The conclusion is your last opportunity to tie up loose ends, make a lasting impression, or move the audience to act. A weak speech conclusion can be as bad as a movie with a terrible ending—it kills the energy you’ve worked so hard to build and leaves the audience disappointed and confused.

To make sure your speech conclusion accomplishes everything it should (and avoids common pitfalls), follow the Conclusion Checklist in this post.

Does your speech conclusion provide a review?

Repetition isn’t redundant in speeches—it’s mandatory. Your audience doesn’t have a way to revisit what you’ve said unless you give them one. Whether your speech is a simple narrative or a complicated policy proposal, you need to find a way to summarize your main ideas, key takeaways, or lessons learned in your conclusion. Do so in a way that doesn’t repeat verbatim what you’ve already said, but that uses parallel structure (giving information in the same order you did before) or incorporates key phrases and details. This helps the audience summarize and remember the information you’ve deemed most important.

Does it signal closure?

There aren’t many feelings more awkward than having to tell your audience, “Well, uh… that’s it,” while they silently wait for your speech to end. A well-written speech conclusion starts to signal closure before the close actually happens. There are a few different cues you can provide your audience to let them know they’ve reached the finish line.

That review you’ve included does more than help the audience remember your main points. Summaries, themes, and connections to the thesis also signal that the speech has come full circle.

A textbook (or blog post) organizes a reader’s thoughts with headings, paragraphs, and punctuation. Just like these cues tell a reader where they are and where they’re heading, signposts in a speech can help an audience know what to expect. Phrases like finally, in summary, lastly, or thank you signal that a speech is coming to an end. Visual aids can give similar signals with outlines, timelines, or images. Lastly (see what I did there?), speakers can use physical delivery signal closure; returning to the podium, changing vocal pace and volume, or making gestures larger or smaller can communicate finality to the audience.

Calls to Action

There is an unspoken understanding between speaker and audience that calls to action (share, sign up, volunteer, join, vote, consider, teach, change) come at the end of a speech. Challenging the audience to use what you’ve said to change their thinking or behavior is a good way to summarize, bring closure, and empower listeners.

Revisiting the Introduction

This is my favorite way to signal closure in a speech. If you started a story, asked a question, or gave an example in your introduction, your conclusion can finish that story, answer that question, or emphasize that example. Here’s a short speech that does that well.

Does it connect all the pieces?

Your conclusion isn’t the place to bring up new information; the speech’s essential arguments and evidence should be on the table before your conclusion begins. You’ve set the table with the information your audience needs, and now you can help them organize it by creating grand connections. Tell the audience how you answered the question in your thesis. Link the personal story you shared to the statistic you cited. Bring the audience back to the scene you set in your introduction. ( Here’s a great example ) Drawing purposeful connections helps move your listeners from their focus on your individual points to the larger purpose of your speech.

Is it memorable?

A lot of speeches are interesting in the moment, but ten minutes later the audience has moved on to thinking about dinner or traffic or the latest news story. Great speeches have staying power. Not everyone can pull off a mic drop or an “ Obama out ,” but everyone can be thoughtful in crafting a close that is thought-provoking, strong, funny, novel, empowering, or beautiful. Avoid forgettable clichés and overused phrases. “Let’s go out and BE the change,” or “So next time you find yourself in (fill-in-the-blank) situation…” aren’t memorable. You don’t want weak phrases like these to be the last impression you leave on your audience. And speaking of being memorable, your closing line is a good one for you to memorize, too. You want it to come across to your audience just the way you wrote it.

Be intentional about the final emotion, thought, and energy you’d like to leave with your audience. The words you close your speech with, just like those you opened with, will be the ones that stay with your audience the longest. When your audience thinks (or doesn’t think) about your speech in the future, they’ll associate it with the way they felt at the end.

In conclusion, let’s go out and BE the change by writing better conclusions. So, next time you find yourself needing to write a conclusion…

I’m totally kidding. I guess endings really are tough to write.

Well, uh… that’s it.

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What Does "Mic Drop" Mean?

Examples in sentences.

  • After her impassioned speech about equality, she could have done a mic drop.
  • His last statement was a virtual mic drop in the debate.
  • The singer finished his amazing performance with a literal mic drop.

meaning for mic drop

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How to Write a Clincher Sentence That’ll Blow Your Readers Mind

The ability to write a powerful clincher sentence is essential for ALL types of writing (not just academic). It’s what separates mediocre writers from those who actually impact the lives of their readers.

But what exactly is a clincher sentence?

Well, it’s basically a closing sentence that sums up your main message with a BANG.

Most of what you read each day doesn’t make much of an impression on you. It doesn’t “stick”. You finish reading, move onto the next thing, and forget what you read 10 seconds later.

That’s because most of what you read doesn’t end with a clincher sentence.

A good clincher makes you think “Aww snap! Let me reflect on this for a sec.”  

Think of clincher sentences as a "Mic Drop Moment."

How to write a “mic drop” clincher sentence :.

There’s no one magic formula for writing a clincher sentence, but there are a handful of technique that tend to work well.

First let’s look at some of the 10 most effective techniques. Then we’ll move on to some examples.

The Quote - If you’re at a loss for words, try leaving the reader with a short inspirational quote that drives your message home.

The Twist - End with a takeaway the reader was not expecting.

The Takeaway - Close your message with a straightforward conclusion.

The Action - Psyche up your audience to take a specific action.

The Reflection Question - Sometimes the action is obvious. What the reader needs is motivation to act. A great way to do this is to end with a simple question that makes the reader reflect on their life (as it relates to your message).

The Takeaway + Action - A one-two punch combining the previous two techniques. Start by highlighting your key takeaway. Then finish her off by showing how it can be applied to the reader’s life.

The Analogy - Rehash your main points in your final paragraph. Then end it with an analogy that cements your message into their mind.

The Reminder - Remind the reader of something important regarding your message (e.g. a benefit, warning, tip, fact, argument, etc).

The Full-Circle - Repeat a key phrase (or emotional moment) used earlier in message. This might mean copying a memorable phrase word-for-word or simply referring back to a meaningful story you told earlier in the message.

The Golden Nugget - Leave the reader with a profound piece of wisdom that reinforces your message.

The Goosebump Giver - These types of clincher sentences are used a lot in movies and songs. Unlike the other techniques, goosebump givers don’t necessarily reinforce a takeaway or provoke action. Instead, they aim straight for the heart strings, creating a strong emotional reaction you won’t forget.  

Tips for writing a powerful clincher sentence :

  • Keep it short and simple
  • Don’t introduce new information
  • Imagine your audience’s emotions and mirror them
  • You want your audience to either strongly agree or fiercely disagree—lukewarm clinchers don’t get remembered
  • State you point with authority. Don’t be a wimp.
  • The more emotions you trigger, the better
  • The more thought-provoking, the better
  • The bigger the mic drop, the better

Clincher sentence examples (and other mic drop inspiration) :

Writing a clincher sentence from scratch can be tough.

So instead of inventing one out of thin air, let’s make life easier and take a shortcut.

Movies are one of the best sources for clincher sentence inspiration. By examining memorable movie quotes, we can dissect why a phrase was so memorable and then apply it to writing clincher sentences.

If you pay close attention, you’ll be surprised by how much clincher material is sprinkled throughout your favorite movies.

Sometimes it’ll be word-for-word, other times it’s simply a mic-drop-worthy idea.

Here are a few to get you started...  

The Takeaway (King Kong) :

the takeaway clincher

An impactful clincher that sums up what happened in the movie in one concise phrase.  

The Full Circle (Avengers Endgame) :

the full circle clincher avengers

For all you Avengers fans out there. This is the perfect example of the “Full Circle” strategy. The movie begins and ends with the same emotional phrase (while simultaneously tugging at the heartstrings).  

The Twist :

the twist clincher

Here’s a classic twist example. Just like in the movies, a key to writing an effective twist clincher is to sprinkle subtle clues throughout your writing.  

The Goosebump Giver (The Lion King) :

the-goosebump-giver-clincher.png

No explanation needed. *wipes away tear*  

The Quote (The Godfather) :

the quote clincher

Movies are full of popular quotes you can use as powerful clincher sentences. For example, this quote would be a perfect way to end an article on why small business owners should pay attention to what their competitors are doing.  

The Analogy (The Karate Kid) :

the analogy clincher

Here’s a clincher sentence example that isn’t actually used as a clincher in the movie itself. However, it’s so well known, that if you used it as an analogy to end your message, everyone would understand.

Movies aren’t the only place to find inspiration. Whenever you read a good blog post, pay close attention to how it ends. This is a great way to generate new clincher sentence ideas.

Here are some clincher sentence examples from blog posts.

There’s no need to overcomplicate clincher sentences. Remember, the main purpose is to make an impact on the reader so they continue thinking about your post. Sometimes simple trumps fancy.

For example, in this post on how to become a copywriter , Neville makes it painfully obvious what the reader should do.

Clever? No. Effective? Yes.

The-action-clincher-kopywriting-kourse.p

The Takeaway + Action

Here’s an example from my blog, Project Untethered. After writing a ginormous post that lists 100+ ways to make money while traveling , I didn’t just leave them hanging. No, I summed up my key takeaway and spurred them into action.

The Reminder

In this post about writing real estate listings , Neville uses a powerful Reminder clincher by simply turning it into a formula. This is an easy-peasy way to burn a message into the mind of your readers.

the reminder clincher kopywriting kourse

The Golden Nugget

A golden nugget doesn’t necessarily have to be some eloquent Buddhist mantra. It can anything that alters the reader’s perspective or “opens their mind”.

the golden nugget clincher kopywriting kourse

The Reflection Question

In this article on how to write faster , the call to action is crystal clear. But to make the conclusion even stronger, a simple clincher question was added.

Now, instead of just clicking over to the next article, the reader will take a second to reflect on how taking action could improve their life.

----- See how easy writing a clincher sentence can be?

Yes, you could spend hours writing your own clincher sentence from scratch.

But why make it more difficult than it needs to be?

With all the inspiration out there, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

You worked hard putting together a piece of killer content—your gift to the world. 

Don’t forget to wrap it up and stick on the bowtie.

Hope this helps! Sincerely, Mitch Glass

Mitch-Glass.jpg

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mic drop essay sentence examples

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How to deliver a mic-dropping closing argument

The human element of an employment case requires that you really connect with the jury.

So, you survived the demurrer and motion to strike, several informal discovery conferences, avoided motions to compel further responses, and the motion for summary judgment/summary adjudication issues was denied. Now what do you do? You have to try your employment case to 12 strangers and make it all make sense. And although you have lived with the case for 21 months, you have to figure out how to make the pieces of the puzzle fit so the jury will find in favor of your client. For the tried-and-true trial lawyer, the closing argument (or summation) is where the magic occurs.

Many attorneys mistakenly believe that all they need is a beautifully prepared PowerPoint presentation and the jury will be eating out of their hands. However, a verdict-delivering closing argument is achievable if you can execute the following four points:

1) Develop a plan

2) Demonstrate your proficiency

3) Display your passion

4) Deliver on your promises

Develop a plan

The best closing arguments do not simply regurgitate the evidence to the jury. The winning arguments tell a compelling story with memorable sound bites and relatable themes. Therefore, it is essential that you invest the time to organize your game plan. That game plan will invariably be based on what happened during the trial. Some cases are witness intensive and your argument should be mapped out to highlight those important bits of testimony. Some trials have that proverbial smoking-gun exhibit you will want to have as a watermark on everything you present to the jury. Whatever the case, you must be deliberate with a particular plan for your particular case.

Demonstrate your proficiency

It goes without saying that if you have that beautifully prepared PowerPoint presentation, you need to be flawless with its execution. There is nothing more frustrating to the jury than when you have all of this wonderful technology and innovation and it does not work during the pinnacle of your persuasiveness. When you are referring to the testimony of witnesses, have your dailies ready to show the jury you are telling them exactly what happened during the trial. When you need the jury to focus on an exhibit, you should be able to show them exactly what they are looking for and why it is important. Hopefully, you will never have to fumble through your electronic database when you move from exhibit to exhibit. Your ability to present your argument seamlessly will give your argument the best chance to be the most convincing.

Display your passion

The human element of an employment case requires the need to really connect with the jury. In addition to the economic interests at stake, many litigants define themselves through their jobs and careers. When your presentation is able to show the incalculable value of self-worth, you stand that much closer to the winner’s circle. You are not just representing a client. You represent a person whose life has changed forever because of what happened in the workplace. When people think of an advocate, someone who fights for someone else, your passion will convince the jury why they must find in favor of your client. If you do not care about what happens to your client, why should they?

Deliver on your promises

You stated in your opening statement, “the evidence will show this” and “the evidence will show that” and with your closing, you can walk your jury through the special verdict as outlined. Keeping your word about the evidence accomplishes two things. First, the jury actually has a basis to return the verdict in your favor when you can point to the specific evidence. Two, if there is a conflict in the evidence, you improve your chances of receiving the benefit of the doubt because you can be trusted to say what you mean and mean what you say. The jury will remember if you indicate that something will happen and they did not see that something during the trial. In addition to delivering your promises, make sure the jury knows when the other side failed to deliver on theirs. Again, the lawyer who cannot be trusted is left with evidence the jury will want to disbelieve.

In conclusion, conclude your trial with conviction and compassion, be clear, and be courageous. If done correctly, you will be able to drop the mic when you say your last word.

Rupert A. Byrdsong

The Honorable Rupert A. Byrdsong was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court on June 18, 2014 by Governor Jerry Brown.  He presently sits in Dept. 28 in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles wherein he handles an unlimited jurisdiction individual court calendar with an inventory of over 500 cases. Prior to coming to Mosk, Judge Byrdsong was the first African-American in the Complex Civil Department wherein he handled and coordinated all of the asbestos cases in Los Angeles County. Judge Byrdsong volunteers his time mentoring young lawyers and speaks to students in high schools, colleges, and law schools throughout Los Angeles. He also volunteers his time to interview prospective students for Vanderbilt School of Law. Judge Byrdsong is active with the John M. Langston Bar Association (lifetime member and past president 2006), the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL)(lifetime member), LACBA’s Labor and Employment Executive and Saturday Seminar Committees, and a Founding Member of the Association of African American California Judicial Officers (AAACJO). He served on the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Section for the State Bar of California from 2003-2007.

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Definition of mic drop

Examples of mic drop in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mic drop.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

2007, in the meaning defined above

Articles Related to mic drop

alt 5b974e8a1fee2

An emphatic gesture signifying the end of a performance

Dictionary Entries Near mic drop

Micawberism

Cite this Entry

“Mic drop.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mic%20drop. Accessed 1 Jul. 2024.

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IMAGES

  1. 5 tips for a mic-drop worthy essay conclusion

    mic drop essay sentence examples

  2. Please show me example sentences with "mic drops".

    mic drop essay sentence examples

  3. Mic Drop: Strategies For Effective Conclusion Writing

    mic drop essay sentence examples

  4. How to Write an Essay Conclusion That’s Mic-Drop Worthy

    mic drop essay sentence examples

  5. Mic-drop Partner Interviews by Momtrepreneur

    mic drop essay sentence examples

  6. Need some pointers on how to write a 'mic dropping' conclusion? Check

    mic drop essay sentence examples

VIDEO

  1. BTS

  2. Mic drop. 💯 🎥: Just Friends (2005)

  3. BTS

  4. Drop Frame in Life Sentence

  5. Day 20 daily use English sentence #very important and essay sentence @smrita English academy

  6. BTS

COMMENTS

  1. 5 tips for a mic-drop worthy essay conclusion

    5 Tips for a mic-drop worthy conclusion. 1. Make a plan for the conclusion. It has been said many times, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" and it could not be more true when it comes to crafting a killer conclusion. By setting a few minutes aside before even beginning your essay to plan everything out, you get to see the necessary ...

  2. Clincher Sentence

    The best example of a clincher sentence would be: "In the end, it wasn't just a game—it was the defining moment that changed my life forever.". This sentence neatly sums up the paragraph's or essay's main idea, while also offering a poignant insight that resonates with the reader, making it memorable.

  3. How to Write an Essay Conclusion That's Mic-Drop Worthy

    Learn 5 powerful strategies to build an unshakeable foundation of studying confidence. Say goodbye to self-doubt and traumatic school memories getting in the way of you acing your learning as an adult. And instead say hello to studying with more motivation, positivity and ease so that you can graduate with the grades you want. ENROL NOW.

  4. Mic Drop

    It is used to "brag" or claim through the action that their act is the best or that they've had the last word. For example: At the end of the set, the crowd was roaring their approval; a grin split his face as he dropped the mic and sauntered off stage to the cries of an encore. It was a mic-drop moment as her eyes met the faces of the ...

  5. Mic drop: Ending with a strong speech conclusion

    It's common for speakers to run out of steam delivering main points; the closing lines become an afterthought. Instead of building up to a mic-drop moment, the speech conclusion is a letdown—forgettable and rushed. Don't let your thoughtfully written speech fizzle out in its closing lines. The conclusion is your last opportunity to tie up ...

  6. 5 tips for a mic-drop essay conclusion

    Let's be real. Conclusions are challenging because so many people don't know how to summarise what they've written without using the exact same words, others...

  7. Cause and Effect the Conclusion Paragraph

    It's time to take everything you've learned about the conclusion paragraph (restatement of claim, summary of evidence, and mic drop sentence) and put it all together as you write a conclusion of your own. For this lesson, you will need: Practice with the Conclusion. Cause and Effect Graphic Organizer. 1:06.

  8. Argumentative Conclusion Paragraph

    The last part of an argumentative essay is the conclusion paragraph, which consists of a restatement of the claim, a summary of the evidence, and a mic-drop sentence. Persuasive Essays. The Introductory Paragraph. The Body Paragraphs. The Conclusion Paragraph. Restatement of Claim.

  9. BBC Learning English

    Mic drop! Feifei Very good example, but not true. Let's listen to these examples. Examples. Your idea is the worst thing I've ever heard! Mic drop. I can't believe he ended his message with 'mic ...

  10. Mic Drop

    What Does "Mic Drop" Mean? "Mic drop" is an English idiom. It means "a gesture of deliberately dropping one's microphone at the end of a performance or speech to signal triumph or conclusiveness." It can also be used figuratively to describe a definitive or impressive statement or action. Examples in Sentences Here are three examples of the ...

  11. Drop the Mic: Three Principles for Endings

    Play with the order of the words to get the last paragraph or sentence to be the one you want it to be to have a "drop the mic" moment. If it is a line of dialogue, I'll even move the dialogue tag to the beginning of the sentence so the last thing on the page or scene is the dialogue itself. Sometimes it really isn't about cutting the ...

  12. How to Write a Clincher Sentence

    Think of clincher sentences as a "Mic Drop Moment." How to write a "mic drop" clincher sentence: There's no one magic formula for writing a clincher sentence, but there are a handful of technique that tend to work well. First let's look at some of the 10 most effective techniques. Then we'll move on to some examples.

  13. GAMSAT Section 2: How to write a Mic-Drop Worthy Conclusion

    3. Mic-drop your last line . Your closing sentence can really make your essay shine so consider: a recommendation you wish to make for the future ; providing a different insight on a phrase used in the introduction, e.g. double-edged sword ; a well-thought out phrase that summarises your contention one last time

  14. PDF The English We Speak Mic Drop

    This is The English We Speak from BBC Learning English, and we're talking about the expression 'mic drop', which is commonly used at the end of a discussion when someone makes a point that ends the conversation. Roy. Yes, it's quite common in messages or emails. It's also seen with the verb 'perform'. Feifei. That's right - 'perform a mic drop'.

  15. What Does 'Mic Drop' Mean?

    What does mic drop mean?. A mic drop is an emphatic and declarative gesture signifying the conclusion of a performance of note, often literally (or as if) dropping a microphone.. Where did mic drop come from?. Mic drop comes from the practice, initially (but not exclusively) among hip-hop artists, of finishing a performance or song by dropping the microphone.

  16. How to deliver a mic-dropping closing argument

    1) Develop a plan. 2) Demonstrate your proficiency. 3) Display your passion. 4) Deliver on your promises. Develop a plan. The best closing arguments do not simply regurgitate the evidence to the jury. The winning arguments tell a compelling story with memorable sound bites and relatable themes. Therefore, it is essential that you invest the ...

  17. Compare and Contrast Conclusion Paragraph

    This video helps you take everything you have learned about the conclusion paragraph (restatement of claim, summary of evidence, and a mic drop sentence) and put it all together in a paragraph you write on your own. For this lesson, you will need: Practice with the Conclusion Activity. 0:53.

  18. Mic drop Definition & Meaning

    The meaning of MIC DROP is the act of dramatically dropping a microphone after a performance, speech, etc. (as to indicate that what one has said or done cannot be disputed or surpassed); also, figurative : something that is indisputable or unsurpassable : something that is worthy of a mic drop —sometimes used interjectionally. How to use mic drop in a sentence.

  19. Persuasive Conclusion Paragraph

    Now that you have practiced writing all the individual parts of a conclusion (restatement of the claim, summary of evidence, and mic drop sentence) it is time to write one from start to finish. This video walks you through a practice activity. For this lesson, you will need: Practice with the Conclusion ; Persuasive Conclusion Graphic Organizer

  20. Mic drop

    A mic drop is the gesture of intentionally dropping one's microphone at the end of a performance or speech to signal triumph. Figuratively, it is an expression of triumph for a successful event and indicates a boastful attitude toward one's own performance. History Very ...

  21. Descriptive Conclusion Paragraph

    The Mic Drop Sentence. In this video, discover how to end your descriptive essay with impact! Mic Drop Sentence Posters . Practice with the Conclusion Paragraph. This video helps you take everything you've learned about a conclusion paragraph (restatement of thesis, summary of the topic sentences, and a mic drop sentence) and put it all ...

  22. Example sentences with MIC DROP

    Its deployment long precedes the mic drop as a way to shut down a debate. The mic drop is all of these things. He finished with a mic drop. He said his mic dropped in and out. Only a mic drop could have made this better. They are the drivers of 'dude food ', quickest to 'throw shade 'or 'mic drop '.