While there are a number of sources which provide instructions on how to write essays, there is an excellent blueprint for essays that also works well for responses for essay questions on exams. This source is The Practical Writer. In this handbook there is a blueprint for the essay of five paragraphs:
Paragraph 1: Introduction
- Motivator - This is the beginning of the introductory paragraph; it is often also referred to as a hook, something that will engage the curiosity of the reader, or motivate the reader to want to know more. This can be a pulled quotation from a text that you write about, or an observation, or even a question to pique the reader's interest.
- Thesis Statement - This is a general statement of what the essay is about.
- Blueprint - This is composed of 3 main points that will develop the thesis statement. Each point will be put as a topic sentence for the body paragraphs.
Paragraphs 2,3,and 4 - These are the body paragraphs that will develop the points made in the Blueprint. Supporting details for the topic sentences are what is needed in these paragraphs; these are ideas and details pulled from the text. Transitions help connect ideas.
Paragraph 5 - This is the conclusion, which is simply a re-wording of the thesis statement or sentence, followed by what is called a "clincher," a thought-provoking idea that expands upon the thesis of the writer of the essay.
With regard to The Boy With the Striped Pajamas, a thesis could be a statement of how much Bruno learns from Schmuel and gains from their friendship despite what becomes of them.
Source: Bailey, Edward P., and Powell, eds. The Practical Writer with Readings. New York: Harcourt Jovanovich College Publishers, 2011