How would I write an essay on the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre?

Expert Answers

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An essay needs to be researched and present a thesis which is defended throughout the body of the work.  The internet provides a wealth of information concerning the tragedy which occurred in 1989.  Many of the news articles from the time period are available online.  Libraries often have older publications on microfilm or microfiche as well.  The research portion of the work (tracking down reputable sources) often takes the longest.  Sources such as Wikipedia or blogs should not be used as direct references, but can point towards additional leads of interest.

The Ecole Polytechnique Massacre, also known as the Montreal Massacre, occurred in December 1989.  Marc Lepine entered the engineering school and began killing women.  Lepine killed fourteen young women at the school because they dared to attend the school.  He ended the spree by killing himself.

The essay should introduce the incident and present the thesis of the work.  There are several arguments surrounding the event which mirror similar events that occur today.  You could argue Lepine created the blueprint for school mass shootings or address the similarities between that attack and those that still occur.  Why haven't more safety measures been put into place?

The body of the essay needs to provide additional details of the event.  A brief biography of Lepine can be included to help the reader understand his motives.  The body is where you support your thesis with facts.  A well-rounded essay will also present information contrary to the thesis in a paragraph with a counterargument.  Finally, the essay should be concluded with a paragraph summarizing the argument with a decisive statement.  The statement should be a confirmation of the thesis.

Some questions you may want to address in the essay include:

  • Who was Marc Lepine?
  • What were his motives?
  • Compare/contrast the massacre with others (Columbine, Virginia Tech)
  • How could it have been prevented?  Did law enforcement learn anything about school safety?
  • What do survivors think about it?
  • What failures led to the massacre?  Could it have been prevented?
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