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In the composition of essays, narratives, analyses, dissertations, etc., support and elaboration are essential in order to develop the main points of the work. Without elaboration, the support of the points of a composition are not explained or illustrated as they should be for understanding; consequently, the veracity and validity of the written work is greatly compromised.

According to Learn NC, two elements are necessary in elaboration: sufficiency and relatedness:

  • Sufficiency - There must be enough detail; in addition, the details need to be adequate and offer strong support.
  • Relatedness - The details that are used must be relevant to the support for the topic sentence. They also should be strong, substantial points. 


For the purpose of illustrating what is meant, suppose a student must write on the following topic: 

*Valuable Lessons That Scout and Jem Learned in To Kill a Mockingbird

After writing the introduction that ends with the thesis statement and its blueprint (the points that will become topic sentences), the student will need, then, to write the body of the essay. So, a topic sentence is composed from the first point of the blue print, which could be not to prejudge people.

  • Topic Sentence:

In her interpersonal relations, Scout has learned that she must
not  pre-judge people; instead, she should try to
figuratively "climb into his skin and walk around in it." 

Now, to support this topic sentence, the writer can use pertinent incidents from the narrative to support the point of not pre-judging, but being objective. 

  • Support:

--At first, the children's perception of Boo Radley is generated from rumor and fears, but after they learn more about Boo, and Scout stands on his porch in the last chapter reflecting upon her experiences, she has "climbed into his skin." 

(Next, this support needs elaboration; that is, writing that is rich in detail.)

  • Elaboration:

--Early in the narrative, Scout points to the Radley house as containing within it a "haint," or a "malevolent phantom." One winter, for example, when the azaleas froze in an unusual drop in temperature for southern Alabama, people maintained that Boo Radley had breathed on them. Or, whenever small, stealthy crimes were committed in the town, these acts were attributed to Boo Radley. In another instance, when a series of bizarre acts in the night were committed, acts that mutilated people's chickens and pets, these happenings were blamed on Boo Radley.
   But, after Scout and Jem experience Boo's kind gestures of mending Jem's pants that he tears on the Radley fence and placing little "gifts" in the knothole of the Radley's tree which the children pass on their way home, they learn that Boo is really a thoughtful person. Later on, Boo's valiant act of rescuing Jem from the murderous hold of Bob Ewell teaches the children what a brave and kind person Arthur Radley truly is.

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