ENG101 - Critical Reading & Writing

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Cause & Effect (Historical Event)

Essay #4 - Survey of a Historical Event

Cause and Effect Genre

Due: November 17th at midnight - turnitin.com

Length: 1000-1200 words

Thesis: Your thesis must focus on the causes of your chosen EVENT. Please, do not choose a person or simply a holiday; you must focus on the CAUSES/EFFECTS of an EVENT.

Sample Intro/Thesis: During the time of the Black Death, many believed that the plague was caused by the sin of mankind — that somehow this pestilence was divine retribution for the people’s wrongdoings. It wasn’t until centuries had passed that the true causes of Europe’s significant loss of life during the 1300s was actually proven. As science later affirmed, infectious fleas which bit filthy rats and thereby transmitted a virus named Yersinia pestis which flourished in unsanitary environments, caused the rampant death of thousands across Europe during the 14th Century. (CAUSAL CHAIN THESIS - ONE EXAMPLE ONLY)

Flexibility: You may discuss immediate causes, remote causes, main causes, and contributing causes, as your Norton Sampler has defined. You can incorporate a causal chain into your thesis (like my example). You can refute a former believed “Main Cause,” and purport what you believe (and for which you have evidence) is truly the Main Cause. However: all thesis statements must be approved by me before you begin.

Structure: Abide by HOT MEAL 1,2 format.

Introduction (HOT): H- Hook (strong statement, question, shocking statistic, anecdote); O - Offer your Background/Bridge to thesis (give background info on your chosen event /condition that links your hook to your thesis logically; T - Thesis (This is your argument: What causes are you claiming led to your topic? Be sure there are at least three that become your body paragraph topics.)

Body Paragraphs (MEAL at least 3x): M - main idea (topic sentence); E - evidence: Each paragraph must include hard evidence from your research. You must integrate at least one quote that substantiates your argument into each body paragraph, and cite each properly in MLA format. A - Be sure to Analyze your Evidence thoroughly (explain it). L - link (Provide a concluding sentence that links back to your main idea/topic sentence, or links back to your thesis.)

Conclusion (1,2):

  1. Restate your thesis IN DIFFERENT WORDS.
  2. Address what significant EFFECT your chosen event has had on people, countries, or the world. This is a very straightforward answer to the “Greater Significance” potion of your conclusion.

Resources and Works Cited

  1. 1. You must have four works actually “cited” - integrated properly into your writing - (no cold quotes) and recorded properly using MLA format.
  2. 2. One of these may be determined by you (as long as it is CREDIBLE), the other three must be from JStor and/or Galileo.
  3. 3. You must have at least four integrated quotes reflecting these four sources ideally spread evenly throughout your essay.

4. You must have your final page of your essay be a Works Cited page.


  1. 1. Sophisticate your style with strong verbs and a variety of sentence openers. (At lest two non-subject sentence openers per paragraph -- GREEN FONT)
  2. 2. Use at least three literary devices that we have studied to substantiate your thesis. RED FONT.
  3. 3. Use description (at least two senses - BLUE FONT) in your introduction to describe your event.
  4. 4. Employ at least two of the three rhetorical devices (ORANGE FONT).


  1. Descriptive Language: My introduction describes the Black Death using visual, aural, and olfactory senses: “The cries of women and the wails of children permeated the streets as the bodies of their beloved were carried away from homes and dumped in smoldering ash heaps outside the villages. The stench of death - of rotting carcasses and of disease - was ubiquitous.
  2. Biblical Allusion: In my introduction, I might reference Egypt's plagues due to Pharoah's sin.  
  3. Logos (Rhetoric): I prove my point in Body Paragraph #3 when I stipulate that unsanitary conditions gave rise to the spread of infection and then provide evidence of these conditions by referencing raw sewage in the streets.


An “A” paper will be free from mechanical errors. A few typos may slide, but grammatical errors need to be eradicated. Be sure to proofread your paper.


/25 Content: quality of thesis, quality of evidence to support it, quality of sources

/25 Structure: HOT MEAL format & transitions b/w paragraphs

/25 Style: Stylistic inclusions reference above

/25 Mechanics: MLA format (including Works Cited), and grammatical correctness