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Cause and Effect Essay

Page history last edited by David Hodges 11 years, 11 months ago


Considering Your Purpose and Your Audience

     Your textbook says the main purpose of a cause-and-effect essay is to explain to your audience the cause of a situation, or its effects, or sometimes both.

     I’ve highlighted the most important words in that sentence.

     It’s easy to forget that when we write, we write to an audience. We tend to think we are writing for everyone, but the easiest way to convince nobody of anything is to try to convince everybody of everything. As beginning writers in a new language, you need extra practice targeting your writing to an audience.

     For your Cause/Effect essay, you will write to a particular person. That particular person is Roger Wilkins, the author of "I Became Her Target." Furthermore, you will be a particular person. That person is Dorothy "Deadeye" Bean.

     The situation is the classroom where Roger tried to make friends from his lonely minority status. The event is the throwing of the gum eraser, the event that gave his teacher the nickname "Deadeye." What caused this event? What were its effects? Did Dorothy Bean anticipate what a profound effect this simple act would have on Roger's life? What sort of person does such a thing? These questions of intention, of motivation, of personality are questions we try to answer in a good Cause and Effect essay.


     We could answer from our own perspective as readers of Roger Wilkins' essay. We could try to explain the event to a room full of literature students, or a kindergarten class, or to the readers of a psychology journal. In each case, we would change our arguments to fit our audience. 

     But not for this assignment! For this assignment, you don't get to choose. For this assignment, you are Dorothy "Deadeye" Bean, many years after the eraser-throwing event, and your audience is a grown up Roger Wilkins.

     Decide for yourself how Bean would explain to Wilkins why she threw that eraser. Then, in 5 paragraphs (or more if you're ambitious), using the first person, in Dorothy Bean's voice, explain your reasons to Roger Wilkins.


ASSIGNMENT: 5 Paragraph Cause and Effect Essay

TOPIC: Why Dorothy Bean threw the gum eraser and Roger Wilkins

PERSPECTIVE: Write from the point-of-view of Dorothy Bean

AUDIENCE: Write your essay directly to Roger Wilkins

SAMPLE FIRST SENTENCE:Roger, I've always wanted to explain why I threw that eraser at you.


QUESTIONS? The best policy is to ask your questions in the "Add a Comment" field below. That way, you classmates can benefit from the conversation you and your professor have here on this page!

EARLY FEEDBACK? You may email me an early draft.


NEED TO SEE A SAMPLE?  I just finished it. Here's the LINK. Sample Cause and Effect Essay

Comments (13)

venkatesh said

at 12:47 pm on Feb 3, 2010

Thank you, prof.Hodges, we are looking forward for the sample essay - but pls make sure to use less causes and effects, so still there will be somethings for us to include, Prof.

David Hodges said

at 1:23 pm on Feb 3, 2010

Yes, Venkatesh. I didn't use any of your causes and effects. Instead, I wrote a sample responding to another essay with which you're familiar.

fatimazahra said

at 2:03 pm on Feb 3, 2010

thanks Mr.hodges ,I can use the ideas from the essay that we have in the book or i have write my own ideas .

nidhi said

at 4:09 pm on Feb 3, 2010

hi, Prof. i am so confused for this easy. i mean for this topic..... i know that we have to use ideas form book but can we add something else to this idea too???????

David Hodges said

at 5:08 pm on Feb 3, 2010

Yes, fatimazahra, and nidhi, I want your ideas. You can express any explanation that makes sense coming from Dorothy Bean. If you read the Sample Cause and Effect Essay, you 'll see that Lupe Quintanilla's principal gives Lupe all kinds of information and explanations that don't come from the essay. What he says makes sense, though, and is consistent with the rest of "The Professor Is a Dropout." Does that help?

nidhi said

at 6:58 pm on Feb 3, 2010

i guess... i hope it does and we don't have that much time for this easy.... But thank you...

Trupti patel said

at 9:07 pm on Feb 3, 2010

Mr Hodges, can you answer my question? I have question how many cuase do we need to write to explain to you in eassay

Trupti patel said

at 9:17 pm on Feb 3, 2010

oh i got it proffser... ok i read that sample now i got it how should i write an eassay

Mohamed Tidiane Fofana said

at 4:33 pm on Feb 5, 2010

Hello Mr Hodges. I read the sample and I think it gave me some good clues about what I have to write about. I was really confused about this essay. Thanks.

David Hodges said

at 8:09 pm on Feb 5, 2010

That makes me very happy, Mohamed. I will always try to provide you what you need to succeed. (Of course, you'll have to do the work yourself!) Thanks for letting me know.

venkatesh said

at 11:15 pm on Feb 7, 2010

hi, Prof.Hodges. i have already email you the first draft of the Essay writing as a word attachment. let me know if i have to correct many things !!!..
do i have to take a print out of the first draft and bring it to you tomorrow for the class. your kind guidance required Prof.

David Hodges said

at 5:28 am on Feb 8, 2010

I am sorry, Venkatesh. I was unable to provide you an early reading. There is no specific deadline for requesting early feedback for essays, but 12 hours before the paper is due will always be too late.

You asked very politely and I always want to provide "kind guidance" when I can. Thank you for that. Do your best work, Venkatesh and I'll guide you the best I can for your rewrite.

venkatesh said

at 9:58 pm on Feb 8, 2010

Thanks for your Help, prof.Hodges

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