• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Want to get organized in 2022? Let Dokkio put your cloud files (Drive, Dropbox, and Slack and Gmail attachments) and documents (Google Docs, Sheets, and Notion) in order. Try Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) for free. Available on the web, Mac, and Windows.


Sample Cause and Effect Essay

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


Because I want you to have the tools

          The following is an example of a Cause and Effect essay of the type I want you to write for MON FEB 08. The sample is based on Beth Johnson's "The Professor Is a Dropout," an essay with which you are very familiar.

          As I have assigned you to do in your Cause and Effect essay, the author of this sample has written from the point of view of a character in the essay, in this case the principal of Lupe Quintanilla's school in Texas. It has been years since the principal and Lupe's teacher shouted at Lupe in the principal's office and both their lives have changed. As you know, Lupe's changed quite dramatically once she got out of grade school! 

          Also, this sample addresses just one person, Lupe Quintanilla. In the essay, the principal tries to explain why he and the teacher acted as they did. In other words, he explains the causes for the effect.

         Therefore, the essay fulfills the requirements of the assignment: 1) Its form is cause and effect; 2) It is written from the point of view of a character in the essay; 3) It addresses a very specific audience, also a character in the essay.


Why Spanish Frightened Us

          Lupe, I have a confession to make. When you were just a child of 12, and I was already an adult responsible for an entire school of children, you terrified me. You terrifed your teachers too. You terrified us all.

          For our whole lives, we adults had grown up thinking that America was a country of just one color, a country of just one language and religion, a country where we were the only people who mattered. We looked around our Texas towns and everybody looked like us, talked like us, worshipped as we did, married other white people in Christian churches, and raised American families.

          Small and fragile as you were, a Mexican girl in our classroom of American kids was difficult for us to comprehend, let alone accept. You were alien to our understanding, and we were afraid of what we didn't understand. Your differences felt like a threat to our comfortable, perfectly predictable way of life.

          The day your teacher heard you speaking Spanish to a Mexican man in the hallway of our all Anglo school, you might as well have been launching an invasion from a foreign power. It felt like an attack. It shames me now to say so, but we reacted defensively—stupidly, I know—to protect our most precious values.

          I see on the news that you have been named to the White House Commission on Hispanic Education. As your former principal, I should be proud today that one of our students has accomplished so much. Instead, I am humiliated that we treated you so poorly while you were in our care. It's taken me 20 years to learn to value the contributions of immigrants like yourself, Doctor Quintanilla. You see, of the two of us, I'm truly the slow learner.


A note on content

     One more thing about this essay: it doesn't have to tell the whole story. Unlike a literary analysis for an audience that might not know the story well, this essay has only one reader, Lupe Quintanilla, and she knows the story from her personal experience. So, audience determines not only how the essay is written, but also its content.

Comments (2)

salena said

at 3:12 am on Feb 8, 2010

Roger Wilkins,i have to admit you something. Actually whatever i did that time with you it because just to bring you back right truck thats all. I was your teacher named Dorothy, might be you can recognize me"Deadeye" Bean.

I knew what happened with a new comer student and you was black.We did not learn how to do warm welcome with black
people,eventhough we try to figure it out how to neglect them.Your neighbor already did make the problem and you ought to go
back where you belonged. And you already felt ashamed for being dofferent. You was disadvantaged. Rest of the classmates
didnot want to talk with you.

I always thought Negroes were equal to me. Thats why i wanted to make you ready for that situation. I knew you have to fight
with the "bigoted culture" for this reason i did make you cleanedup the girls mess and read 1 hour in the whole class.

one more thing i always tried to ask you about something in response the other classmate never bungledoa your answerthat
before they did. I did keep asking you question therefore you got the confidence iwanted that. I did make you dirty job(clean
girls mess) as a consequence you got self-confidence. I had you give opinion about anything so you got something in your inside
(might be selfmotivated) you could give the opinion wheather it rihgt or wrong. I knew that if i did not do those things you never
be watch out for as a result you get ahead. I did one thing too i threw eraser at you and you did goog return.

finally,whatever i did with you, i never deplored it. If i did not do with you ,you would be neglected evevywhere. I am happy to
read about you now. You also agree with me,my requried to make you aswer the questions made you more sensible and
confident.I tried to figured it out what was your problem and i try to make you up.I could therefore i am happy.Godbless you.
Take care

David Hodges said

at 5:42 am on Feb 8, 2010

Thank you for posting your essay here, Salena. Just to be clear, I don't expect anybody else to do this. Probably you've done this because you're still recuperating from your hospital visit and expect to miss class today. If so, I appreciate that you're submitting your essay before the deadline.

The wiki is a good place for discussions. It's also the right place to complete your Reading Assignments. But I want you to submit essays on paper in class the day they're due. You can also email me your essays as Word attachments, if that works better for you.

Thanks again!

You don't have permission to comment on this page.