The Belief Essay

From Gerald R. Lucas

Identify a traditional value or belief that has been influential in your growing up, like that “everyone should have a college education,” or “the importance of the traditional family,” or “men do certain things better then women” – introduce that value in the context of your life, then describe that value and why it is important to your life and who you are.

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In subsequent paragraphs, suggest several ways that this value limits your view and relationships with others. Draw conclusions about the importance of maintaining that value or reconsidering it based on your examination. Essentially, your essay should weigh the pros and cons of your belief and draw conclusions about the validity of that belief for your life.

This essay should have a minimum of six paragraphs, though more are certainly acceptable, and 1000 words.

The structure of your essay should follow this guideline:

  1. Title: be sure it’s catchy and descriptive
  2. Introductory paragraph: Introduce the value or belief and its importance for you and your family or community. The last sentence should contain a thesis statement that makes your position about this value clear
  3. First body paragraph: Illustrate specifically how and why this value has been and is still important in your development as a person
  4. Subsequent body paragraphs: Examine how this value has limited your outlook on life and your relationship with others
  5. Conclusion: Posit why this is value should be maintained or should be reconsidered based on your evidence in your body paragraphs

Be careful to watch your tone: you are writing an essay, not a rant or a lecture. Be sure that your essay contains all of the required parts of an essay that we have discussed in class, like the title, formatting, diction, etc.

Example

Your mother and father have always emphasized the importance of education; therefore, you have always been under the impression that college is a necessary step to being successful in life. However, you have a job or interest that doesn’t need college, or you see that college doesn’t offer a program that supports your interests, or you have never been that good in school or enthusiastic about attending. Perhaps, based on your experience, college is not right for everyone.