Essay conclusion: The beginning of the end
Think for a moment – what made these classic movies – Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, The Usual Suspects, and Se7en – a cult favorite among movie watchers? In addition to great storylines that kept on your seat’s edge, these movies have one thing in common and that is a “mind-blowing ending. These great works of art ended up being etched in your minds forever because of the way they ended.
Now, sure there are a million other great movies. But what makes these movies stand out is the fact that they had a substantial amount of power-packed in the last few minutes. Intense and compelling, these movie endings left viewers speechless. And this is how your professors should feel after reading your essay. Speechless. Your essay’s conclusion should have the power to bring your thinking and essay’s content to end in such a way that it leaves a lasting impression.
Essay conclusions matter!
Before writing the essay conclusion, you must get to the bottom of “why am I writing this essay?”. Your essay serves a purpose. That purpose is to convince your reader so that he/she agrees to your point of view. And this convincing is not an easy task. You can get all the facts and logic right. You can do tons of research. You can go to great depths in explaining your point. But if you are not able to tie everything together in the end in a rational and systematic manner – your essay will lose its purpose and credibility.
Essay conclusions carry a heavy responsibility. The responsibility of engaging the reader, giving him/her a clear and concise explanation of your thesis statement, and bringing everything to a happy ending. Now get confused by the literal meaning of the phrase “happy ending” (and neither the double entendre). Of course, there can be nothing happy about the surging crime rates or the issue of drug abuse. But essay conclusion can serve the purpose of making the reader believe in your point of view.
If your essay’s job was to address the topic of “The increasing wage gap between men and women” , then your conclusion must have the essential elements that will make your reader (aka, your professor) AGREE with your point and be whole-heartedly CONVINCED with it.
But how do you achieve that? How can you write an essay conclusion that makes your professor go speechless? And what are these secret essential elements that you can sprinkle atop your essay to make it awe-worthy? Let us find out…
How to make your conclusion go from “meh” to “BANG!”
Give the readers a closure
Sadly enough, many dates/romantic relationships you will experience in your life will come to an end. But good for you, you can learn a ton of life lessons (and academic lessons to, mark these words) from your breakups. Every break-up advice focuses on one thing – closure. Surprisingly enough, every essay you write is like a relationship. There is research, arguments, facts, statistics, logic, and many more – all efforts poured into penning down an excellent essay. But if you don’t end it well, it might backfire in ways you couldn’t imagine.
The way your date needs to be let down easy and told things in a logical and cogent manner so does your essay needs to be concluded with a paragraph that does justice to the entire content. Let us take a look at these sample essay conclusions and analyze which one did a better job.
“Thus, in my defense, I think since there is widespread poverty in many African and Asian countries, it would be better if people could avail free healthcare services so that nobody had to die because of lack of money”.
“As clearly visible from the latest research findings published by the WHO, a significant proportion of low and middle-income countries have little to no access to quality healthcare. Amongst many other factors present in these nations, one critical reason that stands out is the high price of quality healthcare services which many are not able to afford. These expensive healthcare services comprise of providing care and protection from fatal conditions such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. And since these services remain inaccessible by many, a substantial percentage of deaths due to these conditions can be attributed to poverty. Thus, in order to improve public health, the governments in these nations must strive to provide critical healthcare at zero to negligible costs”
What the first sample tries to express in one sentence, the second succeeds in explaining cogently. If you carefully look at the 2nd sample, it states reasons; quotes statistics released by authentic bodies, adds real-life examples, and logically brings the essay to a conclusion. This paragraph doesn’t make us question the writer since he/she has provided us with closure. A peaceful closure that every essay needs.
This particular technique directs us at a very helpful life lesson – “Before you quit, remember why you started”. When writing an essay conclusion, keep this in mind. The “why” of what you started is more or less tied to your thesis statement. It is advisable to revisit your thesis statement and use it for your essay conclusion’s benefit. Restating your essay’s thesis statement in your conclusion will remind the reader of the “why” of the essay and help you convince them effectively.
Let us revisit the 2nd sample conclusion paragraph. The statement “Thus, in order to improve public health, the governments in these nations must strive to provide critical healthcare at zero to negligible costs”. This sentence hits two target points – it adds logic to why you want governments to provide affordable healthcare and also restates the thesis statement.
Going back to the roots always helps. It will help your reader pinpoint to that one idea and say “ok, this is what the essay wants to tell me”. This logical reiteration will ensure that your essay doesn’t leave people puzzled and confused and ends things in a way that reinforces your main idea.
Talk about the “big picture” stuff
Why do professors ask you to write essays? How will writing essays help you become a better lawyer or scientist? Why do college applications carry such a huge importance in determining you admit? This is because essays, in addition to expressing your thesis statement, also tell the reader what are the larger implications of your current thought-process/opinion.
This means an essay should not only be a random collection of facts and figures. These elements must be pointing to a bigger picture issue. That lends another level of sophistication and credibility to your voice. Let us take this great essay conclusion for instance:
“When I started writing this essay, I was utterly clueless. I spent numerous hours glued to the screen, trying to make half-hearted attempts at trying to pin down different stories. But what I actually ended up doing was gazing out – watching the lush meadows, the haystacks, the cattle peacefully munching on the fresh grass, and the chickadees chasing each other. My house was indeed in a state of hysteria and the lull of the impending doom was taxing. Since my parents announced their divorce, things had turned way too tumultuous. The belligerent force of uncertainties and doubts clobbered my mind and every second was spent trying to scrape through the depths of my childhood the answer to “Was this really my fault?”. Except for when I was writing. The moment I began typing words on the blank screen, things began to make sense and I was temporarily lifted from the stench of familial crisis and hoisted into the world of peace and imagination”
So, I believe I write for two reasons: to comprehend the complexities of life and to get through it peacefully.”
How does this simple essay conclusion end up being so striking? Because it connects the writer’s personal upheaval to a thing of greater implication. It takes one wandering thought and associates it to a significant life skill. This is what a great essay conclusion does. It should succeed in bringing out stark correlations between your point of view and something much larger – world hunger, global warming, immigrant situation- anything that promotes the idea that your ideas can move mountains.
“Tonight on Mythbusters”
Did you know that human beings don’t use just 10% of their brains? Also, those bulls don’t get enraged by seeing the color red? Did you also know that bats aren’t blind and that diet sodas aren’t calorie-free?
Well each one of us loves bursting the myth bubbles created by years of ignorance and acceptance of pseudo-knowledge as the truth. But why are we talking about debunking of myths here? It is because your essay conclusion can include a thing or two that shatters layers of preconceived notions and prejudices. And this will sit great with your professors (and the peer-reviewing committee) because it shows that you are not a person who likes marinating in ignorance but someone who can dare to challenge the status quo.
Let us see how debunking myths helped this particular essay conclusion stand out –
“If we take a look at the most recent statistic, it can be observed that a whopping 46% of the entire world’s diamond export is accounted by the nations of Botswana, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, and the Republic of Congo. An estimated 75% of the global platinum group metals is sourced from South Africa. Further, roughly one-fifth of the entire global gold mining is done in Ghana, Tanzania, and other neighboring countries. Thus, it would be a rather ill-informed and prejudiced notion to consider Africa to be a land of poverty. These figures clearly demonstrate that African nations hold significant financial potential and that downplaying the importance of these nations’ contribution to the global economy would be a sheer case of erroneous judgment, especially by the first world nations.”
This essay conclusion packs quite a punch in smashing the belief that African countries collectively experience insufferable poverty.
The “ mic-drop” factor
Nothing says mic-drop better than the image of Obama during the 2016 White House Correspondent’s dinner. In addition to serving a great source for countless memes and gifs, what this classic imagery does is tells us how to write better essay conclusions. If you carefully look at the Hollywood movies mentioned at the beginning (that ended up becoming massive cult favorites) , all of them were successfully able to pull off the ever-elusive “mic-drop” ending.
But what are the things that can make you actually drop the mic at the end of your essay? Let us quickly look at some tips can help you achieve this:
- Have a call-to-action – This means tell very specifically what the reader must do keeping in mind your thesis presentation. Whether they have to stop downplaying the African nation’s economic power or agree that governments should make healthcare more affordable. Be emphatic and clear in what you want your reader to believe in.
- Unexpected value – This, by any means, doesn’t mean that you introduce a new and shocking thing at the end to add the twist (in fact adding something new in the conclusion is the worst thing you can do to your essay). Unexpected value means something that shatters preconceived notions (as explained in the Mythbusters part) and something that deliberately adds value/authenticity to your words.
- Consequences – One of the best ways to convince the reader is by creating a clear picture of what the consequences might be. If you are actively advocating that governments should lower healthcare prices, you must add in a REALISTIC positive consequence of this policy change and/or a REALISTIC negative consequence if the policy is not applied soon.
Things that could ruin your essay conclusion
Enough about things that will get your essay a standing ovation at Sundance and Cannes. Now let us take a sneak peek into what you SHOULDN’T do if you want to save your essay from a dreaded grade.
- Write a conclusion that is fewer than 3 sentences.
- Restate the entire essay in a way that it looks repeated.
- Recycle the entire essay’s content to fit in the conclusion.
- Present a new idea or make a new claim
- Explain things in detail.
- Turn narrative
- Leave the reader confused as to what you were trying to express.
- End the essay abruptly.
- Forget writing the conclusion.
Essay conclusion – In a nutshell
In a nutshell, in conclusion, thus it can be concluded that – all of these are have reached the ultimate apex of “clichéd writing elements” with no scope of them ever returning back. This means, if you use them there is hardly a chance your essay receiving a decent grade. You didn’t work so hard on your essay only to have the ending spoil things for you. Be very careful in avoiding clichés and other cringe-worthy writing tools. A lot rides on ending the conclusion with the right tone and tempo. It’s a delicate balance – and all the tips that you need to do that are presented here for your convenience.
So make sure you keep the above-mentioned points as a checklist whenever you are penning down an essay.