An illustration essay is the simplest form of argumentative essay. The point of an illustration essay is to prove that something exists. For example, a topic of an illustration essay might be sexism in the workplace. The main argument would be that sexism exists in the workplace, and illustrative examples are offered as evidence.
Choosing a topic for an illustration essay can be more difficult than it would seem. The key is to select a topic that one can argue for or against its existence. Institutional racism is a good topic for an illustrative essay because some would argue that it does not exist. However, despite its controversial nature, abortion would not be a good topic because it is plainly clear that abortions exist.
The introduction of an illustration essay should define the term using research to support the definition. It should also explain the controversy. For example, if the topic is religious discrimination in politics, the introduction should explain why some think that this discrimination does not exist or no longer exists. The thesis should clearly state that the essay will provide illustrative examples that will demonstrate that religious discrimination in politics exists.
The supporting paragraphs should each offer a separate example that demonstrates that the topic of the essay exists. When possible, it is a good idea to offer examples that illustrate different angles on the topic. For example, with the topic religious discrimination in politics, it would be wise to choose examples of politicians of different religions who were discriminated against. Use modern examples, when possible, because current examples demonstrate that the concept or problem still exist. Examples that could be used for that purpose include the discrimination that Barrack Obama experienced when he was suspected to be a Muslim, as well as the discrimination that Mitt Romney experienced as a Mormon.
These examples must be researched. It is very important to offer credible examples that are backed by sources. Anyone can make up examples or use examples that they heard about, but these imaginary examples are not seen as credible.
The conclusion of an illustration essay should summarize the term and reiterate the facts that support that the problem or concept exists. The conclusion might also offer advice to the audience about what they can do to avoid the problem. For example, the audience might avoid discriminating against a politician's religion by focusing on their records and stances on important topics instead of their personal religious beliefs.
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