Background Examples

The Nuts & Bolts Of Essay Writing

Background Examples

Fountain pen writing

How To Start

One thing I have found in my time teaching is that students will do their best to make this paragraph as easy as possible and leave very few facts in this area. What they don’t realize is that this area is vital in making the type of broad historical connections that the rubrics are looking for. Students MUST learn to put the topic of the essay in the context of the time and place they are referring to. This process requires them to use actual facts instead of simply writing this paragraph in the easiest way possible. Below are some examples of opening paragraphs done on the Renaissance that give examples of the type of factual analysis they should be shooting for.

So How Do You Do This?

Example #1

The Renaissance gave the world so much.  We will forever be grateful for the contributions made during the Renaissance.  Europe before was so much different but due to the changes made during this time period, the world looks a lot different today.  They had amazing art that was totally different than before.  Some famous painters made works that you can still see in museums today.  Not only can you see them in museums, you can go to a park and walk by them also.  In conclusion, the Renaissance was one of the most important things to happen to the history of Western Civilization.


Teacher Interpretation

Notice this paragraph has very few solid facts. It simply bumbles through vague comments that have very little actual meaning. This tells the teacher that you have no real idea what you are talking about and are just trying to act like you have knowledge.

Example #2

The Renaissance in Italy eventually spread over Europe.  It started in Florence and it was a rebirth of Greek and Roman ideas.  People started painting human beings that actually looked like humans.  They were three-dimensional and you could see their muscles.  The sculptures of David and other religious figures looked a lot like the sculptures of the gods during the Greek times.  Leonardo da Vinciwas a famous Renaissance artist and he made the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.  You can see emotions in the Mona Lisa and you can see perspective in The Last Supper.  Overall, art during the Renaissance began looking again at styles from Greece and Rome.


Teacher Interpretation

This example has numerous facts on the era and for that reason it is much better. It is, however, very boring and doesn’t take a stand on anything (very neutral).

Example #3

During the Church-dominated Middle Ages, artistic expression took a huge step backwards and was finally saved with the rebirth of Classical ideas during the Renaissance.  From the fall of the Roman Empire until the fifteenth century, Europe fell into a Dark Era where artistic freedom was stifled by the overbearing nature of the Church.  Almost all works had a religious overtone and the figures included rarely looked realistic.  Then Europe entered the Renaissance.  Financed by patrons in Florence and the religious hierarchy in Rome, a new generation of artists began exploring the beauty of the human form.  Motivated by the ideals of humanism, a secularmovement initiated by Petrarch that rediscovered the civilizations of Greece and Rome, artists again began prioritizing the human form and implemented perspective.  Though the works continued to have a religious theme (the patrons usually demanded this), artists such as MichelangeloRafaelDonatello, and Leonardo da Vinci were free to explore their interpretation of the human story.  From Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling where the Bible stories unfold using characters with near-perfect bodies, to Raphael’s School of Athens where the greatest thinkers of all time mingle, Renaissance works showed a refocus on the glories of humans.  With these two pieces and the hundreds of others that graced the walls of merchant’s homes and the Church’s property, Europe finally emerged from an era of mundane art and entered a period of artistic freedom.


Teacher Interpretation

This paragraph takes a stand and shows solid understanding of history through facts. It is written with complex writing and shows upper level knowledge. I would immediately smile if given this and it would be a reminder of why I teach.

Copyright 2016 – Dunnings Class