The “Reverse Funnel” Concluding Paragraph

H o w    t o    W r i t e    a    C o n c l u s i o n    P a r a g r a p h *

your thesis in
a single sentence.

Restate the main ideas
of your essay. Draw connections
between them, showing how they work
together to prove your thesis (3-6 sentences).

Draw conclusions. Expand on the ideas in your essay.
Show your readers why your essay matters by connecting to
larger themes in the novel or in real life. You might choose to mirror
your introduction: if you summarized the beginning of the novel, now summarize the end (in a way relevant to your paper, of course). If you described a character at the beginning of the novel, now describe the character at the end. If you began your essay by connecting to the world, connect back to the world in your conclusion paragraph (3-6 sentences).

PLEASE AVOID beginning your concluding paragraph with a sentence that starts with “In conclusion…” – it is uninteresting and gets used far, far too often.

Sample “reverse funnel” conclusion paragraph:

Tim O’Brien uses Mary Anne Bell’s as a representation of the changes soldiers make when they go to war. Her drastic change from her arrival as a pretty, innocent woman to a soldier who loses herself completely to war shows that war is a difficult environment to adapt to. As he shows in various other chapters, Mary Anne’s transformation is not unique. Typically, soldiers who come back from war experience a similar transformation, where they find their own world and their own experiences no longer seem familiar to themselves. It is difficult for them to first adapt to a life of war and then to adapt back to a normal lifestyle. Those adaptations, according to O’Brien, are where soldiers find the true tragedies of wartime.


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