The Five Paragraph Essay
Today I had lunch with a former student who expected to pick up a letter of recommendation from me. I knew he needed a letter, but didn’t realize is deadline until I asked when he needed the letter. After lunch, I began to whip out the letter which was easy to write because it was not the first letter I had written for him.
As I was writing, I realized that I had immediately fallen into the five paragraph essay format. I had an introductory paragraph that set up the three body paragraphs. Then there was a conclusion.
I often tell students that the five paragraph essay format is not elegant, but it is functional. And, if they are under pressure, that is the way to write quickly. I guess that I have internalized that idea. More importantly, the format got me out of a jam by allowing me to quickly write a decent letter of reference for a very good student.
Sally wrote, “Eric [her son] sent this to me. Take a minute and look. It’s funny, but also a pretty good statement about perspective … Enjoy!”