Understanding the body

To convince the reader of your point of view (main point / theme / thesis statement), the body of your essay needs a clear structure and shape. You have to present your information in a concise, logical manner.

The body of the essay is made up of a number of paragraphs. Generally, each paragraph should address a specific issue and include:

  1. An introductory sentence
  2. Supporting information
  3. A linking sentence 

Still thinking about the question: “Discuss the influence of celebrity culture on mainstream culture”, you might decide that celebrities have a negative influence on the rest of us and look at the issues of: body image, the role of the media, drugs and alcohol and individualism.

Your paragraph on body image might look like this (this is a fictional example, so don’t go looking for the sources I quote... I made them up!): 

“Modern celebrities are obsessed with body image” (Smith, 2000, p. 175). This obsession is contributing to the negative influence celebrities have on non-celebrities as Hollywood glamorises anorexia to the point where it is considered normal behaviour.  The Jones Report stated that over 70% of Hollywood actresses and 12% of Hollywood actors have been diagnosed with anorexia (2004). Anorexia is a mental health condition and celebrity behaviours that characterise anorexia are well documented in the United States (Hall, Sinclare and Roberts, 2009; Zimmernam, 2006) and Europe (Kress, 2008). In one qualitative study, a participant confirmed: “If you were caught having anything more than coffee and cigarettes for breakfast on the Boulevard, you’d be ... well, it’s just weird to eat in public” (Zimmernam, 2006, p. 17). Despite rates of anorexia consistently on the rise in Western countries (TDDR, 2008), popular media reports continue to support being thin as fashionable and desirable.

In this paragraph, I’ve:

  • Addressed the topic by opening with a direct quote (“Modern celebrities are obsessed with body image”).
  • Clearly stated my position (Hollywood glamorises anorexia to the point where it is considered normal behaviour).
  • Backed up my position by providing convincing evidence to the reader to show why I think the way I do on the topic (The Jones Report).
  • Presented the information in a way that will influence the reader to think the same way I do by using research and persuasive terms like “well documented” and “participant confirmed”.
  • And to lead onto the next topic (popular media reports) to keep the reader’s interest piqued.