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I hate conclusions, but one thing I know about them is that you're not supposed to introduce new arguments.

The theme of my essay is about how the class of characters in the work I'm writing about influences what happens to them, or more plainly: How class influences the situations of characters.

Would it be considered introducing a new argument in the conclusion if I wrote about the lack of social mobility and higher income inequality in the world today? Would it depend on how I stated this? I've been stuck on my conclusion for a while and would appreciate some help. If I wasn't clear enough, please tell me.

  • Is it relevant? You do not actually say, but wouldn't the topic be what the author thinks and how it is shown in the work. It might be relevant to refer to other works by the same author to show patterns and to the authors biography for explanations why the author thinks so, but I am not sure how the actual facts of social mobility or inequality would be relevant. Anyway, I think you should focus on relevance, not on whether it introduces new argument. My guess is that if you'd consider it "new argument", it probably isn't relevant. – Ville Niemi Apr 2 '17 at 22:01
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    I suggest that the topics in question (social mobility, etc.) belong very early in the essay. They are in fact the structure, upon which your subsequent discussion of the characters will be built. – user23046 Apr 2 '17 at 22:41
  • Why dont you drop that new line in main part of an essay? Then u can easily mention it on your conclusion part. – Dortmorn Sep 4 '17 at 23:42
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The conclusion of a piece should be the wrap up, or the judged reasoning of what you have come to from your analysis.

In a scientific article, the conclusion lists what the end result of the experiment was; Was the hypothesis correct? In terms of an English essay, it's similar. You don't introduce anything new - a physicist won't suddenly add new information in the conclusion, "Oh, by the way, I did this test three more times with this different liquid".

In your case, it varies. If you're introducing evidence, for example, a quote that states that there is more income equality or lack of social mobility, or discussing how the text relates to modern day issues, that is considered adding new information. However, if you are using this as our overall conclusion, for example by stating:

From [author]'s use of [techniques], it is evident that the author uses class as a signification of the lack of modern social mobility, and the higher income inequality in our world today.

In order for this to work, however, the entire piece should be written in a way that means that this conclusion can be reached. All points that you make in the essay should relate back to the idea that there is higher income inequality, and the link between the book and real life should be stated early on. For example, by stating:

The author's use of [technique] in [quote] can also be attributed to be a social commentary on our modern increasing amounts income inequality that has become prevalent in modern life.

So - ironically - in conclusion, the conclusion should be a wrap up of the entire piece that summarizes information stated before hand. It varies based on what information you're intending to use in the conclusion, however as a rule of thumb - you can always introduce the concepts early on, and carry them along as a theme for your entire piece.

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One valuable rule of persuasive writing --which includes essays --is "tell the audience what you are going to tell them [introduction], tell them [main body], then tell them what you told them [conclusion]." The reason behind it is that it can be surprisingly difficult for people to process new ideas. So a bit of targeted repetition actually helps.

If your conclusion does not match your introduction and main body, it will be unlikely to persuade people, regardless of its own merits. They may find your writing confusing and off-putting, or deceptive. Or, they might just wonder why you wasted time talking about something different, only to rush through your best argument at the last possible moment.

It sounds like the lack of social mobility is a good support to your main argument --so why not introduce it earlier? The fact that you dislike conclusions suggests that you're trying too hard to do new work in that section. If your introduction and main body are strong, the conclusion should write itself (by just reiterating them).

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Rhetorically speaking, your conclusion should not be a mere summing up of arguments already presented. Rather, it should build a rising tide of emotion and conviction to carry your reader irresistibly to act as you would have them act. The whole point of communication is to change the reader's behavior. There are no points (except in school) for following the formula. There are only points for the actual effect of your essay.

If bringing in a new argument at the end, particularly tying your argument to something the reader already knows and already feels passionately about, can help build to that great crest of conviction you are trying to achieve, then go for it.

This is not to say that you should ignore the conventional form entirely, but it is to say that the conventional form is only a form and a convention. It is doubtless based on some valid principles, but slavish adherence to the form seldom brings any work to a resounding crescendo. If the mob needs to hear one more accusation of monstrous villany before they take up their torches and pitchforks and storm the castle, by all means throw it in.

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