How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay in Classic English Literature

Writing guide
Posted on September 21, 2020

Cause and effect essays are common assignments in many subjects, including classic literature. The purpose of writing such academic papers is to analyze the chain of events and actions and try to find links between them. This type of writing requires strong analytical and critical thinking skills and can be challenging for beginners. But the good news is that you can learn to write effective cause and effect papers, if you follow certain logical steps to organize your work.

In this article, you’ll find all the necessary information on how to organize the process of writing a cause and effect essay in classic English Literature. Besides, we’ll give you 15 interesting cause and effect essay topics and some useful editing and proofreading tips. If you need advice on how to write other types of academic papers, at our website, you can find lots of full guides to all writing assignments out there. As an option, we have essay writers for hire who can help with your papers.

What Is Cause and Effect Essay in Classic English Literature?

Cause and effect essays in classic English literature examine and explain how and why things happen. The purpose of writing such type of papers is to determine how certain phenomena are related. You need to discover the causes of something and resultantly to find out the effects. Typically, you need to explore both causes and effects in your entire essay. But sometimes, when writing a more concise essay, you may need to explore only the causes of something or only the effects of something.

Cause and effect essays in classic English literature can be subdivided into 2 types. You can examine how different multiple causes lead to a single effect or you can explain how one large cause leads to several effects. As to your essay’s organization, you can present different causes and effects either in chronological order or in reverse chronological order. Besides, you can present the points of your argument from least important to most important or vice verso.

How to Choose an Interesting Cause and Effect Essay Topic in Literature

When choosing a topic for a cause and effect essay in classic English literature, you should keep in mind that your topic must be relevant to some aspect of the course. You should pick a subject that you are interested in because it’s always easier to write on something you care about. Besides, you should select a topic that is relevant to the length of your essay – it shouldn’t be too broad or too narrow.

Cause and effect papers require analysis and discussion so you should think about some events, phenomena or processes that can lead to a reasonable thesis. For a short essay, it’s quite reasonable to select a topic that is a single idea and then decide whether it’s better to analyze it as a cause or as an effect. If you don’t know of what to write about, take a look at these interesting essay topic ideas and feel free to use any of them for writing your own academic papers.

  • Influence of Money on Interpersonal Relationships in Jane Austin’s Northanger Abby;
  • Influence of Gothic Elements on the Development of the Plot in The Picture of Dorian Grey;
  • Why Is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein So Relevant Today? Discuss the Novel’s Impact on Literature and the Pursuit of Scientific Knowledge;
  • Historical and Literary Background That Influenced Orwell’s Animal Farm;
  • What Were the Material Causes of the Rise of Romanticism Movement?
  • Why Was Death One of the Main Themes of Romantic Poetry?
  • Impact of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels on Modern Science, Culture, and Satire;
  • Why Is Vanity Fair a Novel without Hero?
  • Analyze How Cultural Context Influenced Plot and Character Development in Shakespeare’s Othello;
  • Why Is Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre Considered a Classic Novel with an Erotic Twist?
  • What Might Have Influenced William Shakespeare to Write The Tempest? Explain the Historical and Literary Context;
  • What Makes Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson a Classic Book of Lifetime?
  • Analyze Historical and Cultural Context of Thomas Hardy’s Novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles;
  • Why Is Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights Is Often Considered the Most Haunting and Tormented Love Story Ever Written?
  • What Were Shakespeare’s Plays Inspired By and What Was His Impact on Theatre and Literature?

When you have picked an essay topic, it’s critical to do a thorough research and gather enough material to present a convincing argument and support it with relevant details, examples, and quotes. You should also make the list of all possible causes and discover all the possible effects but you should limit a discussion in your paper to the most important ones.

How to Structure a Cause and Effect Essay

There are 2 types of structures that can be used in writing cause and effect papers in classic English literature – the chain structure and the block structure.

  • In case of the block structure, you need to outline all your causes first and then discuss all the effects.
  • If you choose the chain structure, you need to discuss the corresponding effect after each cause.

Both methods have their advantages. The block structure is often used for organizing shorter essays because it is clearer while the chain structure works well in longer papers when there is a need to relate each effect directly to a specific cause.

No matter which type of structure you choose, it’s important to explain each element of your paper fully and completely and show complex relationships between them. That’s why you need to create a detailed outline. Start with formulating a thesis statement and introduce the main idea that you are going to discuss in terms of cause and effect. Make sure that your thesis statement is highly specific and makes a claim, directly answering your essay question, because your task is to convince your readers of your point of view. For example, when writing about impact of Shakespeare on modern literature, your thesis statement may look like this one:

‘William Shakespeare has a profound influence on the world literature and theatre by writing on basic human themes and universal problems and developing storytelling techniques that resonate with audiences because they are full of deep emotions and exciting adventures.’

Then you should think of how you’ll back up your thesis with necessary details to prove your points. You can organize your supporting points in the chronological order or based on category or on level of importance. A good outline will help you plan your essay before you begin to write. It ensures that your argument is reasoned and coherent and that it focuses on your thesis and your essay question.

Writing a Cause and Effect Essay in Classic English Literature

A college-level cause and effect essay should be written in a formal style. You need to present arguments and interpret valid facts and other evidence to support or refute them, organizing your ideas into a coherent and logically appropriate form. The structure of a cause and effect essay in literature has to include 3 basic parts – an introduction, main body, and a conclusion. Let’s discuss how to write each of them.

Writing an Introduction

A good engaging introduction is crucial for the success of any paper. You need to introduce your topic and inform your audience of what they should expect from your piece of writing. You may also provide relevant background information about the topic of your discussion and define some complex or potentially ambiguous terms. Besides, you can speak about the significance of your topic. End the introductory paragraph with a strong thesis statement and briefly outline causes and effects. Don’t make your introduction too long.

Writing Body Paragraphs

In this part of your cause and effect essay, you need to argue your thesis statement. It’s necessary to provide a lot of details to support your point of view. Don’t just list information. Instead, you have to give analysis of how your information fits together and comment on the most important aspects. The success of your paper depends on its logical development, clear and convincing language, and highly specific evidence.

Address each cause and effect in a separate paragraph.

  • Start every paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces your point.
  • Then give explanations and provide evidence to support the topic sentence.
  • You should also illustrate your points with relevant facts and examples.
  • End each paragraph with a concluding sentence that summarizes the information and includes links to the next paragraph.

Use cause and effect transition words that show connections between different events and conditions. They help organize your ideas and make it easier for your audience to follow your argument and understand your logic. Make it clear where you are speaking about the cause and where you are explaining the effect. You should use such signal words and phrases as due to, because, since, as a result, hence, therefore, consequently, thus, owing to etc. to demonstrate causal and effect relationships between your ideas.

Don’t include unsupported generalizations. Always give evidence to illustrate specific issues or particular points about literary texts. Sometimes, you may even need to explain how certain evidence supports your ideas. Use quotes from secondary resources sparingly because the purpose of your paper is to present your own thinking about certain issues or specific literary texts. Make sure you use proper references when you use direct quotes or paraphrases someone else’s ideas to avoid plagiarism.

Writing a Conclusion

In the conclusion, you have to wrap up your discussion and reinforce your thesis statement. Your task is to leave the audience with a clear understanding of the relationship that you have analyzed. Don’t just summarize your key points but show your readers how they all fit together. You may revisit your original research questions and speak about its significance. Besides, you may also mention the limitations of your work and make suggestions about the further research. You should avoid introducing new ideas or subtopics in this part of your paper.

Edit and Proofread Your Cause and Effect Essay in Classic English Literature

When you finish your first draft, don’t start to revise and edit it at once. You should put it aside for a few days. In this way, you’ll avoid the writer’s blindness and will be able to look at your work with absolutely fresh eyes. Don’t panic if you notice that your draft is far from perfect. You can dramatically improve it by careful revising and editing so keep calm and focus on fixing the problems.

Reread your draft and edit it on several levels. You will need to make significant revisions of the content and word choice.

  • Check the content and make sure your argument is complete, all your claims are consistent, and each point is supported with relevant evidence.
  • Check the overall structure of your essay and make sure that your essay has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion and that all paragraphs are arranged logically with clear transitions between them.
  • Check each paragraph to ensure that it sticks to one main idea which is related to your thesis.
  • Revise all your sentences and make sure that the meaning of each of them is clear and that you use appropriate words to express your ideas.
  • Check the style. Make sure you have used the appropriate formal and persuasive tone. Check whether your sentences vary in length and structure. Eliminate the excessive use of the passive voice.
  • Check citations to ensure that they are consistent and follow the correct format.

Finally, you’ll need to proofread your cause and effect essay and fix minor grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors and typos. Don’t rely entirely on spelling and grammar checkers because they can’t identify all mistakes. Read your essay out loud several times and focus only on one type of error at a time. A good idea is to read the essay backwards sentence by sentence because in this way, you’ll avoid being distracted by issues in the content.

We have discussed all the key steps in writing a cause and effect essay in classic English literature. Follow them and you’ll increase your chances to cope with this arduous task successfully. Use our guide to complete a powerful essay that will make a great impression on your instructor and get you a high grade.

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