Makes No Sense

Essay Section: Thesis

The general rule concerning any idea you attempt to present is the expression must be clearly outlined and clearly expressed. In any conversation with a friend, if your friend doesn’t understand what you are talking about, he or she will say, “That makes no sense.”  Now insert “me” into the statement: “That makes no sense to me.” What does this type of statement imply?

Typically, when a person makes this statement, he or she is saying that what you say or have written lacks some form of logic or something crucial has been left out; in other words, the expression, whether spoken or written, isn’t comprehensible. It isn’t clearly deducible or discernible. The senses (your senses) can’t detect the expression’s quality, its nature, its boundary, where it originates, or its connection to anything.

Everything and every statement you write in a paper must connect, must correlate. Your ideas must relate and have a relation.  It is not enough to make a statement without adding some support to validate the statement. In the case of writing a paper and incorporating a quote into the middle of an expression, or just incorporating textual evidence, determine its significance, its location and its “fitness.”

What significance does it have to your overall theme? In other words, what is the purpose of including the quote? What purpose will it serve? Let’s review an excerpt.

Sample Excerpt

Petruchio must command his authority as husband early.  He states, “. . . I will be master of what is mine own.  She is my goods, my chattels; [s]he is my house,/ My household stuff, my field, my barn,/ My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything . . .” (III.ii.218-21). . . . So, Petruchio exacts his respect early from Kate.  His actions are based on the precept that “. . . the wife . . . is under covert or obedience of her husband” (Homily 177).  The wife must obey her husband and honor his requests.  As she honors him, she honors God; it must also be her desire to strive for peace within the home.  This is why Petruchio takes his position as head in exacting peace before and after they arrive home.  “For . . . it is a token of womanish cowardness . . .” to not be master, to not “possess” what is rightfully, under the law, his (Homily 175, 179).  Petruchio doesn’t say in general terms that Kate is just his wife.  He defines Kate and the role or roles she must play.  He defines her identity, her communication, and her ideals.  Before they leave, she states, “I see a woman may be made a fool/ If she had not a spirit to resist” (III.ii.209-10).

Figure 21: Essay Excerpt on Petruchio, The Taming of the Shrew


1) How does Petruchio command authority?

2) Why is Kate itemized?

3) What does this signify?

4) How does one exact respect? Exact peace?

5) What relation does the quote have to the listing of things?

6) How do we, as the readers, know that when a wife honors her husband she honors God?

7) What in-text evidence can we rely upon to justify this assumption?

8) In what context does the Homily suggest that “it is a token of womanish cowardness . . .” to not be master, to not “possess” what is rightfully, under the law, his?


Although the paragraph focuses on Petruchio’s one view, the paragraph is in fact a representation of many ideas and various themes that lack connection.


In reading the excerpt and evaluating the questions, we find that the student begins with one idea (how Petruchio views Kate as a possession) but ends with a number of unrelated ideas. The most important thing to remember when presenting, comparing, and contrasting ideas is to explain the relation. In the same way that your friend asks what, why, who, where, when, how, in what way, and for what reason, your professor is no different.

In a conversation, your friend forces you to explain what something is and what relation it has to something else. Your friend sits right in front of you and confronts you directly. You can’t go anywhere. If you are a girl talking to your friend girl, then you know that she won’t let you relax until you tell her the whole story.

Now think of your professor in the very same way. You are in conversation with your professor; and your professor continues to ask you questions through grading and writing marks on your paper such as “explain” and “What is the parallel here?” Until you answer all of the questions in the paper, your professor won’t let you go.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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