Good Timing

Essay Section: Supporting Evidence (Transitions)

You have heard this from a driver to the other passengers in the car: “We’re making good time.” Everyone in the car understands that if an event is scheduled to start at 8:00 p.m., when the driver makes the above statement at 7:50 p.m., there is still hope of arriving on time.  “On time” means before and up to 8:00 p.m.

When your professor reads your paper, he or she will always want you to get to the point accurately and efficiently. It is understandable that sometimes you may need to prep a quote or an example. The topic sentence of a body paragraph may need two additional sentences just before you move further into the analysis.

However, this isn’t the only thing that is necessary. As you write a paper, it is always important to remember your thesis, your purpose for outlining the ideas within your paper. When you continue to present your perspectives with more examples and subsequent paragraphs (along with the perspectives of other primary and secondary sources), and you cause the professor to remember an important point so much to the point that if you don’t reiterate the significance of a major theme within an author’s work your professor will not believe you have a firm grasp of the reading, then your professor considers the point(s) you make to reflect “good timing.”

Just as John (the driver) keeps a constant eye on his watch to make sure that he and his fellow companions arrive at least by 7:50 p.m. and any other minutes before 8:00 p.m., your professor also keeps a constant eye on your understanding of how your thesis fits into every example and of how you connect your thesis with the ideas of the author you are discussing.

In other words, to present just the information without connecting ideas and perspectives does not demonstrate your ability to synthesize information. Synthesizing your analysis means piecing together essay parts and elements with the purpose and intention of forming a whole. Specifically, to present examples and/or quotes without tying them into your thesis also does not reflect an ability on your part to synthesize.

The following excerpt represents a good example of how the student pieces together and offers a perspective about the author’s ideas. Let’s examine the excerpt.

Sample Excerpt

Several critics support Gasset’s assertion. They prove with their examples, observations, and careful analysis the validity of Gassett’s view.  Serge Moscovici’s “The Age of the Crowd” looks at the crowd, or mass, as a social animal breaking its leash:  “the masses are like a heap of bricks without course or mortar, liable to collapse at the first hint of bad weather, since there is nothing to hold them together” (5).  This view is based upon the masses being followers and not leaders and it falls under the concept of mass psychology.  Mass psychology is one of two human sciences that has left its mark in history.  The term crowd, or mass, was first recognized during the French Revolution, but it wasn’t until the twentieth century that the term was given definition, scientifically collective.

Figure 37: Essay Excerpt on Ortega Y. Gasset


Timing: the pace of various scenes

First, “Good Timing” is represented in the student’s forethought in providing a definition for “mass psychology.”

Second, in the professor’s mind, this is a recall of a previous idea about Gasset’s assertion of the nature of the mass-man as a follower and not a leader; but the only difference here is that the student has tied the idea to another secondary source. In other words, the thesis and this theme of the mass-man as a follower are equally considerable and applicable in another example/context.

Timing within the context of the excerpt relates to “follow-up” and “follow-through.” Refer to the comment “Follow-Up/Follow-Through (Good/Perfect)” for an extended explanation.

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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