Writing discursive compositions (Secondary Level) (Part 8): Conclusion of discursive essays

By Patrick Tay

(To read part 7, please visit HERE.)

This is my eighth and final post on discursive writing.

Finally, we have reached the last part of this series, which discusses the appropriate creation of conclusions for discursive writings . Actually, the technique for writing these conclusions also works well for almost all types of persuasive writing.

Research has shown that introductions and conclusions are often the most crucial sections where writers are able to firmly engage and connect with their readers. This is not surprising, since our attention span are typically highest in the beginning of things, with a tendency to gradually decline over time. However, towards the end, spikes in interest are not uncommon.

“That we pay greater attention at the concluding segment of most activities can be largely attributed to the fact that most of us do place as much attention during the inception of something as we do when it concludes. Our minds seem to have a predilection for logic and structure, in the same way that individuals often look forward to visionary leaders to lead the masses with clearly-defined goal(s) – although many creatives would ,well, pretty much disagree with this. “

Nevertheless, it remains a fact that the introductory and concluding segments of most reading-based constructs (be it novels, films, presentations or music) give us the deepest of impressions and the strongest of mental imprints.

One interesting aspect of penning conclusions, or of any other type of writing, is that it can be rather confusing for some writers both young and adult. Because of the fuzzy interpretation of how endings should be conceived, they tend to replicate almost the entire introductory paragraph in the conclusion, often in the form of paraphrased words and sentences. The great variations of synonyms in the English vocabulary makes this easily achievable. Of course, it is by no means implying the language's arrangement is faulty; I strongly admire and respect the English language not only because it has successfully made its way across the world over centuries, eventually becoming the medium of global business communications, but also because its varied sentence structures and diverse vocabulary empowers its users with the means to express themselves easily and articulately.

“While the conclusion is as important as the introductory paragraph , if not more, there is no excuse to replicate everything from the introductory paragraph in the concluding segment of one’s writings (other than an attempt to summarize/highlight the mentioned argument points) – because the concluding segment is not about having a singer deliver a different rendition of the same song sung earlier in the evening, but rather an encore with one or two flashbacks. “

So, what purpose does the conclusion serve?

Most conventional schools which impart writing skills would insist that the conclusion serves to highlight what has been mentioned (ie a summary of points mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, which is great since it serves as a recap of sorts, yet this is not the most important reason for why conclusions happen). I believe such a belief must be transcended, that an effective conclusion should leave readers enlightened with various personal insights attained in proper consolidation.

Consider the example of an earlier example of gambling addiction I have highlighted in Part 7 of this series. An appropriate example of a conclusion for this subject matter would be as follows:

In conclusion, while gambling affects not only the physical and mental well-being of the gamblers, excessive indulgence usually creates a ripple effect that reverberates from the addictive habit of gambling, adversely affecting their loved ones. It is interesting to note that gambling is not an innate trait inherited at birth, that gambling addictions actually arise because of a desire for immediate "monetary victories", a basic desire arising from a fascination with the unpredictable and the intense emotions acquired from the element of surprise. Hence, to fight gambling addiction, one has to calm his/her cravings and desires, and come to terms with the fact that in life, every reward rides on the coattails of consistent effort and perseverance rather than lady luck. Just think about it: if luck really plays such a deterministic role in one's monumental achievements , then 10,000 hours would no longer be needed to groom a talent.

With this, I conclude the series on discursive writings.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts, and found them insightful.

The above post was published with the permission of English writing specialist Mr Patrick Tay. This first appeared on his BLOG.