How to Write an Essay Using USA Hero

by Don Jones

A young student wrote to me asking if I could give some advice on writing essays. The following is part of the email that I wrote back. I thought maybe some other students would like to use it as a guide in writing essays. It can be used as a general format for essays no matter what grade you are in but a teacher will expect a lot more in an essay if you are in the higher grade levels or university.

Remember, you can use the sentences I have on my hero pages but try to change the wording just a bit. These are meant to be topic sentences giving the person reading your essay an idea of what the paragraph might be about.  Do some research on the links that I provide you just below the list of sentences I have about the hero. Use a browser with tabs and open all the reference link pages so you can flip from one web page to another to get information. If a link does not open or does not give you information related to your hero, please let me know.

When I write an essay on a hero, I usually use four sections: Introduction, Early Life, The Career, and Conclusion. I use those as the main titles for each section and then write my paragraphs under each title.

Introduction - Most of the time, this could be just one paragraph or two at the most. Here you would write briefly three or four sentences in each paragraph telling who your hero is and why he or she is famous. Don't put a whole bunch of details in these paragraphs. You are just telling the reader who you are writing about and saying what people think about when they hear the name of this hero. (Remember sometimes what people think about your hero may not be the truth and your essay objective will be to help them see the real hero.) You will put more details about his or her life in the next three sections I am going to describe.

Early Life - In this section, describe anything about where your hero was born, who his parents were, whether he had sisters and/or brothers, what school he or she went to, and what problems the hero had in the early part of his life. Have at least two paragraphs. For your paragraphs, try to write four or five sentences in each paragraph. (Actually, there is no limit on the number of sentences you can use in your paragraphs for this and the next two sections.) The main idea here is to show how the hero started out in his life and how he first got into the work he became famous for.

The Career - This will be the longest section for most hero essays. In this section, again with paragraphs using four or five sentences, explain anything that tells the reader what the hero did in the early and middle part of his career to promote his career (even if he only became well known to those in his own field) and how he or she went about it. For example, you might state what the first hit song was for the hero and how he got to record it, or what was the first big event that helped the hero in his career. Then write about any accomplishment your hero made early, or in the middle of his career, that brought him to the attention of the nation or the world such as maybe he or she won a special trophy, or came first in some event, or did something for the first time ever, or set a new record in some field.  It will depend on who you selected for a hero as to what you write here. You should also include in this paragraph any problems the hero had to overcome in order to reach goals in his or her career.

Don't forget that you can use the sentences on my hero pages however you want. I write my hero pages so that the sentences I use can easily be the first sentence of a paragraph and this is usually what they call the topic sentence. Every sentence you use in a paragraph should somehow relate to this topic sentence. Also in this section, copy word for word certain parts of the related link websites I have on my hero pages to support your topic or idea. Use quotation marks around these copied sections showing the teacher that you took these words directly from some website, and then put a number in brackets (3) at the end of what you quoted and, at the bottom of your page or at the end of your essay, show the name of the website where you took that quotation from, e.g. (3) Wikipedia Article on John F. Kennedy or maybe (3) Article on Frank Sinatra by Sam Smith; Rolling Stone Website. It is always a good idea to use some of these quoted sections in your essay so the teacher knows that you actually did research information on your hero. I have sometimes used quoted passages to prove that someone else supports the idea that my hero was the best in his field.

Conclusion - In this section, which might only be one or two paragraphs each using four or five sentences, write about something that really made this person a world famous hero even if it is repeating something you have already written about. This is sort of a summary section for your essay. Explain that he or she did something that no one had done before or tell about some national or world famous award or trophy they received. Or, if he didn't win a trophy, write about something he did that was recognized for in a big way. Write about the most important achievement of this hero.  Then explain in your own words why you think this person is a hero in your eyes. Write about the type of things he or she did that would be good things for you to follow to become a better person. For example, maybe the hero, after graduating from high school, went to a special college to continue his or her education.  Perhaps the hero did something in his or her life that you would like to do also. Maybe the person set up a special charity where he helped people. Tell the reader why you like this hero.

Please be sure to follow whatever directions you are given by your teacher. The above is only a general idea of how you can write an essay on your hero. Your teacher might want things done  different so listen to what he tells you when he is giving you an assignment. Also make sure you read your essay carefully to see that the sentences make sense. Check your spelling and your punctuation.

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Thank you Cierra Culbertson 104