How to Write a Brilliant Paragraph

Judge Taylor considered his double chin one of his greatest assests.

Here is the Brilliant Paragraph that we wrote this morning:

On the outside, Judge Taylor seems rather informal in Court. He has certain habits that suggest this, such as ‘[propping] his feet up’, ‘[cleaning] his fingernails’ and chewing cigars. From such actions we can infer that Judge Taylor is very relaxed in the Courthouse – treating it almost like a second home. In particular, cleaning his fingernails may be regarded as something very private. It might also suggest that he is distracted, or not listening. Furthermore, he gives the ‘impression of dozing’, which leads us to question if he is even awake! Finally, Harper Lee uses an interesting simile to describe him: ‘looking like a sleepy old shark’. The adjectives ‘sleepy’ and ‘old’ make him appear almost senile, hardly the kind of person who should be in charge of a court of law.

Why it is Brilliant:

1. The opening sentence makes a clear, concise point. Judge Taylor appears to be pretty informal.
2. It uses evidence from the text to back up this point.
3. Some of this evidence is grouped – such as the actions of Judge Taylor. This shows that the writer has thought about how to structure not just the paragraph, but the textual evidence within the paragraph. This is Brilliant.
4. There is some exploration of the evidence – specific words are repeated – ‘old’ and ‘sleepy’ – and commented upon.
5. Connectives are used within the paragraph to develop the point that is being made – ‘furthermore’ and ‘finally’.
6. Where necessary, the writer has changed the tense or the wording of the quotations, so that they can be embedded into the writing. Punctuation is used to clarify this – square brackets and quotation marks, for example.
7. Everything in the paragraph is directly related to the opening point. The writer could easily have been distracted by other ideas, such as the ‘shark’ image, that suggests that Judge Taylor is anything but senile. A sharp focus is maintained.

Write the next Brilliant Paragraph of this assignment on Judge Taylor. Focus on the other side of his personality. You could begin: ‘However…’  Use the paragraph above as a model.


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