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Showing Importance

how to show what something or someone from a text matters in writing

Have you ever been asked why something is important? Ever heard of questions such as, “Why is this scene important” or “Why does this character matter”? Many writing-intensive classes ask students to discuss and show the significance of something, whether it is about a person, place, action, or setting. But often, it is hard to respond to these types of questions, especially if you want to give the right answer! So let’s use this lesson in answering this type of popular question in a reliable way:

Connecting One Thing to Another Thing

A great way to show the importance of something is to connect to another thing or idea, and identifying what results from this connection.

Let’s follow these steps in forming a chain of thought towards answering the Importance Question!

1. Recognize what main idea or subject you are working with first. This could be a character in a text or a real environmental problem happening in our world. Whatever your situation or writing piece is, just keep in mind first your main idea.


2. Then identify another relevant idea or subject that “could” have a connection to the main idea. It is okay if you do not know exactly what this connection is. The main action in this step is just to recognize and identify the second idea.


3. Now ask yourself, “How are these two things connected”? Before thinking about what the two create together, identify the type of relationship the two things have with one another.


4. Afterwards, ask yourself, “What happens when the two are connected”? Typically, there will always be something that is produced when two ideas or subjects interact with each other. Just like how addition and subtraction of two numbers (besides two zeros) will always result in another number, think of what comes from this relationship.


Is it a solution, question, or problem? Or is it something more general like a new definition or category? As long as you are able to suggest something specific that comes from two ideas or subjects interacting with each other, then you have given a clear answer into why the original main idea is important.


In short the theory work as:

Main Idea/Subject + Second Idea/Subject = Result

Result = Significance of the Connection


It’s like simple algebra! Finding out the values in this equation is what can help you in answering those tricky “Importance” questions.

Applying the Theory:

The trick when doing this method in an essay or test environment is being aware of what the main idea and product both are. Often, essay or test prompts ask students to how a main idea (such as characters or settings in a book) shows a certain topic (such as a theme or message).

For example, let’s say this is your essay prompt, “How do the characters in Alice in Wonderland demonstrate power and why is it important?

So the best way to figure out a response to that type of question is to think of a constant second idea or subject that fits in the formula!

 Characters from Alice in Wonderland + Second Idea/Subject = Showing Power

And with that, the main goal of that essay will be discussing the relationship between the characters and whatever second idea or subject fits in that equation.

 

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