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The purpose of an Illustration or Exemplification essay is to prove or support your thesis by presenting examples that illustrate the meaning, significance, or situation you are discussing. The Illustration/Exemplification essay should be clear about what it is illustrating as well as why.
An Illustration Essay should include three distinct elements:
1) A description of the example given (population size, “average” person)
2) How this example supports the argument you’re making
3) How the example relates both specifically and more generally to your readers and why they should care
An Illustration Essay must work through evidence. This means that every piece of information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, must somehow relate back to your argument.
Excessive detail is not necessary, but all pieces of information should be relevant and an integral part of the Illustration/Exemplification as a whole. In order for the Illustration to have maximum effect, every piece presented needs to be tied into the overall picture that you are creating.
The Illustration Essay describes an example that supports the argument you’re making then goes on to illustrate it for your readers. The Illustration Essay should include specific details as well as broader implications in order to tie them into the main thesis of your paper.
Illustrating is based around personal experience rather than facts or sources outside of your own knowledge. For this reason, Illustrations are always more effective if they come from first-hand experiences rather than what other people have told you. Illustrations are also best when they take up most of the essay, in order to avoid any inadvertent distractions from the main point.