WRITING A PARAGRAPH: The “SPA” Method


*The final draft of your paragraph should look like a normal paragraph.

1. STATEMENT_ = your _opinion_ /_main point for that paragraph (topic sentence)


2._PROOF_ = quotes, _examples_, anecdotes, statistics, etc. that

_SUPPORT/PROVE_ your STATEMENT.


3._ANALYSIS _= the “SO WHAT_?” the “WHO CARES_?”; what you write should be important, meaningful, and insightful… this is where you show that.
This is where you explain clearly HOW your proof proves your statement and your thesis.


4. S.O.A.P = stands for Speaker_,Occasion,Audience_, _Purpose_
and is used to introduce a quote in the text of your essay. The SOAP comes right after the
Statement and right before the Proof.

EXAMPLE:
In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Dolphus Raymond takes the “path of least resistance” by allowing the town to believe he lives with a black woman – and has children with her -- because he’s a “drunk” (alcoholic). In fact, Mr. Raymond is really drinking Coca-Cola out of the bottle hidden in the brown sack, and when Scout asks him why he lets the town think it’s alcohol, Mr. Raymond says,
Some folks don’t – like the way I live. … I try to give ‘em a reason, you see. It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason. When I come to town… if I weave a little and drink out of this sack, folks can say [I’m] in the clutches of whiskey – that’s why [I] won’t change [my] ways. [They’ll say I] can’t help myself, that’s why [I] live the way [I do]. … They could never, never understand that live like I do because that’s the way I want to live (
TKM 200-201).
Essentially what Mr. Raymond is saying is that he allows the townspeople to have a false impression of him because they could never understand that he, a white man, loves a black woman and wants to share his life with her. When Mr. Raymond says he “tries to give [the townspeople] a reason [to excuse his behavior]” he is admitting that he is taking the easy way out of a difficult situation. He is allowing the town to think he just can’t help himself (because he’s drunk), instead of standing up for what he believes in – namely that black people ARE people, and that love has nothing to do with skin color. He says that he does this (i.e., pretends to be a drunkard) because “[t]hey could never, never understand that live like I do because that’s the way I want to live,” but this is merely a justification for his actions; if he was a true supporter of equality for African-Americans, he would be more openly defiant of the racism in his town and live his life (with his African-American wife) more truthfully.




Statement (topic sentence):
In the novel To Kill A Mockingbird, Dolphus Raymond takes the “path of least resistance” by allowing the town to believe he lives with a black woman – and has children with her -- because he’s a “drunk” (alcoholic).
Proof (quote from book, with SOAP as an intro to quote):
In fact, Mr. Raymond is really drinking Coca-Cola out of the bottle hidden in the brown sack, and when Scout asks him why he lets the town think it’s alcohol, Mr. Raymond says,
Some folks don’t – like the way I live. … I try to give ‘em a reason, you see. It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason. When I come to town… if I weave a little and drink out of this sack, folks can say [I’m] in the clutches of whiskey – that’s why [I] won’t change [my] ways. [They’ll say I] can’t help myself, that’s why [I] live the way [I do]. … They could never, never understand that live like I do because that’s the way I want to live (
TKM 200-201).
Explain what the Proof means (“translate” it):
Essentially what Mr. Raymond is saying is that he allows the townspeople to have a false impression of him because they could never understand that he, a white man, loves a black woman and wants to share his life with her.

Analysis (of the quote in relation to the topic sentence):__
When Mr. Raymond says he “tries to give [the townspeople] a reason [to excuse his behavior]” he is admitting that he is taking the easy way out of a difficult situation. He is allowing the town to think he just can’t help himself (because he’s drunk), instead of standing up for what he believes in – namely that black people ARE people, and that love has nothing to do with skin color. He says that he does this (i.e., pretends to be a drunkard) because “[t]hey could never, never understand that live like I do because that’s the way I want to live,” but this is merely a justification for his actions; if he was a true supporter of equality for African-Americans, he would be more openly defiant of the racism in his town and live his life (with his African-American wife) more truthfully.