Building a paragraph – it’s toTEELy easy.



As much as I’d love to think of the English essay as being a wonderfully organic affair, which grows naturally and freely from the topic and one’s knowledge of the text, I know this isn’t the case.

For most VCE analytical interpretations, you are essentially going to use the same ol’ TEEL structure that you’ve been using forever.

That’s not to say that you can’t inject with with your own sense of personality and flair. Your own voice will sing through your sentences and analysis, regardless of whether you’re calling it a TEEL paragraph or something else.

My advice for building a paragraph that ticks all the boxes is this:

  • make your Topic Sentence an assertion of some point. It has to be about an idea that needs to be discussed and proven.
    • Avoid: Hitchcock uses characters to show that voyeurism is bad.
    • Instead: Hitchcock presents the idea that voyeurism, when used to satisfy purely self-indulgent needs, is unethical.
  • avoid using examples in your Topic Sentence. Leave those to the discussion. Examples include references to characters, film techniques, themes, etc.
  • evidence can come in the following forms: “quotes”; references to super-specific moments of the film; references to super-specific film and production elements; or even references to social and cultural issues of the time (if they’re relevant).
  • each of your sentences needs to be making a point. You can’t write a sentence that simply states what’s going on in the film – that won’t have a point!
    • AVOID: Thorwald sees Jefferies watching from his apartment.
    • INSTEAD: When Thorwald sees Jefferies watching from his apartment, this is the moment Hitchcock warns his audience that being a peeping tom may not always be without consequences.
  • linking sentence needs to address what you’ve proven in the paragraph, and bring in Hitchcock’s views on the topic you’ve been discussing.
    • eg. “Hitchcock reveals that one should be prepared to accept the consequences that come from intruding into the private lives of others, and not rely on the justification that it was just ‘innocent fun’.”

Divider 1

Below is a graphic that aims to summarise this information. The ‘repeat’ step suggests that you should find at least another 2 pieces of evidence. I’m not a fan of putting a number of this kind of thing, but I know that this helps some of you.

Building TEEL




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