Causal Essay

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Sample Essay #1

The following is a sample essay written by another student at another college. She was given the same assignment ("Write a Cause/Effect essay"), with the exception that she was not required to have a source.

Susan Hart
ENG 101
Shehi Johnston
Oct 97

A battle rages within me, a fight to the death. Deep in my subconscious I know I can win because I am my own adversary. I also know that I can just as easily lose. I smoke, not dope or marijuana but cigarettes. I am treading on dangerous ground. I am well aware that smoking increases my chances of contracting lung cancer. Also my poor worn out alveoli (air sacs of lungs) are eventually going to burst. If cancer or a heart attack won't get me, emphysema will. When I reach thirty, the risks I'm taking will double. Thirty is the magical number where the stakes change from possibility to probability. Thirty is waiting for me, lurking just around the corner.

However, I suppose I am gaining some ground. Every two weeks I quit; then ten days later I quit quitting. Public opinion and government warnings don't sway me. I know that if I'm ever going to expunge this habit, I must do it myself. Whenever I do abstain, I pass through a variety of stages. I progress from bad to worse to absolutely abysmal.
During the first three days, I'm usually composed; as yet I'm not affected. Around the fourth day, I start to feel withdrawal symptoms: I begin to feel irritated and nervous. By the fifth day, I'm fraying at the edges. I start to eat everything in sight, including peanut butter. On the sixth day, I put a big lock on the refrigerator door and give the key to my husband. Then I hope he won't hear me at two-thirty a.m. when I'm padding around the house looking for the spare key. On the seventh day, I usually bake fresh bread. I enjoy kneading the dough: I can punch it without hurting myself. On the eighth day, my resistance starts to slip; like top soil battered by the rain, it begins to erode. I suck my thumb when I'm drinking my morning coffee.
On the ninth day, I dream of cigarettes. I count them in my sleep, packets of woolly Benson and Hedges jumping over fences. When day ten arrives, I'm a physical and emotional wreck; finally I capitulate. Then I console myself that I made it this far without Bantron, Vitamin B12, or a weirdo hypnotist.

Whenever I do quit, I enjoy the feeling of being unshackled from a box of cigarettes and a lighter. I have so much energy and vitality. I experience an overwhelming urge to rush out and buy a year's membership to Spa Lady. In the mornings, I'm different, not my usual grouchy self. I like to play with my dog, or if there's time, talk to my husband.

With persistence, I shall win; my only other alternative is to die trying.

The author of this essay would say that she wrote about the effects of trying to quit smoking. The topic is good, but the structure of the essay does not come out to Cause/Effect. When you are choosing and writing your topic, but sure to have a strong thesis that shows the exact cause/effect relationship you are going to prove in the essay.