Ch. 10 Cause and Effect - Overview
Cause and Effect = “analyzes why something happens”
Cause and Effect = always based on a Narrative: you
can’t answer why something happened unless you
clearly know what happened.
“Cause and effect, like narration, links situations and
events together in time, with causes preceding effects.
But causality involves more than sequence” (321)
Two Categories of Causes
Main cause vs. contributory cause (323-24)
Immediate cause vs. remote cause (324-25)
In explaining causes, always make sure you have
main and remote causes in your essay.
Prewriting & Arranging #1:
See immigration examples on pp 321-322:
Topic: One effect. Body: Explain its many
causes (each cause is a body paragraph)
Immigration example on page 321.
Topic: One cause. Body: Explain its many
effects (each effect is a body paragraph)
Immigration example on page 322.
Prewriting & Arranging #2:
Causal Chain Method
Causal chain = “the result of one action is the
cause of another” (325)
Body 1: A causes B,
Body 2: B causes C,
Body 3: C causes D,
and so on
“Leaving out any link in the chain, or putting any link in
improper order, destroys the logic and continuity of the
Prewriting & Arranging #2:
Causal Chain Method Example (325)
Why do some retired generals believe that global warming may
threaten U.S. national security?
1. Remote & Main Cause: Global warming causes worldwide climate
change, like droughts.
2. Climate change, like droughts, cause people to leave their
homelands in search a better climate, like clean water.
3. All of these people become refugees, which cause large refugee
4. The resulting refugee camps become a breeding ground for
5. These terrorists threaten U.S. national security.
Don’t Confuse Chronology with Causality
Avoiding Post Hoc Reasoning =
Don’t assume that just because A precedes
B, that A caused B.
It just may be coincidence! (326)
Student Example & Peer Edit Sheet
Evelyn Pellicane “The Irish Famine, 1845-1849” (333-334) – a backwards Causal Chain:
What caused and prolonged the Irish Famine, 1845-1849?
1. Body 1: Immediate cause: A) Crop failure, leading to B) starvation and easy
eviction of Irish tenants
2. Body 2: B) Easy eviction of Irish tenants because C) most British landlords didn’t
3. Body 3: C) Most British landlords didn’t care because D) British government
policies sided with Britain over Ireland.
4. Body 4: Remote cause: D) British government sided with Britain over Ireland
because E) the British had a long-standing prejudice against the Irish.
5. Body 5: One paragraph, explaining various effects of the Irish Famine: Population
reduction, beggars, epidemics, mass immigration to other countries, poverty.
Peer Editing Worksheet: Cause and Effect (336)