Quick Write

Why did Ed Gein commit those murders?

Creating Structure

People have been writing causal analysis for centuries. Here is the title page of Edward Jenner’s 1798 publication, An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae. His research led to the vaccine for small pox.

An Inquiry Into the Causes and Effects of the Variolæ Vaccinæ, Or Cow Pox. 1798 By Edward Jenner

Small pox has been all but eradicated by modern medicine. By the careful study the small pox focusing on the causes and effects, he was able to develop a vaccine to save human life.

Charting Cause and Effect

Let us chart the causes and effects of a monster.


  • Don’t jump to conclusions
  • Appreciate your limits. We don’t know why so we have to follow the evidence from effect to cause.
  • Offer sufficient evidence for claims

Understanding Causal Relationships

Causality: the relationship of cause and effect

Once you understand these concepts, the charts you create to map cause and effect can become more complex.

You should identify the types of causal relationships on your charts (you might use different types of arrows, different colors, or simply labels to show what kind of cause is being mapped).

  • Necessary Cause: any factor that must be in place for something to occur.
  • Sufficient Cause: is a condition that always produces the effect in question.
  • Precipitating Cause: the proverbial straw that breaks a camel’s back.
  • Proximate Cause: nearby and often easy to spot.
  • Remote Cause: may act at some distance from an event but be closely tied to it.
  • Reciprocal Cause: you have a reciprocal situation when a cause leads to an effect that, in turn, strengthens the cause.
  • Contributing Factors: add to the causes to bring about the effect.

1. Emphasizing Causes

Cause asks:

  • Why did X happen?
  • Why does X happen?
  • Why will X happen?

Example: Why did Ed Gein kill those women?

  • Cause 1 – ____________________________
  • Cause 2 – ____________________________
  • Cause 3 – ____________________________


  • Event – ______________________________


2. Emphasizing Effects

Effect asks:

  • What did X produce?
  • What does X produce?
  • What will X produce?

Example: What impact did Ed Gein have in pop culture? or What is the lasting impact of Ed Gein?

  • Event – _______________________________


  • Effect 1 – ______________________________
  • Effect 2 – ______________________________
  • Effect 3 – ______________________________


3. Causal Chain

Cause > Effect 1 > Effect 2 > Effect 3

Example: Ed Gein > Psycho novel > Psycho movie > Slasher Films > Silence of the Lambs

Slasher Films




What is prejudice?

Prejudice – preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

What monster theory can help us better understand prejudice? What one do you see as connected to it?

Why does this matter?

Developing your Essay

  1. Present a reasonable thesis statement.
    • Make it logical
    • Make it supportable
    • Don’t use absolutes, instead use
      • may be
      • a contributing factor
      • main reason
  2. Limit your discussion to recent and major causes or effects.
  3. Organize your essay clearly.
    • Use one of the formats above
  4. Convince your reader that a causal relationship exists by showing how the relationship works.
    • Use specific details and examples to show the relationship.

Explain why something happened

  • Intro
  • First cause
  • second cause
  • best cause
  • Conclusion

Explain the consequences of a phenomenon

Open by describing the situation that will have consequences.

  • Intro
  • first effect likely to follow + reasons
  • other effects + reasons
  • Conclusion

Suggest an alternative view of cause and effect

In this one, you are refuting someone else’s cause and effects.

  • Intro
  • reason to doubt claim + evidence
  • alternative cause
  • best cause + reasons/evidence
  • Conclusion

Explain a chain of causes

Much like the Ed Gein work we did last class, you can connect a line of causes that operate in order.

  • Introduction suggestion the chain
  • First link + evidence
  • next link + evidence
  • final link + evidence
  • Conclusion

There are all just suggestions. If one of these fits into how you are organizing your causal analysis, definitely use it. You can also come up with your own structure, but remember it needs to makes sense, that is be logical to anyone reading it, and use evidence to support each point. Your turn.


Create an outline for your causal analysis. I noticed some already do this, this is a very good prewriting technique to help you organize your ideas. Use the different techniques we looked at help organize your causal analysis.


Rough Draft of Causal Analysis

Teaching Notes:




Causal Analysis systematically examines the causes and/or the effects of an event, situation, belief, or action. Cause asks: Why did it happen? Why does it happen? Why will it happen? Effect asks: What did it produce? What does it produce? What will it produce? By carefully analyzing …

At an earlier stage, place students in small groups and ask them to create short skits that illustrate a form of causal relationship. They can perform these skits for the class, and the rest of the students can guess (like the game Charades) what type of relationship is being shown. For instance, to illustrate remote causes, the students might show a scene of a young man illegally downloading music. Then they might depict a musician pawning his guitar to buy groceries. This activity helps students understand, apply, and retain the multiple types of causal relationships.

Google Search Terms

  • Causal analysis
  • causal relationships
  • necessary cause