Chapter 14: ESSAY WRITING

  • Essay < the French word ‘essai’ = an effort / a verbal sketch
  • Essay = a written composition in which the writer
  • Shares his/her knowledge of a certain topic
  • His/her perspective on the issue discussed
  • Offers criticism & comments on the situation

Types of Essays

1. Argumentative/ Point-of-view Essay

  • Is written to contend an established view
  • The author is keen to challenge the established notion
  • Only reason-based argument
  • Not those governed by our subjective opinions / emotions

2. Analytical Essay

  • Reviews a book/movie/topic/situation/a given text
  • Brings to the fore its subtle nuances
  • The data & material collected play an important role
  • They form the basis of an analysis

3. Descriptive Essay

  • Is written to give the reader the specific & concrete details of an object/ a situation
  • The author harps on his/her own senses to help the reader visualize, feel or enjoy what he describes
  • Sometimes becomes overtly subjective
  • His intention > to make the reader comprehend a situation through his/her observation
  • Descriptive essay — often a reflection of the author’s personality

4. Expository essay

  • Explains a topic without giving the author’s views
  • Conveys info about a topic/situation/fact/state
  • Tone — detached, objective & matter of fact
  • Imparts to the reader the info & knowledge that the author possesses

5. Reflective / Philosophical Essay

  • Discusses a profound & deep issue
  • The author discusses universal human issues like life, death, truth, faith, love etc.
  • The author rises above the immediate & mundane
  • Universalizes the personal
  • A comprehensive & unemotional perspective

FEATURES OF A WELL WRITTEN ESSAY

  • Is the result of careful planning & selection of material
  • Rejects what is redundant
  • Is comprehensive in its approach & vision
  • Highlights all the aspects related to the issue under discussion
  • Is written in an objective & detached manner
  • Is well balanced & not lop-sided; strikes a balance in its different parts & gives due importance to each of its various parts
  • Coherence – does not focus on individual aspects of the problem; creates the impact of one organic whole
  • Reflects consistency & logical sequence of ideas in a composed & controlled manner
  • No ornate & bombastic words/exaggerations but emphatic & powerful words
  • Is direct, simple, vigorous & lucid without ambiguities, equivocations & verbal juggleries
  • Has a carefully chosen title

STAGES IN ESSAY WRITING

  1. Collecting the relevant material
  2. Defining the scope
    • An essay is always specific & to the point; so the scope of the presentation of the idea has to be defined & the title carefully chosen
  3. Making an outline/ skeletal form
    • The main & sub-points of the essay
    • Keeps us focused & systematic in taking up the various issues involved in the essay
    • Helps us express ourselves in a coherent way
    • Helps us to avoid writing something redundant & missing out an important aspect of the issue
  4. Making the first draft
    • Jot down the sequence in which the different ideas will be dealt with & prepare a rough sketch
  5. Revising & editing
    • Pay careful attention to maintaining the logical development of the idea Reshape the matter & rephrase the material
    • Make the style compact & direct without ambiguity

COMPONENTS OF AN ESSAY — 3 PARTS

  1. Introduction
    • Keep the introduction brief & effective
    • Avoid starting abruptly or too philosophically
    • Define/explain the title in a precise, specific way
    • Use quotations, statements/sayings to introduce the reader to the main idea
    • Don’t take sides on an issue or sound prejudiced
    • Avoid jargons, cliches, & bombastic beginnings
  2. Development of an idea/ the main body
    • Evaluate all the possible aspects of a problem / topic / issue
    • Give due importance to each aspect
    • Relate all the ideas to one another
    • Connect this part to the hopes raised /promises made in the introduction
    • Maintain equality in the length & size of different paragraphs
    • Analyse the different aspects of the problem exhaustively & leave nothing to chance
    • Use supporting material to develop ideas
    • Use brief/extended examples, facts, comparison, contrasts, expert testimony to make the text look comprehensive & authentic
    • The main body should automatically lead to the conclusion
  3. Conclusion
    • Reinforces the idea already illustrated & established in the main body
    • Avoid developing new ideas in the conclusion
    • Avoid feeble endings
    • Pack it with force & vigour
    • Should naturally emerge out of the discussion
    • Should be crisp & in cohesion with the other parts of the essay

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