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THE ESSAY Powered By Docstoc
     History of the ESSAY

  The rise of the essay in European
 culture in the late 16th Century was
coincidental with the evolution of the
 notion of individual freedom and the
increased recognition of the value of
                the self.
 The essay thus began as the simplest
 and most naturally reflective, self-
 generating and self-sustaining kind of
 The finest modern essayists, while managing
  to sustain a respectfully objective distance
  from the topic, have recognizable voices.
 Essay writing is the art of channeling a
 private inner conversation between the
 and its subject into a public outer form.
 Why do you have to suffer the burden of
 essay writing like those of career
 You will be evaluated NOT on
 what you know, but on how well
 you can think about what you
 know and on how well your
 writing elucidates that thought.
 Remember that writing is often messy,
  usually difficult, and more difficult some
  days than others.
 Work hard, but be as patient with yourself
  as if you were learning to play golf.
               The Thesis
 The thesis is the purpose you aim to fulfill
  when you reach your destination…and
  every essay MUST have a purpose.

 Original meaning:

 Topic = topos, “place”
 Thesis = “something set down”
A thesis is something
 declared, a decision made,
 a direction found.
 A good thesis answers the question or
 fulfills the assignment set by the instructor.

 A good thesis presents the argument that
 seems most significant and most
 interesting to you.
 Think of yourself as a member of a jury,
 listening to a lawyer who is presenting an
 opening argument.
 You'll want to know very soon whether the
  lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or
  not guilty, and how the lawyer plans to
  convince you.
 Readers of academic essays are like jury
  members: before they have read too far,
  they want to know what the essay argues
  as well as how the writer plans to make
  the argument.
        Developing a thesis
 After reading your thesis statement, the
 reader should think, "This essay is going
 to try to convince me of something. I'm not
 convinced yet, but I'm interested to see
 how I might be."
        Rules of the thesis
 A thesis is never a question.
 Readers of academic essays expect to
 have questions discussed, explored, or
 even answered. A question ("Why did
 communism collapse in Eastern Europe?")
 is not an argument, and without an
 argument, a thesis is dead in the water.
        Thesis rules cont’d
 A thesis is never a list.
 A thesis should never be vague,
 combative or confrontational.
 An effective thesis has a definable,
  arguable claim.
 A thesis should be as clear and specific
  as possible.

 The daunting first page…
   Thinking and Writing Styles
                Mind Maps
 draw branches that allow you free yourself
 from the constraints of sentences or

 No order, however, thoughts are
 suggested as well as connections of ideas.
     Thinking & Writing Styles
                Free-Writing
 Provides a temporary reprieve from the
  anxiety of trying to obey the rules and
  regulations of correct writing.
 Used as a warm-up exercise to bring what
  you have in mind to the surface
 Write on your specific topic for the whole
  time…say 20 minutes.
        Free-Writing Exercise

 Who, in this class, would
  you pick for the next
  Prime Minister?

 Take a moment to write down the name of your
  candidate and the reasons for your choice.
     Thinking & Writing Styles
                  Outlining
 Like good paintings, good essays are
  structured so well that they appear to have
  no structure at all.
 However, you will discover a
  framework…an arrangement of ideas &
  details that is essential to a lucid &
  persuasive paper.
 By having the whole essay condensed on
 one page, you can see the purpose, the
 relationships between the main points and
 the supporting details.
 More paper gets thrown in the recycling
 bin when writers are attempting
 introductions than at any other time.

 Eventually, your introduction will become
 the key to your essay: I will be thoroughly
 prepared for the maze of intellectual and
 creative thought about to be experienced.
      Don‟t fight with yourself!

 There is little point in trying to achieve a
  creative introduction in the first draft if one
  doesn‟t occur to your easily.

 What you want at this stage is a working
  introduction, one that keeps your draft
  intact but does not drain all your creative
     Transitional Paragraphs
 T.P‟s can begin by:
   Summing up the section you have just written
   Elaborate on its significance
   Explain how it connects to what will follow

 T.P‟s can end by:
   Introducing the next section; name what is to
 Serves to unify the entire paper

 Pulls together the ideas contained

 Points out the ideas implications
              The Paragraph
 A little essay in itself

 A visual representation of the thinking
  process by which the writer demonstrates
  his or her thesis.

 Each paragraph must be about only one
  main idea that is developed through
  details, examples and explanations.
        The Controlling Idea
 The paragraph develops one small idea
 just as the essay develops one large idea.

 Each new paragraph signals a shift in
 focus, therefore it needs a controlling idea
          YOU & I


       Active/Passive Voice
 Which one sounds better to you?
 A) The cow jumped over the moon

 B) The moon was jumped over by the cow.
   The answer is A…but why?
 The active voice (A) is the natural key for
  coherence in composition.

 Active voice is less dependent upon
  prepositions (by) and auxiliaries (was).

 Active voice employs fewer words,
  therefore, less displacement of energy.
          Historical Present
 The use of the present tense makes for
 immediate and lively writing.

 Writing in the present tense allow the
 characters to continue living in the

 Past tense makes for boring reading.
             Redact & Revise
 Pronouns
   avoid “it” or “this”

 Repetition
   Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

 Transitional words or phrases
   Signal logical relation b/w the ideas they link
 Transitional Words & Phrases
 1. Adding Ideas

     Equally important
     Furthermore
     Likewise
     Similarly
     In addition
 2. Emphasizing ideas

     Indeed
     In particular
     Truly
     Above all
 3. Illustrating Ideas

     In other words
     In particular
     Specifically
     To illustrate
 4. Comparing Ideas

   In the same way
   Likewise
   Similarly
 5. Contrasting Ideas

     Despite
     Conversely
     Nevertheless
     On the contrary
What is more difficult
 than the introduction?
 An essay, like a life, may be concluded but
  it can never be complete: there will always
  be something left undone.
 Say goodbye to the „reader‟ in an
  informative, witty manner.
     The conclusion is NOT

 Purely pointing out the fact
 that you have accomplished
 what you said you would in
 your introduction.
     A good conclusion will…
 Stimulate the reader to think more about
 the topic in a critically open-minded way.

 Return the reader to the larger view of the
 terrain you have covered.

 Be creative
             Essay Topics
  Should there still be colleges and
  schools just for men/boys and some just
  for women/girls?
  We are becoming overwhelmingly
  dependent on computers. Is this
  dependence on computers a good thing or
  should we be more suspicious of their
       Argumentative Essay
 Writing an argumentative essay requires
 you to be well armed with strong and
 convincing arguments. Your personal
 position and insight should of course be
 the basis of your work, but the main point
 is that your personal views have to be
 supported by founded arguments,
 reasons, proofs and evidences and
 proceed from the factual information.
        Argumentative Essay
 Always be ready for the opposition to your
 opinion. Try to speculate on this in
 advance and to develop the opposition
 views in your work.

 That is it…..let us begin .
 Rules you may have forgotten
 Avoid personal pronouns (I, we, you, us)
 Do not use contractions
 “Speak” in a formal voice

 Supporting evidence is mandatory

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