The art of the essay

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The art of the essay

  1. 1. By Tim SchneiderEnglish Education Volunteer The Peace Corps
  2. 2. What Is An Essay?  What an essay writer can do is re- engage people with their own humanity. – Barbara Kingsolver
  3. 3. What Is An Essay?  A collection of words organized in such a way as to create an image, prove a point, argue or persuade, review art, films, literature, food, etc., or simply express an opinion, thought or idea. In short…
  4. 4. What Is An Essay?  …a sculpture of words.
  5. 5. Parts of an Essay  Introduction – Thesis Statement – Body Paragraphs - Conclusion -
  6. 6. Introduction  Get passionate! Turn to your passion: It is extremely important to write about something which interests you. If the topic for the essay is really uninteresting for you, bend it to a topic that IS interesting to you. If you have interest in a topic, your readers will see it. Topic: It is widely said that, “Time is money.” Prove or disprove that this adage is true. Passion: Computer games.
  7. 7. Introduction  wasting your time! The You can be a billionaire by United States and several other countries are full of examples of corporate executives who most likely got their start listening to their mothers tell them to stop playing with their computers and get outside and do something productive. Take, for example, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – both billionaires several times over. I am certain their parents weren’t thrilled about their obsession with computers and computer games. In the end, however, they proved that time isn’t “money,” but rather that following your passions is how money is made.
  8. 8. Thesis Statement  Make it exciting! Your thesis statement is the engine that will drive your essay. Make it strong. And make it imaginative. Unimaginative: “In this essay, I will describe how people can be persuaded to do anything if there is enough money involved, someone can appeal to their passion and they hear enough good things about themselves.”
  9. 9. Thesis Statement  Too broad: “You can get people to do anything if you try hard enough.” Too technical: “Using several forms of scientific research in the fields of psychology, sociology and anthropology, and understanding rudimentary aspects of how to use ethos, pathos and logos, one can bend the will of others in order to accomplish difficult tasks.” What would be just right?
  10. 10. Thesis Statement  Working magic can be as simple as persuading people to do almost anything for you. To do this, however, the magician must be willing to pay attention to details, listen carefully to the passions of others and understand that he may need to give something back in return.
  11. 11. Body Paragraphs  Follow the thesis statement. There should be several points made. Paragraphs have a structure too: topic sentence and supporting sentences. Know when to start a new paragraph. Smoothly transition from paragraph to paragraph: Your ideas should be well-organized and easily flowing. Use transition words and phrases.
  12. 12. Conclusion  Write a conclusion that makes the reader want to read more. Conclude your essay, but stretch the minds of your readers to leave them thinking about what you had to say. Questions or quotes as a final thought are terrific.
  13. 13. Conclusion  “Of course, we would be respectful, but wouldn’t it be tempting to jump into a time machine and travel back to tell our mothers that rather than wasting time playing computer games, we were actually building a profitable and sustainable method of earning a living?”
  14. 14. Some Tips for Students  Free writing – Use it! Remember your audience: Never talk ‘over’ or ‘down’ to your reader. Using overly jargoned, scientific, or technical words can sound really pompous, and can put some readers to sleep. Never suggest that you are much better than your readers: “In my not-so-humble opinion”; “Not that you will understand what I’m trying to say…”; “The average person won’t understand the meaning behind my words when I say…”; “If you think this means…, then this essay is not meant for you.”
  15. 15. Some Tips for Students  Never apologize: “It may only be my opinion, but…”; “While I’m only in High School, so I wouldn’t know a lot about this subject…”; “Better minds than mine might say…” Be conversational and inclusive: “I’m certain my readers will agree with me when I say…”; “All of us at some time in our lives have experienced…”; “As the average person will already be aware…”
  16. 16. What Is An Essay?  A good essay must have a permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be certain that it shuts us in, not out. – Virginia Woolf It helps us understand our world It educates It makes us think It brings beauty It calls us to action It persuades
  17. 17. A Sculpture of Words 

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