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Introduction
 You may have been assigned an essay in the past
called “Cause and Effect Essay” or “Process
Analysis Essay”...
Description
 Writers add color and interest to their writing
with plenty of description, appealing to the
five senses.
 ...
Examples
 Writers often start a paragraph with a general
statement, but then once they have
established a topic, give spe...
Narration (Storytelling)
 Stories grab the reader’s attention and can
help make an abstract or general point
unforgettabl...
Definition
 Writers often place a difficult word or idea into a
recognizable category and then explain how it is
differen...
Process Analysis
 Describing a process may be an important
element of an essay.
 Topic: Autopsies
 Process: “For the be...
Compare/Contrast
 By comparing an unfamiliar subject to a familiar one,
writers help readers gain a context for a topic.
...
Cause and Effect
 Writers often explore the reasons an event or
trend occurred or discuss its aftereffects.
 Topic: The ...
Conclusion
 Structure is an integral element of the literary
essay.
 Writers make choices about how to employ a
variety ...
Eli eng125 structure in literary essays
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Overview of structure in literary essays, used in ENG125, Introduction to Literature, at ELI Northern Virginia Community College

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Eli eng125 structure in literary essays

  1. 1. Introduction  You may have been assigned an essay in the past called “Cause and Effect Essay” or “Process Analysis Essay” but those limited structures are rarely found in published essays.  Published, literary essays employ a combination of structural or development techniques to add more variety and interest.  We will learn several types of structures and development techniques in this presentation.
  2. 2. Description  Writers add color and interest to their writing with plenty of description, appealing to the five senses.  Topic: In Pennsylvania where I grew up, many people show signs of being smokers.  Description: “Everywhere you go you can see people with tubes leading from their noses, behind their ears, and over to portable oxygen tanks: in grocery stores, in cars, at Bingo night in the neighborhood church.”
  3. 3. Examples  Writers often start a paragraph with a general statement, but then once they have established a topic, give specific examples that will stick in the reader’s mind.  Topic: Many people are still cigarette smokers despite the health risks.  Example: “The first of my relatives to die of cigarette-smoking related ailments was my grandfather, who succumbed to heart failure at 67.”
  4. 4. Narration (Storytelling)  Stories grab the reader’s attention and can help make an abstract or general point unforgettable.  Topic: There is always someone in my family smoking.  Narration: “My father even smoked while he was changing clothes. He would be smoking as he rushed to get out of his overalls, coated with oil from the shift at Midas Mufflers and into his bartender clothes.”
  5. 5. Definition  Writers often place a difficult word or idea into a recognizable category and then explain how it is different from all others.  Topic: Microcredit loans  Definition: “These small loans, as little as $25, go to the poorest people, mostly women living on $1 a day or less. These loans could protect against terrorism by undermining the poverty that feeds social decay and destruction.”
  6. 6. Process Analysis  Describing a process may be an important element of an essay.  Topic: Autopsies  Process: “For the benefit of readers who are interested, here’s what generally happens during a forensic autopsy: The first step is to photograph the body. Trace evidence such as hair samples and nail scrapings are collected, and fingerprints taken.”
  7. 7. Compare/Contrast  By comparing an unfamiliar subject to a familiar one, writers help readers gain a context for a topic.  Topic: American Impressionism  Compare/Contrast: “American impressionists such as John H. Twachtman, Childe Hassam, Theodore Robinson, and Mary Cassatt were influenced by the French painter in the 1890s and into the early 20th century. Like their French counterparts, they were interested in recreating the sensation of light in nature and used intense colors and similar dab or fleck brushstrokes, but they departed with the French painter’s avant garde approach to form.”
  8. 8. Cause and Effect  Writers often explore the reasons an event or trend occurred or discuss its aftereffects.  Topic: The Great Depression  Cause and Effect: “The Great Depression was the worst economic slump ever in U.S. history and one which spread to virtually all of the industrialized world. The main cause was the greatly unequal distribution of wealth throughout the 1920’s.”
  9. 9. Conclusion  Structure is an integral element of the literary essay.  Writers make choices about how to employ a variety of structures within their essays to create an interesting reading experience, and to best convey their desired meaning and purpose.  Structural varieties include: description, narration, examples, process analysis, definition, compare/contrast, and cause/effect.

Overview of structure in literary essays, used in ENG125, Introduction to Literature, at ELI Northern Virginia Community College

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