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Post 1: What is an essay?

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 10:26 pm on Monday, August 30, 2010

An essay, in my opinion is an articulated piece of written work which can be on any topic possible (literally). As stated by Atwan in “What are Essays?” there are numerous types of essays, however there cannot be a stated definition for the term: “Because of the wide application of the term, no satisfactory definition can be arrived at…” (Atwan, 1). Throughout the Atwan’s readings I was able to get a more significant grasp of what an essay is because of the many examples included. The side by side compare and contrast of an essay to an article was also very helpful in order to distinguish in between both. One thing I did not know, but makes more sense now is that essays are more personal, reflective and leisurely, rather than articles. Along with these aspects, another feature that make essays different from articles would be the essay’s appeal; “the craftsmanship and beauty with which they are written” (DiYanni, 7). Deriving from the French term “essai”, the word essay suggests a less formal attempt at writing and a more personal sense While articles are more about informing, essays do the same as well as persuade and I found that very interesting because that is what students do for a majority of their essays. As mentioned, there are many types of essays ranging from expository essays, to analytical essays, argumentative and persuasive essays. These all fall under the category of formal essays. While reading this I found it amusing that I have wrote most of all these types of essays yet never realized there were so many types of essays. D’Agata introduced something new in his writing, the lyric essay. I am a dancer, and I love dancing lyrical hip-hop, and it is interesting that essays also fall into this category in which the text in the essay are made to sound more like a poem. However, D’Agata’s information about the lyrical essay is cut short but I would definitely like to learn more about them and maybe even try writing one in the future. All three of these writers categorize essays in their own ways and in my opinion it is pretty fascinating how essays are categorized and how that reflects on not only the reader but the writer as well. For example, D’Agata categorized the lyrical essay in his writing and that became significant for me because now I want to learn more about it and write one myself. I’ll admit I never thought about categorizing essays or even thinking of them that way, but it’s definitely amusing to see how it’s done. I would have to say that my forte would have to be argumentative essays, which is probably because my professors make me write those and I’ve just become so used to them. I like having two or more issues or factors to compare and contrast and link which builds up a strong essay (for most of my attempts). However, I also enjoy writing persuasive essays if the topic appeals to me, only then can I persuade my readers to the best of my ability. I would have to say each author makes a valuable attempt at categorizing essays on their own terms because they seem significant and quite helpful to me from a writer’s point of view. I believe it is important for essayists and casual essay writers to be aware of these different types of essays and what they are categorized as, and why.

“Screech, Memory”, Read-Richard Price

Price manages to wrap up his childhood in one elongated memory of the 2 train. It’s interesting how one childhood memory that perhaps had no meaning at the time of occurrence can lead to becoming a prominent part of one’s life and a memory to hold onto for the rest of your life. While reading this, I could clearly picture my memories of staring out my babysitter’s house and watching the N train pass. I remember telling her I could never live in an apartment so close to train tracks, mainly because of the roaring noise every15-20 minutes and all she would say is, “you get used to it”. I believe at the end of the day, it welcomed her home.

“Bungalow Chic”, Jill Eisenstadt

Eisenstadt clearly emphasizes upon an area and it’s impact on people as well as the impact people put upon it as well. The Rockaways once used to be considered as a resort area, which signifies the titles Bungalow Chic. It;s amazing how one neighborhood can be positively influenced and affected on one part but then completely different on the other side of town. It is seen quite often in New York City and personally my own experience at the Rockaways have not been so pleasant. However, I have also seen these resort-like parts of Rockaway and the ghettos, and unfortunately whenever I picture the Rockaways, the ghettos come to mind. Eisenstadt also does a great job at wrapping her childhood around in a sense almost anyone can relate to.


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