Golden Essays Essay Writing

Golden Essays Essay Writing-82
But due to a series of historical accidents the teaching of writing has gotten mixed together with the study of literature.

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The topic sentence is your thesis, chosen in advance, the supporting paragraphs the blows you strike in the conflict, and the conclusion-- uh, what is the conclusion? It seemed as if we were just supposed to restate what we said in the first paragraph, but in different enough words that no one could tell. But when you understand the origins of this sort of "essay," you can see where the conclusion comes from. Good writing should be convincing, certainly, but it should be convincing because you got the right answers, not because you did a good job of arguing.

When I give a draft of an essay to friends, there are two things I want to know: which parts bore them, and which seem unconvincing. But I don't try to fix the unconvincing bits by arguing more cleverly. At the very least I must have explained something badly.

In that case, in the course of the conversation I'll be forced to come up a with a clearer explanation, which I can just incorporate in the essay. For the essayist this translates to: flow interesting.

More often than not I have to change what I was saying as well. As the reader gets smarter, convincing and true become identical, so if I can convince smart readers I must be near the truth. The path it has discovered is the most economical route to the sea. Of all the places to go next, choose the most interesting.

This idea (along with the Ph D, the department, and indeed the whole concept of the modern university) was imported from Germany in the late 19th century. It's no wonder if this seems to the student a pointless exercise, because we're now three steps removed from real work: the students are imitating English professors, who are imitating classical scholars, who are merely the inheritors of a tradition growing out of what was, 700 years ago, fascinating and urgently needed work.

Beginning at Johns Hopkins in 1876, the new model spread rapidly. No Defense The other big difference between a real essay and the things they make you write in school is that a real essay doesn't take a position and then defend it.

Whether cause or effect, this spirit pervaded early universities.

The study of rhetoric, the art of arguing persuasively, was a third of the undergraduate curriculum.

But don't change so much that you lose the spontaneity of the original. I'd much rather read an essay that went off in an unexpected but interesting direction than one that plodded dutifully along a prescribed course. A button that looks like it will make a machine stop should make it stop, not speed up. When friends came back from faraway places, it wasn't just out of politeness that I asked what they saw. And I found the best way to get information out of them was to ask what surprised them.

How was the place different from what they expected? You can ask it of the most unobservant people, and it will extract information they didn't even know they were recording.

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