Essay Types: C

Essay Types: C

by Owen Fourie

What is involved in each of these kinds of essays?

(If you are a new reader of this blog, the introduction to this particular category will help you to understand how this post fits into the bigger picture.)

Cause-and-Effect

Examine a situation, a condition, or an idea to understand what caused it and to know the extent of its influence (effect) whether good or bad.

Offer a solution if it is a problem. Urge acceptance of the solution if that is what is needed, or simply provide information if that is what is required.

Character Analysis

Identify a particular character in a novel, a movie, or a play. Discuss the psychological make-up of that person revealed in dialog and behavior in the various circumstances of the plot as it unfolds.

Identify the position of the character: protagonist, antagonist, catalyst or merely supporting.

Examine strengths and weaknesses, mission and any underlying motives, interaction with other characters, personal development or retrogression, and importance to the events in the story.

Given the time and setting of the story, allow for any social, cultural, or historical influences affecting the conduct of the character. Find comparative and contrasting points with contemporary behavior in similar settings.

All these points must be tied to and refined by your thesis statement.

Classification or Division

Distinguish between classification and division.

If you are writing a classification essay, you are taking individual items and classifying them to identify them as belonging to a larger group or category. Depending on the likenesses and the differences amongst these items, there will be several categories.

If you are writing a division essay, you are taking a large group (let’s say one of the aforementioned categories) and breaking it down into its individual items or components.

For example, let’s briefly consider groups in the periodic table. This is being used here because it is a classic example of classification and division. Your objective should be to find a topic that has not been subjected to classification and division, or if it has, it is seldom done.

For classification, you are given these elements: Manganese, Niobium, Chromium, Vanadium, Tantalum, Molybdenum, Technetium, Tungsten, Rhenium, Uranium, Protactinium.

As you do your research, you find that each of these elements has a certain number of electrons in its outer shell. You proceed to categorize them accordingly.

Those with five electrons, you classify as Group V Elements or the Vanadium Family: Vanadium, Niobium, Tantalum, Protactinium.

Those with six electrons, you classify as Group VI Elements or the Chromium Family: Chromium, Molybdenum, Tungsten, Uranium.

Those with seven electrons, you classify as Group VII Elements or the Manganese Family: Manganese, Technetium, Rhenium.

For division, you could take one of these groups and break it down into its elements. You would then discuss the properties, states, energies, appearance, characteristics, and uses of each of these elements.

Leaving the example behind, note that your thesis statement must justify the system of organization.

In classification, three categories is an absolute minimum; more would be better, but not so many that the essay becomes unnecessarily complicated. Each category should receive equal treatment: one category must not receive more attention and discussion than another.

Each category should be classified using the same determining characteristics: if one category is classified by length, breadth, height, speed, and durability, all the categories need to classified using these criteria. The same applies to the treatment of individual items within a category when writing a division essay.

College or College Admission or College Application

Look under Admission, College, College Admission, College Application, Personal.

Compare-and-Contrast

Examine the similarities and the differences between two things: between products, ideas, places, persons, things, simply to inform, sometimes to persuade people to adopt a better idea or buy a better product.

Creative or Creative Writing

There is a sense in which all writing is creative, but this term is applied more to writing that cannot be restricted by academic and professional standards. It is the free self-expression of a writer.

Nevertheless, the rules of good written English should be practiced. If these rules are broken at all, it is not because the writer is ignorant of them; it is to allow the writer or a writer’s created character, for instance, to use colloquialism and local color as more effective expressions in the particular setting of the novel, the short story, the poem, the play, or the screenplay.

Research, general and special knowledge, unfettered imagination, and emotion are necessary elements in writing the creative or creative writing essay and any type of creative writing.

Look under Autobiographical , Memoir, Narrative, Personal Narrative, and also under Descriptive and Short Story . Refer to the notes for these types in the glossary as well as the related articles by clicking on the links.

Critical

Look under Analysis or Analytical.

Critical Analysis

Look under Analysis or Analytical.

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What good or bad experiences have you had with any of the kinds of essays mentioned in this post? Under any of the types in this post, are there points about them that you feel are missing and should be included? Do you have any useful insights? What are your particular struggles? Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

Here are more articles to help you with English words, grammar, and essay writing.

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