What is and essay ?
The word essay is defined as ” a literary composition on any subject.” It is a writer, composition giving expression one’s own personal ideas or opinions on some topic; but the term usually covers any written composition whether it narrates, describes or gives information on any given topic.
Essays may be classified into various categories. However, one has to remember that these categories are not mutually exclusive, and that some essays may require elements of more than one type. For example, a narrative essay may contain a fair amount of description or reflection. On the other hand, and essay title may belong to more than one category – it could be dealt with in different ways. For example, the title “Looking for a House” could be treated as a title for a story or a title for a reflective essay.
The kind of writing skills in essays are in general, divided into two categories: factual (practical) and imaginative.
1. Practical Writing :
Practical writing deals with facts, explanations, instructions, outlines and reports. Such writings call for little imagination or personal or creative response (though some ingenuity may be required). The important thing is the clarity and logical arrangement of ideas.
some examples of factual writing:
- How to decorate your drawing room?
- Explain the best way of organizing a birthday party.
- Explain how to play one of the following: hockey, football, cricket.
2. Imaginative Writing:
Imaginative or creative writing demands that the writer puts something of himself into his writing. One must imagine or create the material that one uses in such compositions. The writing has a lot of freedom to make his own personal response to the subject. In short, imaginative writing calls for imaginative response, original way of looking at things, creative ideas and forceful arguments.
Imaginative essays can be divided into the following categories.
- Narrative Essays : A narrative essay consists of the narration of some event, or series of events. Narrative essays may treat: (a) historical events or legends (e.g. the reign of Alexander, the story of Hannibal); (b) biographies (e.g. life of Mahatma Gandhi); (c) incidents (e.g. a street scene, a festival, a marriage); (d) an accident or natural disaster (e.g. a motorcycle accident, a flood, and earthquake; (e) a journey or voyage; and (f) a story (real or imaginary).
- Descriptive Essays : A descriptive essay consists of description of some person, place or thing. You may be asked to describe a real or imaginary person. Objects and places are static while the characters are dynamic. The characters move, act, speak and have feelings as well as opinions of their own. Hence, in regard to character description you have to describe their appearance, as well as judge them from their words, actions and what others tell about them. The main objective of a description of an object or a place is to reproduce in the mind of the reader a picture as vivid as that in the mind of the writer. The painter uses his paint to recreate a scene, while the writer uses words for the same purpose.
Examples of descriptive essays
- The sounds of early morning in the town
- Describe a building, the sight of which is very impressive.
- Write about one of your old aunts, giving an account of her appearance, habits and character.
3. Argumentative Essays :
In an argumentative or discursive composition, the writer arrives at a conclusion by reasoning. He considers various aspects of the subject matter and then proceeds to make a statement of his own on the subject.
The qualities expected in a discursive composition are:
- A genuine interest in the topic and an adequate fund of information about the subject;
- The ability to see both sides of an argument and to present opposing views clearly;
- After taking account of objections, to decide in favour of a considered opinion; and
- Ability to present a clear conclusion.
Examples of argumentative assignment:
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of advertising.
- Discuss the good and bad effects of competition in modern life.
4. Impressionistic Compositions:
Some type of stimulus is provided for this type of composition in order to “trigger off” the writer’s imaginary composition; e.g. if you were the Principal, what would you do to encourage games and sports in your school? Some times a picture may be provided as a trigger for a writer’s imaginative response. The writer may be instructed to done one of the following:
- write a story based on the picture;
- write a description of what he sees in the picture;
- write an account of the thoughts and/or feelings that the picture suggests to him.
5. Critical Compositions:
You may be asked to express your opinion about a play or a film you have seen or a book you have read.
- Write about a book which had helped you to become a better person.
- The worst play I have ever seen.
6. Reflective Composition :
A reflective composition consists of reflections or thoughts one some topic, which is generally of an abstract nature, for example : (a) social, political and domestic topics such as poverty, caste system, liberty, family life and education; (b) habits and qualities such as heroism, loyalty, patriotism and truthfulness.
- Lonely Life
- Family Life
What is the Importance of categories the essays
- Recognizing the types of essays helps you to judge whether you know enough about the topic. If you are not confident of writing on a subject, do not select such a topic. Abandoning a partially written composition is a waste of time.
- It enables you to see the various aspects of the topic from which a subject can be dealt with. For example ” A Deserted Village” can be a descriptive topic or a narrative topic. If you chose to describe the village, you will have to depict it giving interesting and concrete details.
- It enables you to use techniques suitable to the particular aspect of the topic.
- Through experience, you will probably find that the some types of essays appeal to you more than others and that you can achieve more success in one area than in another. For instance, you may have ample knowledge about controversial matter and be able to organize facts and arguments well. You may find, on there other hand, that you can use words in order to create atmosphere and depict a scene in words. This evolution of your abilities and developing your power of self-criticism will help you to know where you strong points lie.