Writing and Personal Response

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Four types of essay: expository, persuasive, analytical, argumentative For our academic writing purposes we will focus on four types of essay. 

1) The expository essay
 
What is it?
This is a writer’s explanation of a short theme, idea or issue.

The key here is that you are explaining an issue, theme or idea to your intended audience. Your reaction to a work of literature could be in the form of an expository essay, for example if you decide to simply explain your personal response to a work. The expository essay can also be used to give a personal response to a world event, political debate, football game, work of art and so on.

What are its most important qualities?
You want to get and, of course, keep your reader’s attention. So, you should: Have a well defined thesis. Start with a thesis statement/research question/statement of intent. Make sure you answer your question or do what you say you set out to do. Do not wander from your topic.  Provide evidence to back up what you are saying. Support your arguments with facts and reasoning. Do not simply list facts, incorporate these as examples supporting your position, but at the same time make your point as succinctly as possible.  The essay should be concise. Make your point and conclude your essay. Don’t make the mistake of believing that repetition and over-stating your case will score points with your readers.  

2) The persuasive essay

What is it?
This is the type of essay where you try to convince the reader to adopt your position on an issue or point of view.

Here your rationale, your argument, is most important. You are presenting an opinion and trying to persuade readers, you want to win readers over to your point of view.

What are its most important qualities?
Have a definite point of view. 
Maintain the reader’s interest. 
Use sound reasoning. 
Use solid evidence. 
Be aware of your intended audience. How can you win them over?  Research your topic so your evidence is convincing. 
Don’t get so sentimental or so passionate that you lose the reader, as Irish poet W. B. Yeats put it:  The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
Your purpose is to convince someone else so don’t overdo your language and don’t bore the reader. And don’t keep repeating your points!  Remember the rules of the good paragraph. One single topic per paragraph, and natural progression from one to the next.  End with a strong conclusion. 

 

3) The analytical essay

What is it?
In this type of essay you analyze, examine and interpret such things as an event, book, poem, play or other work of art. 

What are its most important qualities?
Your analytical essay should have an:
Introduction and presentation of argument 
The introductory paragraph is used to tell the reader what text or texts you will be discussing. Every literary work raises at least one major issue. In your introduction you will also define the idea or issue of the text that you wish to examine in your analysis. This is sometimes called the thesis or research question. It is important that you narrow the focus of your essay. Analysis of the text (the longest part of the essay) 

The issue you have chosen to analyze is connected to your argument. After stating the problem, present your argument. When you start analyzing the text, pay attention to the stylistic devices (the “hows” of the text) the author uses to convey some specific meaning. You must decide if the author accomplishes his goal of conveying his ideas to the reader. Do not forget to support your assumptions with examples and reasonable judgment. Personal response

Your personal response will show a deeper understanding of the text and by forming a personal meaning about the text you will get more out of it. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you only have to have a positive response to a text. If a writer is trying to convince you of something but fails to do so, in your opinion, your...
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