An essay can be called narrative when it tells a real story - an anecdote, or an incident in history - or where it mingles narration and discription to the preponderance of the former. It may conveniently fall into four sections. A. A short paragraph containing a general observation as introduction to the story. B. A section of suspense.
Suspense can be conveyed through the detailed description of the surroundings in which the event takes place i.e mise-on-scene, which in turn will help to make the incident real to us. A number of scenes will lead up to the central incident, each scene sharpening our interest in what is to come. A good choice of adjectives will help sharpen our sense of suspence. The writer will not forget the personal touch in all this. C. The central incident.
The action is introduced in vivid description, short sharp sentenses and striking detail. The reader must be made to see and hear what is going on. D The conclusion.
The essay may end with a general obsevation.
The Descriptive essay
In it, the descriptive element preponderates over any other narrative or expository which it may possess. In descriptive essays, the main thing is to get hold of a central theme around which all other effects can be grouped and subordinated. Everey detail must be seen and made actual to the reader in its minute particulars for her the details are everything. There must be absolute vividness. To secure this, the writer must be very careful of his epithets. He should avoid the automatically produced combinations of adjectives like ' green hills', ' blue sky', ' cold wind' because they may pass through the reader's mind without effect. The element of contrast may be employed in order to heighten the interest and avoid monotony. A suggested framework for the descriptive essay may be as follows: a. Creation of the general effect:
This introductory section should be short, expressed in laconic sentences and with a simple vocabulary. This is the best way to fix a single broad effect in the reader's mind. b. Arrangement of detail to help the general effect:
Definite detailed description should come first, always with an eye to colour and form; and contrast may be used, but not too much. when the details have been duly noted, it is not a bad rule to give a restatement of the general effect as the poet does with his refrain. c. Conclusion:
The central theme may again be empnasized, if possible with a new turn of thought. The Informative Essay
It is undoubtedly the lowest, the least sutable kind of essay we have. The informative essay sets out to give us a number of facts. It may fall into the following sections:
The writer should bring in the personal touch strongly. A slight narrative will make the subsequent catalogue of facts not so dry and even in the catalogue the writer should try to be personal where he possibly can. Topics like ' Butterfly-hunting' or ' the great rivers of the world' are dry unless the writer attempts to take them out of that sphere and gives them a fantastic turn. B. The development of the theme.
If the candidate has begun on a personal note, he should now be getting down to the main lines of his subject, discussing for example the different kinds of cars, stamps, rivers etc. , and what they have in common. C. Conclusion.
The candidate may become personal again after all his recital of facts. He can state the reasons behind his interest in photography, astronomy, butterfly-hunting etc .... The Expository Essay
This title includes all the kinds of essay which seek, not merely or only to inform, narrate describe, but to persuade and explain and move. It is of course the most complex kind of essay and therefore the most interesting. The structure I recommend for the expository essay and which more or less, essays of this type generally follow, is a five-fold one. 1- Introduction:
Short, snappy, often with a quotation: stating the theme of the whole essay. It may contain a question or an exclamation. 2- Statement of the first attitude.
3- Consideration of first attitude showing the reasons of approval or disapproval. 4- Statement of second attitude.
Approval or disapproval-comparison with the first attitude and explanation with practical illustrations. 5- Conlusion.
a recapitulation or an unexpected turn.
If the student finds this pattern a little complicated at first, he may obtain good results with the following: 1- Short introduction.
A quotation or aphorism bearing on the general subject may be used. 2- Clear statement of the writer's point of view with examples and illustrations. 3- Clear statement of a different point of view or examination of difficulties latent in the first point view. The devices of rhetorical question, answer, exclamation and so on may help in this argumentative section. 4- The results of the above argument stated and illustrated. 5- Conclusion: aphoristic, with quotation summing-up the discussion. Style in Essay Writing:
English essays should be composed in style which is clear, simple, direct and vivid. Rhetoric is not desired, but there may be a progression from the laconic opening section to a more fluent style in the middle sections, with a return to conciseness at the end. Students are advised not to use words which have no precise significance such as honour, infinite, eternal but to use instead such expressions as round, silvery, empty which create a picture in the mind. Stylistic devices used to give variety and interest to essay-writing: 1- The exclamation:
The use of the exclamation is a good trick not only for the beginning but for the body of the essay too. It gives variety, and it is skilfully placed, it gives a touch of realism too. 2- The rhetorical question and the rhetorical answer:
The reader should have the impression that he is engaged in a quiet chat about some subject of interest. writers do this by means of the rhetorical question and by means of the rhetorical answer. In this trick, the writer put a question or an objection into the mouth of his imaginary companion ( the reader) and answers it. If he really has guessed the objection the reader is likely to make, he has probably won his interest for the rest of the essay. 3- The juxtaposition of the short and the long sentences:
It gives a strong feeling of contrast. Nothing is more boring than making all your sentences be all shorts or all longs. 4- The elliptical sentence:
By elliptical, I mean Jacking in some vital part: the verb, or the noun for instance. 5- The catalogue:
It means the piling up of a number of similiar nouns and then attaching them by means of a hyphen to a strong verb-phrase or sentence. 6- The employment of the dialogue:
The writer brings in an imaginary friend or stranger and holds a conversation with him. This certainly puts life into an essay, but unless it is very cleverly done it may seem artificial. 7- The Rhetorical Command:
It is closely connected with artificial dialogue, as well as with the rhetorical question, answer and exclamation. It gives a certain snap to the style. 8- The interjection:
This is like the exclamation, but consists of a single word judiciously placed to give the maximum effect. 9- The paradox:
The paradox convey an idea in a way which is strikingly contradictory. The device is effective but should obviously be used with great caution, for it can easily get very monotonous.