The essay is a written form of argument containing an introductory paragraph and thesis statement, a separate body of text which supports the thesis, and a concluding paragraph which affirms the thesis. An analytical, or critical, essay clearly assesses a feature of the work or text under analysis. It is essential to adhere to the format of the essay, as it can successfully convey the ideas or points which the author wishes to explain. These assertions should be clear in the thesis statement.

The thesis statement should be the gist of what the author wishes the reader to know. It should generate a response in the reader, allowing the reader to ask, "why?" In terms of the placement of the thesis statement within the introductory paragraph, it can be placed at either the beginning, or the end of the paragraph. If it comes at the end, care must be taken so that the thesis sentence is a transitional sentence, and seamlessly runs into the next paragraph. Transitional phrases should be clear from the introductory paragraph, as they should be used to tie every subsequent paragraph of the essay into the next. The entirety of the introductory paragraph - including the thesis statement - should be the only explanatory section of the essay. The body will be used to support and maintain the premise if the thesis statement.

The body is used to further the point or points raised in the thesis. To this end, the author of the essay must cite examples or direct quotations from the work, text, or source material. Examples and quotations should be as relevant, as clear, and as specific as possible. They should also be carefully chosen, regardless of their number. If there are few directs quotes from a literary work, it becomes prudent for the author to be as detailed as he/she can. If the examples are clear, the reader will recognize that the author either believes in what he/she is saying, or has researched the topic at length, thereby proving their thesis strongly, allowing a conclusion which will affirm the thesis statement, based on the information presented in the body of the essay.

Affirmation and confirmation of the thesis statement are the main purposes of the concluding paragraph. The conclusion should "wrap up" the ideas presented in the whole essay, and refer directly back to the thesis statement. Using the methods stated above, the essay's function is certain - to analyse a given idea, theme, literary work or text. If this form is adhered to, the reader can look past the inherent dryness of this form of literature, into the actual content.


Sources, related material: http://www.library.csi.cuny.edu/dept/history/lavender/essay.html
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Es"say (?), n.; pl. Essays (#). [F. essai, fr. L. exagium a weighing, weight, balance; ex out + agere to drive, do; cf. examen, exagmen, a means of weighing, a weighing, the tongue of a balance, exigere to drive out, examine, weigh, Gr. 'exa`gion a weight, 'exagia`zein to examine, 'exa`gein to drive out, export. See Agent, and cf. Exact, Examine, Assay.]

1.

An effort made, or exertion of body or mind, for the performance of anything; a trial; attempt; as, to make an essay to benefit a friend.

"The essay at organization."

M. Arnold.

2. Lit.

A composition treating of any particular subject; -- usually shorter and less methodical than a formal, finished treatise; as, an essay on the life and writings of Homer; an essay on fossils, or on commerce.

3.

An assay. See Assay, n.

[Obs.]

Syn. -- Attempt; trial; endeavor; effort; tract; treatise; dissertation; disquisition.

 

© Webster 1913.


Es*say" (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Essayed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Essaying.] [F. essayer. See Essay, n.]

1.

To exert one's power or faculties upon; to make an effort to perform; to attempt; to endeavor; to make experiment or trial of; to try.

What marvel if I thus essay to sing? Byron.

Essaying nothing she can not perform. Emerson.

A danger lest the young enthusiast . . . should essay the impossible. J. C. Shairp.

2.

To test the value and purity of (metals); to assay. See Assay.

[Obs.]

Locke.

 

© Webster 1913.

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