Tackling “The Essay”

Karley Newton

With every new English book that we read in class, there is always that underlying dread of the thing that follows: the literary essay. Everyone goes about writing an essay differently, and certainly everyone yields different results.

There are also many different ways to go about writing essays, whether it involves brainstorming, quote analysis, or just writing it all in one sitting. Different strategies work for different people, therefore it is important to hear about the different strategies that get great grades.

The essay process starts with brainstorming, and Mrs. Hoffenberg  an English teacher for Juniors at FHS shares her insight for beginning the process.

“While you read the book, take notes on things that you find interesting, and things you don’t understand” she says. “Even if you can’t figure out what a quote or pattern means, things that draw your attention to them make for an interesting essay topic.”

One of the hardest parts about writing an essay is to even decide what to write about. That’s why it’s beneficial to begin thinking about your essay from the very begining. The sooner you start the better off you are.

After the initial brainstorming is over, the most important part of the essay needs to be formed: the thesis. The thesis statement is the entire point of the essay, which should start what you are trying to prove, and why it’s important.

Lucas Melfi, a Junior at Franklin High who likes English class had this to add about thesis statements:

“I don’t mind writing essys, but it’s just hard to try to figure out the reason ‘why’ for a thesis. Trying to prove something is easy for me to do, but explaining why always slows me down.”

That’s why it’s important to follow these tips when forming a thesis statement:

  • Start with a topic that you find interesting, or a pattern that you noticed throughout the novel.
  • Make sure your statement is arguable; if you have to explain your reasoning, than it’s probably a good start.
  • Stay focused on one point in your, and make sure not to stray from your topic of choice.

Nothing stinks worse than having to write about a topic that you don’t find interesting, or a weak point. Make sure you have a plethera of ideras to support your point.

Once a thesis is formed, and brainstorming is completed, the essay can be written easily.

Giovanna Ferri, also a Junior at FHS shares her tips about organizing paragraphs:

“I like to write the quotes I’m going to use down on a piece of paper, so that way I can break it down and use close reading”, she says. ” That way I can have a lot to say about the quote in each paragraph that proves my point.”

Most essays consist of anywhere between two and four body paragraphs. The most important part of body paragraphs is making sure to stay on topic. That’s why writing the quotes out seperately is so helpful.

With tips like these from some of FHS’s finest writers, the next essay you write should be a piece of cake!

What are your feelings about writing essays?


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