Literally the word essay is derived from French word Essai which means "an attempt". In fact, essay writing" is an attempt of writing ones ideas and opinions in a logical sequence. Terms 'composition' or 'article' are used as synonyms of essay. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines the word Essay as "a literary composition in prose on any subject”. It is a written composition giving expression to one's own personal ideas or opinions on some topic; but the term usually covers also any written composition, whether it expresses personal opinion, or gives information on any given subject, or details of a narrative or description. Encarta Encyclopaedia defines Essay as "a literary composition devoted to the presentation of the writer's own ideas on a topic and generally addressing a particular aspect °t the subject. Often brief in scope and informal in style, the essay differs from such formal expository forms as the thesis, dissertation, or treatise”. I350 The Study of Education Requirements of an Average Student Let us begin with the assumption that an average student is not an accomplished essayist. His interest in the writing of an essay is only selfish one. He wants to get through the examination by satisfying the whims of an examiner who has taken a -fancy to a few subjects. Therefore, to him, the writing of an essay is only an uninteresting occupation. This introduction attempts to tell you how this painful task can be made an enjoyable one. Most of the essays written by students suffer from: 1) Lack of material; 2) Lack of'observation; 3) Poverty of thought; 4) Lack of arrangement; Lack of Material ; . 'What should I write' is the first question asked by every beginner. The answer is not far to seek. No one is born into the world a ready-made essayist, furnished with all the material. On must gather facts scattered in books and periodicals; and must endeavour to store one's mind with ideas either by reading or by observation. "Reading," said Bacon, "maketh a full man”. Reading may appear quite irksome in the beginning, but gradually it becomes an inspiring experience. Even the dullest book assumes a charm. Newspapers

and periodicals also yield ready information on a number of subjects. A careful reader of newspapersfmay find it easy to write on anything. Reading does not mean just, a cursory glance at a book. One must eat a book. Again, one may use a notebook for storing references, brief summaries of important passages; exact quotations of striking lines of prose and poetry. These references will come handy to the student when he intends to write an essay. 351 The Study of Education Lack of Observation Reading of books is an exciting experience. It may enable one to know many useful things in the world. But reading is not everything. At the most books are only a "bloodless substitute" for life. One must learn to observe things. Those people who go through the world with their eyes shut make very poor writers. Similarly the student who depends entirely upon books never imparts a colour of originality *o his writings. It may be quite possible to write an argumentative essay without the help of observation. It is not necessary that one should go out in the world to observe things. Even the day-to-day occurrences and the things around us are enough to train our power of observation, if one is observant, to him. 'The meanest flower that blows can give. Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears. Most of the essays set in the Intermediate examination are descriptive; for instance, look at the following list: ' ' a) Life in a Frontier village. b) The Charm of a City. c) My Visitors. d) My Visitors. e) My Neighbours. /) A Railway Journey. Now these essays cannot be.properly handled unless one has learnt to observe things in their "naked loveliness”. Poverty of Thought

Even some of our best students cannot think for themselves. Someone has put it very aptly: "The only unexplored territory in the world is under your hat". This is true about many of us. Our system of education is ironbound. It offers fewer opportunities for original thinking. But with all these difficulties something can be352 The Study of Education done to arouse the interest and curiosity of the student. [Joys should learn to look askance at views that are taken for granted; gradually they will have their own opinions about things. This is the surest way to think for oneself. Lack for Arrangement The essay grows like a well-planned building in which every-part contributes to the whole. It has a unity of design. This unity is secured by limiting the essay to one subject only. All such matter as has not bearing upon the main theme is excluded from the essay. There are no digressions. Even if there is any, it should be apt and interesting, short and clearly marked as a digression. Most of our young essayists devote too much of space to unimportant details which should otherwise be kept out of the essay. This gives one an impression of incoherence. Some students put all kinds of ideas together without any arrangement. A good essayist would always see that his ideas succeed one another in a logical order "revealing his powers of clear thinking and proper arrangement”. After ideas have been arranged logically, we should think of the proportion in various parts of the essay. The essay should be divided in such a manner that each point receives its due share of emphasis. The space devoted to the development of any idea should be in exact proportion to the importance of that idea in relation to other -ideas in the essay. Descriptive essays suffer most in the matter of proportion. Boys generally devote two pages to the introduction and just a page or so, to be places or things actually described. The whole essay gives one the impression of a monster whose head is bigger than his body. Now. when we have discussed all the important features of the essay, we can have a workable definition of this peculiar form of literary expression. 353 The Study of Education An Essay is a prose composition which has all the qualities of unity, proportion and coherence. HOW TO WRITE AN ESSAY? We have told you something about the structure of the essay. Now, let us give you some practical hints on the writing of the essay. When a subject is proposed, be sure, first of all, that you understand exactly what you are to write about, write about that nor about something else. Arrange all the ideas in you mind or on paper. Now think of a suitable beginning. How to begin

Each essay has a beginning peculiar to its theme. Whatever be the nature of the beginning., it should be striking and relevant. A good introduction arrests the attention of the reader, and induces him to read on. It strikes the keynote of the essay and suggests to him the general aim of the essay; It is, however, unwise to put all the best things in the introduction. One should make only a suggestion in the beginning and prepare the reader for what is to come in the main body of the essay. There are different ways of beginning an Essay. No hard and fast rules can be laid down in this matter. The following are some common types of introduction: 1) A general statement. 2) A quotation regarding the subject. 3) An anecdote or fable. 4) A direct beginning. Now take up a book of essays, preferably a book of essays selected from many different writers, and turn over the pages, noting carefully the first sentence of each essay. You will find an interesting variety of introductions, each striking in its own way. Swift begins his essay on "Good Manners" with a direct statement: 354 The Study oj Education '"Good manners' is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse”. E.V. Lucas, one of the most charming essayists in English, begins his essay on "The Conjurer" with seeming irrelevance. "Ambition takes men differently. This would enter Parliament, and that would have a play accepted at the court. This would reach the North Pole, and that would live at Chislehurst, while a fifth would be happy if only he had a motorcar. Speaking for myself, my ambition has always been to have conjurer perform under my own roof, and it has just happened. I obtained him from the stores”. Dickens begins some of his essays with a relevant quotation. Such a beginning has a striking effect upon the mind of the reader. In many essays there is no formal introduction. Some of the greatest essayists of today plunge straight into the matter. This is how Aldous Huxley begins his essay on "The Beauty Industry”. "The one American industry unaffected by the general

depression of trade is the beauty industry " The direct method is the easiest for an average student. He should not cudgel his brains in search of an arresting, unusual beginning. This will only confuse him. The Middle This is the main part of the essay, and contains the appropriate facts, illustrations and reflections. As regards the middle, there are only two points to be kept in view. First, do not try to bring in all the facts which are available. Only mention the most important ideas. Second, omit everything that has no bearing upon the subject. In order to avoid the non-essential, you should make up your mind at the very outset, as to what precisely falls within the scope of the essay and what does not. The End 355 The Siikly of Education A well-begun essay is only half-done. The other half depends upon the middle and the end. For the conclusion no rules can be laid down, except that it should be short. A wellconcluded essay always gives one the impression of 'completeness'. The conclusion must be so worded that, while perusing the essay, the reader feels that it has ended naturally and not abruptly. It is always desirable to end with some striking sentence 'which the reader will carry away.' If the student finds it difficult to think of a striking sentence, he may give only a short summary of the ideas contained in the middle of the essay. CLASSIFICATION OF ESSAYS Essays have been variously classified. A writer has divided essays into two main groups: (1) The Thought Essay, and (2) The Feeling Essay. This classification is rather confusing. Essays can be roughly classified into four classes: 1) Descriptive Essays. 2) Narrative Essays. 3) Reflective Essays. 4) Argumentative Essays. You may not be interested to know the technical differences between the different classes of the Essays. Descriptive Essays deal with description of places, towns, persons: whereas Narrative Essays deal with important events, stories and biographical sketches of some wellknown person. At the Intermediate stage most of the essays are either descriptive or narrative. For instance, study the following subjects set in the University Examination. a) Life in a Frontier Village (Descriptive)

b) A Picnic (Narrative) b) . d) 1) 2) 3) 4) b) b) d) e)

Packing a Trunk (Descriptive)

A Deserted House (Descriptive)

Mr. Churchill and Roosevelt (Narrative) * 356 The Study of Education g) h) A Railway Journey (Narrative) The House We Live in (Descriptive)

Reflective Essays consist of Reflections on social, political and domestic affairs. Most of the essays that deal with controversial subjects come under this head. Argumentative Essays aim at explaining a saying or a thesis which is not clear to the mind of an average reader. These classifications are only theoretical and have got no practical value. Sometime a descriptive essay may become philosophical in the hands of a great writer. 'A City Nightpiece' by Goldsmith is an excellent example of this. * SOME PRACTICAL HINTS 1. Try to understand the wording of the subject and the scope of the essay. If you are asked to write an essay on "A Pakistan Bazaar", do not try to write an essay on the trade policy of the Government of Pakistan. 2. When you have understood the subject, jot down all the relevant thoughts that come to your mind. Arrange these thoughts according to their natural connection and logical order. 3. Make a careful outline of the essay. Always think out a suitable introduction as well as a conclusion to your essay. 4. The write out your essay according to the plan.

5. Always avoid apologies like these: "I am sorry I cannot write much on the subject" or "I have not been able to do justice to the subject in hand”. Your essay reflects your ability. By pointing out your faults, which are already evident, you make a bad essay worse. 6. Lastly, you should revise carefully what you have written and correct mistakes.of grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, etc.

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