Writing personal essays Ellen Beck September 29, 2004 What is an Essay?



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Writing PERSONAL Essays

  • Ellen Beck
  • September 29, 2004

What is an Essay?

  • An essay is a composition that discusses, describes or explains one topic. It can be serious or funny. It can describe personal feelings or state your opinion or it can just explain facts.

The BASIC Structure of an Essay

  • Introduction with thesis
  • Supporting Idea 1
  • Supporting Idea 2
  • Supporting Idea 3
  • Conclusion
  • It is important to remember that an essay can be any length. For example, some essays are one paragraph and others are 25 paragraphs. If you are writing an essay for class, you should always ask your instructor about the length of the essay.

The Introduction

  • I.  Introduction
      • Introductory statements
      • Thesis statement
      • Introduce supporting ideas (optional)

The Body

  • II. Body
    • First supporting idea
    • Second supporting idea
      • Transition, topic sentence
      • Discussion, examples, and analysis
      •                    
    • Third supporting idea
      • Transition, topic sentence
      • Discussion, examples, and analysis

The Conclusion

Let’s Get Personal

  • PERSONAL ESSAYS are
  • About YOU
  • Written using “I”
  • These essays are about you—your life, your experiences, your feelings, your thoughts.

Sample: My Job in an Apple Plant By John Langan

  • Working in an apple plant was the worst job I ever had. First of all, the work was physically hard. For ten hours a night, I took cartons that rolled down a metal track and stacked them onto wooden skids in a tractor trailer. Each carton contained twelve thirty-two-ounce cans or bottles of apple juice, and they were heavy. The second bad feature of the job was the pay. I was getting the minimum wage at that time, two dollars an hour, plus the minimum of a nickel extra for working the night shift. Even after working over sixty hours a week, I still did not take home much more than one hundred dollars. The worst feature of the apple plant job was the working conditions. During work we were limited to two ten-minute breaks and an unpaid half hour for lunch. Most of my time was spent outside on the truck-loading dock in near-zero-degree temperatures. And I was very lonely on the job, since I had no interests in common with the other truck loaders. I felt this isolation especially when the production line shut down for the night, and I worked by myself for two hours cleaning the apple vats. The vats were an ugly place to be on a cold morning. The job was a bitter one to have.

Quick Review

  • The BASIC Structure of an Essay
  • Introduction
  • Supporting Idea 1
  • Supporting Idea 2
  • Supporting Idea 3
  • Conclusion

English Works! Web Site

  • To find more information on essay writing go to our English Works! website
  • http://depts.gallaudet.edu/englishworks/writing/main/essay.htm
  • Or stop by the TIP lab in 1221 to see a writing advisor.


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