Custom Essay Writing Service. Best Essays Writing Tip


Best Essays (tip 9)

The best essays are neither formal expositions in turgid thirdperson prose nor breezy informal personal stories but a combination of both. Sometimes variety is itself a virtue. One of my favorite writers is the essayist Richard Rodriguez. Part of his charm is that although he is a gay Hispanic Indian who looks like his Aztec ancestors, he has opinions that one would associate with a Boston Brahmin from Beacon Hill. He defies all stereotypes and rejects the expected political clichés. His readers never quite know what to expect. Some hate him for that, but to those with open minds, reading him is a constant surprise and delight. He is also a very good writer. His most anthologized essay, "Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood," offers a good example of an argument that moves easily from personal reminiscence to authoritative third-person analysis. He gives a wonderfully moving account of his personal story. But then he steps back from the personal and adopts a more academic voice with which he quotes studies and cites authorities. He moves back and forth between these two modes so gracefully that one hardly notices the transition. More important, he uses the personal voice to establish his understanding of the sentimental argument of those who want to preserve the cohesion of the Spanishspeaking family. In this way, he shows that he understands intimately the arguments of his opponents. Then, in his more formal voice, he explains carefully why, despite the pain, it is important that we all grow up, leave the embrace of the family, and join the wider public community that communicates in English. Here are two voices, a comparison and contrast, and a clear argument and counterargument refuted, definitely an A+ paper.

One of my favorite assignments is to have students write papers describing their favorite food. Even students afraid to open up and brave an opinion find something enthusiastic to say about pizza. These papers are often lively, colorful, and lots of fun. But then, after I assign them a chapter from Marvin Harris The Sacred Cow and the Abominable Pig, a study of the cultural origins of foodways, I have them write a paper exploring the origins of their own personal likes or dislikes. To be done well, this type of paper requires research into psychology, history, anthropology, ethnicity, and ecology. Then, as if that were not enough, I have them combine the two papers trying to retain both the personal enthusiasm of the first paper and the academic analysis of the second. It does not always work. Merging papers after they have been written is harder than writing a varied paper to begin with. But the exercise does get the point across...

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