An outstanding Italian writer, Umberto Eco, when asked if writing is difficult, he answered that he did not. Just write “from left to right”. And now. Uncomplicated, right? But it is not enough to write. You have to write so that someone else would like what you have written and read. And this is much more difficult. Because we must take care not only of the appropriate language, stylistics, spelling and grammar, that is what American writer Stephen King calls the tools that every writer should carry in his handy box. We must also ensure that what we write is interesting.
When we create a story, the story itself should be interesting. An interesting hero, engaging events and a story finished with a point. However, when we create an essay, history is not the most important thing. The most important thing is what we want to convey to our readers, our emotions, thoughts and reflections. That is why the essay is seemingly simple – because we can write about anything, but in reality it is a very difficult form to write, requiring not only a working pen, but also the author’s stop, which in words should convey his thoughts on a specific topic.
The essay eludes rigid definitions. Although we can divide it into a scientific essay, which deals with issues related to various fields of science, philosophical – concerning philosophy or ethics, critical – devoted to art or journalistic – the starting point may be social themes or related to everyday life, the very form of an essay, that is, the way in which we present a topic depends entirely on us. An important feature of the essay is the subjectivism of the author, who can present his point of view. In contrast to the press article, in which we must provide documented facts, in the essay we can describe our own thoughts. The facts can serve as a starting point for the considerations we will conclude in it, but it is our opinion, our opinion is the most important here. Therefore, when starting to work on the essay, we first need to think about the problem that we want to write about. Do I agree with the opinions of others on the subject? Do I see something that others can not see? I like what comes out of it or not? Why? These are the questions we should ask ourselves before we put the first letter before writing the first sentence of our essay.
The very name of the essay comes from the French word essayer, which means an attempt to get to the bottom, to discover the meaning. Therefore, the essay is an open form, it does not have to end with a summary. It may be a question about the essence of the problem, not an answer, because the answer may depend on who presents it, so the discussion does not end with a summary. It is open, ready for dialogue, for a different voice in the same matter. In my essay, I am an extremely important element of the genre. Because the author is the subject in it, the author presents his subjective opinion. Reflection and subjectivism are the words that best describe the essay.
And here we come to a certain paradox. The essay should be subjective and reflective, but should not be a chaotic stream of words thrown away by the author. Essay is a form in which the author can show the artistry of his writing. Perhaps presenting his own feelings or reflections, he can reach for sophisticated stylistic means – metaphors, digressions, retrospections. It may quote quotes from other authors, although they should be presented in relation to their own opinion, be the basis for polemics or illustrate the author’s opinion on the subject being discussed. However, it never turns into a story, it does not take the form of literary fiction. An essay is not a story, not a dissertation, but a way of expression, the possibility of giving your own opinions in a written form, your own thoughts.
In summary, the essay should have the following characteristics:
– subjectivism – the author should present his own opinion
– reflexivity – the topic should evoke the thoughts of the author who, through the way of showing the problem in an essay, will also provoke the reader to think too
- aestheticism – the author should show linguistic artistry
- openness – the essay does not have to have a definite ending, pointers, morals, can leave the reader with a question that he will have to read after himself to answer them
- syncretism – when writing an essay the author should use forms borrowed from other literary genres
- intertextuality – the author should draw from the works of other authors, quote their statements, refer to the artistic works of other artists, argue with them
- digressiveness – the essay does not have a rigid form, so we can write it to digressions, although they should be related to the main theme of the essay.
The essay is therefore a difficult form, requiring knowledge and sensitivity from the author. However, writing an essay can be an intellectual challenge that will not only increase our ability to speak, but will make others interested in the subject to which we will draw their attention.