Polemical essays are essays that strongly support one side of an argument.

Polemical essays are essays that strongly support one side of an argument.

Essay Types: From Personal to Public

A medium to tell a story, and a written record of individual and national histories since the 16th century, essays have served as a means of connection: a way to persuade others to a certain perspective. The phrase “essay” arises from the essai that are french meaning an attempt or a trial, which speaks to your flexibility of the form in both delivery and outcomes. The essay itself is a thought experiment which could employ many different lengths, styles, and genres, including political, personal, humorous, and historical approaches. Further, a well-written essay may evoke an assortment of emotions or reactions. These works, often short yet profoundly poignant, have the charged capacity to make readers laugh, cry, think, or change their opinions or actions. Even the delivery platforms are versatile—essays are published in journals and newspapers, anthologies and collections, blogs and web pages, and much more.

In terms of crafting a good piece of writing, Professor Cognard-Black starts with well-established principles derived from Aristotle, who believed that writers are most convincing when they create a good ethos (or credibility), and then support this ethos with appeals to reason (logos) and emotion (pathos). Similar rhetorical strategies are nevertheless utilized today in creating stories that are compelling arguments. Most importantly, essays use a convincing and honest first-person voice because the writer has a deep connection to the materials that comes from living, witnessing, or caring profoundly about an experience. By merging what Aristotle calls the artistic proofs (the pathos regarding the essay, or even the experience that is personal thoughts, in addition to logos of this essay, or rationality) using the inartistic proofs (or research and data), your essay should come across as credible even to skeptical readers. Continue reading Polemical essays are essays that strongly support one side of an argument.