Weekly Essays

Each week you will write a succinct, one-page essay. The word “essay” simply means “trial, testing, [or] proof.” These are your attempts to offer a focused, coherent argument in response to our weekly essays.

To begin, pick one small, narrow idea from our essay. Craft a single, determinative sentence that clearly articulates your claim about this idea. This sentence should be the first paragraph. Then develop this claim in a couple of short paragraphs. Conclude by briefly showing why your claim matters.

To give you a sense of what kind of thesis can be developed in a one-page essay, here are a couple of sample thesis statements based on the essay by Francine Prose:

  • One learns to be an excellent baseball player through the same kind of sustained attention to exemplars that Francine Prose describes in the context of careful reading.
  • My father is a good cook because he learned the necessary skills from his mother and can now use them with creativity and flexibility.
  • We only pay attention to what we have first fallen in love with; therefore, the best way to learn how to write is to cultivate a love for reading.

Format your essays according to this guide. Your essays should be 280-320 words. As the semester progresses, you will be responsible for incorporating what you are learning into your essays, so you should expect that I will hold you to a higher standard as you learn more.