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Unit 2: Nonfiction Essay. Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it is more telling. To know that a thing actually happened gives it a poignancy, touches.

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Presentation on theme: "Unit 2: Nonfiction Essay. Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it is more telling. To know that a thing actually happened gives it a poignancy, touches."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unit 2: Nonfiction Essay

2 Truth is not only stranger than fiction, it is more telling. To know that a thing actually happened gives it a poignancy, touches a chord, which a piece of acknowledged fiction misses. —W. Somerset Maugham

3 What is nonfiction? Nonfiction is prose writing that explores real –lives –places –things –events –ideas

4 What are the most popular forms of nonfiction? The most popular forms of nonfiction are –biographies –autobiographies –memoirs –essays –speeches –informational text

5 What are your favorite types of nonfiction? Biographies Self-help books Autobiographies Newspaper, magazine, and Internet articles Eyewitness accounts of newsworthy events Essays Memoirs

6 What are the purposes of nonfiction? To entertain readers To enlighten readers by providing information, explanation, or instruction To persuade readers to understand a particular viewpoint To offer advice or guidance for readers To present snapshots of the human experience for readers

7 Essay Essays—particularly those written by humorists—are popular among teenagers. Well-known writers of humorous essays include –Mark Twain –Dave Barry –James Thurber –David Sedaris –Garrison Keillor

8 Essay Other popular essayists include –Annie Dillard –E. B. White –Sandra Cisneros –Anna Quindlen –Henry David Thoreau –Ralph Waldo Emerson

9 How might essays “tell,” “march,” “fight,” and “create a sense of hunger for life”? I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. —Richard Wright I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. —Richard Wright

10 Essay and Thesis An essay is a short work that presents a single main idea about a particular topic. –This single main idea, called a thesis, is the most important part of an essay. The thesis serves as a compass, providing the direction that the essay will take. The thesis typically appears in an essay’s introduction.

11 Essay and Thesis In “It’s Not Talent, It’s Just Work,” the author presents her thesis in the opening paragraph, shown in the excerpt below. It’s hard work, doing something with your life. The very thought of hard work makes me queasy. I’d rather die in peace. Here we are, all equal and alike and none of us much to write home about—and some people choose to make themselves into physicists or thinkers or major-league pitchers, knowing perfectly well that it will be nothing but hard work. But I want to tell you that it’s not as bad as it sounds. Doing something does not require discipline; it creates its own discipline…. —from “It’s Not Talent, It’s Just Work,” by Annie Dillard It’s hard work, doing something with your life. The very thought of hard work makes me queasy. I’d rather die in peace. Here we are, all equal and alike and none of us much to write home about—and some people choose to make themselves into physicists or thinkers or major-league pitchers, knowing perfectly well that it will be nothing but hard work. But I want to tell you that it’s not as bad as it sounds. Doing something does not require discipline; it creates its own discipline…. —from “It’s Not Talent, It’s Just Work,” by Annie Dillard

12 Tone Essays serve a variety of audiences and purposes. As a result, they adopt different tones, or emotional attitudes toward their readers or subjects. Their tones range from –personal and intimate to –bold and determined

13 Types of Essays There are three major types of essays: –expository –persuasive –personal Some essays fall into just one category; others have elements of two or even all three. All essays have one common purpose: –to enlighten readers about themselves and the world around them.

14 Expository Essay An expository essay explores a topic with the goal of informing or enlightening readers. Expository essays are also known as informative essays.

15 Expository Essay An effective expository essay –explains a familiar and relevant topic –presents specific points about the topic in a structured format –expands on the points using examples –uses an objective third-person point of view –adopts a formal tone –shows a writer’s knowledge of the topic

16 The following excerpt comes from an expository essay written to inform readers about the dangers of DDT. In 1962, Rachel Carson’s eloquent and best-selling book, Silent Spring, drew international attention to the environmental contamination wrought by pesticides, particularly the insecticide DDT. Carson cited declines in the number of songbirds due to poisoning as a key piece of evidence…. Thanks partly to the fervor generated by Carson’s book and partly to a study done by the National Institutes of Health which found DDT or its by-products in 100% of the human tissues it examined, DDT and most other organochlorines were banned for use in the United States in the early 1970s. —from “When It Comes to Pesticides, Birds are Sitting Ducks,” by Mary Deinlein In 1962, Rachel Carson’s eloquent and best-selling book, Silent Spring, drew international attention to the environmental contamination wrought by pesticides, particularly the insecticide DDT. Carson cited declines in the number of songbirds due to poisoning as a key piece of evidence…. Thanks partly to the fervor generated by Carson’s book and partly to a study done by the National Institutes of Health which found DDT or its by-products in 100% of the human tissues it examined, DDT and most other organochlorines were banned for use in the United States in the early 1970s. —from “When It Comes to Pesticides, Birds are Sitting Ducks,” by Mary Deinlein

17 Persuasive Essay A persuasive essay aims to convince readers to accept a certain point of view.

18 Persuasive Essay An effective persuasive essay –takes a position or stance on a familiar and relevant issue –presents arguments that defend that position in a structured format –offers evidence such as facts, statistics, and expert opinions to support the arguments –uses a subjective first-person point of view –adopts a formal tone –shows a writer’s knowledge of the issue

19 The following excerpt comes from a persuasive essay that tries to convince readers to advocate for safer pesticides. Along with the possibility of the extinction of mankind by nuclear war, the central problem of our age has therefore become the contamination of man’s total environment with such substances of incredible potential for harm—substances that accumulate in the tissues of plants and animals and even penetrate the germ cells to shatter or alter the very material of heredity upon which the shape of the future depends. —from “The Obligation to Endure,” by Rachel Carson Along with the possibility of the extinction of mankind by nuclear war, the central problem of our age has therefore become the contamination of man’s total environment with such substances of incredible potential for harm—substances that accumulate in the tissues of plants and animals and even penetrate the germ cells to shatter or alter the very material of heredity upon which the shape of the future depends. —from “The Obligation to Endure,” by Rachel Carson

20 Persuasive and Expository Essay Rachel Carson’s “The Obligation to Endure” is both a persuasive essay and an expository essay. –Carson not only tries to persuade readers to advocate for safer pesticides. –She also incorporates facts about the pesticide DDT to inform readers on the subject of pesticide use.

21 Personal Essay A personal essay explores a topic related to the life or interests of the writer.

22 Personal Essay An effective personal essay –has a clear main idea –shares a personal experience or recollection –uses a narrative format to tell the story –includes descriptive details –uses a subjective first-person point of view –adopts an informal and intimate tone –forges a connection with readers on a life experience

23 The following excerpt comes from a personal essay in which the author reflects on incidents of his childhood. The night after Halloween, we were sitting around watching TV when the doorbell rang.… I ran downstairs…opening the door to discover the entire Tomkey family on our front stoop…. It seemed they had spent the previous evening isolated at the lake and had missed the opportunity to observe Halloween. “So, well, I guess we’re trick-or-treating now, if that’s okay,” Mr. Tomkey said. I attributed their behavior to the fact that they didn’t have a TV, but television didn’t teach you everything. Asking for candy on Halloween was called trick-or-treating, but asking for candy on November first was called begging…. This was one of the things you were supposed to learn simply by being alive…. —from “Us and Them,” by David Sedaris The night after Halloween, we were sitting around watching TV when the doorbell rang.… I ran downstairs…opening the door to discover the entire Tomkey family on our front stoop…. It seemed they had spent the previous evening isolated at the lake and had missed the opportunity to observe Halloween. “So, well, I guess we’re trick-or-treating now, if that’s okay,” Mr. Tomkey said. I attributed their behavior to the fact that they didn’t have a TV, but television didn’t teach you everything. Asking for candy on Halloween was called trick-or-treating, but asking for candy on November first was called begging…. This was one of the things you were supposed to learn simply by being alive…. —from “Us and Them,” by David Sedaris

24 Essay Organization Essays tend to be structured pieces. There are several different ways to organize an essay. The most common organizational methods are –chronological order –order of importance –comparison-and-contrast order –cause and effect order

25 Chronological Organization In a chronological method of text organization –events are given in the order in which they occurred –events are connected by transition words and phrases such as when, next, first, then, finally, at last, and before

26 Chronological Organization To analyze the text organization of an essay that uses chronological order, use a graphic organizer like a Sequence Map or Time Line.

27 Order of Importance Organization When text is organized by order of importance –details are given in order of importance or familiarity –details are connected by transition words and phrases such as first, finally, more important, less important, most important, and least important.

28 Order of Importance Organization To analyze the text organization of an essay that is organized by order of importance, use a graphic organizer like a Hierarchy of Details Chart.

29 Comparison-and-Contrast Organization In a comparison-and-contrast method of organization, the characteristics of two people, objects, or ideas are compared by using –an alternating method of organization or –a block method of organization The comparison items are connected by transition words and phrases such as similarly, in contrast, a different kind, more, and less.

30 Comparison-and-Contrast Organization To analyze the text organization of an essay that uses a comparison-and-contrast order, use a graphic organizer such as a Venn Diagram.

31 Cause and Effect Organization When text uses a cause and effect method of organization –one or more causes are presented, followed by one or more effects or –one or more effects are presented, followed by one or more causes Transition words and phrases that indicate cause and effect include consequently, because, therefore, if/then, hence, and since.

32 Cause and Effect Organization To analyze the text organization of an essay that uses a cause and effect order, use a graphic organizer such as a Cause-and-Effect Chart.

33 SUMMARY: Essay To help you determine the type of essay and the author’s purpose for writing it, ask yourself the following questions after reading: –Is the author trying to inform me about a particular subject? –Is the author trying to convince me to see his or her side of a topic or an issue? –Is the author trying to make a connection with me by sharing an experience that I can relate to in some way?


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