There was a slave in ancient Carthage. His master was very cruel. He used to beat him severely over trifles. The slave was tired of this life. He ran away into a jungle nearby and hid himself in a cave.
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Very soon a lion entered the cave. The slave was terrified. He, however, soon saw that the lion was groaning with pain. The slave went near the lion to see what the matter was. The lion held up his wounded paw. The slave saw a big thorn stuck in the paw. He pulled out the thorn. The lion in gratefulness began to lick his hand. They became friends and lived happily.
After sometime the slave went to Carthage. His master saw him and caught him. According to the custom prevailing there, the slave was ordered to face the hungry lion. It was soon announced that a slave would fight a hungry lion. Thousands of people went to the arena to see this fight. A hungry lion was soon let loose. To the surprise of everyone the lion began to lick the feet of the slave.
The governor who was present to watch the show was also surprised. He sent for the slave and asked why the hungry lion had not cared to attack him. The slave was in tears. He said that the lion was his friend in the jungle and they had lived together in the same cave. The Governor was pleased to hear his story. He set the slave free and gave him the lion as a reward. Moral: One good turn deserves another.
The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2018-02-09 12:42:48
This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum. The four genres of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres, also known as the modes of discourse, have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these genres and students’ need to understand and produce these types of essays. We hope these resources will help.
The essay is a commonly assigned form of writing that every student will encounter while in academia. Therefore, it is wise for the student to become capable and comfortable with this type of writing early on in her training.
Essays can be a rewarding and challenging type of writing and are often assigned either to be done in class, which requires previous planning and practice (and a bit of creativity) on the part of the student, or as homework, which likewise demands a certain amount of preparation. Many poorly crafted essays have been produced on account of a lack of preparation and confidence. However, students can avoid the discomfort often associated with essay writing by understanding some common genres.
Before delving into its various genres, let’s begin with a basic definition of the essay.
What is an essay?
Though the word essay has come to be understood as a type of writing in Modern English, its origins provide us with some useful insights. The word comes into the English language through the French influence on Middle English; tracing it back further, we find that the French form of the word comes from the Latin verb exigere, which means "to examine, test, or (literally) to drive out." Through the excavation of this ancient word, we are able to unearth the essence of the academic essay: to encourage students to test or examine their ideas concerning a particular topic.
Essays are shorter pieces of writing that often require the student to hone a number of skills such as close reading, analysis, comparison and contrast, persuasion, conciseness, clarity, and exposition. As is evidenced by this list of attributes, there is much to be gained by the student who strives to succeed at essay writing.
The purpose of an essay is to encourage students to develop ideas and concepts in their writing with the direction of little more than their own thoughts (it may be helpful to view the essay as the converse of a research paper). Therefore, essays are (by nature) concise and require clarity in purpose and direction. This means that there is no room for the student’s thoughts to wander or stray from his or her purpose; the writing must be deliberate and interesting.
This handout should help students become familiar and comfortable with the process of essay composition through the introduction of some common essay genres.
This handout includes a brief introduction to the following genres of essay writing: