Modern Essays

So our back to our framing question, are essays still a relevant form of mass communication?

Start by looking for modern essays. Can essays be found on contemporary online media?

TASK: find a modern essay. Justify why you think it is an essay. 

TASK: read the conventions of essays on the OWL Purdue site. Which type of essay did you find? (first decide if your text is an essay!)

One contemporary writer, Anne Fadiman, is attempting to revive the familiar essay. She asserts the essayists “viewpoint [is] subjective, his frame of refence concrete, his style digressive, his eccentricities consipuous , and his laughter usually at his own expense” (X) but that is focused on a subject on which the writer is enthusiastic. I would go further to assert that these essays, though explicitly focused on  a concrete concept, comment on much broader political, social, or economic ideas.

TASK: Read three of Fadiman’s essays and select one to focus on. 

On your chosen essay, write the following (these steps will basically guide you through a critical response so pay attention to the kinds of things you are being asked to do)

  1. What is the essay explicitly addressing? What is on the surface? What is this essay “about”?
  2. Connect this to the wider world. What is Fadiman implicitly addressing?
  3. Annotations: begin annotating for ideas and language.

TASK: Write a critical response to one of Fadiman’s essays, highlighting its connection to the wider world/bigger picture.

Use your response to suggest that essays continue to play a wider role in mass media communication. 

Works Cited

Fadiman, Anne. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998. Print.

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