Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

Impossible Knife

Laurie Halse Anderson

7: Make your essay shout,

make your essay sing.

Make your essay sing...like a musical composition by Ludwig von Beethoven

One of Beethoven's manuscripts...before he turned it in.

Question: What's the difference between an essay for second period English and a sonata by Ludwig von Beethoven?

Answer: Less than you might think.Ludwig von Beethoven knew a thing or two about compositional structure

Your essay is a lot like a piece of music by Beethoven...or Taylor Swift.

Like a Beethoven sonata, your essay has a structure, a beginning, a middle, and an end.Taylor Swift knows a thing or two about thesis structure. Landmarkmedia/Shutterstock_ Like a Taylor Swift hit, your essay begins with an assertion--a thesis statement--and then justifies that assertion with supporting facts. (Consider Red, which Swift begins with an argument that falling in love with a particular boy is like "driving a new Maserati down a dead end street." She spends the rest of the song presenting facts, or observations, to justify her song-opening assertion.)

moreLike music, your essay is meant to be heard. You're not writing to amuse yourself (or you're not writing just to amuse yourself). You're writing because someone's going to read what you write. So write something worth reading. When you create your thesis statement, create a provocative thesis statement. When you choose facts, choose persuasive facts. When you write your essay, write to sweep your reader along in your argument. A great essay, like great music, demands to be noticed. So don't be shy. Go for the prize.

Make your essay shout. Make your essay sing.


Check out 60second Recap's complete seven-video mini-series, "Write the greatest essay ever! (Or just an essay that won't put your teacher to sleep)".

Recap Resource also offers a 60second Recap video study guide tutorial, Dictionary of Terms with won't-waste-your-time explanations of key literary concepts--metaphor, symbols, motifs, and more.