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See how it picks up on the key items of the original question.
This was designed as an open-book question, so I had E. White's essay in front of me as I worked, but of course I had already studied the essay and had firm opinions.
Good technique really helps you to write effective essay answers, but you also need to have studied, to have made yourself familiar with the content on which you will be tested. The notes begin with the two broad requirements from the question: "What phrase means," and "How the essay leads there." see how I start recording possible evidence, using just quick references you might note here that the order of examples follows the order of the essay Im just running my eyes across the essay, looking for evidence, and writing items down as I see them. *In this section, you might see that Im beginning to practice or rehearse some actual writing that might occur in the answer itself; its a safe way to "warm up."Let me stress that this is the answer exactly as it was written within the testing period.
This is a good example of how the writing process works: I can gather ideas and evidence first, without worrying about sentences; then I can build decent sentences without worrying about the ideas or evidence.
Notice that this fourth paragraph starts using direct quotations, while the preceding paragraphs used summary or paraphrasethat provides both some variety and some efficiency.
What follows is a an example of an answer to a typical essay questionthe sort of question you would expect on a composition midterm, but also much like essay questions in any discipline. I wrote this answer under typical test conditions: I gave myself a 40-minute time limit (assuming that this would be one of three questions on a test scheduled for two hours), and began with the sort of informal prewriting/outline that improves control and completeness.
White's essay, "Once More to the Lake," an essay commonly included in composition anthologies.Despite plenty of pleasant descriptions Whites father comically rolling over in a canoe, the reverence for the silent lake in the early morning, the young waitresses, the walk to the farmhouse for dinner, the pleasures of boating and fishing, the taste of soda, the laughter of other campers clowning around in the rainlittle hints of melancholy and uncertainty emerge as the essay develops, and lead toward the chill of death at the end. "This seemed an utterly enchanted sea, this lake you could leave to its own devices for a few hours and come back to, and find that it had not stirred, this constant and trustworthy body of water." But for all that is the same and constant, there are still unsettling differencesthe horses track in the path to the farmhouse is gone ("I missed terribly the middle alternative.") Arriving was less excitingno loud wonderful fuss about " . After reading this introduction, go back and read the question again. This approach provides two benefits: it provides a quick way to begin, and it pushes both me and the reader toward what the question actually asks for.[Its helpful to reassure your grader in this way that you are answering the question directly.] After you read paragraphs 2 and 3, go back and look at the notesyou should see that the notes gave me the information I need, and all I have to do here is turn it into reasonably smooth sentences.I did the whole thing on the computer, and you will see the notes and essay exactly as I wrote them (though the comments on the side were added later for your use).The computer allowed me to move things around onscreen, but I used the same method I use on papersetting up general categories with spaces between them, then filling in.He would be in the middle of simple acts such as picking up a bait box or laying down a table fork and he would suddenly get the feeling that it was his father doing these things or saying the words and it started to give him a creepy sensation. He felt the same damp moss covering the worms in the bait can, and saw the dragonfly on the tip of the rods as it hovered over the water.The arrival of the dragon fly convinced the father even more that everything was as it had always been.During this he gets the great feelings that he once had as a child camping and decides to relive them again.He is now a father who has a child himself which he decides to bring along with because his son has have never had any fresh water up his nose and thought this would be a great experience for the both of them.White besides catches himself non cognizing the difference between his boy and himself at times. He saw so much of himself in his boy that he thought the two were one. briefly traveling through deja vu like enchantment when reminiscing. He stated himself that one memory can take to another ; same thing goes for believing in front.