Essays: A Classification of Classification

May 25, 2012
By mwurzer4 DIAMOND, Rochester, New York
mwurzer4 DIAMOND, Rochester, New York
65 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Thou! thy truest type of grief is the gently falling leaf."
-Edgar Allan Poe


There are three different types of classification essays: the good, the bad, and the satisfactory. The good ones go above and beyond: the good ones have everything I want and then some. Then the bad ones, which stand right behind the good ones, offer a dry reading that leaves the reader snoring. Randomly dotting the stack of essays, hoping to be mistaken for a good one, the satisfactory essays meet the standard.
Stack of essays in hand, I perch on the chair in front of my pine desk, red pen at the ready. I pick up the first one titled, “Dogs.” My expectations for this piece do not travel very far. Cautiously I begin, taking a sip of coffee to make sure I don’t doze. Instantly the essay hooks me; I can’t take my eyes off the page. I travel to a world of dogs, shifting seamlessly from a day of playing with a loyal, loveable pup, to a day of wrestling books away from the greedy jaws of an aggravating mutt. When, with reluctance, I exit this world, I find myself pondering over whether or not I myself should get a dog. With a start, I realize that the personality of the dogs had so enraptured me, that I had forgotten to make note of the sentence structure and the verbs. Eagerly I go through it again, this time noticing six sentence patterns instead of the required three, and verbs that set just the right mood. I mark the paper with a green 100%.

Flipping to the next paper, I happily note an interesting and humorous title, “The Funky, the Freaky, and the Flippy.” This one will be good, I think to myself. I rush into the first sentence, only I am met not by humor and color, but by a wall of flat, boring lists. I retreat from this world of lists with joy, happy that I had been released prematurely from this flat place. Once more I take a sip of my coffee, bracing myself against this sad piece of work. With dry sarcasm, I mark all of the sentence patterns wrong. I circle seven unnecessary S.O.B. verbs and make a note to the author that he switched tenses several times, from past to present, and even to future. With no exaggeration, I give his paper a red 50%.
Finally out of the previous world of lists, I go on to the next paper, “The Grocerystorians.” The title, cheesy yet creative, gives no hint as to what the essay itself will be like. I head in, unprepared for what awaits me there. I listen as the author describes the different categories of grocery shoppers. Noting the sentence structures, correct but dry, I finish reading. The piece itself, though it could use some work, hadn’t been bad. I made a few notes to the author, and marked it with a green 80%.

I have finally finished the first three essays, and already my head droops wearily. People have many different writing styles, I think to myself, flipping to the next paper. It will take time to guide them to a higher, more advanced level of writing. If I have patience with my students, I know we can make it through.


The author's comments:
I wrote this for my English class a while ago, back when we were learning more advanced sentence structures than those taught in lower levels. We had to use at least three different ones in each essay that we wrote, as well as exclude all SOB verbs: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been. it was a bit strange.

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