Newness is Number One in Published Essays

In every published essay, you’ll find they all have one thing in common: They all say something new to the reader. But when critics and teachers talk about essays, they almost always overlook or ignore that fact. (I know, that seems hard to believe, but it’s true.) In fact, we can see a pattern in all published essays of first identifying the old view – the familiar, accepted view – of something and then almost immediately identifying a new how to write a cause and effect essay

view, which is always in opposition to, or a reversal of, the old view. The new view thesis is then always followed by support. (By the way, you can Googlethe titles of each of the essays I’ll mention here if you put them in quote marks. Google will provide you with a link to at least one online instance of each essay, in full.) For instance, the first paragraph of George Orwell’s widely published essay, Politics and the English Language, talks about the

degradation of the English language and the ugly politics of the British Empire, how the two interact and seem unbreakably bound together. In the second paragraph, Orwell points out that “the process is reversible” and that improving the usage of the English language can improve English politics and thereby help save the British Empire. That’s a clear old-to-new pattern, a reversal new view. And it’s followed by support. Another good example is Carl Sagan’s popular published essay, The Abstraction of Beasts. The very first sentence of the essay plainly states the old view:

Then there’s the David Versus Goliath cultural pattern of newness. Here’s how that works: We all know that big guys intimidate and overwhelm little guys-that’s just the way it is, what everyone expects and accepts because we see it happening all the time. For example, some big health insurance companies take advantage of powerless single policy holders. Movies are made about such situations, such as the stirring 1997 film The Rainmaker, starring Matt Damon and Danny DeVito, in which a huge insurance company is defeated by a little woman and her wet-behind-the-ears, just-out-of-school lawyer. So

when the little guy overcomes the big guy, as David did to Goliath in the biblical story, everyone is a little surprised and somewhat glad about it. It’s very much like ‘Good overcomes evil’ since big guys or groups just about always throw their power around and abuse good little guys like you and me. The newness aspect of this pattern is that experience has taught all of us that big, powerful bad guys regularly make mincemeat of good little guys – so when that old view negative expectation gets reversed, we’ve got a new view. Here are examples of the David Versus Goliath cultural pattern of newness:

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