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For other uses, see Essay (disambiguation).
"Essays" redirects here. For other uses, see Essays(disambiguation).
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John Locke's 1690 Essay Concerning Human Understanding.An essay is usually a short piece of writing which is often written from an author's personalpoint of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, andreflections of the author. The definition of an essay is vague, overlapping with those of an article and a short story. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works inverse have been dubbed essays (e.g. Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man). While brevity usually defines an essay, voluminous works like John Locke's An EssayConcerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population provide counterexamples.
Essays have become a major part of a formal education.Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants (see admissions essay)and, in the humanities and social sciences, as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams. The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other mediums beyondwriting. Film essays consist of the evolution of a theme or an idea rather than a plot. A photographic essay is an attempt to cover a topic with a linked series of photographs.