Skip to content

Samparka Madhyamam Essay Definition

Madhyamam (meaning Medium) is a Malayalam newspaper published from Kerala, India, since 1987.[1] It is India's first international newspaper.[2] It was founded in 1987 by the Ideal Publications Trust.[3] It has eight editions in India (seven in Kerala and one in Bangalore) and its Persian Gulf edition Gulf Madhyamam has nine in the Middle East.

According to Indian Readership Survey 2009[4] and IRS 2010 Q4, it is the fourth popular newspaper in Kerala with a readership of 904,000 readers.[5][6]

The newspaper and its team of journalists have secured nearly ninety awards including Ramnath Goenka Journalism Award, Statesman Award for Rural Reporting, PUCL Journalism Award for Human Rights, ESR World Journalism Prize and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) Developing Asia Journalism Award.[7]

The newspaper has exposed multiple stories of land encroachments, farming frauds, and malpractices in the name of assisted fertility.[7] It also exposed an alleged kidney racket in tribal settlements in Idukki district of Kerala prompting a public outcry[8] followed by an in-depth investigation by both the state government[9] and the Indian Medical Association (IMA)[10] into the incident.


Madhyamam is owned by the Ideal Publications Trust, most of whose members are affiliated with the Kerala unit of the sunnies.[11] The trust claims as their aim "providing non-profit non-partisan and value-based journalistic service free from market pressures".[7] The non-profit nature of the ownership, it says ensures the paper stays free of market compulsions of a business concern and be selective in the advertisements it publishes.[7]


Madhyamam began publishing in 1987 at Silver Hills near Calicut. Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar inaugurated the newspaper.[12][13]Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, Malayalam writer, described it as "the birth of a silver star".

The opening editorial on 1 June 1987 read:[7]

Madhyamam comes to you, the reader, with a clear sense of purpose... Mass media are today passing through a period of degeneration. This sphere is not an exception to the general deterioration of values. The face of truth is being concealed behind the glitter of gold. In this murky situation we offer wholesome journalism reflective of a healthy worldview.

The second edition was launched in July 1993 at Cochin, followed by the third at Trivandrum in April 1996.[14]Gulf Madhyamam was first published from Bahrain in 1998 and then from Dubai in 2002.[15]

K C Abdullah, P K Balakrishnan, and K A Kodungallur were among its early editors. Renowned writer C Radhakrishnan served as its consultant editor from 1997 to 1999.[16]O Abdurahman is the current editor of Madhyamam, and PA Abdul Hakeem is the publisher in charge. VK Hamza Abbas is the chief editor of Gulf Madhyamam.[17] Media critique Dr. K Yasin Ashraf is the associate editor of Madhyamam.


Apart from the daily edition, Madhyamam has an online edition at and also publishes various supplements:

  • Varadya Madhyamam, a weekend supplement
  • Kudumba Madhyamam (Family Madhyamam), focussing on family and children
  • Thozhil Madhyamam, a career supplement
  • Vidhyabhyasa Madhyamam, an education supplement
  • Info Madhyamam, an IT supplement
  • Upabhokthr (Consumer) Madhyamam, a business supplement
  • Velicham, a school supplement[18]


Madhyamam has the fourth largest circulation in Kerala, and combined with Gulf Madhyamam, the market leader amongst Malayalam newspapers in the Middle East,[5][19] has the third largest circulation amongst Malayalam newspapers.[1][20]

It now has nine editions in India: in Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Kochi, Malappuram, Kannur, Thrissur, Bangalore, Mangalore and Mumbai. The edition at Thrissur was inaugurated on 18 August 2009 by the Defence Minister of India A.K Antony.[21] In April 2011, the paper expanded to its 10th edition in India from Mumbai. The Governor of Maharashtra State handed over a copy to Oscar award winner Resul Pookutty.[22]

Gulf Madhyamam[edit]

Gulf Madhyamam, a subsidiary, is the first international Indian newspaper and most popular Malayalam newspaper in the Middle East, with more editions in the Persian Gulf countries than any other daily in the Middle East.[19] It is published from four locations in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah and Abha), one in the UAE (Dubai), one in Oman (Muscat), and from Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.[23]

Okaz group, a leading media conglomerate in Saudi Arabia, has tied up with the Gulf Madhyamam Daily, the No.1 Malayalam daily in the Middle East. It is published from nine centres in the Persian Gulf region, with four editions in Saudi Arabia. The partnership will enable both media houses to enhance their distribution network.[24]

Madhyamam healthcare[edit]

In October 2001, it launched a healthcare scheme for the poor, "Santhwanam", and has so far reportedly spent more than Rs 30 million to treat almost 5000 patients.[25]

Television channel[edit]

The Madhyamam Group also runs a Malayalam-language news-cum-entertainment television channel named Media One TV. The channel was licensed in September 2011 and was officially launched on 10 February 2013. The main studio is located at Velliparamba, Kozhikode.[26]

Awards and honours[edit]

The Madhyamam team has won numerous national and international awards for its contribution to journalism and in particular issues of agriculture, rural development and human rights.

International honours

Savad Rahman, a sub-editor at Madhyamam, won the Development Journalist of the Year prize at the Developing Asia Journalism Awards (DAJA), sponsored by the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI). An article on the plight of women trapped in the brothels of Mumbai earned him the prize.[27] He also won the Diversity and Equal Opportunity special prize at the ESR World Journalism Prize 2007 for his feature "Bant Singh The Lion of Mansa", about Bant Singh, a Dalit activist in Punjab.[28][29]

National awards

P.K. Prakash, a senior staff reporter since 1996, won the 23rd "Journalism for Human Rights" award instituted by the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in 2003. His reports on the Adivasi land issue in Muthanga,[30] the illegal kidney trade in Kerala,[31] prisoner torture at the Aluva Sub-jail, and the illegal viagra experiments on infants at a private hospital in Kochi[32] earned him the award.[33][34] He also earned a special mention from the PUCL award committee the previous year.[35]

His article series "Choothattam Thudarunna vipani" (The continuing gambles of the market, published 26–30 Oct 2007), explaining the impact of globalisation on the remote corners of rural India, and "Bhoomiyude jaathi" (Caste of the land), an analytical study on the impact of land reforms on the Dalit population in Kerala, won him "The Statesman Award for the Best Rural Reporting – First Prize" (2007),[36][37] and the Ramnath Goenka "Excellence in Journalism Awards for Regional Languages 2007–2008" – Print category.[38][39] He also received the 12th National Media Fellowship instituted by the National Foundation for India, a Rs. 100,000 grant for conducting studies on the plight of adivasis in the Kerala model of development.[40]

MJ Babu, a senior reporter of Madhyamam since 1993, twice won "The Statesman Award for the Best Rural Reporting", first in 1998 and then in 2008. His series of articles titled "Pattanam gramathodu cheyyunnath" (What a city does to a village, published:7–9 April 2008) won him the 2008 award. The series was about the sorry plight of the people living around the Canoli canal of the Chakkamkandam Lake in Guruvayoor where all the waste including human excreta from the city were dumped making it a breeding ground for all kinds of diseases. It also highlighted how paddy cultivation near Guruvayoor was destroyed due to pollution.[41]

State government awards

PK Prakash won the 2007 Ambedkar Media Award instituted by the Government of Kerala, for his report on "Bhoomiyude jaathi" (Caste of the land), an analytical study on the impact of land reforms on the Dalit population in Kerala.[42] He also won the same in 2004 for his investigative report on the illegal kidney trade in Kerala.[43]

Jisha Elizabeth, a reporter at the daily, won the award in 2009 for her article series on a tribal colony working its way to join the mainstream of society with the help of the government.[44]

Razak Thazhathangadi, press photographer at the newspaper, won the State Media Award 2003 in the news photography category for his photographs titled "Niram Maratha Nimisham" (The moment which did not change colour).[45]

N P Jishar, Senior correspondent, won the media award constituted by the Department of Culture, Govt of Kerala, for best reporting in International Film Festival of Kerala in December, 2010,[46][47] and a media award for state school Kalolsavam reporting constituted by Department of Education, Government of Kerala 2010.

Press Club / Press Academy awards

Madhyamam reporter Akbarali Puthunagaram won the Theruvath Raman Award 2006 instituted by the Calicut Press Club for his work "Super Chikiltsa, Hitech Kolla" (Superior treatment, Hi-Tech exploitation), which appeared between 31 August to 5 September 2006.[48]

Assistant Editor T P Cheruppa won the award in 2007 for his editorial "Nellu Mlechamo" (Is paddy shameful? – 11 Dec 2007).[49]

Sub-editor G Prajesh Sen won the award in 2008 for his work "Vadakathottiyile Vilppanatharatt", which appeared in the paper from 31 July to 6 August 2008.[50] PK Prakash and Prajesh Sen also won the R. Krishnaswamy Journalism Award, jointly instituted by the Keralashabdam weekly and the Kollam Press Club, in 2007[51] and 2009 respectively.[52] The two also won the V. Karunakaran Nambiar Award instituted by Kerala Press Academy in 2007 (PK Prakash)[53] and 2009 (Prajesh Sen).[54]

Reporter N P Jishar received the Chowwara Parameswran award of the press academy in 2008 for the serial named "Karshaka paadangalil kaliman khananam". He also received the First Best reporter award constituted by government of Kerala in state school festival, 2008.

PK Prakash won the first C.P. Mammu Endowment award 2006 instituted by the Ernakulam Press Club for his story "Bhoomiyude jaathi" (Caste of the land).[55]

TP Cheruppa won the maiden Kambissery Memorial Journalism Award instituted by the Kollam Press Club in 2006 for the best editorial in a Malayalam daily. The chosen editorial was "Irayakkapedunna Shaishavam"(Victimizing childhood), which appeared in Madhayamam on 24 June 2006.[56]

MJ Babu received the Dr Moorkkannoor Narayanan Award instituted by the Kerala Press Academy, the Oorja Kerala Award and the Farm Journalism Award instituted by the State unit of the Indian Veterinary Association.[57][58]

Controversies and criticisms[edit]

Email snooping incident[edit]

A controversy arose after Madhyamam Weekly reported that police had sought passwords and login details of accounts from various service providers like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Rediffmail and Asianet India, among others. Alleging that it was an attempt at religious profiling, the daily claimed that 268 email accounts had been subjected to surveillance, out of which 258 belonged to Muslims. None among them had any previous criminal background and there was no clarity as to why they were put under surveillance, the newspaper stated. A probe was ordered after leading Muslim organisations in Kerala demanded Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's explanation in this issue as he is handling the Home Affairs.

Chandy said that Madhyamam Weekly had not published the complete list, and provided the lists after removing the emails of people belonging to other communities. He said the weekly must come clear on this. The investigating officers got 268 mail IDs from a person and they were handed over to the hi-tech cell for tracing the identity, and no hacking attempt was made, he added.[59]

Police case for insulting religious Ssntiments[edit]

In accordance with an order from the Ernakulam judicial first magistrate court, on 11 March 2014, Kerala Police registered a case against Madhyamam and other media organizations in response to a petition[60] accusing them of insulting religious sentiments. Madhyamam was booked under Sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 298, 120B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.[61]

Other publications[edit]

Madhyamam Weekly has been a literary and political magazine since 1998. It claims a circulation of 25,000 copies each week.[20] The magazine contains regular columns of prominent writers like Maythil Radhakrishnan ("Moonnu Vara"), Viju V Nair ("Vellezhuthu"), KEN Kunhahammad ("Idapedal") and Babu Bharadwaj ("Vazhipokkante Vaakkukal").

It gave new insight into the murder of Naxal Varghese, a 1970s leader of the CPI (ML) in Kerala during the Emergency of 1975–1977. A penitent policeman in the Kerala Police, Constable Ramachandran Nair dictated a confessional note to M.K. Jayadevan which was later handed over to "Gro" Vasu,[62] an erstwhile Naxalite who later published it in Madhyamam Weekly.[7][63][64] The letter was then used an important evidence in the Supreme Court of India P. Vijayan vs State of Kerala case.[62]


  1. ^ abRegistrar of Newspapers of India. (PDF).
  2. ^"SHADOW". Retrieved 2017-04-16. 
  3. ^"CPI(M) invokes Israel factor to consolidate among Muslims". India Today. April 1, 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  4. ^Top 5 Malayalam Dailies: Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2009 — Round 1
  5. ^ ab"IRS 2010 Q3 All Dailies in Kerala since IRS 2009 R2". 
  6. ^"Q4 2010 (8 December 2010)". 
  7. ^ abcdefAbout Us – MadhyamamArchived 17 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^Inter State ramificationsArchived 16 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine..
  9. ^Kidney racket in KeralaArchived 2 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine..
  10. ^Human organ sale: the Kerala story. (21 June 2002).
  11. ^"Madhyamam: A Muslim media success story". Rediff. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  12. ^"Madhyamam - History". Retrieved 2017-08-11. 
  13. ^Madhyamam- media revolution in the south. (15 July 2004).
  14. ^Municipal Corporation of Trivandrum, Publications profileArchived 25 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^The National – The news that changed everything. The National (Abu Dhabi). (16 October 2013).
  16. ^Welcome to the home page of C. RadhakrishnanArchived 18 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.. (15 February 1939).
  17. ^India urged to repatriate undocumented Indians[permanent dead link]
  18. ^Nirakkoottu 2010[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ abIPSOS-STAT Survey 2009
  20. ^ abMadhyamam A Muslim media success storyArchived 25 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. (12 March 2009).
  21. ^Madhyamam Thrissur edition launched. (15 February 2010).
  22. ^Maha Governor launches Mumbai edition of daily `Madhyamam'', IBN Live News. (22 April 2011).
  23. ^Malayalam Newspapers eye Gulf as home markets slow down –. (10 May 2009).
  24. ^Okaz Organization ties up with Gulf MadhyamamArchived 26 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. Saudi Gazette (19 June 2013).
  25. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  26. ^TV channels storm arena in Kerala’s political battle. Indian Express (2 May 2011).
  27. ^ADBI’s 2005 awards honor excellence among developing Asia’s print journalistsArchived 6 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^"Forum mondial de l'Economie responsable Lille 2007-2010 / RSE". 10 August 2011. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. 
  29. ^Social Environmental Responsibility World Journalism Prize winners announced. (24 October 2007).
  30. ^(PUCL), People's Union for Civil Liberties. "P.K. Prakash's acceptance speech". 
  31. ^Illegal Kidney trade in KeralaArchived 2 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine..
  32. ^British Medical Journal 2002;325:181 (27 July). BMJ.
  33. ^PUCL Bulletin, May 2004 P.K. Prakash, Citation:23rd PUCL Journalism for Human Rights Award. (23 March 2004).
  34. ^"Awards for scribes". The Hindu. (4 March 2004).
  35. ^The Hindu – National – PUCL award for journalists. (5 March 2003).
  36. ^Statesman Awards for Rural Reporting announced. (16 September 2007).
  37. ^"Capturing myriad images of rural India"[dead link], The Statesman, Kolkata 16 September 2007. WEEKLY NEWS ROUND UP 88 (archive)Archived 8 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Times of India.
  38. ^Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards 2007–2008Archived 28 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  39. ^Stories behind the story. The Indian Express. (19 April 2009).
  40. ^National media fellowship. The Hindu. (4 December 2006).
  41. ^Of those who wrote of the untold woes – The Statesman 17 September 2009[permanent dead link]
  42. ^Awards for media reports on Dalit issues The Hindu Kerala – Thiruvananthapuram Monday, Nov 12, 2007. The Hindu. (12 November 2007).
  43. ^Chandy calls for tackling hunger The Hindu 13 Nov 2004 Kerala – Thiruvananthapuram. The Hindu. (13 November 2004).
  44. ^Media awards The Hindu 10 Nov 2009. The Hindu. (10 November 2009).
  45. ^Kerala Interface,Department of Information & Public Relations, Government of Kerala, Volume 2 Number 5, April 2004Archived 23 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  46. ^December 2010 18Archived 20 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  47. ^"'Portraits in a Sea of Lies' bags Golden Crow Pheasant Award at IFFK". The Hindu. 17 December 2010. 
  48. ^Award for 'Madhyamam' reporter.
  49. ^Madhyamam bags theruvath raman award. (10 July 2008).
  50. ^"Prajesh Sen bags 'Theruvath Raman' award". 
  51. ^Kerala -> Kochi -Award presented The Hindu. Tuesday, 1 May 2007[dead link]
  52. ^Journalism Award presented. The Hindu. (21 August 2009).
  53. ^Kerala – Kollam Award for journalist. The Hindu. (17 August 2007).
  54. ^"The Hindu : Home Page News & Features". 25 January 2013. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. 
  55. ^Engagements – Kochi. The Hindu. (1 June 2007).
  56. ^Kambissery award for Cherooppa. The Hindu.
  57. ^Statesman Award for MJ Babu of 'Madhyamam' daily in Kerala.
  58. ^MJ BABU reporter profile Thrissur Press ClubArchived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  59. ^News on e-mail snooping unfortunate: CMArchived 20 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. Mathrubhumi English (18 January 2012).
  60. ^"Book on Amma: Petition against media organizations, others". The Hindu. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  61. ^"Amritanandamayi mutt row: Gail Tredwell, five news organisations booked". India Today. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  62. ^ ab"P.Vijayan vs State Of Kerala & Anr on 27 January, 2010". 
  63. ^Malayala Manorama -Vichaaram->News->Malayalam->WebColumns->Kadhakkoottu – ''Madakkathapaalile charithram''(History in the rejected mails) March 18, 2010.
  64. ^Manorama Online | Home | Kadhakkoottu.

External links[edit]

Media related to Madhyamam Daily at Wikimedia Commons

Cover page of Madhyamam Weekly
ADBI Award-winning article in Varadya Madhyamam, published on 15 October 2006

For other uses, see Essay (disambiguation).

For a description of essays as used by Wikipedia editors, see Wikipedia:Essays.

"Essai" redirects here. For other uses, see Essai (disambiguation).

An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument — but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a paper, an article, a pamphlet, and a short story. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element (self-revelation, individual tastes and experiences, confidential manner), humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc.[1]

Essays are commonly used as literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse 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 Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population are counterexamples. In some countries (e.g., the United States and Canada), essays have become a major part of formal education. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills; admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants, and in the humanities and social sciences essays are often used as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams.

The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other mediums beyond writing. A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary filmmaking styles and focuses more on the evolution of a theme or idea. A photographic essay covers a topic with a linked series of photographs that may have accompanying text or captions.


An essay has been defined in a variety of ways. One definition is a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse".[2] It is difficult to define the genre into which essays fall. Aldous Huxley, a leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject.[3] He notes that "the essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything", and adds that "by tradition, almost by definition, the essay is a short piece". Furthermore, Huxley argues that "essays belong to a literary species whose extreme variability can be studied most effectively within a three-poled frame of reference". These three poles (or worlds in which the essay may exist) are:

  • The personal and the autobiographical: The essayists that feel most comfortable in this pole "write fragments of reflective autobiography and look at the world through the keyhole of anecdote and description".
  • The objective, the factual, and the concrete particular: The essayists that write from this pole "do not speak directly of themselves, but turn their attention outward to some literary or scientific or political theme. Their art consists of setting forth, passing judgment upon, and drawing general conclusions from the relevant data".
  • The abstract-universal: In this pole "we find those essayists who do their work in the world of high abstractions", who are never personal and who seldom mention the particular facts of experience.

Huxley adds that the most satisfying essays "...make the best not of one, not of two, but of all the three worlds in which it is possible for the essay to exist."

The word essay derives from the French infinitive essayer, "to try" or "to attempt". In English essay first meant "a trial" or "an attempt", and this is still an alternative meaning. The Frenchman Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) was the first author to describe his work as essays; he used the term to characterize these as "attempts" to put his thoughts into writing, and his essays grew out of his commonplacing.[4] Inspired in particular by the works of Plutarch, a translation of whose Œuvres Morales (Moral works) into French had just been published by Jacques Amyot, Montaigne began to compose his essays in 1572; the first edition, entitled Essais, was published in two volumes in 1580. For the rest of his life, he continued revising previously published essays and composing new ones. Francis Bacon's essays, published in book form in 1597, 1612, and 1625, were the first works in English that described themselves as essays. Ben Jonson first used the word essayist in English in 1609, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.



English essayists included Robert Burton (1577–1641) and Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682). In France, Michel de Montaigne's three volume Essais in the mid 1500s contain over 100 examples widely regarded as the predecessor of the modern essay. In Italy, Baldassare Castiglione wrote about courtly manners in his essay Il Cortigiano. In the 17th century, the JesuitBaltasar Gracián wrote about the theme of wisdom.[5] During the Age of Enlightenment, essays were a favored tool of polemicists who aimed at convincing readers of their position; they also featured heavily in the rise of periodical literature, as seen in the works of Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Samuel Johnson. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Edmund Burke and Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote essays for the general public. The early 19th century, in particular, saw a proliferation of great essayists in English – William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, Leigh Hunt and Thomas de Quincey all penned numerous essays on diverse subjects. In the 20th century, a number of essayists tried to explain the new movements in art and culture by using essays (e.g., T.S. Eliot). Whereas some essayists used essays for strident political themes, Robert Louis Stevenson and Willa Cather wrote lighter essays. Virginia Woolf, Edmund Wilson, and Charles du Bos wrote literary criticism essays.[5]


Main article: Zuihitsu

As with the novel, essays existed in Japan several centuries before they developed in Europe with a genre of essays known as zuihitsu — loosely connected essays and fragmented ideas. Zuihitsu have existed since almost the beginnings of Japanese literature. Many of the most noted early works of Japanese literature are in this genre. Notable examples include The Pillow Book (c. 1000), by court lady Sei Shōnagon, and Tsurezuregusa (1330), by particularly renowned Japanese Buddhist monk Yoshida Kenkō. Kenkō described his short writings similarly to Montaigne, referring to them as "nonsensical thoughts" written in "idle hours". Another noteworthy difference from Europe is that women have traditionally written in Japan, though the more formal, Chinese-influenced writings of male writers were more prized at the time.

Forms and styles

This section describes the different forms and styles of essay writing. These forms and styles are used by an array of authors, including university students and professional essayists.

Cause and effect

The defining features of a "cause and effect" essay are causal chains that connect from a cause to an effect, careful language, and chronological or emphatic order. A writer using this rhetorical method must consider the subject, determine the purpose, consider the audience, think critically about different causes or consequences, consider a thesis statement, arrange the parts, consider the language, and decide on a conclusion.[6]

Classification and division

Classification is the categorization of objects into a larger whole while division is the breaking of a larger whole into smaller parts.[7]

Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast essays are characterized by a basis for comparison, points of comparison, and analogies. It is grouped by the object (chunking) or by point (sequential). The comparison highlights the similarities between two or more similar objects while contrasting highlights the differences between two or more objects. When writing a compare/contrast essay, writers need to determine their purpose, consider their audience, consider the basis and points of comparison, consider their thesis statement, arrange and develop the comparison, and reach a conclusion. Compare and contrast is arranged emphatically.[8]


Descriptive writing is characterized by sensory details, which appeal to the physical senses, and details that appeal to a reader's emotional, physical, or intellectual sensibilities. Determining the purpose, considering the audience, creating a dominant impression, using descriptive language, and organizing the description are the rhetorical choices to consider when using a description. A description is usually arranged spatially but can also be chronological or emphatic. The focus of a description is the scene. Description uses tools such as denotative language, connotative language, figurative language, metaphor, and simile to arrive at a dominant impression.[9] One university essay guide states that "descriptive writing says what happened or what another author has discussed; it provides an account of the topic".[10]Lyric essays are an important form of descriptive essays.


In the dialectic form of the essay, which is commonly used in philosophy, the writer makes a thesis and argument, then objects to their own argument (with a counterargument), but then counters the counterargument with a final and novel argument. This form benefits from presenting a broader perspective while countering a possible flaw that some may present. This type is sometimes called an ethics paper.[11]


An exemplification essay is characterized by a generalization and relevant, representative, and believable examples including anecdotes. Writers need to consider their subject, determine their purpose, consider their audience, decide on specific examples, and arrange all the parts together when writing an exemplification essay.[12]


An essayist writes a familiar essay if speaking to a single reader, writing about both themselves, and about particular subjects. Anne Fadiman notes that "the genre's heyday was the early nineteenth century," and that its greatest exponent was Charles Lamb.[13] She also suggests that while critical essays have more brain than the heart, and personal essays have more heart than brain, familiar essays have equal measures of both.[14]

History (thesis)

A history essay sometimes referred to as a thesis essay describes an argument or claim about one or more historical events and supports that claim with evidence, arguments, and references. The text makes it clear to the reader why the argument or claim is as such.[15]


A narrative uses tools such as flashbacks, flash-forwards, and transitions that often build to a climax. The focus of a narrative is the plot. When creating a narrative, authors must determine their purpose, consider their audience, establish their point of view, use dialogue, and organize the narrative. A narrative is usually arranged chronologically.[16]


An argumentative essay is a critical piece of writing, aimed at presenting objective analysis of the subject matter, narrowed down to a single topic. The main idea of all the criticism is to provide an opinion either of positive or negative implication. As such, a critical essay requires research and analysis, strong internal logic and sharp structure. Its structure normally builds around introduction with a topic's relevance and a thesis statement, body paragraphs with arguments linking back to the main thesis, and conclusion. In addition, an argumentative essay may include a refutation section where conflicting ideas are acknowledged, described, and criticized. Each argument of argumentative essay should be supported with sufficient evidence, relevant to the point.


An economic essay can start with a thesis, or it can start with a theme. It can take a narrative course and a descriptive course. It can even become an argumentative essay if the author feels the need. After the introduction, the author has to do his/her best to expose the economic matter at hand, to analyze it, evaluate it, and draw a conclusion. If the essay takes more of a narrative form then the author has to expose each aspect of the economic puzzle in a way that makes it clear and understandable for the reader


A reflective essay is an analytical piece of writing in which the writer describes a real or imaginary scene, event, interaction, passing thought, memory, or form — adding a personal reflection on the meaning of the topic in the author's life. Thus, the focus is not merely descriptive. The writer doesn’t just describe the situation, but revisits the scene with more detail and emotion to examine what went well, or reveal a need for additional learning — and may relate what transpired to the rest of the author's life.

Other logical structures

The logical progression and organizational structure of an essay can take many forms. Understanding how the movement of thought is managed through an essay has a profound impact on its overall cogency and ability to impress. A number of alternative logical structures for essays have been visualized as diagrams, making them easy to implement or adapt in the construction of an argument.[17]


Main article: Free response

In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, essays have become a major part of a formal education in the form of free response questions. Secondary students in these countries are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and essays are often used by universities in these countries in selecting applicants (seeadmissions essay). In both secondary and tertiary education, essays are used to judge the mastery and comprehension of the material. Students are asked to explain, comment on, or assess a topic of study in the form of an essay. In some courses, university students must complete one or more essays over several weeks or months. In addition, in fields such as the humanities and social sciences,[citation needed] mid-term and end of term examinations often require students to write a short essay in two or three hours.

In these countries, so-called academic essays also called papers, are usually more formal than literary ones.[citation needed] They may still allow the presentation of the writer's own views, but this is done in a logical and factual manner, with the use of the first person often discouraged. Longer academic essays (often with a word limit of between 2,000 and 5,000 words)[citation needed] are often more discursive. They sometimes begin with a short summary analysis of what has previously been written on a topic, which is often called a literature review.[citation needed]

Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other supporting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.

One of the challenges facing universities is that in some cases, students may submit essays purchased from an essay mill (or "paper mill") as their own work. An "essay mill" is a ghostwriting service that sells pre-written essays to university and college students. Since plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty or academic fraud, universities and colleges may investigate papers they suspect are from an essay mill by using plagiarism detection software, which compares essays against a database of known mill essays and by orally testing students on the contents of their papers.[18]

Magazine or newspaper

Main article: Long-form journalism

Essays often appear in magazines, especially magazines with an intellectual bent, such as The Atlantic and Harpers. Magazine and newspaper essays use many of the essay types described in the section on forms and styles (e.g., descriptive essays, narrative essays, etc.). Some newspapers also print essays in the op-ed section.


Employment essays detailing experience in a certain occupational field are required when applying for some jobs, especially government jobs in the United States. Essays known as Knowledge Skills and Executive Core Qualifications are required when applying to certain US federal government positions.

A KSA, or "Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities," is a series of narrative statements that are required when applying to Federal government job openings in the United States. KSAs are used along with resumes to determine who the best applicants are when several candidates qualify for a job. The knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for the successful performance of a position are contained on each job vacancy announcement. KSAs are brief and focused essays about one's career and educational background that presumably qualify one to perform the duties of the position being applied for.

An Executive Core Qualification, or ECQ, is a narrative statement that is required when applying to Senior Executive Service positions within the US Federal government. Like the KSAs, ECQs are used along with resumes to determine who the best applicants are when several candidates qualify for a job. The Office of Personnel Management has established five executive core qualifications that all applicants seeking to enter the Senior Executive Service must demonstrate.

Non-literary types


A film essay (or "cinematic essay") consists of the evolution of a theme or an idea rather than a plot per se, or the film literally being a cinematic accompaniment to a narrator reading an essay.[citation needed] From another perspective, an essay film could be defined as a documentary film visual basis combined with a form of commentary that contains elements of self-portrait (rather than autobiography), where the signature (rather than the life story) of the filmmaker is apparent. The cinematic essay often blends documentary, fiction, and experimental film making using tones and editing styles.[19]

The genre is not well-defined but might include propaganda works of early Soviet parliamentarians like Dziga Vertov, present-day filmmakers including Chris Marker,[20]Michael Moore (Roger & Me (1989), Bowling for Columbine (2002) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)), Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line (1988)), Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me: A Film of Epic Portions) and Agnès Varda. Jean-Luc Godard describes his recent work as "film-essays".[21] Two filmmakers whose work was the antecedent to the cinematic essay include Georges Méliès and Bertolt Brecht. Méliès made a short film (The Coronation of Edward VII (1902)) about the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII, which mixes actual footage with shots of a recreation of the event. Brecht was a playwright who experimented with film and incorporated film projections into some of his plays.[19]Orson Welles made an essay film in his own pioneering style, released in 1974, called F for Fake, which dealt specifically with art forger Elmyr de Hory and with the themes of deception, "fakery," and authenticity in general. These are often published online on video hosting services.[22][23]

David Winks Gray's article "The essay film in action" states that the "essay film became an identifiable form of filmmaking in the 1950s and '60s". He states that since that time, essay films have tended to be "on the margins" of the filmmaking the world. Essay films have a "peculiar searching, questioning tone ... between documentary and fiction" but without "fitting comfortably" into either genre. Gray notes that just like written essays, essay films "tend to marry the personal voice of a guiding narrator (often the director) with a wide swath of other voices".[24] The University of Wisconsin Cinematheque website echoes some of Gray's comments; it calls a film essay an "intimate and allusive" genre that "catches filmmakers in a pensive mood, ruminating on the margins between fiction and documentary" in a manner that is "refreshingly inventive, playful, and idiosyncratic".[25]


In the realm of music, composer Samuel Barber wrote a set of "Essays for Orchestra," relying on the form and content of the music to guide the listener's ear, rather than any extra-musical plot or story.


A photographic essay strives to cover a topic with a linked series of photographs. Photo essays range from purely photographic works to photographs with captions or small notes to full-text essays with a few or many accompanying photographs. Photo essays can be sequential in nature, intended to be viewed in a particular order — or they may consist of non-ordered photographs viewed all at once or in an order that the viewer chooses. All photo essays are collections of photographs, but not all collections of photographs are photo essays. Photo essays often address a certain issue or attempt to capture the character of places and events.

Visual arts

In the visual arts, an essay is a preliminary drawing or sketch that forms a basis for a final painting or sculpture, made as a test of the work's composition (this meaning of the term, like several of those following, comes from the word essayJA's meaning of "attempt" or "trial").

See also


  1. ^Holman, William (2003). A Handbook to Literature (9 ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. p. 193. 
  2. ^Gale – Free Resources – Glossary – DEArchived 2010-04-25 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  3. ^Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays, "Preface".
  4. ^"Book Use Book Theory: 1500–1700: Commonplace Thinking". Archived from the original on 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  5. ^ abessay (literature) – Britannica Online EncyclopediaArchived 2009-12-04 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  6. ^Chapter 7: Cause and Effect in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  7. ^Chapter 5: Classification and Division in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  8. ^Chapter 6: Comparison and Contrast in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  9. ^Chapter 2: Description in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  10. ^Section 2.1 of the Simon Fraser University CNS Essay Handbook. Available online at:
  11. ^"How to Write an Ethics Paper (with Pictures) - wikiHow". Archived from the original on 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2016-07-01. 
  12. ^Chapter 4: Exemplification in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  13. ^Fadiman, Anne. At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays. p. x. 
  14. ^Fadiman, At Large and At Small, xi.
  15. ^History Essay Format & Thesis Statement, (February 2010)
  16. ^Chapter 3 Narration in Glenn, Cheryl. Making Sense: A Real-World Rhetorical Reader. Ed. Denise B. Wydra, et al. Second ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2005.
  17. ^"'Mission Possible' by Dr. Mario Petrucci"(PDF). Archived from the original on 2014-10-26. Retrieved 2014-10-25. 
  18. ^Khomami, Nadia (20 February 2017). "Plan to crack down on websites selling essays to students announced". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 27 April 2017. 
  19. ^ abCinematic Essay Film GenreArchived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  20. ^(registration required) Lim, Dennis (July 31, 2012). "Chris Marker, 91, Pioneer of the Essay Film"Archived 2012-08-03 at the Wayback Machine.. The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  21. ^Discussion of film essaysArchived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine.. Chicago Media Works.
  22. ^Kaye, Jeremy (2016-01-17). "5 filmmakers that have mastered the art of the Video Essay". Medium. Archived from the original on 2017-08-30. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  23. ^Liptak, Andrew (2016-08-01). "This filmmaker deep-dives into what makes your favorite cartoons tick". The Verge. Archived from the original on 2017-08-30. Retrieved 2017-07-05. 
  24. ^Gray, David Winks (January 30, 2009). "The essay film in action". San Francisco Film Society. Archived from the original on March 15, 2009. 
  25. ^"Talking Pictures: The Art of the Essay Film". Retrieved March 22, 2011.

Further reading

  • Theodor W. Adorno, "The Essay as Form" in: Theodor W. Adorno, The Adorno Reader, Blackwell Publishers 2000.
  • Beaujour, Michel. Miroirs d'encre: Rhétorique de l'autoportrait'. Paris: Seuil, 1980. [Poetics of the Literary Self-Portrait. Trans. Yara Milos. New York: NYU Press, 1991].
  • Bensmaïa, Reda. The Barthes Effect: The Essay as Reflective Text. Trans. Pat Fedkiew. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1987.
  • D'Agata, John (Editor), The Lost Origins of the Essay. St Paul: Graywolf Press, 2009.
  • Giamatti, Louis. "The Cinematic Essay", in Godard and the Others: Essays in Cinematic Form. London, Tantivy Press, 1975.
  • Lopate, Phillip. "In Search of the Centaur: The Essay-Film", in Beyond Document: Essays on Nonfiction Film. Edited by Charles Warren, Wesleyan University Press, 1998. pp. 243–270.
  • Warburton, Nigel. The basics of essay writing. Routledge, 2006. ISBN 0-415-24000-X, ISBN 978-0-415-24000-0

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Essays.
University students, like these students doing research at a university library, are often assigned essays as a way to get them to analyze what they have read.
An 1895 cover of Harpers, a US magazine that prints a number of essays per issue.
"After School Play Interrupted by the Catch and Release of a Stingray" is a simple time-sequence photo essay.