You will write an analytic essay for this assignment. Remember the difference between an expository essay and an analytic essay:
  • Expository essay = reports information 
    • answers the question "What is it?"
  • Analytic essay = examines the implications of reported information 
    • reports information and answers the questions 
      • "How did (does) it happen?"
        "Why did (does) it happen?"

In an expository essay, you need only report information. It can be compared to visiting an art gallery and writing a description of a painting. In so doing, you would simply describe what you see on the canvas. If we extend this analogy, writing an analytic essay would be like going into the art gallery and writing a description of a painting, but this time, adding your thoughts about what emotions or ideas the painter wanted to convey through his picture. In this way, an analytic essay not only describes something, but also evaluates it, presenting possible reasons why the item or idea being examined came into being or gave rise to other events, objects or ideas.

Analytic essays often follow a cause and effect, "how-to," or compare and contrast pattern of idea development. You do not need to use one of these "thought patterns" in your essay, but I mention them here as possible approaches to this assignment. The bottom line is that your essay must present more than a description of something; it must also explain to your reader what you think about the thing you described and why you think this. 

I will offer two possible topics for this essay. 

  • The first draft is due Tuesday, February 23, 2010
  • The second and final draft is due on Tuesday, March 3, 2010
The final draft should be wordprocessed (double spaced) with other drafts and peer reviews stapled behind it (or stapled together and submitted to me in class if you send the final draft as an email attachment).

Your essay will be graded with a focus on content and organization of ideas; however, if the paper has excessive grammar and/or spelling errors, you will be asked to complete a correction sheet for the essay (due two weeks after the graded essay is returned to you). 

My topics
  1. Click here to see a picture. It is a painting created in 1933 by the American artist Alexandre Hogue. It is currently on exhibition in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in downtown Washington, D.C.
    • If you would like to see the painting in person before you write your essay, can go to The Smithsonian American Art Museum, located at 8th and F NW, daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 

      Write an analytic essay for a general college audience about this picture. Be sure your essay focuses on what it you think the message of the painting is and/or the effect the painting has on a viewer. Your essay should not simply describe the painting; I already know what the painting looks like (you can even paste a copy of it to the top of your essay if you'd like!), I want to know what "message" it conveys to you.

  2. Click here for a compare & contrast essay choice    

Good luck!

Laurie Miller
Last Update: February 18, 2010

Home Page | Advanced Writing Schedule | Advanced Writing
Course Information | Quiz