Expository, persuasive and correlative essays all need to be written using different techniques. While expository and persuasive essays follow a similar, commonly used concept, correlative essays are less easy to define.
While expository is just a alternative word for information, firm guidelines of the expository essay make sure that the information it covers is clear and concise. As its name suggests, the root of expository is expose. The writer’s task is to completely expose the topic in a fashion that makes the information clear to his or her audience (Writing).
The expository essay requires the investigation of an idea, the evaluation of evidence, and the putting forth of an argument in a clear and concise way (Baker & Brizee). This can be achieved by various means, including comparison and contrast, definition, and example, among others.
It is important to note that the expository essay is an objective composition. Unlike many other forms of essay, the writer’s job is to explain and inform about the subject matter without offering an opinion or developing an argument. In other words, the expository essay is a neutral examination of facts and evidence. Therefore, due to its nature, the expository essay must be written in the third person (Writing).
An awareness of essay structure is essential for this type of writing. Firstly, a succinct and defined thesis statement should be contained within the opening paragraph of the essay. There should be strong and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion (Baker & Brizee). The expository essay must contain body paragraphs that include evidential support of the argument. Each paragraph should discuss just one general idea as this will ensure clarity throughout the essay. Evidential support is essential within an expository essay, whether this is factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal (Baker & Brizee). The conclusion of an expository essay “does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided” (Baker & Brizee).
A persuasive essay is a short commentary designed to persuade an audience (Persuasive). It is traditionally five paragraphs long and communicates a position in a persuasive way.
Like the expository essay, the persuasive essay is structured using a title, thesis statement, supporting paragraphs and a conclusion. Also similarly, body paragraphs should include statements that are backed up with facts from credible sources. Such facts will serve to back up the writer’s argument. However, the main difference between the two essays is that while the expository is objective, a persuasive essay is slanted towards one side of an argument as it uses evidence to support its particular argument.
When writing a persuasive essay, the writer’s drive is to convince their readers to embrace their idea or view; this is the key to writing this type of essay effectively (Persuasive).
An objective correlative essay is rather different to both the expository essay and the persuasive essay. It is a literary theory first introduced by T.S. Elliot in the essay “Hamlet and His Problems.” It was first published in The Sacred Wood (Objective). According to the theory, “The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an “objective correlative”; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked” (Objective). In Interpretations of Poetry and Religion, George Santayana also suggested that correlative objects were capable of expressing a poet’s feeling and also evoking it (Objective). In other words, the theory suggests that feelings should be shown rather than described. Therefore, when writing an objective correlative essay, the writer must demonstrate their position through external methods, rather than describing them.
Persuasive and expository essays are commonly used in education. Correlative essays are less popular, partly due to their slippery nature. The expository essay should be written in third person, whereas the other two forms could, arguably, be written in either.
Baker, J and Allen Brizee. “The Expository Essay.” 17 April. 2010. Web. 22 April. 2011.
Purdue Online Writing Lab. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/02/
“Objective Correlative.” Encyclopaedia Britannia. Web. 20 April. 2011.
“The Persuasive Essay.” Persuasive Essay Guide. Web. 20 April. 2011.
“Writing an Expository Essay.” Essay Writing Help. Web. 20 April. 2011.