The basic compositional principle of the essay is total freedom. The essay can have a variety of shapes, thematic and stylistic ranges. A loose, fragmentary composition is subordinated to the author’s overarching idea, and the way the subject is presented depends solely on his creative invention.
The determinants of a good essay
- The aesthetic function plays a decisive role in the essay. The essay language should be intricate, close to the high style, sophisticated and testifying to the author’s reading and eloquence.
- The essay is an open literary form. The author undertakes a specific attempt to reach the merits of the issue that he raises, but does not present all the arguments by making their subjective selection. In this way, it signals the existence of a problem and forces the reader to think about it. Often, the essay appears to be unfinished, and its loose composition confirms the literary art of the author.
- The essay is purely subjective, showing the author’s individual approach to the subject being discussed, which expresses his convictions through various associations. Thus, the essay is a record of the author’s thoughts and constitutes his point of view.
- The essay is associative (random). It is based on the principle of loose associations, there is no order in it (chronological, thematic) or hierarchy of presented arguments. It is a sequence of mental shortcuts, which gives the impression of fragmentation.
- A characteristic feature of the essay is species and genre syncretism. It combines the features of many literary genres, making it difficult to classify it into one of the known literary genres.
- One of the features of the essay style is intertextuality. The author may use various quotes, aphorisms, references to other literary and cultural works, and may also interlace historical and philosophical allusions.
- In the speech the author may introduce digressions, completely unrelated to the main problem raised in the essay.