Gokujou Naruto

Essays that Define

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What is it?

According to my language text book, to make a definition is to "put whatever you are defining into a class and then list the characteristics that distinguish it from all other members of that class. (Cooley 170)


This basically means that you're telling your audience what it (the definition) is, and is not. As an essay, this is very, very boring.


When you're defining something, the topic you chose isn't always clear until you put it down into words. The beginning of a definition can be vague, and lead to misinterpretation. For example, if I told you that foxes are related to small dogs, you might imagine that all small dogs are foxes, or that a fox is a Chihuahua (hope I spelled it right).


That's why we go over our work, and if possible have someone else do so as well, and refocus until the definition can fit, backwards and forwards. A fox may be related to the dog, but not very closely. *Mumbles about little knowledge on foxes* Probably.


How do I do it?

Well. Restating the facts on anything is pointless. If the reader honestly wants to know just the facts, then they're better off looking up the subject in an encyclopedia; it's bound to be more specific, and definitely trust worthy.


Okay, so a definition can only get you a short ways, but how else do you make an idea solid in someone's mind? An essay that "seek[s] first and last to explain the nature or meaning of a thing, but...often use many of the other strategies of exposition" are called "extended definitions."  (Cooley 171)


Think back to language class, maybe fifth grade. Apples and oranges, anyone?


Comparison and Contrast




For those of you who didn't have to suffer a comparison/contrast essay, a definition (scrounged from my half-eaten notebook). To compare is to find out what's the same (or similar) between subjects. To contrast means you're pointing out (emphasizing) what's different.

Ex. Apples and oranges are fruit. (Comparison)

Apples are red, green, or yellow, but oranges come in one color only. (Difference)


So, what's the point of a comparison contrast essay??? We (the audience) can obviously see what's different between things, and the same. We're not stupid, though I come off as such a lot of the time. *Grins* point in case, a comparison contrast essay is used for one of three general purposes...


Possible purposes:


  1. " Two things that are thought of as different are similar.
  2. Two things thought of as similar are actually different.
  3. Two things are comparable, but not equal. One is better than the other."


Strategy for writing


This is generally more about the layout of the essay than how to get ideas (for that, see "brainstorming"). In order to help the reader understand your subject, there are a few things you can do. One way to keep the diff/sim fresh in the reader's mind is to hop between subject A (Itachi) and subject B (Sasuke)-- in mid paragraph.

Ex. Apples are red. Oranges are orange. What else is there to say about these wonderful fruit?

^__^ yeah, you're gonna be as bored with fruit as me by the end of this, aren’t' you? This is called the "alternating" or "point by point" style (Trimmer 433). My teacher called it "A/B." Anyways, this style could get confusing if you keep switching between A and B, and the dif/sim could therefore become difficult to see.  Unity may also be developed easier with the A/B style.


The other option is to divide your subjects. This can often let your paper go into detail on subject A for a while before returning to subject B.

Ex. An apple has often been depicted as the fruit of temptation. Perhaps it is the color red-- the color of love, lust, and blood --that made man think so. Then again, it might be the apple's flimsy stem-- a stem easily twisted from the tree of knowledge.


But what of the orange? In classical paintings, it has been the orange, not the apple, that is the fruit of temptation. Modern times keeps man from thinking this bright, cheerful fruit could lead to man's exile. But the orange, like the apple, is connected by a thin twig.

That's been sitting in my head for a while. . .*notes* nowhere to go wtih it, though. *Clears throat* anyways. Unfortunately, those of us with short memories sometimes forget what you said. *Winces* and it's simple to start writing two informative essays with no real connection to each other. . . if done well, the overall purpose of your paper may be seen better with the A + B style.


In the end, what style you go for depends on how your mind works. And if you work hard enough, you might be able to use both styles effectively in one paper.


Tips for writing:


No matter how tempting, stick to a topic you know something about, or can get information on. Okay? Don't tell me about how Naruto's sleep-hat is really similar to Kakashi's forehead-protector, and drastically different from Sakura's. I'd get confused very quickly.


Also, you do NOT need to give "equal weight" in your essay to both subjects! If the reader knows the plotline of Naruto, but not of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, explain, don't bore.


A hint from my own papers. . .(or the grading of them, anyway), make sure your audience knows which subject you're talking about.


An essay doesn't have to be life-shattering, either. A person in my class did a comparison/contrast on "This" and "That." *Blinks* but be sure to make the essay important to the reader. For example, "Knowing the difference between this and that is essential to keep yourself from sounding the fool." Or whatever. I won't remember your essay (and neither will anyone else) if it doesn't relate.


Cause and Effect




Similar to a comparison and contrast essay, the cause and effect essay is relatively simple to understand. Also referred to as a "casual analysis," by Trimmer, it's a result of "being curious" (455). It's an essay that follows a process (and therefore could be called analytical), and uses logical reasoning to lead a reader to believe one thing.


Now, a "causal analysis" (NOT casual, BTW. Cause. Caus-al. ^__^ half my language class thought it was "casual," myself included) can be very, very interesting, because it offers a look inside the author's head. And according to Trimmer, it's the "interrelationship between causes and effects" that makes a subject interesting, so there are several different factors playing into a cause and effect paper. These can help you find your purpose.


Possible Purpose:


Simply put, you can use a causal analysis to do one of three things.


"Explain how and why things happen." (Trimmer 456) To do this, you should "isolate specific causes and effects." (456) I have a feeling this leads to Cooley's organizing this essay alongside other means of definition. This essay would be most effective in matters with concrete answers.


Sometimes, Trimmer continues, you write to "speculate about the possible causes or potential effects of a certain chain of events." (456) This could also be called "theorizing." Thus, I could use this type for "my" essay concerning Itachi, considering there are no concrete answers.


And finally, to complete the set of three, Trimmer says that a causal analysis could be used to "argue that a certain relationship exists between one set of events and another." Hmm, this is more what Cooley is talking about in his section, urging us to make certain our essays are logical.


Criteria for causes


For your essay to be logical, and thus believed, your "causation" (stated cause) must meet two conditions to be considered accurate.

"B cannot have happened without A;

Whenever A happens, B must happen." (Cooley 141)

So. For example. . .if I want proof that all hot headed kids who say they'll be Hokage WILL be Hokage, I need to be logical.


So I think. . .what can prove me wrong? Well, Dan (amusingly called "The Plot Device" by a favorite author of mine) can. When A happened (Dan was young and hotheaded), B didn't occur (he died before becoming Hokage). 


Types of causes


Thinking logically, causes exist. ^__^ different kinds, even, and often many. Say Asuma dies of lung cancer (*sniffles* poor guy). What contributes to his death?

  1. Smoking
  2. A bout of pnemonia in his youth
  3. Stressful missions/previous injury
  4. A family  history of lung problems

Hmm. I'm SO making this up. *Half laughing* there's one "immediate cause," that's easily seen. The "ultimate cause," however, is one that sets the stage for the immediate cause (Cooley 141).


So, the "immediate cause" is his smoking, 'cause he probably wouldn't have died of lung cancer without the evil tobaco. However, the rest of those causes play a part, too, and one of them is the ultimate cause. *Ponders* I'd probably say stressful missions are the ultimate cause, 'cause people tend to smoke for stress, and if he wasn't a ninja, maybe Asuma never would have smoked.


Why does this matter? Well, "often the ultimate causes of an event are more important than the immediate causes," Cooley states. (141) "Each explanation...tells only part of the story." Basically, he's saying to pay attention to all causes, and make certain you touch base with the ones that give your essay life.


Tips for writing


Don't oversimplify your reasoning. People will get lost. They will think you're wrong 'cause it makes it easier to contradict you. So, write as if someone is following all your words with a red pen, a dictionary, a copy of the manga, and the anime playing in the background, ready to shout "YOU'RE WRONG!"


Tying it back


These are only two ways to write an "extended definition." Other ways include Narrative (a story, usually related to the author). In order to decide what kind of essay is best to suit your purpose, you need to consider a few questions, according to Cooley.


  • "What are its qualities?
  • How does it work?
  • How is it different from others like it?
  • Why do we need to know about it?" (172)

What makes a definition interesting is the details we get out of it, and the view point you take in your argument. These details will often define your essay for you, but remember, no essay is strictly one genre unless it is for an English class.


With that in mind, write on.

Back to Itachi's brainstorming.

There are other ways to define things. Tell me if this isn't "understandable" on how to write a specific essay. I'd like to know if anything's vague, or not helpful. Do you have any questions after reading??? Ask, and I'll try my best to answer.
See work cited for the books referenced.

Work Cited


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