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What Kind Of Music Do I Like Essay Definition

My favorite music would have to be Country, Rap, Acoustic rock, Christian music, and all other types of music. The only reason I listen to all these types are rap is to pump me up, acoustic rock is when I’m in a mellow mood, country is when I feel a little sad . But one of my favorite bands right now would be Rocket to the Moon and A Day to Remember. From country it would have to be Jason Aldean and other country singers. Rap it would be Wiz Kalifha, a little of Mac Miller.

Lulu Gutierrez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

The genre of my favorite music is a lot. It’s a rapper who took it to the top, but this year he didn’t win a Grammy award in the music awards. He is a trip for real no lie, but then he’s a good singer. He was in the singing group for like two years and has made over a million songs already and like 4 albums and he is a flow master I think who ever reads this should check him out a YouTube and its young money boy.

Christopher Garcia, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I don’t really have a favorite type of music. If a song comes out on the radio and it catches my attention, I find out the name and the artist or group who sings it and I then download it off of iTunes and put it in my iPod. Eventually these songs of different genres become what I listen to on my spare time.

Stephanie Villarreal, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is rock because it fits me and when I listen to it I feel good and relaxed; it’s just my type of music. Don’t get me wrong other types of music are good as well but, I like rock a lot more then any other type. It chills me out and I can jam to it!

Elias Urbina, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre in music is country music, because the singers express their feelings. Country music is different because the entire singer’s relate to their child hood. They also relate to their family members. They also relate to Iraq and how family members react when they’ve been told that their love ones aren’t coming back home. They express their love life’s and make you think about “falling in love” at such a young age. They make you realize that life can be too short so why waste it on being tied down to just one person.

Ruby Garcia, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I value music and friends most in life, because with music, it helps a lot of us through things in life and it gives us something to relate to. And with friends, they are there for you when you need something or someone to talk to. True friends never leave your side.

Stephanie Bautista, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre in music is country music, because the singer’s express their feeling’s. Country music is different because the entire singer’s relate to their child hood. They also relate to their family member’s. They also relate to Iraq and how family member’s react when they’ve been told that their love one’s aren’t coming back home. They express their love life’s and make you think about “falling in love” at such a young age. They make you realize that life can be to short so why waste it on being tied down to just one person.

Ruby Garcia, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is mainly rap. I love to listen to rap music because it makes me feel like I can face any challenges that I have. But I also listen to sad love songs when I’m feeling down because it makes me see what the artist wrote the song about and why. Rap music is okay to listen to it’s just all the bad word’s that makes kid’s parents hate it. To me it don’t matter what type of music I listen to as long as I’m satisfied with the artist and the song that’s all that matters to me. I mainly listen to rap and my friends that know what I listen to think I’m ghetto but I’m not; it don’t matter what type of music you listen to.

Katherine Cottongim, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite music is all kinds. I love music and its got to be in us because I use it so we can relax. When we’re mad I hear music and it calms me down. Or if you just want to listen to music for the fun its all good. Many people relax just listening to music once in a while because they just want to chill. When you are frustrated sometimes music changes your mood. That’s why I think music is a big roll in my life.

Jesus Martinez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite type of music to listen to is Spanish music. I like to listen to this music because this is the music I listened to when I grew up. Some types of Spanish music that I like are Banda and Bachata. I also like this music because this is the type of music you can dance to. You also have fun hearing it. I like Spanish music better than English music because for me it’s more enjoyable and danceable. Another reason I like it is because I can actually sing along to it unlike other genres that say the words too fast. Don’t get me wrong, I also like English music; it’s just I’d rather listen to Spanish music.

Maria Rubio, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I hear all types of music, country, corridos, rock, rap, reggaeton, and a lot more. Sometimes I hear them when I’m going to sleep. I like hearing music that makes me happy. The music makes me cool down. I don’t really care what the genre is as long as its good music to my ears. Music that I can dance to and enjoy dancing to it.

Javier Torres, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

Reggaeton music is my favorite because I like the music that is joyful and that is not sad. I love Wisin y Yandel

Diana Villegas, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre in music would have to be Tejano. I like Tejano because when I hear it, I always feel like I am listening to the stories of a real hard working Mexican-American. My step father brought Tejano Music into my life and for that I thank him, because Tejano is not just Spanish music. Just like everyone else who listens to their "music" Tejano is a way of life. To many it's just a bunch of Mexicans singing about useless things, but to me Tejano is the heart and soul of the Valley. Sure we hear about many new artists that come and try to bring their hip-hop and rap music, when their music is the type that has no meaning to it. I'm not one to speak and disrespect their hard work, because I listen to some of it also. But I do not forget my heritage and where I come from. You may think that I am just a kid that does not know what I am saying, but I do. If I am born Tejano, and I am raised Tejano. Then consider me Tejano.

Jp Chris, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite type of music is rock. I love rock. Even my family loves rock. That is all we ever listen too. I was pretty much raised on rock. I love the way the guitars sound and bass sound. My favorite band is My Chemical Romance. I also love Green Day and Para Amor.

Linsey Delarosa, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite music is hip hop; that is one of the best kinds of genre you can hear here in the Valley. The other kind of music I like to hear is country because I just like to hear country; it sounds cool and it makes me want go to sleep at night. So when I’m about to go to sleep I hear those kind of songs and go to sleep.

Randy De Los Santos, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I think my favorite genre in music is R&B and RAP. The reason I like that is because I love the music, well it also depends what artist it is because I am really picky at that. The reason I love rap is because it sings about the daily things they have to go through every minute of their life. I think it’s sad to hear what they went through so many painful and bad times.

Elizabeth Sandoval, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite kind of music is country, hip-hop, R +B, pop and rock, I love listening to music because it helps me calm down and fall asleep. I also like it because it somewhat relates to what you’re going through. Music is a beautiful thing people value. I like that we have music; it really shows who we really are and what kind of personality we have.

Dallas Sepulveda, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is all types of music except country. I like metal, hip-hop, R&B, pop, and techno. I like all types of music because it’s all fascinating. I love the way metal has its own beat and lyrics that speak to you. With hip-hop you just feel like dancing with the beat; you can lose yourself in the music. With techno, I love the way it just makes you forget everything that is going on and just lose yourself in the music.

Viannay Vasquez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre in music is Rap, Chopped & Screwed, because that kind of music calms me down and actually lets me work.

Araceli Jimenez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music would have to be rock and alternative rock because some of my favorite bands are Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, and my favorite band Blue October. There is no reason for this being my favorite genre other than that’s just who I am and that’s just what I like.

Raissa Vasquez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is techno. I like it because it cools you down and makes you want to dance and you lose yourself. And it is cool to listen to. Everybody has fun listening and dancing to it. In the songs that are coming out, you just hear techno and how the remixes of the songs include techno. Techno makes mostly everything sound better. Without it, I wouldn't like music and I wouldn't be happy.

Alejandro Garcia,

Weslaco East High School, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

Well the type of music that I like to hear is rap and hip-hop. I like that kind of music because the songs sound cool; and because of what they say. Lil Wayne sings cool, I like all the songs that he has made, they rock. I like hip-hop because there are some singers that sing cool and have made some cool songs like Drake; he sings cool and he kind of raps too. That’s the kind of music that I like to hear.

Ricardo De La Rosa Jr., Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

Some of my favorite songs are all the songs in the world, not the whole world. I pretty much listen to everything not everything. I listen to the music I like, her are examples R&B, Hip-Hop, Rock and more music. Music is just to calm you down when you are mad; that’s what I think of music.

Diego Rodriguez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I like rock music because it keeps me pumped up all the time. Before I do something that’s really nervous to me, I like to listen to my music to calm me down, but not too much. I can’t stand slow music because it makes me really sleepy and it gets annoying. I would listen to anything, but country is the most annoying of all for me. I just want to get their cowboy hats and stomp all over them.

Aaron Ybarra, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is classic rock and alternative rock. I like this genre because some of the songs and bands inspire me and I can relate to some songs. My favorite bands are the Beatles and Breaking Benjamin. Every time I feel down I get my iPod and start listening to their music to get right back up. You can stereotype some people by music. If you see a person with a cowboy hat, cowboy shirt, and cowboy boots you can tell that he listens to country music. Music is the best thing in America.

Jesse James Castillo, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is hip hop and R&B music. I love listening to my two favorite singers Chris Brown and Lil Wayne. I love dancing to party music. I love hearing music everyday. I don’t know what I would do if music didn’t exist. I listen to music when I’m bored or when I’m having a bad day. I like to sing to my favorite songs and to my favorite artists. Music is my LIFE!!!!   

Amanda Trevino, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music would be R&B, Hip Hop, Country, slow rock. Well, I would have to say anything that would describe my feelings and makes me want to dance and sing along. I’m a music lover. I like any type of music; but the singer I can’t live a day without hearing would be Chris Brown. I love him and his songs. I just have to hear music to be happy and to keep going on with my day. If I’m not hearing music I’m singing. I think every song inspires someone, has a little truth in it, and can grow to success in life.

Alondra Coronado, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre is techno because it has certain beats and it makes any song sound good. It makes you want to dance or gets you pumped up. Without techno music it won’t be good. And you can have a lot of fun with friends.

Danny Tamez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music would be rock because rock music tells you live stories when you listen to the lyrics and you can really relate to them. That’s why I like rock; its interesting to listen to other peoples stories and listening to what they have to say.

Janeth Salazar, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is rock. It's my favorite genre because there are many different types of rock, and each type is different.

Javi Cabello, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite music is all types really. I listen to Rap, Rock, Spanish, Country, and Crunkcore. It all really depends on the mood I’m in, but all this music really entertains me and I like to sing along and dance to it, but yeah all this music really makes me happy when I listen to it. Some of it makes me laugh, but as long as I like the beat to the song or lyrics then it’s all good. Sorry I can’t really say what my favorite music genre is but I have a lot. I can’t just choose one; it’s to hard.

Maxine Cantu, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite music to listen to for some reason is R&B, although I do listen to all types of music. R&B helps me concentrate and relax when I need to and as well helps me think things out

Mary Reyes, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre is rock. It soothes me when I listen to it. I also like the ones where they scream and you can’t understand what they’re saying. Some people don’t like it because they think its crazy, but I like it. I like listening to the guitar. I’ve always wanted to learn how because I like to listen to my dad playing the guitar, but he never showed me. I like the sound of the drums too since I know how to play the drums. The bass, especially the bass, I love to listen to. My favorite grandpa in this whole entire world played the bass and I loved the sound of it and loved how he played it. He passed away and I wish he showed me how. I love music, but this would be my favorite genre.

Shannon Leah Valdez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I love all kinds of music except Spanish, only because I don’t understand a word they are saying. My favorite kind of music though, is country. I love country because you can just relate to all the songs. About, I think 95% of it is depressing, but it is really good and they sing about real life problems. I relate to country music a lot. All the country stars are the best singers ever!

Samantha Flores, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

To me music is my passion; it’s just my way of life. It determines my mood and my emotions. Whenever I am feeling down I usually listen to soft music than goes with my feelings. Usually when I am excited I put on something that will really get me in the mood for just getting up and start moving.

Jonathon Hernandez, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I don’t really have a favorite type of music. If a song comes out on the radio and it catches my attention, I find out the name and the artist or group who sings it and I then download it off of iTunes and put it in my iPod. Eventually these songs of different genres become what I listen to on my spare time.

Stephanie Villarreal, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is rock because, it fits me. And when I listen to it I feel good and relaxed; it’s just my type of music. Don’t get me wrong other types of music are good as well but, I like rock a lot more then any other type. It chills me out and I can jam to it!

Elias Urbina, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

I listen to all kinds of music except rock. I can’t stand that music; that’s for crazy people. The most I listen to would be Spanish and country. There is nothing like that music better then anything else. That music just makes me feel better. When I’m sad I listen to country and makes me feel better and when I’m happy I listen to Spanish.

Primo Gurrusquieta, Weslaco East High School

Teacher: Minerva Hinojosa

My favorite genre of music is Alternative Indie rock. Those bands that may sound like they were from the 90's always get my attention, or bands that sound psychedelic and make me feel like my room is spinning always make me feel great even bands that are slow and mellow grab my attention. Bands like Woods, Broken Social Scene, Phoenix, and Pedro The lion most of all. Songs that make me feel what the lyrics are saying or songs that make me just want to go for a car ride into the middle of nowhere until I run out of gas are the songs I love to listen to.

Esteban Sanchez, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

Personally, I don't have a favorite genre. It just depends on the mood I'm in and how my day went. This may sound weird, but heavy rock is very soothing. At the same time it can pump me up as well as pop or hip hop. Country and Indie are good when I feel pretty chill. Classical is good thinking music and is proven to make one smarter. Whether its country, rock, Indie, hip hop, Tejano, or rap I'll hear it all.

Jovani Orta, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I don't know whether you’ve heard the saying “lyrics say the things you’ll never have the guts to” but I have, and I most definitely believe it. I think music is such an escape as well as a way to express your self. With that being said, I absolutely love the Tejano, Norteno genre. My dad loves listening to Corridos and what not and strangely enough I’ve adapted and grown to love it. The lyrics to the music that come from the Mexican/ Latino heritage are always so meaningful and definitely speak wonders to my ears and heart.

Natasha M. Guerrero, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

My favorite genre of music is country music, because every song depicts a story for any situation that life might throw at you. Country music is in my opinion the heart and soul of our great country, because no matter what mood you’re in, it can always make you feel better and never worse.

Haley Hernandez, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I really enjoy listening to country music. I've lived on a ranch all my life and that's what you play in a big truck. I don't care for all this rap music. I can't even understand what their saying. With country you can and it's a story in a song.

Victor Voyce, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

Now-a-days there are more genres of music out there than what we really know about. I don’t have a specific genre of music that I would call my favorite because I listen to all kinds of music. I love country music, although it’s depressing sometimes. Pop, because it's so up beat and just makes me want to dance. Tejano, every now and then when I want to dance. Last would be alternative, it varies from soothing music to upbeat or screamo.

Olivia Garza, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

My favorite genre of music is alternative rock and reggae. This type of music is great because I can listen to it no matter where I am or how I feel. It can be calming and uplifting all at the same time. My favorite reggae artist is Matisyahu and my favorite alternative rock band is Phoenix.

Kassey Ann Herrera, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I honestly don't really have a favorite genre of music. I usually listen to the music that matches the mood that I'm in. If I feel energetic I will listen to fast paced music, like rock. If I feel calm, sad, or relaxed I will listen to slow or steady paced music, like rap or country. To me, music is just an extension of a person's emotions. And I just listen to what I feel.

Johnny Ayala, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

My favorite kind of music is country because it soothes the soul and speaks to whoever listens to it. It's a type of music that comes from the heart.

Cody Casares, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I like every type of genre, but the one that stands on top is country. If I ever find a girl who loves country as much as I do, I would marry her right on the spot. Country talks about almost everything from people overcoming adversity, to simply learning to enjoy the little things in life. One artist who really fascinates me is Kenny Chesney, he is the best there is. I like him because he likes to party even though he is old.

Miguel Torres, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

My favorite music genre would, without a doubt, be country. I’ve grown up surrounded by country music because of my parents and the rest of my family listen to it a lot. I’ve also been to a lot of concerts and I think country artists and bands put on the best shows of any genre of music. One thing I love about country music is that there are country songs for every emotion and every occasion. Country music relates to a never ending list of people and that’s why I love it so much.

R.J. Berrones, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

“Singing sad songs often have a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open into the light, out of the darkness.” I like music that usually tells stories with situations similar to real life stories. My favorite genre of music is country music, because it isn’t just about getting money, degrading women, and using drugs. Country music tells stories that soothe the soul and relaxes the mind.

Kassandra De La Rosa, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

Music is an influence of the society we live in today. It is an expression that exudes in each citizen, and it identifies the persona that we all hold. My favorite genre is pop, because it not only represents life being lived in the moment, but it represents the generation we are today.

Kassi Pena, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

I come from a family of metalheads so listening and loving rock and roll comes naturally to me. I can listen to every type of rock music from a head banging Avenged Sevenfold song to a slow foot tapping song by The Police. If the band has a guitarist, bassist, a drummer, a singer, and a good rhythm I most likely listen to and like their music. Don’t get me wrong, I've been in the mood for some Eminem and Taylor Swift from time to time, but if I had to chose only one, rock music would definitely be the music choice for me.

Sara Marble, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

Music and I have gone a long way back and my taste truly differs now since the time we became friends. The first song I ever heard, not just some vague memory; I remember it clearly: "Strawberry Fields Forever." At age three, the Beatles filled my life with music. But now, a multitude of various artists has that job. I love all types of music. I love listening to the bands that I've grown to love and I love to discover new bands and artists that I never knew of.

Noe Rodriguez, Weslaco High School

Teacher: Jean Bovee

"But darling, I still catch a grenade for you!" blared the radio. I don't know what I would do without the catchy tunes of the year's greatest musicians. It gives you a way to act calm or release steam. If you could think of any song in the world, what would you listen to? So many choices. So little time.

Taylor Gray, W.B. Green Jr. High

Teacher: Terrie Gracia

Music means the world to me. Without it, life would hold no meaning. Music is what colors the world. If there was no music, there would be no way to keep people entertained, or happy. Life would be gray and flavorless. Everyone has their own type of music that hypes them, calms them or helps them. Pop, rock, classical, rap, reggae techno are just a few types of music that fill the world. Music is what I value most because it's what makes the world go around.

Nicky Castillo, W.B. Green Jr. High

Teacher: Terrie Gracia

I find that all music is slowly infusing with Pop. Most of the songs are now directed to a wider age range and can be set to similar life experiences. Therefore, Pop is my favorite genre of music.

Erich Kitten, Coakley Middle School

I don’t know what kind of music I like. It really depends on the song and really what sort of mood I happen to be in. If I am feeling sad, I will listen to sad songs, if I am happy I will listen to happy upbeat tunes. I enjoy songs by Justin Bieber. They make me feel loved and songs by Paula Deanda make me sad. It is just too difficult to choose!

Kayla Gutierrez, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

My favorite genre of music is definitely pop. If someone looks at the genre list on my iPod, it’s pretty diverse, but more than half of the songs are pop. I like listening to pop because it’s upbeat and catchy. The songs get stuck in your head even when all you know is the beat. Pop is a mix of multiple genres. If you listen closely you can hear little bits of hip-hop, blues, jazz and even rock. My favorite pop artist is Justin Bieber. There’s no question about it. He, along with other pop artists, mixes a bunch of different musical styles and blends it together. The best part is it sounds good too. Pop is all about mixing music to set your self apart from the others, and that’s why I love it.

Shelby Aceto, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

ROCK!  This is because it has a lot of hard-core sound and rhythm and cool instruments that make the great sounds.

Christian Perez, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

My favorite genre of music is classical music. It is very calming and scientifically proven that it is related with your education. People who listen to classical music often are proven to have higher test scores than others who don’t. That is why many people play the piano, where they can interact with many types of classical music. Some people even believe that listening to Mozart while you study helps your concentrate more and make you smarter. Some of my favorite composers are Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Clementi, Debussy, Listz, and Scarlotti. But my favorite of all is Chopin. Chopin is an intelligent composer who created phenomenal music through his feelings. His pieces are simply the best. Classical music is my favorite genre of music. It always has been and always will be.

Ayane Ito, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

My favorite genre, in music, is hip-hop and country. Hip-hop makes you want to dance, move, sing, and have a good time. Country, on the other hand, has meaning either inspirational, funny or just a good time. Singers that I prefer are Drake, Nelly, 50 Cent and Eminem as well as Josh Turner, Rascal Flatts, George Strait, and Jack Nichols.

Smiley Ramirez, IDEA College Prep

Teacher: Maria E. Gonzalez

My favorite genre of music is jazz because I think it sounds cool and kind of edgy. I started to enjoy jazz when I was about eight, and when I was eleven I asked my parents if I could play a jazz instrument. I now play alto saxophone and I’m doing well. I am also planning to join jazz band next year. Jazz is a really neat music genre, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Alec Macmanus, Gutierrez Middle School

Teacher: Stacey Hill

I only like one genre of music and one genre only, rock music. I just love to listen to the electric guitar and the drum set play. Even though some songs are about five to ten minutes long, I don't care, I enjoy it! And I know there are some people that don't "like" rock music, honestly I don't care. I just love to listen to rock music.

Richard Hernandez, Gutierrez Middle School

Teacher: Stacey Hill

I really like all sorts of music but the ones I really like and enjoy the most is the Mexican music, like for example, I love Cumbias a lot specially when it comes to dancing them at a party. Another genre of the Mexican music that I like is the bands. I think the sound that the instruments make in a band sound really cool and the way the singers sing the songs it’s really nice.

Rocio G., Gutierrez Middle School

Teacher: Stacey Hill

My favorite genre of music is jazz because it has so many fantastic sounds and a marvelous choice of instruments. All of the sounds and instruments come together to form one glorious and extravagant piece of music. I think jazz music contains numerous amounts of excitement because the instruments are always high pitched and played quickly to create cheerful noises. Jazz music reminds me of merry times in the past of my life. This kind of music pleases my liking more than other types of music because of the pleasant feeling you receive by listening to it. When I listen to jazz music, I get glorious flashbacks of times when I was a young child and also listening to the fine art of music. Although there are many composers who form fabulous pieces of jazz, my favorite composer is Louis Armstrong. I think he is superb, and the type of jazz he composes is sensational.

Nick Peters, Gutierrez Middle School

The Academic Essay

The academic essay is merely a specific writing genre–as is the love letter, newspaper editorial, or pop-fiction.  As a genre, it functions within a set of norms, rules, and conventions.  The purpose of this discussion is to make clear to you what those rules and norms are, and how to use them to express your argument clearly.

Purpose:
The purpose of the academic essay is to persuade by reasoned discourse.  Scholars use the essay amongst themselves to advance ideas.  Its value as an instructional tool is to assist students in developing their critical thinking skills.  As you recall, critical thinking is defined as: the ability to read theory accurately, appropriate it meaningfully, apply it independently, generate results based on that application, analyze the results, and form a clear argument based on those results that can be defended with a specific line of reasoning.

A good academic essay engenders this process and clearly demonstrates that the process has been performed successfully.    With this in mind let's examine how to write an academic essay.

Introduction

Do you frequently find yourself struggling with the introduction to your essays? Do you not know how to begin the essay?  Do you find yourself searching for a generalizing statement that will get things going, and trying to find a delicate balance  between BS'ing and saying something meaningful?  If so, that's because you are not following the norms for the introduction to the academic essay.  Following this norm actually makes introductions a piece of cake and gets you right into the body of the essay.  Here is the norm:

The purpose of the introduction is two-fold:
1. To introduce the theoretical framework that will guide your analysis
2. To introduce the thesis statement that will organize your paper.
 

Following this norm allows you to cut to the chase.  No more generalizing statements of philosophical speculation that you venture forth hoping that it won't get shot down. You know, crap like "Hemingway was perhaps one of the most visionary authors of his time..." or "The Western is perhaps the most uniquely American of all the genres..."  Rather, if the purpose of the essay is to demonstrate that you have appropriated a theory and applied it independently to produce results, then the function of the introduction becomes more focused: to introduce the theory–or theoretical framework–that you have decided to use.  Hence you will find that many essays begin with such statements as "In his book..."  Or, "In her essay..."

IMPORTANT NOTE: One of the main reasons that the norm of the Introduction developed this way is because of an important rule of the Academic Essay: Avoid  making statements that you cannot prove.  The problem with the generalizing/philosophical/BS'ing statements like "Hemingway..." and "The Western..." is that they cannot be proven through reasoned discourse.  Moreover, to even try and do so would require voluminous amounts of discourse for something that is not even your thesis: what you actually ARE setting out to prove.  As a result, the genre of the Academic Essay has evolved into the above norm.  It still meets an introduction's purpose of orienting the reader, it just does so in a very specific manner.

Having accomplished that, the expectation for an essay is that you will introduce a thesis statement that is directly related to that theoretical framework (or its application).  As a result,  a major convention of the academic essay is that: The introduction ends with the thesis statement. 

Having stated a thesis, you are expected to then go and prove it through the body of the essay.

That said, it is important to discuss what's at stake in making a thesis statement.  There are four basic logical forms for a  thesis statement:

 • A banal thesis statement
 • A simple thesis statement
 • A complex thesis statement
 • An impossible thesis statement

Let's discuss each of these quickly before moving on.

A banal thesis statement is a statement that does not really say anything–it is in fact meaningless because it is either so overly general or so evident as to not be of significance.  Here's an example from literature. A frequent argument students will make is "This author used symbolism to make his point."  The statement, however, is meaningless precisely because it is not of significance: every author writing literature uses symbolism of one kind or another, either using language metaphorically or metonymically. Thus, to attempt to single out or make a distinction of a piece for using "symbolism" is to not say anything that even needs proving to begin with.

A simple thesis statement is not quite what it may sound like.  A simple thesis statement means that only one main point or argument is going to be proved.  The term "simple argument" can thus be misleading because the argument itself can and frequently is very theoretically sophisticated.  What makes them simple is that in terms of their logical structure, they only take on one line of proof, and hence, their organization of proof will be simple.   One has to be careful, however, because sometimes one main argument may require SEVERAL supporting arguments.  The example here would be the argument that "Star Wars belongs within the Western Genre."  Here the writer has only one thing to prove, but in order to do so will have to establish the elements that comprise the Western Genre and demonstrate how the film embodies them--not a small task.

Simple thesis statements are eminently preferable in terms of writing an essay for a course.  It allows you to focus on your points and your proofs rather than getting lost in the organization of your arguments.

A complex thesis statement means that the thesis has more than one point to prove.  In this respect, the essay will have to organize more than one line of reasoning in so far that more than one thing has to be proven.  Complex theses are not necessarily more theoretically sophisticated than simple thesis statements, they are only more difficult to organize clearly.  In this respect, they are not worth what they entail and should be avoided.  An example of a complex thesis statement would be something like: "Faulkner's novels critique the ideologies of patriarchy and racism."

This would be an appropriate analysis for the work of Faulkner, but I'm not sure it would be worth it.  To begin with, it is not clear what the writer has to gain in terms of proving BOTH of these aspects of the work rather than just the one. Instead, with this complex thesis, there are going to be long sections of the essay where half of what needs to be proved will be left suspended while the other half gets discussed. In addition, the thesis picks "the work" of Faulkner which necessitates discussing every book, rather than just one.   Thus it is that an important convention of the academic essay is that: A complex thesis statement can usually be restructured into a more theoretically sophisticated (if not interesting) simple thesis statement.
 
The impossible thesis statement is a kind of corollary of the banal thesis statement insofar as you want to stay away from it.  Rather than saying something which is evident or meaningless, however, the impossible thesis statement puts forward something which cannot reasonably be proved, as a result of there being no agreed upon or stable criteria from which to render conclusions.  Examples of impossible statements abound, but the one most related to this course would be "The Plague is great art," or "The Plague is the most realistic of all Camus' novels."  In each case, there is no stable criteria.  Take the first one.  What distinguishes between "good" art and "great" art?  Furthermore, the essay would not be able to point to a stable definition of "art", a concept that art historians, artists, and cultural critics have been arguing over for centuries.  The latter thesis has a similar problem since "realistic" is not a stable concept with firm criteria.

Making an Argument
As stated earlier, the academic essay is an exercise in reasoned persuasion.  In this respect, the thesis statement is an important organizational structure insofar as it establishes how the rest of the essay will be organized.  Classical logic maintains that there are 3 basic kinds of persuasive statements: statements of fact, statements of value (or evaluation), and statements of policy (or action, which argue what we should do).  Unless otherwise specified, the first of these, the statement of fact, is the form that the thesis statement for an academic essay should take–the obvious exception being when you write evaluative criticism (which you will NEVER do in my course).

Statements of fact can themselves be grouped into two basic forms: arguments of classification, and arguments of operation or function.  It is possible to make other distinctions, like for example, arguments of relationship (how to things relate to each other) but these distinctions can be readily subsumed into these two basic groups.

Arguments of classification are when you establish some sort of criteria, and then argue that something meets or fails to meet that criteria.  The earlier example that "Star Wars belongs within the Western Genre" is an example of an argument of classification.  Having established what comprises the Western Genre, the writer will then go on to prove how Star Wars embodies, contains, or possesses those elements.  The writer will, in other words, prove that Star Wars meets that criteria.

Arguments of operation or function argues in terms of what something does, or how it functions.  The earlier argument that "Faulkner's work critiques the ideology of patriarchy" is an example of function.  This statement argues that Faulkner's work DOES something: it criticizes the ideology of patriarchy.  Note that unlike the argument of classification, the writer of this essay SEEMS to have to do more to prove their thesis.  They will not only have to define what the ideology of patriarchy is–and thus establish criteria–they will also have to demonstrate that Faulkner's work DOES something with that criteria.  The question of HOW leads to a discussion of the body of the essay.

The Body of the Essay

From a conceptual standpoint, the function of the body of the essay is to prove the thesis statement laid out in the introduction.  Easy enough.  This section discusses how the writer accomplishes that proof.

Establishing Criteria
In the discussion of types of argument, I made the point that the writer will have to establish criteria that can be used to prove their argument.  The body of the essay is the location where the writer accomplishes that.  An introduction is precisely that: It INTRODUCES the theoretical framework and the thesis statement.  It does not DESCRIBE or DISCUSS these two things.  This is a fairly common mistake that beginning essay writers make.  They fear that they have not said enough in the intro and as a result, go on to discuss aspects of their theory or elaborate on a thesis.  The problem with doing so is that it screws up your organization. What comes next is no longer clear to the reader.

If you keep it clear to yourself that the purpose of the introduction to your essay is to only INTRODUCE your theoretical framework, and your thesis statement, then the function of the body of your essay will also become evident to the reader.  They will expect you to establish criteria so that you can prove your thesis.  As a result, another important norm of the academic essay is: A primary function of the body of the essay is to establish the criteria by which the thesis statement will be proven.

Thus it is that having argued that Star Wars is a Western, the body of the paper is going to have to first establish the elements that comprise the Western–it will have to establish the criteria by which the thesis can be proven.  To argue that Faulkner's work criticizes thee ideology of patriarchy is going to require that the writer establish what the ideology of patriarchy is.

Meeting Criteria
Establishing the criteria by which the thesis statement will be proven leads to the next logical step: demonstrating how the object under investigation meets those criteria.  Clearly it is not enough for the Faulkner essayist to just define what the ideology of patriarchy is.  Their thesis is that Faulkner's work criticizes that ideology.  As a result, they will have to point to specific things within the text and argue that they relate to those criteria IN A SPECIFIC WAY–in this case through a process of criticism.  This process of relating the object of investigation back to the established criteria is another fundamental component of the body of the essay.  Without it, the proof is not complete.  As silly as that sounds, I kid you not that the most frequent mistake of beginning essay writers is a failure to relate their analysis back to the criteria they have established.  Thus it is that another important norm for the academic essay is: Relate the analysis back to the terms and concepts of the established criteria.

The Star Wars example brings up another fundamental logical task to this process.  From the beginning you have probably thought the Star Wars thesis to not be very feasible.  The film is not set in the West, and it occurs in the future.  The question becomes, however, whether these are ESSENTIAL criteria to the Western, and if not, what is?  In terms of proving that thesis statement, the writer is going to have to clearly establish what the elements of the Western Genre are, and then relate aspects of the film back to ALL of those criteria.  Herein lies the essential importance of "completeness" to that process.  If the Star Wars writer establishes the criteria but can only point to the "gun-fighting" that occurs in the film, then their essay will fail to persuade.  Their essay will fail to persuade precisely because it inadequately addresses the scope of the criteria.  Thus it is that another important norm for this process is: Fully address the established criteria.

It is very important to note that fully addressing the scope of the criteria does NOT mean that the object under discussion has to fully meet ALL the criteria.  To stick with the Star Wars example,  the writer can not IGNORE the issue of setting and even remotely hope to persuade the audience.  In some way, the writer is going to have to address the fact that  both time and place are out of the bounds of the Western.  This is the point precisely.  The author will have to ADDRESS that point–those criteria–not necessarily MEET those criteria.  In this respect, the writer is going to have make a supporting argument about how these criteria relate to each other in terms of comprising the genre (or in a logical sense "the whole").  The important point is that all criteria are addressed adequately.  Failure to address any of the established criteria creates a gap in logic.  Subsequently,  the reasoning process (and its ability to persuade) fails.

Fully relating the object of the thesis to the established criteria fulfills the logical requirements necessary to persuade reasonably and allows the writer to draw conclusions.  Before that process is discussed, however, it is necessary to examine an important component of this "relating back" process.

The Role of Description
Relating "the object of investigation" or the "object of the thesis" back to the established criteria is necessarily going to involve description.  Description is frequently an unclear and thorny issue for writers of the academic essay–especially in terms of scope (how much is enough?).  The purpose of description, however, clarifies the issue of scope.  The purpose of description to is to make clear, or establish WHAT in the object of investigation (the film, the scene, the shot) relates to the criteria being used.  It therefore becomes important for the writer to use description in such a manner as to establish the basis of the relationship between the object and the criteria.  Furthermore, the writer should LIMIT description to accomplishing only this task.  Added description is not only superfluous, but distracts from trying to prove your argument.  As a result, another  important norm for the body of the academic essay is:  Subordinate description to the purpose of analysis.

The Conclusion
As stated above the process of fully relating the object of the thesis to the established criteria has the effect of fulfilling the logical requirements.  It is THAT task which ultimately persuades, not the conclusion itself.  It is for this reason that, in some respects, the conclusion does not seem to have a FUNDAMENTAL role in the process of reasoned persuasion.  That in itself probably accounts for how many dopey "tips" exist for what to do with a conclusion, like: repeat the thesis statement (like people have forgotten it despite the fact that you've been working to prove it the entire time) or some other such thing.

What to do with a conclusion if the work of proof is already done?  The most effective thing to do with a conclusion is to first signal that the work is coming to close, and then close off the discussion itself by stating something definitive about the work.  Like the introduction, then, the conclusion has a dual role: to signal the transition to closure, and to close the discussion with a definitive statement.  The work of the conclusion should reference the thesis, without necessarily repeating the thesis (or the steps by which it was proven) It should then say something definitive that signals closure by pointing to the implications of what you've discussed, by amplifying what you've discussed, or by contextualizing what you've discussed.

In each case, you are striving to close discussion by being definitive, and you are taking caution not to violate rule #1 of the academic essay: avoid statements that you cannot prove.

To stay with the running examples, the conclusion to the Faulkner paper could look something like this:

"...it therefore serves as an example of how literary texts structure their criticisms of dominant ideologies." (pointing to the implications of proving your argument).

or

"Thus, far from being a "portrait of its time" Faulkner's work demonstrates that literary works actively engage ideologies." (amplifying your argument)

or

"Rather than a story centered exclusively on war, Hemingway's novel instead participates in the reinforcement of dominant ideologies with American culture." (Contextualizing the argument)

Note that the similarity here is how definitive these statements are.  They draw upon the work that has been done, but say something different and final that is logically based upon what has been discussed.
 
 

Final Observations
There are, of course, variations on the genre of the academic essay--some rather large difference exist, for example, between the social sciences and the humanites.  This discussion is based on the humanties approach.  Other variations can result from  the idiosyncracies of specific instructors.  To the degree that what is written here sounds heavy handed and inflexible, I caution instead that such tone is trying to reflect the manner in which your own analysis and writing will need to sound precise and rigorous–the standards by which the academic essay is evaluated.

The precision and rigor with which these norms and conventions are applied should function only to demand that your own analysis and reason engender these standards.  They are thus meant to elevate your thinking, not control it.  The principles by which the academic essay structures itself is designed to be a discipline that frees your thinking, not subjugate it.  Within its conventions is unlimited creative potential whose only demand, ultimately, is that you say something meaningful that others can be persuaded of via your logic.

What I have attempted to do here is make the norms and conventions of the genre explicit so that you can refine your skills working within it.  Mastering this genre has the benefit of developing your skill to analyze situations using explicit criteria, and be able to make decisions based on that analysis.  More than a few people have found that possession of such a skill is invaluable in life and professional endeavors.
 

Tally Ho.