Thought provoking short essays

What is a Narrative Essay
  1. How to Write a Narrative Essay - A Research Guide for Students
  2. How to Write the Introduction of an Essay
  3. 1. Give Cliches a Twist

Normally, with that title you would expect some straightforward advice about how to improve your character and get on with your goddamn life — but not from Joan Didion. You can learn more from this essay than from whole books about self-improvement. Susan Sontag — Notes on Camp. After reading this essay, you will know what camp is. You will vastly increase your appreciation for art.

All the listicles we usually see on the web simply cannot compare with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson — Self-Reliance. Written in , it still inspires generations of people. It will let you understand what it means to be self-made.

How to Write a Narrative Essay - A Research Guide for Students

It contains some of the most memorable quotes of all time. Emerson told me and he will tell you to do something amazing with my life. The language it contains is a bit archaic but that just adds to the weight of the argument.

You can consider it to be a meeting with a great philosopher who really shaped the ethos of the modern United States. He sees right through the hypocrisy and cruelty behind killing hundreds of thousands of innocent lobsters — by boiling them alive. This essay uncovers some of the worst traits of modern American peoples. After reading this essay, you may reconsider the whole animal-eating business.

The famous novelist and author of the most powerful commencement speech ever done is going to tell you about the joys and sorrows of writing a work of fiction. But you love that child and you want others to love it too. If you ever plan to write a novel, you should definitely read that one. And the story about the Chinese farmer is just priceless. Margaret Atwood — Attitude. This is not an essay per se, but I included it in the list for the sake of variety. Soon after leaving the university, most graduates have to forget about safety, parties, and travel, and start a new life — one filled with a painful routine that will last until they drop.

Read that one as soon as possible. To summarize the story would be to spoil it, so I recommend that you just dig in and devour this essay during one sitting. No need for flowery adjectives here.

How to Write the Introduction of an Essay

To me, Terence McKenna was one of the most interesting thinkers of the twentieth century. McKenna consumed psychedelic drugs for most of his life and it shows in a positive way. Many people consider him a looney, and a hippie, but he was so much more than that. He had the courage to go into the abyss of his own psyche, and come back to tell the tale.

He also wrote many books most famous being Food Of The Gods , built a huge botanical garden in Hawaii , lived with shamans, and was a connoisseur of all things enigmatic and obscure. Take a look at this essay, and learn more about the explorations of the subconscious mind. Eudora Welty — The Little Store. By reading this little-known essay, you will be transported into the world of the old American South.

There are all these beautiful memories that live inside of us. They lay somewhere deep in our minds, hidden from sight. The work by Eudora Welty is an attempt to uncover some of them and let you get reacquainted with some of the smells and tastes of the past. The Search for Marvin Gardens contains many layers of meaning. It also presents a historical perspective on the rise and fall of civilizations, and on Atlantic City which once was a lively place, and then, slowly declined, the streets filled with dirt and broken windows.

A dead body at the bottom of the well makes for a beautiful literary device. Who was this woman? Why did she do it? Read the essay. Slouching Towards Bethlehem is one of the most famous collections of essays of all time. In it, you will find a curious piece called On Keeping A Notebook. This one touched me because I also lived in New York City for a while.

They are powerful. As the sound of sirens faded, Tony descended into the dark world of hustlers and pimps. Anyway, this essay is amazing in too many ways. You just have to read it. George Orwell — Reflections on Gandhi. George Orwell could see things as they were. No exaggeration, no romanticism — just facts. He recognized totalitarianism and communism for what they were and shared his worries through books like and Animal Farm.

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He took the same sober approach when dealing with saints and sages. Today, we regard Gandhi as one of the greatest political leaders of the twentieth century — and rightfully so. But overall he was a good guy. Read the essay and broaden your perspective on Bapu of the Indian Nation.

George Orwell — Politics and the English Language. Let Mr. Orwell give you some writing tips. Written in , this essay is still one of the most helpful documents on writing in English. Orwell was probably the first person who exposed the deliberate vagueness of political language. He was very serious about it and I admire his efforts to slay all unclear sentences including ones written by distinguished professors. To make this list more comprehensive, below I included twelve more essays you may find interesting.

Oliver Sacks — On Libraries. Noam Chomsky — The Responsibility of Intellectuals. Chomsky did probably more than anyone else to define the role of the intelligentsia in the modern world. There is a war of ideas over there — good and bad — intellectuals are going to be those who ought to be fighting for the former. Sam Harris, now famous philosopher and neuroscientist, takes on the problem of gun control in the United States. His thoughts are clear and free of prejudice. Author of the NYT bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek shares an emotional story about how he almost killed himself, and what can you do to save yourself or your friends from suicide.

Edward Said — Reflections on Exile. The life of Edward Said was a truly fascinating one. Born in Jerusalem, he lived between Palestine and Egypt, and finally settled down in the United States where he completed his most famous work — Orientalism. In this essay, he shares his thoughts about what it means to be in exile.

Richard Feynman is clearly one of the most interesting minds of the twentieth century. He was a brilliant physicist, but also an undeniably great communicator of science, an artist and a traveler. Moore's impasse when faced with ethics is enough of a warning, compared with the tradition of Hume and Smith, which worked via an understanding of our psychologies and their genealogy rather than narrow conceptual analysis. McGinn's own solution, presented in the chapter 'Analysis and Mystery', is that the right concepts may be unavailable to us.

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Were a species to form the right concepts, it would not have our problems, but that species is not us, either as we are, or even as we might become. Both the families of concepts that might be innate to us, and the family arising from the way we think about empirical experience, fail to contain the keys that turn the locks. This is itself, of course, a possibility described de dicto rather than de re -- we can say that 'there might be concepts which would provide solutions' but we can never say of any concept that it provides a solution, since we can have no way of framing such a concept to ourselves.

We cannot even know in which direction to look for coming nearer to such concepts; not only are there are no strategies for unlocking philosophical mysteries, in the way there are for unlocking scientific mysteries, there are not even strategies for getting any closer to doing so. Bertrand Russell wrote that his grandmother despised his interest in metaphysics, telling him that the whole subject could be summed up in the saying: "What is mind?

No matter; what is matter?

Never mind. She was right about the central concepts of metaphysics: mind, body, causation, time, freedom, and in fact reality in general. Grannie however was ridiculing poor Bertie's interest in the subject, and I do not think McGinn intends to do that.

1. Give Cliches a Twist

He has, after all, pursued a long and distinguished career in it. Nevertheless, the worry persists that perhaps Grannie was right, and the best policy is not to think about these things at all. Although this depressing view of the possibilities for philosophy forms a central theme in the book, it by no means exhausts its contents. Once McGinn leaves heavy-duty metaphysics, he becomes distinctly more sprightly, dancing elegantly around issues in the philosophy of biology, ethics, and religion. In the section on biology, McGinn is at his best in an essay 'The Language of Evolution' pointing out the pitfalls in Darwin's analogy between the kind of selection that breeders of animals or plants go in for, and anything that happens in nature.

He suggests that instead of natural selection Darwin should have contented himself with saying that while human beings purposely select, animals and plants reproductively compete, with some more successful at generating heirs than others. There is nothing but metaphor involved in reifying 'nature' as an intentional agent.