When you are assigned an essay without a specific question to answer, how do you figure out what to write about?
Here's one strategy for tackling essays that I found works for me: First, I go to the source text (the thing I've been asked to write about). I read it through twice (if it's a painting or event that's not written then I spend time contemplating it), taking note of contradictions or sections that confuse me. Once I have found a point of tension, I can start to figure out why it might be there, what it's importance is, and how to resolve it--in other words, the beginning of an essay.
"She could hear the wind and rain whipping across the expanse of open water: it hit the trees and muscled its way into the grass." To what effect does Colum McCann use figurative language in this sentence from the beginning of his novel Transatlantic?
McCann uses figurative language to characterize the storm. The weather "whip[s]," "hit[s]," and "muscle[s]." By choosing words associated with violence, McCann emphasizes the storm's ferocity.
What is the significance of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright?
Wright, blending Japanese forms, Native American motifs, and his own imagination, developed entirely new styles of architecture. From the Hanna House to the Guggenheim Museum, Wright used design to revolutionize the way people lived.