Choose either A or B. A. For this option, arrive at a topic suitable for classification and then plan and develop a 500-word essay accordingly. Your topic should be one that is not only capable of being classified but also needing to be classified. The classification scheme you use should be original, and readers of your essay should come away with an understanding of the topic that could not have been conveyed without the use of classification. If an appealing topic doesn’t immediately come to mind, it may be because you don’t truly understand classification as a strategy of writing.
Make sure to read Chapter 12 to get an idea of the sorts of topics that are suitable for classification. Please read the essay selections for the same reason and also to help you decide whether or not you wish to use subject headings (which you have the option of doing—for the classification essay only). The text shows good examples of both approaches, and for you there is no absolute right or wrong with respect to the issue of whether to use them or not (though a particular treatment of a particular topic may favour them). B. For this option, write a 500-word comparison and contrast essay organized according to either one of the two patterns covered in the book: block or alternating. You may pick any two subjects you wish, as long as there is some basis for comparing them; however, your essay will be more successful if your topics are such that the comparison of one with the other has the potential to enhance the reader’s understanding.
For example, if you were to compare tennis and badminton in terms of the skills and abilities needed to play the respective sports, a reader with experience playing only one of the sports could gain a new appreciation of the other. Since I’ve tried to simplify this assignment under option A by allowing the use of subject headings, I should point out a factor in this option as well that has the potential to make things easier. I have never taught the “five-paragraph essay” format because I fear that if I did it would become a straitjacket for some; however, those of you who are already familiar with the five-paragraph model might note how readily a 500-word essay in the comparative mode might lend itself to it—especially if you choose the “alternating” pattern of organization. The student essay included within the pages of this week’s reading on comparison is a great example of the kind of simple perfection that can ideally be achieved by following the model. (If those of you who don’t already know the five-paragraph essay model are curious, you can simply google it.)