Topic sentence, introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, conclusion. The final outcome being, say, that Ahab in Moby Dick was a figure that is christ-like.
Probably the most obvious distinction between real essays plus the things one should write at school is the fact that real essays are not exclusively about English literature. Certainly schools should teach students how to write. But as a result of a few historical accidents the teaching of writing has gotten mixed together with the study of literature. And thus from coast to coast students are writing not exactly how a baseball team with a small budget might take on the Yankees, or perhaps the role of color in fashion, or what constitutes an excellent dessert, but about symbolism in Dickens. Continue reading