In today’s video, you will learn how to turn 10 words into an essay.
Students often wonder how to find materials to discuss something really short. And what we’ll do is we will read a very short poem which is a haiku and it’s only 10 words.
I’ll show you how I go about writing about such a short work. This is just an example how I do things and there is lot to learn from it for you.
So let’s see, this is our poem. It’s very short, it is only three lines and only ten words. It is by Basho poet and translated by Robert Hass.
This deep in fall,
Still not a butterfly.
Very interesting, right? Only ten words.
How do I write an essay on a poem that is ten words long?
So for me to write an essay about this poem, I need to break it into elements.
So how do I do it?
Now the most natural way to do it with this poem is to simply divide it in these three lines because they were already divided that way.
Number 1: “The caterpillar”. The caterpillar is the subject of this poem. This poem is about a caterpillar.
Next, “This deep in fall”. This seems to have something to do with time. We’re already in the fall and it is still not a butterfly. It’s not a butterfly yet. Okay?
So these are the three parts.
Number one, I’m going to take caterpillar the subject and I’m going to try to divide it somehow into parts. You now I’m all about division. You have to divide into parts in order to write about it.
So let me see what I can do. And based on the basic search about the caterpillar online on Google will show you that there are several stages for a caterpillar to become a butterfly.
So number is the caterpillar itself, it’s the larva. Well actually, the first stage in an egg but since Basho, meaning the poet, begins to talk about the caterpillar, we’re skipping the egg stage so we’re going straight to the stage of the larva which is the caterpillar.
Now the next stage is a chrysalis. It is the middle metamorphosis stage. It’s the stage in which actually this caterpillar is the most vulnerable because it is kind of hanging off a tree or off something and it would be easily picked up by a bird or any prey animal, or even by another insect.
And finally, out of the chrysalis comes out a butterfly. Okay?
So just by doing a search on what a caterpillar is and how it turns into a butterfly, I discovered something new, I discovered that there is something that is not present in the poem which is the chrysalis. Very interesting.
So this is part one.
Next I’m going to go to part two, were kind of section of this poem, and it’s just line two, “this deep fall”. So apparently looks like butterflies emerged early in the fall, at least according to the poet.
So the poet is thinking, “Hey the caterpillar. Oh I see it deep in the fall. It should be a butterfly, it’s not a butterfly.”
So apparently butterflies, according to the poet, emerged early in the fall. This one hasn’t done that yet.
And now I’m going to part three. The Poet seems to be critical of something. He’s unhappy of something.
So what is he critical of? What is he unhappy about??
Well something should be, but it is not. Something is A, but it should be B. And he is unhappy with that. Very interesting, right?
So this is a criticism of the caterpillar. It should now be a butterfly, but it is not. And this is the way I would be kind of brainstorming and thinking about it because I want to write an essay on it.
Now the most useful part for me has been this part: The part about the caterpillar.
Because I noticed something, I noticed that the poet pretty much skipped the middle stage of the larva into the butterfly which is the chrysalis. He just kind of skipped, which is very interesting.
So now I’m going to go and structure my essay and see how it will work.
Now in section one, I could put that the poet seems to be discontent. Now here I would just discuss the obvious. A should be B, but it is not.
Just a simple kind of not really a summary of the poem, but what is seems to be on the surface. The poet seems to be discontent, that’s all.
Next in section two, I’m going to talk the metamorphosis of going from caterpillar into a butterfly. And I’m going to say it’s a complex process. I’m going to discuss the process emphasizing the middle phase, the chrysalis.
I’m really going to emphasized because it gives me a lot of room to talk about it. It’s very interesting because again, the chrysalis is this very vulnerable stage of transition from the caterpillar into the butterfly.
And finally, I’m kind of going to conclude from that that the poet is right.
It’s true, yes, the caterpillar should be by now a butterfly, at least according to him, and he has the right (maybe) to be discontent but he is overlooking something. Because the poet overlooks the middle stage, his view may be limited. Right?
And now I’m going to my thesis. I’m simply going to say that Basho’s view seems incomplete.
Now it’s only my opinion, but it’s a well-informed opinion. Because it came out of me thinking about it in the way I just described. And if I would write a thesis statement, it would sound something like this:
Basho’s poem is critical of belated maturity.
That’s right, he doesn’t like it that the caterpillar is not a butterfly yet. So it’s a stab at somebody who is immature. That’s pretty much what he wants to say.
However, his view of the maturation process may be limited. I’m not saying it is limited because I don’t want to really criticize the poet. He’s a great poet and I don’t want to be that critical because after all, he has the right to be discontent.
But I’m going to say it may be limited because the poet omits a critical maturation stage, the chrysalis. And who knows maybe he doesn’t want to talk about the chrysalis because this is a stage where adults should guide their children or their adolescents and help them become more mature. Okay?
This might be part of my argument that, “hey you know what, in order for the caterpillar to become a butterfly, it needs to undergo the chrysalis and like where you’re present during that stage. Did you help bring it about?
See? That counts. So does the poet really have the right to be so critical if h never provided any kind of explanation about the chrysalis and what is required of the outside environment to make sure a caterpillar to become the butterfly?
Now this may be a bit far fetched, now this may be little bit too much. However, I just wanted to show you that you an definitely turn ten words, just a little short poem into an essay and you can go on actually forever depending how many ideas you can bring in here.
So what are your takeaways from this all?
- Well number one, in order to write about anything, break it down into parts, and break down parts into further parts.
- Next. Look something up. Look for unfamiliar concept. It may hold the key to your argument like for example, like the way I did. The caterpillar turning into a butterfly actually has another transitional which is never mentioned in the poem and that became kind of the cornerstone, became the basis for my argument about this poem.
- Get the facts and then build the preliminary structures. We got all the facts. We pretty much brainstorm everything we could and then we started to build the structure of the essay.
And out of everything you’ve done, out of that structure, out of that brainstorming, out of the analysis and the research, now you’re ready to derive your thesis.
I hope this is helpful, and I’ll see you in the future video.