In this video, I want to show you how to write an essay about a book.
About a book of fiction – pretty much any novel. So the easiest way, of course, is to use the Power of Three.
First, we want to ask, what are the elements of any book, because we want to divide the book into elements, into aspects, into different parts that we could discuss.
Any novel, any book of fiction will have these elements:
Well, these four are enough for us for sure because we need to only pick two.
Pick two of these elements and discuss one in terms of another.
Let’s see how these would work because usually I would teach you to simply identify the elements and pick one and then just use the Power of Three.
But in this case, I want you to pick two and then use the power of three for only one of them. Let me show you how this works.
So what are some of the elements? Again, it’s the story, plot, character, and themes.
And I want to choose characters because I’m familiar with characters the most, I identify with the characters, I would like to talk about the characters.
And themes. There are many themes in this book. There is love, religion, murder, and many others. So I’m going to pick one, and let it be patricide.
And patricide is basically the killing of a father. It is when a child kills a father – that is called patricide. And that’s exactly what happened in the book.
I’m not ruining the book for you because it happens actually pretty early in the novel so it’s not really much of a spoiler because the rest of the novel kind of revolves around this murder.
Next, I want to pick three characters. So now I’m using the Power of Three. See, I’m picking one theme, I’m putting it up front and will discuss it in terms of characters, and the three characters will be the three brothers. Right?
Section one is going to be about Ivan (one of the brothers), the next one about Dmitriy (the second brother), and the third about Alexei. So I’m picking three brothers, and I’m devoting a section of the essay to each of the brothers in terms of patricide, not in terms of other things.
In other words, I would discuss Ivan and his relation to this event. Because it is a murder mystery, I could ask this question, “Is it possible Ivan killed him?” Yes or no, and why? Discuss in section A.
In section B, I’ll talk about Dmitriy. Could he have done it? Yes or no, and why? What is the possibility?
(Or I could discuss in other terms. Maybe I already know the outcome, I already know who killed the father but now I want to know what might have led one of the brothers to do it.)
And then in section C, I would discuss the same about Alexei.
Now you can do this the other way around. Because again, you pick any one element and then discuss it in terms of other elements using the Power of Three and, in this case, let’s say, I will choose one of the characters.
I will put Ivan up front, meaning the whole essay is going to be about Ivan. Previously the whole essay was about patricide. Now the essay is about Ivan. I’m just picking one of the characters and going to discuss him in terms of the themes.
Now one of the themes again, as you know already, is patricide.
Another one is the romantic interest, basically his relationship with women or a woman.
And next, about his religious beliefs or about religion, anything in terms of religion.
So I’m going to discuss Ivan in terms of patricide, in terms of his relation to this event that’s called the murder of the father. I’m going to discuss him in terms of his romantic interest and basically about his woman and about his love life.
And finally, I will talk about his religious beliefs.
See how this works?
So, I just showed you an easy three-step process to talk about any novel.
In fact, you can talk about any work of fiction, even short stories, even if the story is only about five to six pages. It doesn’t matter as long as there are characters, and one or two themes.
And if this is a work of fiction, then of course there will be characters, some sort of a story, and some themes (at least one or two).
- Identify the elements of the novel.
Any book will have a story. And a story is just the collection of events. It’s basically everything that happens in the book. The plot is the arrangement of the events. It could be linear or you could make a flashback, it could jump from the past into the future, into the future back into to the past and so on.
Now I can talk about the characters, themes, literary devices, whatever they might be. Just identify the elements that you really want to discuss.
- Next, just pick two of them that you would really like to discuss. Any two that you are most familiar with, that would be easiest for you to discuss.
- And finally, simply discuss one of them in terms of the other, and use the power of three in terms of one, just like we did before.
We talk about patricide, the three brothers or one brother, and three themes: patricide, romantic interest, and religion.
Okay? Hope this was helpful and see you in the next video.