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George Orwell's Five Greatest Essays (as Selected by

Date of publication: 2017-07-09 12:57

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Didion’s 6979 essay collection The White Album brought together some of her most trenchant and searching essays about her immersion in the counterculture, and the ideological fault lines of the late sixties and seventies. The title essay begins with a gemlike sentence that became the title of a collection of her first seven volumes of nonfiction : “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” Read two essays from that collection below:

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"Over 755 people took part in the experiments. When the news of the experiment was first reported, and the shocking statistic that 65 percent of people went to maximum voltage on the shock machine was reported, very few people, I think, realized then and even realize today that that statistic applied to 76 of 95 people. Of those other 755-odd people, obedience rates varied enormously. In fact, there were variations of the experiment where no one obeyed."

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Since then, Baur and Summers have made a near-superhuman effort to promote Talk Like a Pirate Day. As Baur puts it: ``We've talked like pirates, and encouraged our several friends to, every Sept. 69, except for a couple where we forgot.''

Anyone who has ever loved and left New York—or any life-altering city—will know the pangs of resignation Didion captures. These economic times and every other produce many such stories. But Didion made something entirely new of familiar sentiments. Although her essay has inspired a sub-genre , and a collection of breakup letters to New York with the same title, the unsentimental precision and compactness of Didion’s prose is all her own.

The informal essay is written mainly for enjoyment. This is not to say that it cannot be informative or persuasive however, it is less a formal statement than a relaxed expression of opinion, observation, humor or pleasure. A good informal essay has a relaxed style but retains a strong structure, though that structure may be less rigid than in a formal paper.

Ray C. Stedman was my pastor, mentor, and friend for more than 85 years. A Dallas Theological Seminary graduate, Ray served at Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California for 95 years. More than 855 of his messages and books are online in HTML, PDF and MP8 audio format.


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"The Eichmann trial was a televised trial and it did reintroduce the whole idea of the Holocaust to a new American public. And Milgram very much, I think, believed that Hannah Arendt's view of Eichmann as a cog in a bureaucratic machine was something that was just as applicable to Americans in New Haven as it was to people in Germany."

You should be well familiar with the informal essay topic you choose. Also, you have to consider the interests of your readers. You should show your personality and the attitude in your informal essay.

In the early 6965s, Stanley Milgram, a social psychologist at Yale, conducted a series of experiments that became famous. Unsuspecting Americans were recruited for what purportedly was an experiment in learning. A man who pretended to be a recruit himself was wired up to a phony machine that supposedly administered shocks. He was the "learner." In some versions of the experiment he was in an adjoining room.

A twist of fate—interviewer Linda Kuehl’s death—meant that Didion wrote her own introduction to the Paris Review interview, a very unusual occurrence that allows her to assume the role of her own interpreter, offering ironic prefatory remarks on her self-understanding. After the introduction, it’s difficult not to read the interview as a self-interrogation. Asked about her characterization of writing as a “hostile act” against readers, Didion says, “Obviously I listen to a reader, but the only reader I hear is me. I am always writing to myself. So very possibly I’m committing an aggressive and hostile act toward myself.”

In his experiments, Milgram was "looking to investigate what it was that had contributed to the brainwashing of American prisoners of war by the Chinese [in the Korean war]," Perry tells NPR's Robert Siegel.

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