What makes an essay stand out
WHEN one reads a lot of essays, as I do, the problem is that they tend to blur into each other. So I am always looking for something that makes a particular piece of writing stand out from the crowd; something that makes it different or special.
Unless they are numerous, or make understanding difficult, I usually ignore spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, at least at the first reading. These are things that can be edited out. What I am looking for is a sense that the writer has control over his or her material and over the structure of the ideas being expressed. I am also looking for accurate, sensitive and appropriate observations of life.
Let us look at the three essays published this week about the experience of job-hunting? a tough business that can sometimes be cruel. All three essays, as it happens, tell stories of failure, though they do so in different ways. What was it that made them stand out for me？