Chapter 5: The Essay

5.5 Your Point of View

In Chapter 4: Summary, you practised clearly explaining your point of view. Your point of view may have agreed with that of your source. Or you may have disagreed. Or you may have had a mixed reaction: agreeing with some of your source’s point of view, while disagreeing with other parts. All of these responses are valid.

Ideally, the reader gets a hint of your point of view in the introductory paragraph, or even the first sentence. For example, to go back to our topic of the Prime Minister’s residential schools apology, you might begin:

In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a long overdue apology to all those injured by the residential school system in Canada.

The words “long overdue” give the reader the idea that you disagree with the timing of the apology and that your essay may argue that the apology should have come much earlier.

Table 5.4 Ways to indicate your point of view
Type of Essay Point of View Marker
Descriptive Many people looking at it would see just an old shoe, but in fact, that loafer marked the beginning of my life as an independent person.
Narrative When I went to visit, Baba often wondered out loud why a young person would want to spend time with an “old woman”—her words, not mine.
Expository Pretty much everyone in Canada has watched men’s hockey at some point, but despite the sport’s exposure in the 2010 Olympics, millions of Canadians have still never seen a women’s hockey game.
Persuasive Bike lanes in cities have come in for sharp criticism by—no surprise—drivers.

Review Questions

  1. See how you can change the reader’s impression of your point of view simply by changing a word. What would the reader think, for example, if in the first introductory sentence above, instead of “long overdue,” you wrote “unnecessary”? How about “damaging”?
  2. Look at Table 5.4 above. What is the writer’s point of view in each example? Can you predict what each essay will eventually say?
  3. Go back to the outline you wrote in Chapter 2.1 Outlines. Write three first sentences of an essay on the topic of future challenges in immigration in Canada.
    1. In the first sentence, agree with a particular point of view.
    2. In the second version, disagree with the same point of view.
    3. In the third version, mix your response. Agree with some parts, but disagree with other parts of the point of view.

Points to Consider

  1. Take out the introduction you wrote for Chapter 5.1 The Introduction. No matter what kind of essay introduction you chose, does it clearly indicate your point of view?
  2. See if you can change a single word (as you did in question 1 above) or phrase to indicate an entirely different point of view. If you chose to write an introduction to a biographical essay, for example, and your introduction mentioned how much you had learned from the person, you could revise it to say that you have in fact learned only one thing from this person.


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Building Blocks of Academic Writing Copyright © 2020 by Carellin Brooks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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