The most common form of essay writing on scholastic campuses is the five-paragraph essay. Consisting of an introductory paragraph bearing a thesis statement with three points (each of which is expanded in numerical order for the next three paragraphs) and ending with a concluding paragraph that recapitulates the thesis statement, five-paragraph essays have long been a staple of academia. This unfortunate practice should be abolished because following strict formal guidelines stifles creativity, some things cannot be summed up in three points (necessitating poorly linked final points that are only superficially related to the thesis statement), and because school administrations only use the five-paragraph essay to force adherence to dictatorial norms.
To demonstrate that five-paragraph essays stifle creativity, one only need to examine the fact that our greatest heroes in literature are precisely those authors who manage to break the mold, transcend the rules, and demonstrate their greatness through the application of style. This is the essence of creativity, the genius inside a man or woman that enables him or her to soar to heights only slightly lower than the angels can attain. Yet if one attempts to do this in a five-paragraph essay, one finds one’s grade significantly lowered, thus stifling any creative spark that the author may have originally carried.
This follows through to the fact that some subjects simply do not have three points and attempts to add in the third point come across as being ham-fisted or, what is worse, nonintellectual. The fact of the matter is that some subjects can fully be explained in only two points, while others require four or more points to develop. Adherence to the strict guidelines of the five-paragraph essay therefore result in forced attrition via the deletion of relevant data (i.e., the fourth, or higher, points) or, more commonly, forced inflation via the insertion of a third point that stands out like a hippie in a Presbyterian church.
It is inevitable that five-paragraph essays are used by school administrations, therefore, simply to force adherence to dictatorial norms. No concern is given to the fact that students did not decide what these norms should be, or why their essays must be five hundred words in length, or why they must contain five paragraphs arranged in a specific manner. Obedience is demanded, like an anti-proletarian government decreeing obedience from its subjects, where any nonconformity is punished swiftly by various actions of the administration (viz., the reduction of grades, public mockery in the classroom, detention after hours, and sometimes the forced repeating of an entire year’s worth of schooling). Such tactics belong to political dictatorships, not to the realm of academia.
All of the above makes it quite obvious that the five-paragraph essay format is prone to abuse and should be abolished as soon as humanly possible. It is time to evolve. Indeed, there is nothing that is stated in a five paragraph essay that could not be stated without stifling creativity, rigid adherence to three points, or the use of dictatorial tactics.