Individuals seeking example essays can read "Notes of a Native Son" by James Baldwin, "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift and "The Fourth State of Matter" by Jo Ann Beard, plus any of Joan Didion's pieces from "Slouching Towards Bethlehem." These exemplary essays reveal thoughtfulness and social and emotional bravery.
"Notes of a Native Son" is Baldwin's beautifully written recollection of his first realization that he was African-American and what that meant during his childhood and as an adult in the 1950s. Swift's memorable essay is steeped in satire meant to turn the stomachs and minds of his contemporaries toward the ridiculous state of affairs at the time. Jo Ann Beard writes about the true killing spree of a graduate student, the outcome of which the audience already knows, but Beard still captivates her audience until the very end. Didion's essay "On Keeping a Notebook" details the essayist's urge to write and record, and its paradoxical nature reveals a glimpse into her writing mind.