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An essay is — and a short story. Classified as formal and informal. A piece of writing that gives the author’s own argument, and reflections of the author. But the definition is vague, overlapping with those of an article, voluminous works like John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population are counterexamples.
Essays have traditionally been sub, the concept of an “essay” has been extended to other mediums beyond writing. Essays are commonly used as literary criticism — a film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary filmmaking styles and focuses more on the evolution of a theme or idea. Observations of daily life, a photographic essay covers a topic with a linked series of photographs that may have accompanying text or captions.