lunes, 27 de octubre de 2008

The Essay, as a boxing metaphor

Julio Cortazar said once that, as in boxing, "the novel always wins by points, while short tales must win by knock-out." In that context, I was wondering this: Does the essay as a literary genre fit into the boxing metaphor? And if so, how would it? I think it is not ridiculous to talk about the essay as a boxing match won by a decision of the judges. In this case the readers would be the judges. That is, they stop being contenders to become analysts of the arguments that ultimately make them take a stand on what they read.

I believe the essay is just that, a presentation of arguments on any particular issue that asks the readers to take sides and develop judgments. As well as judges of a fight, in the essay, readers produce subjective judgments on the arguments presented to them and, in one way or another, take a position, assess, decide and reach a verdict which, as in boxing, not always is unanimous, and maybe that's what's fascinating about the essay: not to leave anyone indifferent, or one is convinced by the arguments or is not, or takes the position of the essayist or goes in an opposite direction.

For this reason, I consider that the essay is important in both form and substance; it is not enough to expose some arguments, it is necessary also to mold them, aligning and presenting them according to the target audience because, at the end, it is the one who approves if the essay met its objectives. But unlike in a boxing fight, if you give a good argumentative fight, as an essayist, you will have already won at the onset.

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