In a hundred words or fewer, what is your personal opinion after reading Francis Bacon's essay "Of Studies."

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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For a number of reasons, this is a difficult question to answer. For one thing, it is unclear what the “opinion” is supposed to be about?  Is it supposed to be about Bacon’s essay “Of Studies”? Or is it supposed to be about the topic of “study” in and of itself?  Finally, since you are supposed to express you own personal opinion, no one attempting to answer this question can do that for you.

If you are responding to “Of Studies” itself, you might consider such issues as the following:

  • How is the essay effectively written? For example, how and why is the opening sentence effective?
  • How does Bacon implicitly present himself in this essay?  Why should you believe him or find him a trustworthy advisor?
  • What kinds of evidence does he present in order to support his arguments? What kinds of sources does he draw on?
  • How is the essay organized? Does its organization have any effect on its success?
  • Is the style of the essay accessible?  In other words, can you easily understand what the essay is saying?
  • If you had to paraphrase the essay (that is, rewrite it in your own words), what would you write? What features of the essay might make the essay difficult to paraphrase?
  • What kind of studying does Bacon himself seem to have done? What is the evidence for such studying?
  • What, in Bacon’s opinion, is the ultimate purpose of studying?
  • What does Bacon mean, exactly, when he makes the following concluding statement?:

So every defect of the mind, may have a special receipt.

If you are responding to the topic of “studying” in its own right (or in response to Bacon), here are some issues you might consider:

  • How do your own views of studying resemble Bacon’s?
  • How do your own views of studying differ from Bacon’s?
  • How would you justify any differences between your views and his?
  • Are Bacon’s ideas still relevant, or are they relics of an earlier time?
  • How have methods of study changed since Bacon’s time?  What resources are available to us that were not available to him? How is studying easier today than it was in the seventeenth century?
  • What, in your opinion, is the ultimate purpose of studying?
  • Do you think that there are different ways of studying and that these different ways can be equally effective?
  • What are some problems with the ways we study today?
  • How can present-day studying be improved?
  • Do you agree or disagree (and why) with the following famous statement from the essay?:

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested . . . .

 

 

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