Difficulty essay aims at explaining a difficulty one is having with a particular reading or with a theory/concept. This is usual that difficulties arise during a critical analysis of the world. Ideas, concepts or arguments can feel “difficult” to the readers due to a lack of comprehension (“I just can’t understand or wrap my head around this idea!), a ‘mismatch’ or disconnect between what is learnt in class and one’s own lived experience (“I really feel like this is true for me! It must be wrong!”) or a disagreement about the larger implications of a concept or theory (“This concept is arguing that everything in society has a role and therefore the world must stay the same, that can’t be right!”).
While humans can accept or avoid own feelings, scholars must be able to engage with them in a way that will allow them to move past their emotional responses to ideas and towards an interpretation that finds some kind of value, even if they still don’t necessarily like it.
Steps to Organize a Difficulty Essay
The below steps will help you engage with a difficulty you are having in relation to the chosen piece of writing. In order to overcome that difficulty while recognizing the sociological/ psychological/ other significance of whatever concept / idea / argument you chose, you need to follow five steps/sections of a difficulty essay:
1. Identifying a Difficulty
The first step in this process is identifying the difficulty you want to use for this paper. One of the best ways to do this is to tune into your emotional responses to the things we learn in class. Pay attention to your feelings as you read and sit in class: What makes you angry? Sad? Confused? Upset? Enraged? Try to develop an ongoing list of some things you have found difficult that you can use for your paper. You want to clearly explain how this difficulty relates to what we are studying in class.
2. Reflecting and Investigating the Origins of that Difficulty
The next step of the difficulty essay is to reflect upon why you are encountering the difficulty that you chose. You want to delve deeper than “I Just Don’t Get It”; try thinking about why you don’t understand it. This can be easier if you focus in on the type ‘difficult feeling’ you had: Did this concept make you angry? Did it make you feel guilty or confused or sad? Spend this part of your paper reflecting on why whatever concept / idea / argument you chose brings up those feelings for you.
3. Developing a Strategy to Overcome the Difficulty
Now that you have a clearer understanding of why that idea / concept / argument is so difficult for you, it is time to create and implement some strategies as to overcome it! These strategies can be as creative and dynamic as you want them to be. You want to think about “Assuming I have a desire to find some kind of value or contribution of this idea / concept / argument- how would I go about doing that?” Ideas for such strategies may include:
- Forcing yourself to teach another student or family member a confusing topic.
- Researching the application of a certain topic to try to find a redeeming aspect.
- Interviewing some members of a group to try and see why they believe in such a concept.
- Writing a letter from someone’s perspective who does believe in that position.
- Coming up with a list of examples of when that concept / idea / argument would be applicable and testing them out, etc.
The goal here is to create a way that would open you up to seeing your ‘difficulty’ as something with value or can contribute to our study of sociology in some way. If you want to try a strategy other than the ones listed above, please feel free to do so – just run it by me first.
4. Reflecting on How Successful Your Strategy Was – What did you learn?
The culmination of this project is being able to reflect on the entire experience. You may want to consider the following questions:
- To what degree were your attempts at overcoming your difficulty successful? Do you think this strategy can be used again, when you encounter another difficulty?
- What did it feel like to engage so deeply in something that was hard for you?
- What did you learn by trying to see this difficulty in a more positive way?
- What do you still find to be difficult? Why do think that is?
- How will engaging in this process make you a better sociologist (psychologist, etc.)? What have you learned that will help you fulfill your academic/professional goals?
Source: AEssay Team
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