Susan Toth’s “Going to the Movies” feels like a good transition as we move into our next assignment, which will be writing about other people. It combines elements of memoir and literary journalism/event. Structurally, it feels similar to the Gretchen Legler essay, in that it is organized with numbered sections. (Though, unlike the Legler essay, which uses disparate collage like pieces in the sections, the sections in Toth’s essay follow the same pattern: a guy, movies they watch together). And, like Biss’s essay, Toth merely gives us facts, without commenting or editorializing, all of which lead us to the meaning she intends.
And, to the point of the next assignment, Toth reveals to us each of these men she once dated. In this case, she doesn’t rely on descriptions, or dialogue, or even action, really. Like a Rorschach test, the characterizations of these men are revealed primarily through their taste in films.
So, let’s discuss the meaning of this short essay. In your response below, discuss what you believe is Toth’s intended meaning? How does she achieve this? This is a “classification essay,” an essay that structures by way of a list. Let us know how you feel about this type of structure, and what you feel about the essay itself. Please focus on what you might apply to your own writing.