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Good Title For A Divorce Essay

Pity the poor essay collection. Unlike its close, more creative neighbor — the short story collection — or its snooty relation, The Novel, the humble essay collection is the wallflower of the literary world. And, when an essay collection is composed — as Ann Patchett's new volume partly is — of pieces previously printed in fashion and pet lovers' magazines, it really might seem like a grab bag of minor material — as, admittedly, a few of the pieces here are.

But if you want to learn something practical about writing, specifically how someone like Ann Patchett became the feet-firmly-planted-on-the-ground wonder of a novelist that she is, many of these essays can tell you — both by their very existence and their varied subject matter. As Patchett says in the first sentence of the introduction to This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage: "The tricky thing about being a writer, or about being any kind of artist, is that in addition to making art you also have to make a living." Before novels like Bel Canto and State Of Wonder began paying her bills, Patchett not only worked as a waitress at TGI Fridays, but she wrote for the likes of Seventeen and Bridal Guide. Just like Dickens at the blacking factory and Wallace Stevens at the insurance office, Patchett punched her timecard for a while outside the confines of the ivy tower and the high art hothouse. That experience, she says, "made me a workhorse," and forced her to cultivate a curiosity about things — like cross-country Winnebago camping trips and the rigors of the Los Angeles police academy — way outside her comfort zone.

There are also a lot of autobiographical essays here — so many, in fact, that readers who loved Truth & Beauty, Patchett's memoir about her close friendship with the late writer Lucy Grealy, will be happy to know that this collection takes Patchett's life story a few steps forward. The spectacular title essay, "This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage," recounts the soul-shredding mess of Patchett's early first marriage and divorce and her resolution just to date for the rest of her life. When a newly divorced doctor named Karl is pushed in her path, she agrees to go out with him. Here's a pivotal moment:

Ann Patchett is an award-winning novelist and memoirist who has also received attention for her decision to open an independent bookstore in Nashville, Tenn., where she lives. Heidi Ross/Courtesy of Harper hide caption

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Heidi Ross/Courtesy of Harper

Ann Patchett is an award-winning novelist and memoirist who has also received attention for her decision to open an independent bookstore in Nashville, Tenn., where she lives.Â

Heidi Ross/Courtesy of Harper

The third time Karl and I went out I kissed him; I told him I would help him. He said that he needed some help. Then he asked me to marry him.

I shook my head. "That's the whole point," I said. "I'm the only person you're going to find who isn't going to marry you."

And I didn't. For eleven years.

Patchett, to state the obvious, is a good storyteller, and that minor bombshell about the 11-year courtship leading up to her eventual second marriage is dramatically placed to rivet a reader's attention. Beyond entertainment value, however, that title essay is a spirited contribution to the larger story of romantic relationships that aren't, well, "romantic" in the swooning ways we're used to reading about or seeing in movies. Patchett's down-to-earthness also sets the tone for her essays on the easily sentimentalized subject of caregiving: She writes here about tending to her beloved dog, an elderly nun friend and her 90-something-year-old grandmother. That particular essay, called "Love Sustained," is a must-read for anyone in the draining role of caregiver. Patchett wryly says that "I had planned to live far away from my family and miss them terribly. I had every intention of feeling simply awful that I wasn't with my grandmother in her years of decline." But fate thwarts Patchett's escape plans. She winds up intimately nursing her grandmother — scrubbing her in the shower, clipping her toenails and, as Patchett says, watching helpless as "every ability and pleasure my grandmother had would be taken from her, one by one by one."

Early in this collection, Patchett snarls about people who come up to her and opine that "everyone ha[s] at least one great novel in them."

"Does everyone have one great floral arrangement in them?" Patchett sassily answers back. "One [great] algebraic proof?" I suspect that, given how underrated the essay form is, lots of people also probably think it's easy to toss one of those off, too; but in this terrific, wide-ranging collection, Patchett demonstrates how a pro does it.

The 12 Best Argumentative Essay Topics About Divorce

While in school you will have to learn to write many different kinds of essays, each with their own focus, style, and objectives. One of the most common kinds of papers is the argumentative paper, in which you will craft an argument, lay it out, and try to convince your reader of it. You can argue practically anything in one of these papers, and can write about practically any subject. It can, however, make for an excellent and exciting paper when you write about a subject that may people have a personal relationship to and opinion about, such as divorce. To write a good argumentative paper about divorce you’ll first need to come up with what you want to argue. It is best to choose a position that is somewhat controversial or that there is a good chance your reader will disagree with it, because it allows you to convince them and change their mind, rather than just to reassure what they already think.

Use these 12 argumentative paper topics as jumping off points for your essay:

  1. Married couples that don’t have common interests and hobbies are more likely to get divorced
  2. Married couples where both people work full time are more likely to get divorced
  3. The most common reason that people don’t get divorced past age 50 is money
  4. Married couples are less likely to get divorced when their kids are in high school than when they are in college
  5. Married couples that struggle financially are more likely to get divorced
  6. Married couples are less likely to get divorced when one person has medical problems
  7. The rate of divorce is higher in the United States than other countries because there is less stigma about it
  8. The rate of divorce in the United States has risen in recent decades not because there are more unhappy
  9. marriages, but because more women are working and are about to support themselves independently
  10. The rate of divorce varies by area as the predominant religion of the area varies
  11. It can be better to not get a divorce later in life if you no longer love your spouse because companionship can be more important than love in marriage
  12. Churches and religious organizations shouldn’t be able to deny divorces that are legally granted
  13. The ability of women to get a divorce in different countries is a good benchmark of women’s rights in that country

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