Division and Classification Essay

A division-classification essay usually begins with a generic subject such as pets, homes, people, teachers, automobiles, etc., divides the topic into specific groups, and provides examples and reasons to distinguish between those divisions.  One rule for an effective division of items is that there be a category in which most items will fit.  For example, dividing movies into three groups such as action, mystery, and horror would not offer a group or division for romance, human interest, biographical, and many other types of films.  Thus, the topic of films, if chosen for division-classification should be divided into broader categories. 

Because division-classification as a pattern of development lends itself well to humor or the expression of personal taste, personally, I divide films into these groups: 1)Films I will pay to watch in a theater; 2)Films I will rent; and 3)Films I will watch on television.  Below is a sample using these divisions:

    While I do not generally care for television, I do enjoy movies.  Movies, however, present both a financial and a time commitment.  When my family and I go to a movie, we spend roughly $20 for admission and an additional $20 for popcorn, sodas, and other snacks.  At this cost, a night at the movies will often function as the evening meal as well.  Occasionally my mom and I or my husband and I will go see something I especially want to see and leave the children with a sitter.  Still the financial obligation is significant. Movies generally last somewhere between an hour and a half to two hours, plus time to dress, drive, park the car, buy tickets, get snacks, find a seat, and watch previews. Thus, there isn't always room in a busy schedule--or a tight budget-- to go to movies.  In other words, I can't see them all at the theater.  For these reasons, I've devised a ranking of movies to include those that I can watch at home.  The films in my life (Although the specific movies vary, these groups work for most other people too) belong in these categories: 1)Films I will pay to watch in a theater; 2)Films I will rent; and 3)Films I will watch on television.
    I will pay to see three different types of movies: family pictures, science-fiction films, and literary adaptations.  Sometimes these all overlap, making me truly happy but usually not.  With two young children the pressures to see every children's, or family, film are tremendous.  At school, they hear all about "Brother Bear" and "Sinbad."  The actual quality of these films is meaningless to children.  Deny them the opportunity and they feel cheated.  Take them to a bad film, and they become instant film critics.  And take them, we do.  As a family, we all like science-fiction.  Special effects belong on the big screen.  It is a given that we will see every new "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" film that makes its way to theaters within the opening week.  Some literary adaptations or other very film-not-movie type films warrant their own special experience for me, I suppose, due to my literary interest. Not terribly long ago I dragged my husband to see a film entitled "The Hours."  This film deals with feminist and lesbian issues, women unhappy or unfulfilled in their marriages, and it alludes significantly to Virginia Wolfe's novel Mrs. Dalloway.  About midway through he asked me, "Is there something you need to talk to me about?" I whispered so as to not disturb the other two people in the theater, "No, I read Mrs. Dalloway in grad school."
    Most movies that I will rent but not pay theater prices to view are rated PG-13 or worse.  These movies must be screened before the children may view them.  The previews sell them quite well but not well enough to put them on the must-see list.  So they end up in my home during one of those hey-want-to-rent-a-movie times.  Unfortunately, finding time to watch a rented video or DVD is not an easy feat at my house. The children stay up later on weekends, and weekends are about the only times my husband and I feel like staying up late to watch a movie.  The children outlast us on occasion, and we fall asleep just minutes into our rented films. Sometimes these films go unwatched back to the movie store.  "AI"--Artificial Intelligence nearly suffered this fate.  "Minority Report" should have.
    About once every couple of months when there's nothing I want to see on Food Network, I'll flip through the channels and find a movie.  I don't pay for any of the special movie channels because I would never see a return on my investment.  But I first saw "Last of the Mohicans," "Nell," "A Time to Kill," and numerous others this way.  Of course, they were four or five years old when I finally saw them.  One plus to waiting this long to see them is that I won't be influenced by the viewpoints of others when I formulate my critical analyses.
    Regardless of the genre and regardless of my personal classification, I find most films to be a bit of a let-down, especially if someone has raved to me about how wonderful a particular film is.  I always seem to think the "industry" could do better.  For this reason, many of them make it to the watch it on television group.  On the other hand, those that do make it to the theater group are often suitable enough to make it to the purchase for home group, but that's really another class altogether.

Three or four categories are usually all that will be manageable in a short paper. Each category should be explained according to criteria, and sufficient specific examples should be provided as well.  The classifications should be meaningful to a desired audience.  The audience for the above essay could be young parents or even movie goers.  The purpose, though unstated, is to  use personal experience to draw some general conclusions about Americans' movie going or movie watching habits.