The essay, which follows is an opinion piece that was written for The Globe and Mail. The style is therefore journalistic but aimed at a fairly sophisticated readership. Paragraphs are short, as is normal in a newspaper with its narrow columns, and the tone is more conversational than would be appropriate for a formal essay. Notice the clear statement of the thesis, the concrete illustrations in the body of the essay, and the way the conclusion leads to a more general statement of what is perhaps to come in the future. It is included here both because it is a good example of the essay form and because it explores the kind of problem you will come up against as you try to punctuate your essays correctly.
I guess we sat there a pretty long time. He has four children and four grandchildren. When I said he seemed young for that (can you imagine Axl with four grandchildren?), he said, "Started young. Like I was saying, there was a lot of experimentation ." His ex-wife, Monica Gregory, also knew Axl. She gave him his first . Gregory said he talks to her only once a year, "when I have to." He said what he wants is to lower the level of dysfunction for the next generation. He told me about how he and Axl and Monica and their group of friends used to go to a park in Lafayette after dark, Columbian Park—"We ruled that place at night"—and pick the lock on the piano case that was built into the outdoor stage and play for themselves till the small hours. I'd wandered around Columbian Park. It's more or less across the street from where those boys grew up. Not twenty feet from the stage, there's a memorial to the sons of Lafayette who "made the supreme sacrifice in defense of our country," and it includes the name of William Rose, probably Axl's great-great-great-grandpa, killed in the Civil War, which I suppose was fought in defense of our country in some not quite precise, rather abstract way. And now, as Gregory talked, I thought about how weird it was, all those years of Axl probably reading that name a hundred times, not making anything of it, not knowing that it was his own name—he who one day, having discovered his original name while going through some of his mother's papers, would sing, I don't need your Civil War and ask the question What's so civil about war, anyway?