John Locke's Structure

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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John Locke is a great author with ideas way ahead of his time. The Essay on Human Understanding started when his friends had a discussion on human understanding. He started to write down points of the discussion on a piece of paper. Little did John Locke know, this piece of paper would consume 20 years of his life to create into the groundbreaking book that it is today.

The Essay on Human Understanding is grouped into four books; the first is a debate against the doctrine of innate principles and ideas of that time. The second deals with ideas, the third with words, and the fourth with knowledge. Within each book, instead of organizing his ideas into paragraphs, John Locke organizes his ideas into numbered sections. Each numbered section with a separate and defined idea then the last or next idea. Some numbered sections range from a short two sentence stance on an idea.

Or a one page rant with evidence to support his ideas and claims. His sentence structure is by no means simple. John Locke glues together several ideas together to create a mega-sentence. It is as if John Locke had way too many ideas to spill out that he could not contain himself to write. John Locke has no regards to formal English with unquoted material, and run on sentences.

In Conclusion, John Locke expresses massive amounts of information in a unique structure that screams John Locke all over it. His structure allows for the better understanding of the ideas that he is trying to convey to the readers.