One of the main traits of essays is agility, meaning its productive simplicity and ability to communicate in a straightforward manner. Since there is no need for a logical research process, there is no subdivision of detailed writing. We don’t read an essay to gather data but rather extract implicit information; there are no bibliographic citations. Ideas are more important than how they are presented; there is no need for formulas, frames or methods. Nevertheless, some of these become prohibitions: the freedom of this genre allows us to occasionally include them. J. Figueres states in the introduction of his book of essays, The Poverty of Nations (1973), “I often use illustrational figures that are neither indispensable nor exact, solely because they help in understanding, even if they vary from country to country, and from time to time”.
Its briefness is a virtue, even if there are virtuous essays that are quite lengthy. Its short span allows them to be easily published, thus reaching a higher number of readers, producing a direct impact, while writing them faster and with greater accuracy. Regarding this aspect J. L. Gómez (1976) mentions, “you try to make a cut, as deep as possible while trying to absorb the intensity and wisdom it can provide”.
The exchange between essay writers and readers or between essay writers and other authors is another trait of this genre. A writer writes for a lay audience and explores a particular topic. This means presenting, in a logical and organized manner, the opinions of those who have explored this topic before him. Gómez (1976) describes this process as follows, “an essay writer reacts to current events so he/she may insinuate a current interpretation or propose a reevaluation of the current themes and topics. Once this gap has been opened, a bridge is extended providing new understanding. The writer becomes the creator of it all, letting specialists decide the legitimacy of what’s written, without the need to give up discussing the topic on other several occasions”.