As we have seen, an essay may deal with any sort of topic. The difference between conventional scientific expression and literature is the treatment of a text. The first treatment observed is the ideological function. There are multiple definitions of what is an ideology; in the social sciences, an ideology may have a predominantly negative connotation: promoting false consciousness, an interest-seeking vision, distortion or limitation… The concept of ideology that is most widely accepted is that of the conception of reality from a specific point of view. If you consider this perspective as that of the author, you will understand that this is not the perspective of science. Science is a practice that should not coincide with that of an individual. That it is why an ideology opposes science. Hence, an essay becomes ideological when it is not limited by science but tries to transcend or precede it.
On the other hand, the ideological function is manifested in a text with the intention to persuade you into seeing things in a specific way. One of the most influential essays ever written says the following on its last page:
“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that
their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.
Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing
to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES,
UNITE!” (Marx and Engels).
Ideology does not consist of specific ideas but rather proceedings by which you can analyze
facts. A categorical analysis is a criteria being applied when judging a phenomena,
for example, Manuel Picado in his study regarding Literature, Ideology and Critique (1983)
discovers that essays dealing with literary critique of Costa Rican novels use a series of
criteria that allows to judge these works, some of these are: if the language is or not used
in real life, if the work reflects the spirit of the author or not, if the work is neatly written or not.
The function of ideology is a prevailing condition in every literary form. In the novel,
Los Errores (the errors) by J. Revueltas 1975, or tales such as El Matadero
(the slaughterhouse) by E. Echeverria 1838 or poems such as the Canto Nacional
(National Anthem) by E. Cardenal 1970, you may perceive texts where an author
describes its vision of the world. In fact, these are “inserted essays” as part of works
of imagination. Thus, an essay is an ideological manifestation. And in regards to this
phenomena, what is proposed is not to delete the personal vision within the essay
but rather making it explicit and allowing it to show the foundations of such analysis.