Choose one of the following and find a topic or focus sufficient to generate a 2-4 (500-800) page response. Each of these topics will require a little of all of the rhetorical forms.
You may provide narrative examples, you will certainly include description and illustration. You may also decide that this piece really is predominantly defining something, or is explaining a process, or that within it, there are classifications or types that need distinctly setting out. Based on which topic you choose, and on how you go about, your essay could be more one mode than another.
Consider, explain, or argue against the popularity of something. Why do people go wild for a certain band, an actor or actress, a sporting event? Why do we eat certain foods (sushi, durian), or go to particular places (Victoria, Mount Rainier, Gameworks, Nordstroms)? What seems to attract people to this and do you think it’s warranted?
For an uninitiated reader, describe how something works or how a particular group functions. This could be how an engine fires, how a storm gathers, how a particular team or unit works together, what goes into your job or the workings of your family, or you could discuss a subject you may be interested in or studying currently (the process of photosynthesis, the steps of marketing a product). Consider how much your audience already knows about this subject, and whether or not he or she will have any biases about it. Make sure you include enough explanation for those who don’t know this subject, or that you define your terms clearly for those who may have other points of view.
Choose a subject that is something you feel you know well, but which you think other people misunderstand: this could be something concrete like a type of music (country/western, rap, ska) or a style of dress (correct business attire, the importance of tattoos), or something theoretical, like the attitude people have about youth in this culture, the importance of particular rights (to smoke? to bear or not to bear arms?) standards we hold (what is attractive? What do we mean by masculine and feminine? What the heck are our family values?) For these readers, define what you believe and know about this subject. You don’t have to argue, necessarily, just present a thorough and clear explanation of your point of view, so that another reader will understand why you feel the way you do.