The Brydges Fail To Sell Their “Essay House”


In October, you’ll get another chance to win a house by writing a persuasive essay.

Calvin and Diana Brydges had been going to sell their $300,000 house for $100, but it hasn’t worked out.

They’re going to try again in October.

The Brydges had been unable to sell their house the “usual way” for two years. Then they had a bright idea.

They decided they would give their house away in a lottery. Lottery tickets were sold for $100 each. Each person entering the lottery had to write an essay explaining why they should be the one to win the house.

The Brydges would only sell the house if they managed to sell 3,000 lottery tickets. In other words, enough tickets to cover the price of the house.

They got 2,192 essays.

That wasn’t enough, so they’ve taken their house off the market.

They’re going to wait until October and try again. Their new deadline is April 30, 2014.

In the meantime, they will give everyone back their $100.

The Brydges read all of the essays they received. Most were from North America, but some came from Japan, Korea and Australia.

According to the Globe and Mail newspaper, one essay was told in pictures rather than words. Another was “in the voice of a pet writing on their owner’s behalf.”

The house, located in Aylmer, Ontario, has a swimming pool and a large backyard. Details of the house and the lottery are on the couples “Essay House” Facebook page.

Related links

Read the original TKN story, from April 2013, about the Brydges’s lottery here.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The Brydges are going to judge the essays based on their creativity and their ability to persuade. Two examples of creative essays are explained in the Globe and Mail: “one essay was told in pictures rather than words. Another was ‘in the voice of a pet writing on their owner’s behalf.'”

Think of a creative way to convince the Brydges that you and your family deserve the house. How would you make your essay stand out from all of the rest?

Reading Prompt: Elements of Style
The Brydges are collecting and reading persuasive essays in order to determine who will win their house.

What is a persuasive essay? How is a persuasive essay different than other types of writing? What kind of language would be used in a persuasive essay? 

Identify some elements of style, including voice, word choice, and different types of sentences, and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Identify various elements of style – including word choice and the use of similes, personification, comparative adjectives, and sentences of different types, lengths, and structures – and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Grammar Feature: Contraction
A contraction is a shortened form of a word or a group of words. Contractions use apostrophes to replace missing letters. For example, the contraction “isn’t” is short for “is not”. In the word “isn’t”, an apostrophe takes the place of the letter o.

Read the article, find all of the contractions and identify the long forms of the contractions.