Pick your poison:
After reading Rachel Kolb’s response to David Brooks, please answer the following questions in detail:
1. Describe the strength and weaknesses of Kolb’s argument.
2. How does her piece use logos? Give examples and explain why.
3. Describe Kolb’s intended audience.
4. Why is Kolb’s analysis and argument persuasive? Give examples.
5. Describe the organization of the piece. How does it move from beginning to end? How does it develop its argument?
- What is the argument and why is it being made today?
- Who is the audience? Who cares? Why?
- Who does the piece not speak to? Why?
- What bias do you find in the piece? How does it influence the argument?
- How does the piece work? How does it build its argument? How does it construct a beginning, middle, and end?
- What is the intended result of the piece? What action ideally will follow?
Here is the Peer Response worksheet we will use for Essay 2.
For our second peer response exercise we will focus on the particular demands of the assignment. Please read the paper carefully, noting wherever you find errors, strengths, questions, etc. Then, on a separate piece of paper, write specific responses to each of the following prompts. You will be graded on your participation and contribution to your writing partner, so please be generous with feedback and work hard at giving specific suggestions.
- Evaluate the thesis. Is it specific, debatable, original – in what way? How might it be strengthened? Are there any categories or terms that might be broken down into more discrete parts? Can you imagine an opposing view?
- Describe the organization. Does it progress smoothly from beginning to end? Does the conclusion simply repeat the intro, or does it offer a larger view and suggest further applications of the argument? Does each paragraph clearly have a topic and purpose, and do the paragraphs follow a logical order. Describe how they do, or how they might do so in a more satisfying way.
- Reflect on uses of evidence. How well does the paper incorporate the research? Are quotations used to support the author’s argument? Do quotes appear as simply dropped in the paragraph, or are they surrounded by the author’s context and argument?
- How well does the paper connect to larger conversations? Can you find the purpose of the paper, and is it convincing?
- Does the title introduce the argument well? Is it specific or is it generic? How might it serve its purpose better?
- What additional feedback can you offer your writer? What aspects did you especially like and want more of? How does it alter your thinking or make you reconsider what you previously understood?
As you prepare your initial observations for draft form, I offer some questions to help you shape your response and dig deeper into your chosen piece.
- What is the subject of your piece; is there more than one? Why?
- What does a reader need to know in order to follow and evaluate the piece?
- Note how the writer makes use of pathos, logos, and ethos. Why does the writer rely on one more than another?
- Who is the audience for the piece (be specific); who is not? Why?
- What is the hoped for outcome of the piece? What has to happen in order for the outcome to be achieved?
- How does your piece make use of its medium? If the argument was made in a different outcome, would the argument need to change, subtly or otherwise?
- Describe the structure of the argument: how does it progress, and why?
- What evidence does the piece rely on; what evidence is lacking? What further evidence could the piece use?
- What reasons does the author use? Are there others? Do the reasons satisfy?
- What is the opposing argument to the piece? What reasons and evidence does the counter-argument rely on?
Essay 3: Narrative
Due 8/14 via Blackboard
For our second paper each of you will write a Narrative essay. Using your textbook’s guide (pages 126-33), select a suitable event you will discuss and describe in 3-4 pages. The more specific your event is, the more you attend to the narrative’s shape and its purpose, the more you will get out of this assignment.
Read carefully the essays in Chapter 5. I strongly recommend you analyze how each author organizes the narrative, chooses details, understands audience, and articulates the essay’s purpose. Any decent narrative essay answers one fundamental question: what happened? The mark of a successful narrative essay, however, lies in its organization.
We will discuss in class how the Narrative essays work and how they create a compelling story by providing the who, what, when, how, and why. We will consider how the narrator either is or is not part of the story; we will watch how authors create tension and characters to devise a plot. We will find the purpose to the essays and how the audience is ideally different after reading the narrative.
Once again, your topic is your choice. If you are having trouble finding an event, use the textbook’s advice (126-27) and make ample use of free-writing. Wander through your history and memories; seek moments that have stuck with you and ask why they have done so. There is almost always a good story in those moments, and they often have a useful purpose.
Be sure to explore the “Templates for Describing” on pages 128-29. Most academic and non-fiction writing relies on preexisting templates: readers expect these and they provide students with a guide to presenting their thoughts. As with learning a sport or musical instrument, beginners learn basic moves to build a foundation. Once you become competent, you then adapt these forms to suit your own skills and personality. The same is true of writing, and I encourage each of you to make use of these templates, at least in the beginning of the writing process.
What a successful paper will accomplish:
The goal of this Unit is to produce a three- to four-page paper, using a 12-point font, double-spacing, and one-inch margins, with minimal errors. The first page will have your name, “Essay 3,” your title, and then your paper – nothing else. Please number your pages. The paper must be uploaded to our Blackboard site by the beginning of class on the 14th.
A successful essay will:
- describe in detail what happened in a particular event or sequence
- construct a plot with conflict, tension, and characters
- offer an original viewpoint of the event and organize the paper to reinforce that dominant impression
- make the essay’s purpose or reason clear to the audience
- make excellent use of details to describe the setting, participants, time, and feelings
- demonstrate careful revision by attention to grammar, spelling, syntax, and organization
This assignment will help you practice gathering and incorporating observations into a coherent narrative. Specifically, the paper will help you:
- learn free-writing to discover your topic and thoughts on a subject
- practice the writing process, from initial brainstorming to final revisions
- identify a proper organization for your event
- construct a claim for your subject and support it with details and analysis
- identify the purpose to why recalling an event matters and how the audience should think differently after reading about this experience
- refine grammar, mechanics, and style
I will use the following categories and points to determine your grade for Unit 1:
|2 page draft||20|
|2 “For Writing” exercises from 2 different essays||20|
I will use the following rubric to assess your final draft (each category is worth 10 points):
- Main Point: Does the essay articulate a reason or payoff to considering the narrative? Does its scope match the size of the paper?
- Organization: Does the paper have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and does it progress appropriately? Does it help its reader by making clear the point of each paragraph and how each supports the larger argument? Does each paragraph transition smoothly to the next?
- Details: Does the paper use relevant and vivid descriptive and figurative language? Can the reader visualize the event beyond superficial generalities? Does the paper use relevant descriptions?
- Plot: How well does the paper create tension and conflict? How effectively does the paper describe characters?
- Style: Is the essay without grammatical or stylistic error? Is there proper use of punctuation? Is the syntax solid or does the reader get confused with cumbersome sentences?
- Title: How effective is the title in opening the discussion and introducing the argument? Is it original, insightful, controversial, or witty? Does it accurately represent the contents of the essay?
One of the best ways to understand how something works is to take it apart. This is what I want each of you to do with two of the essays we have read for Unit 2 (pages 363-411). Well-wrought essays have a specific shape and organization that support their meaning. They have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and they logically progress from one paragraph to the next. The reader has no trouble understanding the purpose of each paragraph and how it relates to the larger structure.
For this assignment, I ask that you pick two essays and break it down into its individual pieces. Many of us in high school were asked to create outlines before writing the actual essay; here, I am asking you to pull the outline out of the already-written piece. This will offer us an opportunity to see more precisely how an essay works and why it is successful.
To begin: pick your essays and reread them to make sure you understand them well. Take notes on what the purpose of the essay is, how it works, what kinds of evidence it uses, and why it matters to larger conversations (in other words, how does it connect to subjects or discussions beyond the essay’s immediate subject).
Then count the number of paragraphs. This will be the minimum amount of entries you will have in your outline. If the essay had only four paragraphs, you would type the following:I. II. III IV.
After each Roman numeral, you will write the main point of the paragraph. Be specific and details. Do not simply write “introduce topic” for the first paragraph. Describe what it introduces and how it does so. If you wish to break down the paragraph into subsections, you may do so. Remember, however, that the goal in this exercise is to get an arial view or x-ray of the basic structure of the essay. To that end, do not dive too deep into details.
This may be difficult for many of you, and it is a tough exercise if you do not regularly consider the purpose of your own paragraphs and how they work. This takes practice, but it is crucial to developing your writing skills and thriving at the university level. It will also strengthen your critical reading skills.
We will work in class with examples from other sections of your textbook.
This is due Friday, via Blackboard. It should be typed with your name on top.
Please write thoughtful, detailed, and honest responses to the following questions on your Essay 1 draft. The more sincere work you do here, the easier revising your draft over the next two days will be.
1. What is the main point of your essay? Is it an interesting point? Why? How might you revise your essay’s main point?
2. Evaluate your organization. Why does it have the shape that it does? How do you move from beginning to end and offer your audience a sense or progress and movement? Are the paragraphs in the proper order; how might they be revised?
3. How well do you make use of details in your essay? Do you go into depth, or do you rely on superficial or obvious characteristics? Are there different vantage points you can use? Where can you add more detail or strengthen the detail you already have?
4. Does the essay connect to broader issues or larger conversations? How? What do you want your audience to think differently about after reading your essay? Have you met your goal?
5. What will you need to do to make sure your essay is without stylistic or grammatical errors?
6. How well does your title introduce your topic? Is your title bland, obvious, simple, or flat? Or is your title daring, argumentative, creative, or alluring? How might you revise your title to excite or challenge your reader?