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Writing An Essay Argumentative

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Assignment: As stated in Allyn and Bacon’s Guide to Writing, your goal is to “write a narrative essay about something significant in your life using the literary strategies of plot, character, and setting. Develop your story through the use of contraries, creating tension that moves the story forward and gives it significance. You can discuss the significance of your story explicitly, perhaps as a revelation, or you can imply it. Use specific details and develop contraries that create tension. In the Allyn and Bacon text, (the authors) argue that a narrative qualifies as a story only when it depicts a series of connected events that create for the reader a sense of tension or conflict that is resolved through a new understanding or change in status. Your goal for this assignment is to write a story about your life that fulfills these criteria.

Not every memorable event in your life will lend itself well to this assignment. The most common failing in faulty narratives is that the meaning of the event is clearer to the narrator than to the audience. It’s the storyteller’s job to PUT THE READER THERE by providing enough detail and context to see why the event is significant. If an event didn’t lead to any significant insight, understanding, knowledge, change, or other kind of difference in your life, and if you really had to be there to appreciate its significance, then it’s a poor candidate for a self-reflective (personal) autobiographical narrative.

Consider the following ideas for choosing a plot:

Moments of enlightenment or coming to knowledge: Understanding a complex idea for the first time, recognizing what is meant by love or jealousy or justice, mastering a complex skill, seeing some truth about yourself or your family that you previously hadn’t seen

Passages from one “realm” to the next: from innocence to experience, from outsider to insider or vice versa, from child to adult, from novice to expert, from what you once were to what you now are

Confrontation with the unknown: with people or situations that challenged or threatened your old identity and values

Moments of crisis or critical choice: moments that tested your mettle or your system of values

Major choices: about the company you keep (friends, love interests, cliques, larger social groups) and the effects of those choices on your integrity and the persona you projected to the world

Problems with people: problems maintaining relationships without compromising your own growth or denying your own needs

Problems accepting limitations and necessities: confronting the loss of dreams, the death of intimates, the failure to live up to ideals, or the difficulty of living with a chronic illness or disability

Contrasts between common wisdom and your own unique knowledge or experience: Doing what people said couldn’t be done; failing at something others said was easy, finding value in something rejected by society, finding bad consequences of something widely valued

More importantly than anything else, there should be a moment of insight, recognition, or resolution that would give your plot a climax. Also, the story should be significant enough to touch on larger human issues and concerns where your reader can relate to it in a successful manner.

Objectives/Evaluation Criteria:

–Creation of a narrative that tells about a significant and life changing event that altered one or more perceptions about one’s own life that clearly uses the literary strategies of plot, character, and setting –A narrative that, through the use of contraries, creates tension that moves the story forward and gives it significance. –The narrative’s significance (thesis) is either explicit as a revelation or implied. –Vivid language that appeals to the senses of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch.

–Few grammatical errors; adherence to MLA style.
–Sensitivity to audience, purpose, and genre
–Awareness of angle of vision
–Participation in peer editing sessions, which are evidenced by draft(s) and peer editing documentation stapled underneath the final draft

Requirements and guidelines:

All drafts and the final product must be typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman (or other acceptable 12 pt. Font). Your margins must be one inch, and you must have a proper MLA heading of four lines and a centered title with all pages numbered as per MLA stipulations (consult your Bedford Handbook for Writers).

Your rough draft should be two pages in length and is due at your TWO peer editing sessions—you must complete one peer edit:

TUES/THURS CLASS: Peer Editing is due Thurs. Feb 6 followed by an additional session to finish on Tues. Feb. 11th (with same peer editor). This is the only time you will be allowed two class sessions to work on a peer edit.

MON/WED CLASS: Peer Editing is due Wed. February 12followed by an additional session to finish on Tues. Feb. 19th (with same peer editor). This is the only time you will be allowed two class sessions to work on a peer edit.

The final product must be THREE pages in length and is due:

TUES/THURS: Thursday, February 20th, 2014. Please read where it says “ALL CLASSES” AND “ALL PAPERS”

MON/WED: Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Please read where it says “ALL

****ALL CLASSES: Your rough draft(s) and comments from your peer editor needs to be stapled underneath the final draft (as previously stated in our syllabus—see syllabus for penalties for lack of compliance).


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