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Instructor’s instructions: Please read it carefully. (it is point of view essay, not a research.)

Major Paper #1–The Point of View Essay

We will be working on this paper for the next three units. The final draft of the paper–with all three sections described below–will be due at the end of Unit #4.

Purpose: This paper assignment has several purposes. As the first major paper for this class, the Point of View Essay is designed to re-engage you with the fundamentals of all good writing, including using lush sensory details to show the reader a particular place (rather than tell them about it), basic organization, clear focus, etc. However, this unit does not function as a mere review. The Point of View Essay will also introduce you to the concept of “thinking and seeing rhetorically, and analyzing writing rhetorically”–using the Writer’s Toolbox described in this unit to improve your writing and critical reading skills. Finally, the Point of View Essay allows you to reflect on this process.

The Assignment:

1. Pleasant/Unpleasant Description of the Place: Choose a place you can observe for an extended period of time (at least 20-30 minutes). Use all of your senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, even taste if possible) to experience the place, and record all of the sensations that you experience. As you record your data, you may wish to note which details naturally seem more positive, negative, or neutral, in terms of tone. (For instance, a stinky and overflowing trash barrel swarming with flies in a nearby alley might seem more inherently negative than a little white bunny rabbit hopping playfully across the lawn.) Then, you will use this information to help your write two descriptions of the place: one positive, one negative (at least 1-2 well-developed paragraphs or a minimum of 125-150 words each). Both descriptions should be factually true (same real time and real place), but you will want one description to be clearly positive in terms of tone and the other to be clearly negative. In addition to including the information and sensory details you’ve collected as the basis for these descriptions, you will also use the Writer’s Toolbox to create your two contrasting impressions for this assignment. (The Writer’s Toolbox is explained in the Lecture Notes section of this unit.) As you revise and refine your descriptions, please be sure you are “showing” your readers your place (really putting the readers “there” in the moment and in this scene), rather than simply “telling” them about it. You will also want to try to eliminate unnecessary linking verbs as much as you can, incorporating verbs that show “action” whenever possible.

2. Rhetorical Analysis: Looking back at your descriptions, analyze how you created these two very different impressions of the place (one positive, one negative) without changing any of the facts. How did you make your place seem so positive in one paragraph and yet so negative in the other paragraph, without changing the facts? Discuss how you incorporated each of the tools from the Writer’s Toolbox, and cite examples of this from each of your descriptions. (This analysis should be at least 400-500 words in length.)

3. Reflection: In one to two paragraphs, consider at least one of the following questions: What have you learned about writing through this assignment? How might you apply this knowledge? Has this process of using the Writer’s Toolbox affected your vision of various information media–for instance, television and print news sources, magazines, etc.? If so, how so?

Again, we will be working on the rhetorical analysis in Unit 3 and the Reflection in Unit 4. For this unit, however, you will want to draft the first portion of this paper, the positive and negative descriptions of your place.

The first portion of this assignment is a three step process:

1.) Find your place. This should be one single setting at one particular time. Do not use multiple places. For instance, if you want to write about your house, do not describe your entire house. Choose one particular room, or one particular view. Also, do not use different times. If it’s morning in your positive paragraph, it can’t be evening in your negative paragraph. If it’s completely sunny in your positive paragraph, it can’t be raining in your negative paragraph.

2.) Make a sensory chart of your place, recording all of the sights, smells, sounds, sensations, and even tastes (if applicable). Use your five senses to collect data, and be as specific as possible.

3.) Use the data you have recorded to craft your two descriptions, incorporating the Writer’s Toolbox to shape each of your paragraphs and thus the impression of the place. Remember that in the first description your place should seem positive, while in the second description, your place should seem negative.

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The second portion of this assignment is the rhetorical analysis, which should be at least 400-500 words in length. In the rhetorical analysis, you will explain how you used the five features to make the same exact place seem so very positive in one paragraph and yet so negative in the second paragraph.

The second portion of this assignment is a two step process.

1.) Review your two paragraphs noting each of the places you used any of the tools in the Writer’s Toolbox. Try to find at least two examples of each of the tools from the Writer’s Toolbox employed in each descriptions (except for tell sentences and direct statements of meaning, which you should have limited to only one per paragraph). If you can’t find two examples of the other features in each of your descriptions, you’ll probably want to revise your initial description, adding more of those features.

2.) Write your rhetorical analysis, devoting at least one paragraph to each of the tools in the Writer’s Toolbox. You will probably want to begin each paragraph of the rhetorical analysis with a general claim. “I used a great deal of word choice in each of my two descriptions.” Then you’ll want to follow that claim with examples. “For instance, in my positive paragraph, I described the sun as “gleaming,” which implies that the light was pleasantly bright. However, in my negative paragraph, I described the sun as “glaring,” implying that the light was too bright, and in fact painful to look at.”

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