1. Our first essay is rather simple. It asks the question “What impact has reading had on your life?” Please reflect on this question for a few minutes and then post a short essay in the MLA format. If you have any questions, please let me know by email. Here is the full-page description of the assignment:
Essay #1: Literacy Narrative
Write a short literacy narrative about yourself. Literacy narratives can often have slightly different focuses, so you have a small amount of room for creativity, but they primarily deal with detailing a person’s path to reading and writing (education and experiences as a reader) and/or the impact that reading and writing has on their lives. Keep in mind that the focus here is on “literacy” (the act of reading and/or writing) and not as much on “literature” (which we’ll be talking about in class). Your literacy narrative can involve your experiences with various “great” books, but it will more likely encompass your experiences with a variety of texts, from internet reading, to newspapers, to comic books, to whatever you tend to read or even write in your spare time.
The organization of your paper will depend on the focus you want the essay to take. If you are writing about your experience becoming literate (learning to read and write), you will probably take a narrative approach, detailing your first experiences in school or your first memories of books or the first time reading or writing seemed to make a big impact on your life. In writing from this perspective, you will want a clear introduction that establishes the story you plan on telling, strong transitions and paragraphs (probably chronologically organized) that put that overall story together, and a conclusion that goes beyond simple summary to address the large context of what you’ve just written about. What ultimate impact did those early experiences have on the reader/writer you are today?
If you focus more on particular texts or experiences of reading and writing and how they have impacted your life, you would structure your essay in a more subject-by-subject fashion. Your introduction would establish that you are writing about significant moments where literacy or particular texts impacted your life and give a sense of why those moments or texts are important. Your body paragraphs would be organized around each of those texts or moments, explaining what they were and narrating why they mattered. In this structure, your conclusion would again go beyond simple summary to put the discussion in a larger context. Have those particular moments or texts changed the way you read or address writing now? How might those experiences be similar to or different from those of other individuals?
Regardless of how you organize the paper, the final draft of your paper needs to be typed, double spaced, and in 12 point font with one inch margins. Your name, the instructor’s name, the course number, and date need to be in the upper left hand corner of the first page (only). Your last name and the page number should appear in the upper right hand corner of each page–or simply the page number–either will work, in other words the full MLA format.
2.After having read the Alice Walker story “Everyday Use,”
Essay 2: The Characterization of Dee in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”
The process of characterization is that which every author uses to make, build, or create a character. In most cases this process is carried out in three ways: 1) the author has the character say things that tell us what kind of person he or she is, 2) the author has the character do things that reveal what sort of person we are reading about (or hearing, or seeing), and 3) the author also often has other people reveal things about the character (the closer to the person another character is the better—more reliable—is the information).
First, use the following title: (but put nothing in bold–I use bold here only for emphasis)
The Characterization of Dee in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”
Your thesis—the final sentence in your first paragraph—must be something like the following:
In “Everyday Use,” Dee is characterized by what she does, what she says, and what others say about her.
In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” Dee is characterized by what she does, what she says, and what others say about her.
Your next three topic sentences—the first sentence in each of the next three paragraphs must be—(1) Dee is characterized by what she does. (2) Dee is further characterized by what she says. (3) Dee is also characterized by what others say about her. These must be the opening sentences of paragraphs two through four.
Your final paragraph—a conclusion—must begin with (one of the following) In conclusion, Finally, or In summary, or even another equally conspicuous and emphatic transition to a concluding statement/paragraph.
Clearly, what you have to do is fill in your paragraphs with the appropriate materials. In paragraph one you should introduce your topic in a general way, concluding with an explicit thesis. Your body, the three interior paragraphs, must provide adequate “proof” through particular instances—explicitly quoted from the text—that substantiate the assertion of the topic sentence. You must include explicit things the person says and does, as well as important things others say about the person in order to satisfy these requirements. Your conclusion must conclude. In other words, you must give no further support—the province of the interior paragraphs—the body of the essay. You must pull things together, remind the reader what you have attempted to do, and be certain to revisit the key words in your thesis—and title as well—(here at least—your character’s name and the word characterization).
If this essay seems fundamental, of course it is. The assignment is to remind you of the old standard five-paragraph essay format: tell them what you are going to tell them—tell them—then tell them what you told them. The instructor will then grade the essay and return it to you. Then you are to examine all marks and comments, communicate with the instructor if necessary, and rewrite the essay, submitting it for the second time. Both efforts will receive a grade: the second is actually somewhat more important than the first.
If you understand that this essay is on characterization . . . not on Dee, then you are on your way to a good paper with adequate focus.
MLA, 750 Words for each essay