Sunday, March 14, 2010

Creative Writing—Prompt #6


Keep in mind that you are NOT required to use these prompts for your drafts. They are just brainstorming tools. However, you MAY use these prompts to develop your drafts. In short, it is up to you. You can also use them at another time during the semester, not just this week.
Option #1 (200-250 words):
In the style of Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants write, from the 3rd person, objective point of view, a recreated dialogue between you and a real significant other. In a sense, I’m asking you to observe yourself interacting with another person but from a “dispassionate distance,” which means you won=t have access to your own thoughts; you will simply observe yourself as others observe you. In the objective point of view, the “narrator” is an invisible presence, very much like a journalist or video camera that does NOT offer “evaluations” of the characters or action, but simply “records” concrete details and dialogue. You may incorporate description of action and setting, but it must be rooted in the physical world, having to do with the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell—in other words, nothing abstract or “evaluative” in the narrative sections.
Option #2 (200-250 words):
In the ironic and sarcastic style of Zoo York a New Yorker “casual,” write an essay about Skopje 2014 or any government project or policy with which you disagree.
Option #3 (200-250 words):
No matter what genre, a good writer often describes vivid physical details about the people, time, and place of an event. In this exercise, study the above photograph of the child at the fence, and describe the physical details, just as you see them, with no interpretation as to meaning. Just describe what you actually see.
Option #4 (200-250 words):
Select a favorite family photograph that was shot during an important family event. Write an essay about that event, using the photograph to describe setting of time, setting of place, and descriptions of family members.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Academic Writing--Marked Paraphrasing Group Exercises


Your marked paraphrasing group work is posted below, as jpeg files. To read the content, click on the image, and it will be large enough to read.

The links are to the original essays.

Group 1--Should Dangerous Sports be Banned? Yes!

Groups 2 and 3--Save Our Sports!

Group 4--Should Parents Resort to Physical Punishment in Order to Discipline Their Children?

Group 5--Should Animals be Tested for the Advancement of Scientific Research?


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Creative Writing--Prompt #5


Keep in mind that you are NOT required to use these prompts for your drafts. They are just brainstorming tools. However, you MAY use these prompts to develop your drafts. In short, it is up to you. You can also use them at another time during the semester, not just this week.
Option #1 (200-250 words):
Starting with today's date, begin a 7-day journal. In this journal, you should make important and vivid observations about the world around you, recalling conversations/scenes with friends and others, offering background information on yourself and others, recounting activities done for that day, and noting mini-epiphanies experienced throughout the week.

After one week, refer to this mini-journal and write an essay that spotlights the high or low points of your week.
Option #2 (200-250 words):
Read the “found” poem called “The Coffee Fortune Wall of Shame” (see below). I “found” this poem by collecting these coffee fortunes from my various café excursions throughout Skopje and also swiping them from coffee drinkers who left these cute brown slips of miswritten (albeit charming) bits of wisdom behind. There is no rhyme or reason to this poem—I am simply the note taker.

Select one bit of wisdom from this “poem,” and write an essay, using one of the fortunes (misspellings, odd grammar, etc.) as the title. OR make up your own coffee fortune and build an essay around it.

The Coffee Fortune Wall of Shame—A Found Poem

You are wonderful.


Don’t fish on a tree.

Unexpected meeting.

Govern without being present.

Pick your words.

Whatever you make, that’s it.


Jealousy is selfishness.

An empty pocket is a load.

Be punctual.

Stand out, don’t be out.

The tired make mistakes.

Help! I’m trapped in an espresso machine!

(Sorry. I made that last one up.)
Option #3 (200-250 words):

Interview a stranger (a store clerk, café server, plumber, etc.) or someone you don’t know very well, and find out some basic information about that person. Then, based on what you have found out, write an essay in that person’s voice. (For an example, see “The Bell Ringer,” by Greg Hershey, which I have emailed to you. After you read this essay, these images will make sense).


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Academic Writing—Counterarguments Worksheet--Assignment #4


(Due March 19)

Paragraph #5: Counterarguments
I. Please restate your “Working” or Revised Thesis Statement:
5. Paragraph #5: Recognize at least 3 counterarguments and then write a counterargument paragraph (Include URLs for each counterargument):
a. Counterargument #1 (Include URL or book/article author and title)
• Recognition:

• Refutation with Concession OR Partial Accommodation:
b. Counterargument #2 (Include URL or book/article author and title)
• Recognition:

• Refutation with Concession OR Partial Accommodation:
c. Counterargument #3 (Include URL or book/article author and title)
• Recognition:

• Refutation with Concession OR Partial Accommodation:
d. Based on the above counterarguments, write a 100-150 word counterargument paragraph, complete with APA internal citations.

Academic Writing—Counterarguments


You may question why a writer taking a position on a controversial topic would want to remind his or her opponent of their disagreement on the subject by presenting counterarguments.

Answer: It is an effective rhetorical strategy.
Orators and writers who include counterarguments are more respected by friend and foe alike. Besides, your opponent is not going to “forget” his or her position and will already have his/her arsenal of reasons why he/she is right.
1. Recognizing possible counterarguments accomplishes three goals:
• Recognition of counterarguments tells your opponent that you have prepared your argument well and have considered the topic very carefully and from all possible angles. You arrive at the debate from a position of strength.

• Recognition of counterarguments shows respect (and everyone wants to be respected) for your opponent, which can be very disarming to both foe and his/her followers, especially those who may be lukewarm in their support of your opponent.

• Recognition of counterarguments offers you a chance to refute your opponent’s viewpoint.
2. Refuting your opponent’s viewpoint well can be one of the most powerful rhetorical devices that you can use. For example,
Recognition: “My opponent contends that all types of homicide are morally wrong;…

Refutation: …however, one can view capital punishment as a case of “justifiable homicide,” which acts as a deterrent for future cold-blooded homicides.”
3. Why concede part of an argument?
• Sometimes what your opponent says will make sense, which would be foolish to ignore. For example,
“I recognize that my administration did not handle the financial crisis well; in hindsight, we should have fired the treasury secretary sooner, but I assure you, that as we move forward, we will solve this crisis in a timely manner.”
In short, even the “best” side can make mistakes; thus, it is best to acknowledge and concede that mistakes were committed, and then promise to move on in a more positive direction.
4. Now why, in some cases, should you accept/accommodate any part of your opponent’s argument?
Accommodating a counterargument simply means that you have accepted part of your opponent’s viewpoint, and, thus, are willing to include that part into your own argument.
• The topic may be so controversial that compromise may be necessary. For example, while you may disagree with your opponent’s pro-abortion viewpoint, you may accept that abortion may be necessary to save the life of the mother. Conversely, if your opponent is anti-abortion, you may need to concede that aborting a 9-month fetus would be murder of an infant and not just a fetus.

• An opponent may have a good point. For example, if you support the death penalty for those who commit capital crimes, you may have to accept the definition of “homicide” as the murder of another human being, for, technically, killing anyone is an act of homicide, whether it is an accidental homicide (killing a pedestrian with a car), intentional homicide (murdering someone in cold blood), or executing a prisoner. But you can still argue for the definition of “justifiable homicide” (killing in self-defense and execution of a cold-blooded killer).

Monday, March 1, 2010

American Literature—The Color Purple: Guide Questions


(For those who have not read the book or seen the film, this is a spoiler alert!)

1. In your opinion, does the epistolary structure of the novel work well?

2. How might have this novel worked in a traditional story structure? What would the story gain and/or lose?

3. How is the time period and the setting of the novel/film important?

4. Why does Celie speak in a dialect and Nettie does not?

5. Why does Celie agree to marry Mr._______, even though she is repulsed by him?

6. What does Celie think of Mr._________’s children, and how does she treat them?

7. In your opinion, what stops Celie from cutting Mr.________’s throat with that nasty-looking straight razor (film)?

8. What was Shug Avery’s first reaction to Celie? Over time, how has that opinion changed?

9. What is the relationship between Celie and Shug Avery? Are they Lesbians? Why or why not?

10. What is the relationship between Celie and Mr.____________?

11. After Celie’s sister Nettie refuses Mr._____________’s advances and is cast out of his house, he tells Celie that he will exact his revenge. How does Mr._____________ follow through with his revenge?

12. What is the relationship between Shug Avery and Mr.____________? And why, at first, Celie is relieved at Shug’s presence, even though Celie is afraid of her?

13. On page 112, Shug asks Celie, “You still a virgin?” And Celie answers, “I reckon.” What does this mean?

14. Why do you think that the film de-emphasized the Africa scenes with Nettie, Corrine, Samuel, Olivia, Adam, Tashi, and the Olinka?

15. What is the relationship between Harpo and Sofia?

16. How did Sofia end up in prison for 10 years? What is the difference between the two Sofias: before going to jail and after being released from jail? What does Sofia represent? And why?

17. How does Celie feel when she discovers that the man she has always known as her father is, in fact, not her father?

18. How does Celie finally break away from Mr.___________?

19. Toward the end of the novel, how does the relationship between Celie and Mr._________ shift? Are you surprised? (More obvious in the book.)

20. How does Mr.__________________ redeem himself?

21. What is the significance of the color purple?

22. What do you think of the ending of the book and film?

23. Why does the book open with “Dear God?” and end with “Amen”?

24. The main characters of the book are Celie, Nettie, their father, Mr._________, Shug Avery, Harpo, and Sofia. Director Steven Spielberg refers to the mailbox as “The Eighth Character.” How might this be true for both the book and the film? In other words, what central role does the Johnson mail box play in this story?


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