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Narrative essay and Exemplification Essay and Argumentative Essay

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• Narrative essays are essentially stories. As the author, you control the narrative arc (the storyline), often by implementing personal experience and allowing your creativity to flow. To avoid boring your audience, your story should be original, interesting, thoughtful, and have a purpose and clear point of view. When you successfully complete this lesson, you will be able to: • • • Describe how to use conflict in a narrative essay. Demonstrate how to effectively organize a narrative essay. Validate the importance of details in a narrative essay. In this essay assignment, you will use the act of narration to tell a story. A narrative essay recounts someone's true personal experience, either past or present. This could be something that happened to someone you know, though most students choose to speak from direct personal experience. The narrative should help the reader gain some insight or learn a lesson by experiencing the event(s) along with the author. Remember that the information you present is the only information your reader will have, so think of all the seemingly small details you will need to include in order to effectively portray the event and its importance. Write a 500-750 word essay using narration as the chief method of development. The purpose should be to inform, persuade, entertain, and/or evoke an emotional response from your reader. The act of narration should: involve description, including sensory details, figurative language, and/or contextual details maintain an awareness of how your tone is influencing the reader's impression of your story exercise your creativity have a clear sense of organization, i.e. a story arc or plot be written from a clear point of view Many students choose to write about the event that led them to join the military. Many students choose to write about hardships or adversities they have overcome. Some students focus on positive life events, such as the birth of a child or meeting their significant others, while others prefer to recount lessons learned from more difficult experiences, such as losses sustained in war, deaths of parents or other loved ones, or traumatic events that strengthened them in some way. Take a look at these common prompts: A lesson learned A goal achieved A significant success or failure A life event that changed your perspective An epiphany Think of what led up to the moment the lesson was learned or your perspective changed. That's your story. If you are having a hard time thinking of a narrative topic, see the list at the end of "Chapter 4: Narration" in The Longman Reader (p. 195). Define the Basic Elements of Story: Define these five elements of story specific to your narrative: setting - the location, time, and weather, which together create a mood or impression characters - the people and/or animals involved in the story plot - the sequence of events point of view - the focus of the narrator (1st person uses "I," whereas 3rd person uses an outside perspective) theme - the overarching meaning or message, such as "the inexperience of youth" or "man versus nature" or "the cost of experience" Begin to brainstorm how to describe and/or organize these elements using the skills honed by the descriptive essay. Consider how and/or when in the narrative to develop each element. Think of what should be revealed up front in the introduction and what should be slowly drawn out throughout or later in the story. Determine your conflict, however small and lighthearted or heavy, and whether or not you want to lead up to a resolution or leave the reader hanging. Organize: Consider how best to organize. Generally, most narratives work chronologically, starting at the beginning of the story and working forward in time. For effect, some writers jump back and forth between a present perspective and flashbacks to the action of the narrative. There are other ways to organize, but be purposeful. Put together some sort of outline. You are required to turn one in with each essay. Think about the function of the introduction and conclusion paragraphs: Introduction: Start with some sort of "hook" to grab your reader's attention. You want your reader to be left asking, "How so?" or "Why?" or "What happened?" You could begin with a dramatic statement, such as "When I was twelve, my entire world was upended." You could bait a reader with a purposefully ambiguous admission or set things up for an unexpected turn later. Draw your reader in. Make him or her want to invest the time in your story. You might also use the introduction to establish your setting, define your character(s), and/or introduce the conflict. Or you might drop your reader directly into the action, then develop the context and/or significance throughout the episode and/or in your conclusion. Thesis Statement: Though less cleanly defined than in other essays, there should be some sort of purpose conveyed in your introduction through a statement that hints at the implications of your narrative. Conclusion: Here is where you close out the action by either resolving or abruptly ending the narrative's event(s). Here you should also reflect on the "implications" or significance of your narrative. What does it all lead up to? What can be learned, achieved, or known based on the event(s)? Draft: Use vivid language and varied sentence structure, but be clear, concise, and particular in your word choice. Use first person ("I" and "My" or "We" and "Our"), if desired. Use figurative language, when appropriate, but be original and purposeful: If you have heard it before ("his smooth skin was the color of mocha"), please don't recycle it. Be original. Avoid "announcing," such as, "I am going to tell you the story about how I found God" or "This event was important to me because it changed how I viewed pit bulls." In creative writing speak, "Show, don't tell." Use tone and word choice to guide the reader toward a desired effect or a way of seeing things. Continue to rely on descriptive adjectives and concrete language to help "flesh out" the scene(s). Expand beyond vague words and phrases (like "good" or "bad," "great," "beautiful," or "interesting"). Push past overused expressions (such as "you only live once," "when it rains it pours," or "everything happens for a reason"). Use a thesaurus to find new ways of phrasing, such as "buoyant" instead of "happy" or "verdant" instead of "green." Rather than telling your readers what happened, recreate the experience(s) for him or her by striking a balance between: Detailed description (cue Joyce: "He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight.") Sensory details ("the cold breath of winter left my skin numb") Contextual details ("It was late December of my freshman year in high school.") Dialogue, if appropriate Keep your point of view consistent! Don't begin in first person (speaking firsthand using the pronoun "I") and flip to third person, as if you are removed from the events. Keep your verb tense consistent! Don't flip between past tense ("I walked toward the rustling leaves") and present tense ("I am surprised to find a wounded deer breathing cold, rapid breaths.") Be mindful of transitions. Each new paragraph should mark some sort of change in the action or a move from action to reflection. Revise and Edit: Exemplification Essay - Guidelines An exemplification essay is quite simple: it is a collation or collection of examples that together help prove a point or justify a belief. In this essay assignment, you will use multiple examples to argue a claim. Write a 500-750 word essay using exemplification as the chief method of development. The purpose should be to inform and/or persuade your reader. The act of exemplification should: be as specific as possible, using concrete language and descriptive details maintain an awareness of how your tone is influencing your reader's impression of your subject draw on a variety of examples work toward a common goal or purpose continuously reiterate the overarching point or argument Your primary goal is to argue a claim, prove a point, and/or justify a belief. For example, I have had students write essays justifying the superiority (or inferiority!) of their branch of the military. I have read strong essays arguing for the effectiveness of a particular diet or fitness regimen. Some students choose to exemplify the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a piece of technology. Some compare and contrast two popular products (Apple v. PC anyone?), though in so doing, there should be a strong point of view and a declarative conclusion (i.e. this one is better than the other). I actually read a very thoughtful essay last term providing three examples of why the "everyone gets a ribbon" philosophy is actually good for children. Remember that this essay can provide you a chance to practice incorporating and citing outside sources, though it is not necessary. Choose your topic accordingly. If you do not want to research your examples, choose a subject that you know well and that can draw on your own personal experience for evidence. Choose a topic that you care about and for which you feel something, either positively or negatively. Choose a topic that has at least two argumentative sides or opinions on the issue or belief, for example: "It is not necessary to have a degree in today's workforce" or "The keto diet is a safe, healthy, and effective eating plan for losing and maintaining weight." If you are having a hard time thinking of a topic for description, see the list at the end of "Chapter 5: Exemplification" in The Longman Reader. Determine your main point: Write down your main point or belief that you'll be working to prove or justify. Think about why you care about that point or belief. Work to develop a thesis statement (see pages 47-49 in The St. Martin's Handbook). Brainstorm for "proof" or "evidence": write down as many examples as you can think of to prove your point. Choose the ones that will provide the most variety and the most effective argument when taken together. Effective examples are often: detailed and specific concrete (not abstract) derived from evidence, not assumption or hypotheticals sometimes derived from personal experience appeals to the reader's logic or emotion Organize: Generally, exemplification essays follow a fairly predictable formula: Introduction > Example 1 > Example 2 > Example 3 > Conclusion. You may take one or two (or more) paragraphs to fully render each example. You may deviate from this formula depending on your topic. Think about the function of the introduction and conclusion paragraphs: Introduction: Think of the best way to introduce your subject and grab your reader's attention. It might be a short anecdote regarding the topic and demonstrating its importance to you (without declaring it). It might be a surprising fact or statistic. It might be a quote from a well known source (don't forget citation!). It might be placing your subject in context, for example providing social or historical background info about the opioid epidemic or information on the development of self-driving cars. If your topic is lesser known, it might require defining your subject for the reader in some way. Thesis Statement: Clearly declare your main point/argument or belief you will be working to prove or justify in a finessed, clean thesis statement. If appropriate, provide a preview of your examples. For instance, a solid thesis statement might be: "The Los Angeles public transportation is substandard and not on par with other large cities because it is inefficient, comparatively expensive, and unsafe." You could end with the word "substandard," though readers often appreciate an early roadmap of where the essay is headed. Conclusion: Here is where you discuss the "implications" of your position or belief, meaning the conclusion that can be drawn from your examples. It may have individual/personal ramifications, or it may be something that impacts society as a whole. Somebody out there stands to benefit from your point/argument/belief, and here is where you put it out there for him/her/them. Give thought to how you will order your examples. Some strategies might be: Familiarity: starting with the most familiar example and working up toward the least familiar Climax: starting with the most logical appeal and building up to the most emotional appeal Importance: starting with the weakest example and building up to the strongest Draft: Use vivid language and varied sentence structure. Avoid "announcing," such as, "I am going to prove that Crossfit is dangerous" or "I chose to write about the inevitable decline of society." Flesh out your examples with specificity and detail: Expand beyond vague words and phrases (like "good" or "bad," "great," "harmful," or "interesting"). Push past overused expressions (such as "throughout history" or "in today's world"). Use a thesaurus to find new ways of saying things, such as "momentous" instead of "important" or "hazardous" instead of "unsafe." Think about what context, background, or definition your reader might need to fully understand your position. • Argumentative Essay - Guidelines You can find many definitions out there for argumentative essays (some unnecessarily complicated). I like this very simple one provided by Virginia Kearney: "Argument essays seek to state a position on an issue and give several reasons, supported by evidence, for agreeing with that position" ("How to Write"). An argumentative essay does just that: it argues for a position on a topic that is controversial enough to have at least two opposing sides, and it relies on some support from other sources to help justify or prove that position or side. For this assignment, you will: • • Write a 750-1000 word argumentative essay integrating at least two outside sources. Include in-text citations and a Works Cited page to give credit to your sources. • Attempt to persuade your reader of your side/position. The act of argumentation should: • • • • • • • appeal to your reader's logic or emotion, or perhaps both establish your ethos, your credibility as an author and authority on the topic choose appropriate evidence for each claim, whether it be a study to support a logical claim or a personal example to support an emotional claim maintain an awareness of how your tone is influencing your reader's impression of your subject exercise your analytical and organizational skills avoid sweeping presumptions, like "everyone knows about this problem" or "nobody understands that..." organize and transition well between ideas Your primary goal is to persuade your reader of your position on an issue, preferably one that is relatively controversial and one that is not rooted solely in religious principles (which generally lacks credibility with someone not from your religion). I often get students arguing from either side of the most relevant topics of the day: Brexit, Planned Parenthood funding, alternative energy, the invasiveness of drones, childhood vaccines, Obamacare, prescription drug advertisements, etc. A very popular topic among my military students is women in combat. I personally find the two sides to the argument on removing Confederate names and historical markers to be fascinating. I always love hearing students' thoughts on matters of education, such as whether or not a college degree is useful, the merits (or not) of online learning, or standardized testing. I had a great essay once on whether or not cow's milk is safe and healthy for humans (s/he argued against). Whatever you do, do not choose a topic based on what you think I want to hear. I have an uncanny ability to shelve my own biases and opinions when it comes to my students' work. Years of teaching (and life experience) have conditioned me to seeing both sides (and being fairly open) on most issues. My focus is on your ability to construct, organize, and support your argument, not on which side of what issue you're arguing. • • • Choose a subject that has two (or more) arguable positions (i.e. two sides). Choose a subject that you are truly invested in and for which you feel something, either positively or negatively. Choose a subject that lends itself to outside research. If you are having a hard time thinking of a topic for description, see the list at the end of "Chapter 11: ArgumentationPersuasion" in Longman (p. 135). *Please note: for very non-political reasons, I have a list of banned topics. Please do not write on any of the following issues: • • • • • • Abortion Gun control Gay marriage Capital punishment Cell phones Social media 20. Brainstorm: o Identify the two (or more) sides of your issue. o Write down as many points as you can think of that would support/prove all sides of the issue. o Prioritize the supporting points, identifying the strongest ones that would provide the best examples. o Throw out those that are weak, irrelevant, cliched, overused, or ineffective. o Example: if my topic were capital punishment, I might compile a list of points in support of capital punishment (it is constitutional, it is a deterrent against crime, it provides closure for victims' families, etc.) and against (possibility of innocents being executed, costs more than life in prison, unfairly targets people of color, etc.). Each individual point would be one claim that I would need to provide evidence for if I used it in my essay, whether using it—or needing to refute it—to support my main argument. 21. Research your issue: o Use the library and/or internet to research for appropriate evidence to support your argument. o Appropriate sources: books, journals, respected news sources, official websites (.edu, .gov, and .org), and those with firsthand experience o Inappropriate sources: biased news sources, Wikipedia, blogs, movies, other students' essays o While researching, note all information necessary to completing your entry on the Works Cited page for that source. 22. Organize: o Generally most good argumentative essays follow this basic structure: o Introduction + Thesis Statement ▪ Context: some general background information about the problem or issue you're presenting. ▪ Exigence: a brief discussion of why the topic is important ▪ Thesis Statement: The thesis statement should declare your position on the issue and provide a brief preview of the argument. o Argument Development: ▪ Claim 1 + Evidence + Analysis ▪ Claim 2 + Evidence + Analysis ▪ Claim 3 + Evidence + Analysis o Counterpoint + Refutation: ▪ Acknowledgment of Opposing View/Counterpoint ▪ Refutation of that point (proof against it) o Conclusion" ▪ While it's a good idea to reiterate your main claims, do not let that be the sole function of your conclusion. Instead, push yourself to answer the question "So what?" In other words, what is at stake in this issue? ▪ Justification of why your issue is important o ▪ ▪ A hypothetical scenario of what would happen if your side of the argument succeeds and/or fails or is not taken ▪ The overarching social implications of your argument - what's at stake in the bigger/global picture? ▪ Why readers should care ▪ A solution to the problem ▪ A call to action for the reader(s) to get involved and do something about the issue 23. Draft: o Use vivid language and varied sentence structure. o Include a "hook" As with all essays, think of a way to grab your reader's attention in the introduction: a hook of some sort, like a personal anecdote, a surprising fact or statistic, or a significant quote exemplifying the problem or issue. o Avoid "announcing," such as, "I am going to argue for the legalization of marijuana" or "I chose to write about gay marriage because my cousin is gay." o In creative writing speak, "Show, don't tell." Use tone, examples, and word choice to guide the reader toward your desired effect. o Use direct statements that have impact and potency: "My lesbian cousin and her partner had to drive three hundred miles in order to get married." o Draw out your subject using descriptive adjectives. o Expand beyond vague words and phrases (like "good" or "bad," "great" or "terrible," etc.) o Push past overused expressions (such as "positive impact" or "harmful effects"). o Use a thesaurus to find new ways of saying things, such as "social welfare" instead of "good of mankind." o If appropriate, try to vary your evidence/examples, using factual, logical, statistical, and/or anecdotal/personal evidence: o The best essays strike chords with readers' logical and emotional sides. Personal examples demonstrate your investment in and familiarity with the issue and often find a good place in introductions or conclusions. Facts and studies go a long way toward establishing your ethos and convincing readers, but they are stronger when working in tandem with emotional appeals from firsthand experiences of real people affected by the issue. o End each paragraph with your own ideas/analysis. o Do not end a paragraph with someone else's words/ideas: this devalues your argument and reduces your control or authority over your own text. o Remove informal language and punctuation, like starting a sentence with "Well," cursing, or emphasizing your points with exclamation marks. o Avoiding "hedging": "This is only my opinion..." or " 24. Revise and Edit: o Be mindful of your transitions (how you move from one paragraph to the next). Look for logical progressions in your thinking. Does each new paragraph connect to the previous one in some way? Does it show some evolution in thought (building/developing on the last idea, or deviating/pivoting in a purposeful way)? o o o o o o o o Read the essay out loud. Whenever you stumble or notice anything awkward or unclear, this is usually an indication of a problem. Highlight it to return to later and address the issue. Get a second opinion. Have another set of eyes (a peer, a trusted friend, or a Writing Lab tutor) provide some feedback. Review formatting rules (listed in detail on the "Course Policies" page) and polish up the final draft. DOUBLE-CHECK: Have you integrated information (either directly quoted or paraphrased) from two outside sources? Have you placed an in-text citation at the end of every single sentence that contains material from an outside source? Does your paper end with a Works Cited page that lists those outside sources used in your essay?
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Narrative Essay
People say that a life flash before your eyes when you are about to die but my encounter
was different. Perhaps that was not death knocking at the door and that is why I saw nothing. I
certainly remember welcoming the idea of death. I was not afraid to die. I was eager to cross
over quickly and I remember searching for that light that people see. The after-life had to be
better than the present. The grim reaper in his cloak and musty breath had to be better than this
beast that lay on top of me. The grim reaper had to be friendly in the finality of his purpose,
unlike this being that had yielded to its sexual desires and decided to have its way with me not
knowing what next after his few seconds of pleasure.
When he was done, I was bitter. I was so mad that he did not choke me to death. I was
mad because I knew everyone would look at me differently. I was mad because he would just
continue with his life. I was mad that I wanted to kill him but I that moment all I did was the cry.
Cry! What use were tears when they could not erase what had already occurred? What use were
tears when they could not clean me off his stench? What use was it crying over things that could
not be undone? Every strand of my DNA wanted him dead yet there I lay crying as I watched
him leave. He left me there whistling to the tune of my tears with a kick in his step and I did
nothing!
I finally got to be the damsel in distress. A stranger found me took me to the hospital and
I finally narrated what had happened in that dingy room. Yes, he was arrested and yes, they
celebrated me for being brave enough to speak up but they all looked at me differently. They
took me to a shrink to help me re-adjust to their shifty eyes filled with pity and confusion almost
blaming me for putting myself in such a position. They were sure that was what compassion for
me looked like. Apparently, he had done it before but I was the only one who had the guts to
speak out.
Truth be told, if I w...


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