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Fall 01 Hall


Expressive Essay--Expository Writing One


General Description: As stated on page 10 of the MM text one of the papers for you portfolio “. . . must be an expressive essay which describes a personal experience. This essay may tell a story; describe a person, place, or event; express an attitude; or reflect on the significance of any personal experience. The essay may not be fiction.”

The first graded writing assignment aims to satisfy this requirement. Because one requirement is that the subject matter be “personal experience,” the genre for this essay is autobiography; i.e., the subject matter for the essay must be an event, person, or experience from your own life. Most students end up writing narratives in response to this assignment.

Topics we need to cover as we prepare for and write this assignment include:

a) What is a narrative? How is narrative organized differently from other types of writing?

b) What makes a good description? Why are some descriptions interesting and others not?

c) What details are important; i.e., what information conveys the essence of the person or event you are describing?

d) What makes this person, place, or event interesting to someone else beside yourself (the writer)?

Reading associated with this assignment:

In AB, chapter 5 “Seeing Rhetorically: The Writer as Observer”and chapter 7 “Writing an Autobiographical Narrative.” Also parts of chapter 19 especially pp. 486-7.

In MM, pp. 98-116. See also pp. 12-13 on how to prepare yourself and your writing for workshops.

Specific Assignment: Write an autobiographical essay in which you describe a person, event, or place important in your life. You get to choose the specific subject and get to decide why it is important. No length requirement or limit. This assignment will be workshopped which means you need to prepare your manuscript according to the guidelines on pp. 12-13 of MM. Make sure you turn in all the information described on those pages.