Monday, September 8, 2008

Prompt for Essay One

Your first formal essay in this class pushes you to practice some of what we will talk about in the first few weeks of this course. We'll be reading various personal essays (without images or graphic elements); your assignment is to write one. More specifically, you are going to write a portrait of someone who used to play a role in your life but no longer holds the place of significance that they once held.

Any formal assignment in college may sound daunting at first, but you will not be at a loss for what to write in this essay nor will you write it at the last minute. In class, we will engage in several exercises to help you with this essay. What we read and the other activities should help you develop ideas and strategies for handling this essay. Also, you should feel free to ask questions of me or Lauren during any part of the drafting process.

One thing to keep in mind that is that, even though you are writing from personal experience, good essays do not necessarily reveal private details. Intense relationships do not necessarily make the best essays. And you're not auditioning for Jerry Springer or Dr. Phil. You just have to write an essay that has some personal meaning behind it that will be understandable to public readers.

I will post a general grading rubric later, but know that when I grade this essay, I will assess how well you describe this person and analyze their importance in your life then and now. I will also look at standard things professors grade in any assignment such as how you are able to create focused and developed paragraphs that move easily from one to the next.

The final draft of this essay should be three to four pages (double-spaced and in MLA format for heading, page numbers, etc.), and it is due by noon on Sunday, September 28. Attach it to an email message (in .doc or .rtf format) and send it to me. I will reply and let you know that I received it and was able to open it. Please give me at least ten days to grade these; I will return them to you by attaching the graded copy to a reply to your previous email message.

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