Write a personal descriptive essay about a person

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Reference no: EM131184282

Question 1: Instructions

1. Choose one topic from either the list of personal essay topics (A) or the list of expository essay topics (B).

2. Write an essay of approximately 1000 to 1200 words (about four double-spaced typed pages) on your chosen topic. Expect that if your essay goes over the length requirement, your essay could be returned to you for revision.

3. Begin your research. You might start with a general Google search and then a Google Scholar search, but you will also need to visit the AU library databases to find sound academic articles. Note: When you're first learning about a topic, Wikipedia might be an appropriate place to start, but always move on from Wikipedia. As an open source, it is not sufficiently trustworthy for academic purposes. Therefore, do not use quotes or paraphrases from Wikipedia. This is not a source your tutor will want to see on your citation list. Be equally careful of other questionable websites since they are in abundance.

4. Find two to four reputable secondary sources and review them carefully. At least one source should be from a peer-reviewed journal article accessed through the AU library databases. Please go to Acting on Words and read the segment called "Primary and Secondary Sources" in the chapter called "Finding Information: Types of Sources" or go to http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/education/008-3010-e.html for a sound explanation of primary and secondary sources. Your tutor will also be pleased to help.

5. Based on the research you found as well as your own brainstorming, develop a straightforward thesis that is sufficiently limited in scope (meaning something you can do justice to in a short essay).

6. Create an outline.

7. Consider speaking with your tutor to review your thesis and outline. We strongly encourage you to do so.

8. Begin the first draft of your essay.

9. Make use of at least two (and no more than four) secondary sources within your essay by adding quotations and paraphrases. Then, every time you paraphrase or quote, follow these four steps:

  • Introduce each source
  • Present the research
  • Credit the source parenthetically
  • Discuss

In other words, include quotation (and paraphrase) sandwiches in your essay. Don't just drop in quotations or paraphrases from sources into your essay. (Some experts call these hit and run quotations).

10. Create a Works Cited or References page, and make sure to take this seriously. Do not guess, and do not use a software program. Doing this correctly is not difficult, but it does require you to pay very close attention to detail. We expect you to do so.

11. Revise and edit your draft. You should have produced and edited at least one preliminary draft before you hand in the final copy.

12. Consider using the Write Site's coaching services. Tutors are not expected or encouraged to review your drafts, but reviewing drafts is one of the mandates of the Write Site.

13. Study the assignment checklist and answer the questions honestly.

14. When you're ready, upload your assignment through the assignment drop box.

15. In English 255, we prefer MLA citation and format style unless you have a significant reason to do otherwise. If you wish to use APA citation and format style, please speak with your tutor.

A. Personal Essay Topics

No matter which topic you choose, be certain that you consider your audience before you begin writing. There is little worse for readers than slogging through a personal essay that has no apparent purpose or relevance. Readers should be motivated in some capacity by your personal essay. In other words, we all have stories, but if we share them, we have to have a reason (as far as readers are concerned) for doing so. We tell personal stories so others can be encouraged, motivated, comforted, informed, and the like. So, ask yourself the all-important "so what" and "who cares" questions, and answer honestly. Ask yourself what, beyond sharing your own story, you want readers to know or feel or learn when they read your essay.

1. Write a personal narrative essay. Be sure to focus on a single, well defined incident with an explicit beginning, middle, and end from which you learned something about yourself, another person, or life itself. "My life with my alcoholic father," for example, is too big a subject for a short narrative essay, but "The time my father hit rock bottom" is very likely to be sufficiently limited. Good subjects for personal narrative essays include the following: a move, a birth (if it's exceptional in some way) or a death, a birthday or an anniversary, the loss of a prized possession, a moment of triumph or defeat. Your thesis should make a point about what this experience taught you. You may state this thesis explicitly or you may prefer to imply it.

2. Write a personal descriptive essay about a person, place, or thing. Be sure to establish a clear dominant impression that conveys the point you want to make about your subject. All the details in your description should fit with this dominant impression. Try to include a broad range of sensory impressions: not just how your subject looks but also how it sounds, feels, smells, moves.

It's often easier to establish this dominant impression through contrast: the changes in a place or a person or the difference between what you thought something would be and what it actually was. (Locate the essay "Two Ways of Viewing the River" by Mark Twain for a good example.) It's also often easier to write an effective description of a person by describing a room or a location that you associate with him or her. (See if you can locate the short story "The Boat" by Alistair MacLeod for a good example.)

You will probably include some narration in a descriptive essay and some description in a narrative essay. Remember, however, that the descriptive detail in a narrative essay should help you to tell your story, whereas a chronological narrative sequence in a descriptive essay should help your reader to get a picture of what you are describing.

You may question the idea of using sources in personal writing, since the personal essay is commonly understood to be informal whereas research methods and documentation techniques are associated with more formal, scholarly styles. Despite this general truth, many personal essays use quotations or paraphrases (or both) from a variety of sources. Some personal essays begin with a reference to another writer's reported experience - a natural way to incorporate a source. Others incorporate small bits of information from reputable sources that add credibility in the form of background, context, or detail.

B. Expository Essay Topics

Comparison/Contrast Choices

1. Compare OR contrast two professional athletes.

2. Contrast two vampires.

3. Contrast two hosts of late-night talk shows.

4. Contrast one decade to another decade.

Division-Classification Choices

1. Discuss types of television comedies.

2. Discuss types of sports fans.

3. Discuss types of people waiting in line.

4. Discuss types of drivers.

Directional Process Choices

1. Discuss how to treat a medical condition such as, for example, addiction to painkillers, arthritis, respiratory or digestive disease, or multiple sclerosis. NOTE: If you choose this topic, assume a general adult population of readers. DO NOT make this a medical paper. DO NOT use technical language. Credit the sources of any medical information that is not common knowledge. Your tutor will return your essay for revision if these criteria are not met.

2. Discuss how to buy a condo, a car, a computer, etc.

3. Discuss how to travel to faraway places.

4. Discuss how to improve your skills in a specific sport.

Checklist for Research Essay (personal or expository)-

After you have completed your analysis, use the checklist below to evaluate how well you have done.

  • Did you use MLA or APA guidelines to format your essay? Did you check your formatting against examples in the textbook or on the Purdue Online Writing Lab site?
  • Is your thesis the last sentence of the first paragraph, or do you have a good reason it is not (such as you've written a personal essay so your thesis is implicit, or you used your first paragraph to explain or justify)?
  • Did you consider including an essay map/preview statement with your thesis sentence? (Speak to your tutor or see item #2 in the Unit 3 Lesson for further information.)
  • If writing an expository essay, have you used third person point of view throughout? If not, do you have a good reason you didn't?
  • If writing an expository essay, does each paragraph have a topic sentence with at least two supporting points and a conclusion?
  • If writing an expository essay, did you use a transitional word, phrase or sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph? Did you use transitional words and phrases as necessary to connect sentences within your paragraphs?
  • Did you follow the assignment parameters by integrating at least two reputable sources in your essay?
  • Did you introduce your sources properly? Did you present your sources according to MLA or APA formatting requirements? Did you credit your sources parenthetically? Did you discuss the quote or paraphrase? If you don't understand the questions, please contact your tutor for help.
  • Did you check each use of research to determine whether you integrated it? (See item #5 in the Unit 4 Lesson.)
  • If writing an expository essay, did you make sure that no paragraph (excepting the conclusion) ends with a quotation?
  • Does your in-text citation properly match the corresponding Works Cited or References entry? Check this very carefully - remember that the first word of the citation has to match the first word of the corresponding entry.
  • Did you make sure to do your in-text and Works Cited or References entries correctly? Did you check each citation word for word and punctuation for punctuation against an example from the textbook, the Purdue Online Writing Lab (see links in the Unit 4 Lesson), or another reputable up-to-date source?
  • Did you create a suggestive, emphatic conclusion rather than one in which you unnecessarily repeat the main supporting points?
  • Did you revise very carefully for grammar and mechanics?

Question 2: Instructions

1. Choose one topic from the list below and write an essay of approximately 1000 to 1200 words (about four double-spaced typed pages). Expect that if your essay goes over the length requirement, your essay could be returned to you for revision.

2. Begin your research. You might start with a general Google search and then a Google Scholar search, but you will also need to visit the AU library databases to find sound academic articles.

3. Find two to four reputable secondary sources and review them carefully. At least one source should be from a peer-reviewed journal article accessed through the AU library databases.

4. Develop a straightforward thesis that is sufficiently limited in scope (meaning something you can do justice to in a short essay).

5. Create an outline and consider speaking with your tutor to review your thesis and outline. We strongly encourage you to do so.

6. Write your first draft and include all of the following:

a. An introduction that includes an interesting lead-in and an explanation/summary of what the issue is. (As necessary, convince your audience that the problem or issue exists and that it matters to others-or should.) Then, still in the introduction, briefly summarize EACH side of the issue, and finally, add a thesis/essay map that takes a stance and clarifies the purpose of your discussion, without any kind of announcement. You practiced this skill in your second session of the discussion forum, so review your previous work and any suggestions your tutor might have made.

b. Body paragraphs that develop your viewpoint. The more thorough and detailed this section, the better. Don't leave any stone unturned. Use specific, logical examples and integrated paraphrases, summaries, and quotations from your research.

c. Opposing arguments/rebuttal.

d. A conclusion that does not repeat your thesis. Instead, write a suggestive conclusion in which you offer implications for the reader's further consideration. Remember that this is your final opportunity to impress your reader.

7. Make use of at least two (and no more than four) secondary sources within your essay by adding quotations and paraphrases. Then, every time you paraphrase or quote, follow the four steps listed in assignment section of Unit 4.

8. Create a Works Cited or References page, and as we have reminded you previously, do not guess, and do not use a software program. Just pay careful attention to detail, and ask your tutor for help as required.

9. Revise and edit your draft. You should have produced and edited at least one preliminary draft before you hand in the final copy.

10. Consider using the Write Site's coaching services. Tutors are not expected or encouraged to review your drafts, but reviewing drafts is one of the mandates of the Write Site.

11. Study the assignment checklist and answer the questions honestly.

12. When you're ready, upload your assignment through the assignment drop box.

Essay Topics (Choose One)

1. Has hockey in Canada been improved or ruined?

2. Are existing policies in Alberta regarding pet ownership fair and reasonable? Choose one policy on which to focus your argument.

3. In retrospect, should Wiebo Ludwig be considered a hero or a criminal?

4. Do the economic benefits of the Alberta tar sands outweigh the environmental costs?

5. Should teachers be allowed to give students failing grades, or should schools' no-fail policies be upheld?

6. Should Canadian judges be elected or appointed?

7. Facebook's initial public offering was made at $28/share. In early trading, it traded as high as $41 and fell as low as $26. Was the IPO a failure?

8. Should Canadian health-care workers (such as nurses) be able to refuse to work with certain patients on the basis of "conscience rights"?

9. Should Canada's health care system move towards greater privatization?

10. In Canada, should a member of a religious group have the right to refuse a blood transfusion on behalf of his or her child?

11. Should the Canadian government fund safe injection sites for people with drug addiction?

12. A Canadian prime minister's annual salary is set by legislation at $315,462. In contrast, the president and CEO of RBC received over $10 million last year. Is the Canadian prime minister adequately paid?

13. Was the Occupy movement an effective means of protest?

14. The Government of Alberta is currently suing cigarette makers to recoup public health costs related to problems associated with smoking. Should cigarette companies be required to compensate provincial governments for health care costs associated with treating smokers' diseases?

15. During the Iraq War, only "embedded" journalists were permitted to cover news from the war zone. Does being embedded compromise a journalist's objectivity, credibility, and integrity?

16. Is the dominance of Internet news over print news leading to the death of journalism or the revival of journalism?

17. Should Aboriginal communities move toward more or less self-government?

18. Is the restorative justice approach more or less effective than Canada's conventional approach to justice?

19. Should grade schools accept funding from private or corporate sources?

20. Should Canada, like the U.S., ban the slaughter of horses?

21. A Canadian citizen should be able to carry a licensed, concealed handgun if he or she wishes. Discuss.

22. Do Western nations have an obligation to intervene in other nations' genocidal wars (Rwanda, for example)?

23. Should banks be allowed to engage in proprietary trading (i.e. trading for their own gain or loss, and not simply as a middleman)?

24. Should the Government of Alberta offer tax credits or other incentives for "health-promoting" behaviours?

25. Read "Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain," by Jessica Mitford. Defend or oppose the procedures of embalming and restorative work on the deceased in order to present the corpse for viewing.

26. Should every able-bodied citizen be required to serve for a certain period of time in some branch of the military service?

27. Should the government subsidize our Olympic teams?

28. Should donors or their families be compensated for organ donations?

29. Recent elections have been characterized by small turnouts of eligible voters. Some democracies-Australia, for example-require their citizens to vote. Should such a policy be adopted in Canada?

30. Is torture ever acceptable?

31. Are nurse practitioners a benefit or a potential liability?

32. Considering two markedly different approaches to training a dog (or a horse), argue that one is superior to the other.

Checklist for Argumentative Essay

After you have completed your analysis, use the checklist below to evaluate how well you have done.

  • Did you use MLA or APA guidelines to format your essay? Did you check your formatting against examples in the textbook or on the Purdue Online Writing Lab site?
  • Is your thesis the last sentence of the first paragraph, or do you have a good reason it is not?
  • Is your thesis sufficiently narrow for an essay of this length?
  • Did you consider including an essay map/preview statement with your thesis sentence? (Speak to your tutor or see Lesson 1, item #2 for further information.)
  • Have you used third person point of view throughout? If not, do you have a good reason you didn't?
  • Does each paragraph have a topic sentence with at least two supporting points and a conclusion?
  • Did you use a transitional word, phrase or sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph? Did you use transitional words and phrases as necessary to connect sentences within your paragraphs?
  • Did you follow the assignment parameters by integrating at least two reputable sources in your essay?
  • Did you introduce your sources properly? Did you present your sources according to MLA of APA formatting requirements? Did you credit your sources parenthetically? Did you discuss the quote or paraphrase? If you don't understand the questions, please contact your tutor for help.
  • Did you check each use of research to determine whether you integrated it?
  • Did you make sure that no paragraph (excepting the conclusion) ends with a quotation?
  • Does your in-text citation properly match the corresponding Works Cited or References entry? Check this very carefully-remember that the first word of the citation has to match the first word of the corresponding entry.
  • Did you make sure to do your in-text and Works Cited or References entries correctly? Did you check each citation word for word and punctuation for punctuation against an example from the textbook, the Purdue Online Writing, or another reputable up-to-date source?
  • Did you create a suggestive, emphatic conclusion rather than one in which you unnecessarily repeat the main supporting points?
  • Did you pay attention to logos, ethos, and pathos when developing your argument?
  • Did you revise very carefully for grammar and mechanics?

Question 3: Write a rhetorical analysis essay of approximately 1000 to 1200 words (about four double-spaced typed pages). Expect that if your essay goes over the length requirement, your essay could be returned to you for revision.

Select an essay or article and analyze the rhetorical strategies and appeals employed to persuade readers.

Do one of the following:

1. Choose a non-fiction essay (with a sufficiently substantial basis for a meaningful analysis) from the textbook. Please choose an essay you have not worked on before. You should also not choose an essay that has been used in one of the textbook's sample rhetorical analyses, like Sarah Schmidt's "College Girl to Call Girl," or Martin Luther King Jr's "The Ways of Meeting Oppression."

2. Ask your tutor to recommend non-fiction articles (outside of the textbook) that might be appropriate choices for this assignment.

3. Choose from this list of recently published articles:

i. "Your E-Book is Reading You" by Alexandra Alter (The Wall Street Journal is accessible through the AU Journal library.)

ii. "How to Have a Conversation" by John McDermott

iii. "The Death of Honesty" by William Damon

iv. "Daddy issues" by Sandra Tsing Loh (This one is long but worth it.)

How to Proceed with the Rhetorical Analysis

1. Decide on an approach to your essay. You can focus on either the content of the article or on its rhetorical methods and style (examining how the text persuades its readers).

2. If you choose to focus on the content of an article, be careful to avoid the trap of stepping away from rhetorical analysis. The article has to be at the forefront of your discussion at all times.

3. If you choose to focus on the article's rhetorical methods and style, visit the University of British Columbia Writers' Workshop segment called "Rhetorical Analysis: Critical Writing"

4. Review the guidelines provided to you in the textbook's chapters on critical and rhetorical analysis, as well as on the checklist below, but note this: In your analysis, you will report on the rhetorical techniques the writer uses to support his or her thesis. Your job is NOT to mark the essay or article, NOT to write a review of the essay or article, just to analyze its rhetoric.

The key to a good rhetorical analysis is to discover and report on how the writer gets the message to the reader. Follow the FOUR D's outlined below for every technique you choose to discuss.

a. Discover the technique.

b. Define the technique (as necessary). For help with this, Google "Rhetorical Devices."

c. Describe the writer's use of the technique by including at least three examples (quotations) of each, making sure to integrate them properly.

d. Discuss the writer's probable motive for the technique and its impact on the reader.

Decide how you are going to limit your analysis. Consider limiting your discussion to as little as one technique per body paragraph.

5. Write a working thesis.

6. Create an outline and consider speaking with your tutor to review your thesis and outline. We strongly encourage you to do so.

7. Write your first draft.

8. Create a Works Cited or References page, and as we have reminded you previously, do not guess, and do not use a software program. Just pay careful attention to detail, and ask your tutor for help as required.

9. Revise and edit your draft. You should have produced and edited at least one preliminary draft before you hand in the final copy.

10. Consider using the Write Site's coaching services. Tutors are not expected or encouraged to review your drafts, but reviewing drafts is one of the mandates of the Write Site.

11. Study the assignment checklist and answer the questions honestly.

Reference no: EM131184282

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