Archive for February, 2010

Assigned Topics on Viewing the Movie Doubt

by   |  02.24.10  |  Film and Visual Art, In-Class Writing Assignments, Interpretation and Purpose, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument)

As a comment to the blog post, please write a paragraph or two in response to the topic you selected to cover when viewing the movie Doubt as follows:

  • Describe your selected topic
  • Explain aspects of your topic another viewer may have missed
  • Explain how your observations help you understand the rhetorical purpose of the film

Freedom to Interpret – Reading for Wednesday

0 Commentsby   |  02.23.10  |  Announcements, Film and Visual Art, Interpretation and Purpose, Nonfiction (Essays), Thesis

For Wednesday, please print a copy of Roland Barthes’s very short (3-page) essay “The Death of the Author” from the Link below and read the essay before class. I encourage you to annotate your copy of the text—underline key lines or phrases, write notes in the margin, and be able to articulate the thesis of the essay.

The Death of the Author

Also, please be prepared in class on Wednesday to discuss the topic you selected for on the viewing guide for the movie Doubt.

Assignment for Monday February 22

0 Commentsby   |  02.20.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Rhetorical Analyses, Short Stories

For Monday, please print a copy of “The Lottery” from the Link below and read the story before class. I encourage you to annotate your copy of the text—underline key lines or phrases, write notes in the margin, identify key themes, and be able to articulate the purpose of the story.

If you would like to replace your grade on an RA you may have missed, you may upload an RA on “The Lottery” to the Files Dropbox before class on Monday, or you may turn in a hard copy in class on Monday.

“The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

Writing Assignment for Friday Feb 19

0 Commentsby   |  02.18.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Nonfiction (Essays), Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument), Rhetorical Analyses

Linked below is an excerpt from a book-length work of nonfiction by Annie Dillard titled An American Childhood.  I would like you to treat this piece as if it were a complete essay for the RA due on Friday February 19:

from An American Childhood

When reading, consider the rhetorical strategy of the essay, the essay’s primary argument, and pay particular attention to the identity of the speaker.  This work also takes a major turn at one point in the essay that significantly changes the interpretive landscape of the piece.

Reading Assignment for Wednesday, February 17

0 Commentsby   |  02.15.10  |  Announcements, Nonfiction (Essays)

In addition to reading “The America I Love” by Elie Wiesel in The Conscious Reader (835-37), please read and be prepared to discuss the following 1988 essay by Peggy McIntosh on Wednesday, February 17:

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

Elie Wiesel claims in “The America I Love” that racism “has vanished from the American scene” (836). McIntosh takes a different approach. How do you account for the difference in these perspectives?

Evaluating Song Lyrics

by   |  02.10.10  |  Evaluation and Critique, In-Class Writing Assignments, Poetry

Group Assignment:

  • Compare the lyrics from U2’s song “All I Want is You” on the handout to the lyrics from one of the three songs in Etheridge’s essay “Music as a Safe Haven” (525-31).
  • Of the two songs, which lyrics represent better poetry—which has a more effective argument, and how do you know?
  • Post a paragraph or a list in response to the questions above as a comment to this blog post. Be sure to introduce the songs you selected by title and note the names of the people in your group.

Other Resource:

Sharon L. Williams Andrews provides the following “Song-Analysis Questions” for her Introduction to Poetry course at Louisiana State University. Before posting your group’s response, consider Andrew’s questions below to generate possible criteria for your evaluation:

More »

Evaluation – What Criteria Should I Use?

0 Commentsby   |  02.08.10  |  Evaluation and Critique, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument)

In class, we discussed ideas for defining criteria as required for Major Essay #2.  We examined real-world examples of criteria used in various evaluation processes:

The criteria below could be quite useful when evaluating the rhetorical effectiveness of a literary or film text:

  • Logos—the logical appeal.  When evaluating the logical appeal of a text, consider whether the work includes or avoids common logical fallacies. How well does the work withstand intellectual criticism?
  • Ethos—the ethical appeal. How well does the speaker establish her own credibility with an audience?
  • Pathos—the emotional appeal. How well does the work create a sense of emotional involvement in the reader or viewer?
  • Sensory Appeal—consider how well a work appeals to an audience’s sensory perceptions by using sound, rhythm, or visual imagery to make a reader/viewer’s experience more tangible or memorable; consider descriptions of smell or texture as well.
  • Structure—consider the structure or organization of a work as a criterion for evaluation (whether the sequence of events or the order of evidence presented is rhetorically effective).
  • Audience—consider whether the ability of a work to reach a broad audience or a limited audience could be used as a criterion for evaluation (this criterion could be a subcategory of the ethical appeal).
  • Other criteria can be useful depending on which aspects of a text you consider most important. On Monday, the class created a word cloud of additional words to consider as criteria for evaluating texts:

Word-Cloud-Results

Podcast on Writing About Literature

by   |  02.01.10  |  Interpretation and Purpose, Other Resources, Polls, Rhetoric & Persuasion (Argument)

Optional: I wanted to provide another resource that should be helpful when preparing to write Major Essay #1 (and future essays). Consider listening to Lecture 16 by Daniel Coffeen from a course on rhetoric at another university.

Caution: The speaker in this podcast sometimes uses language that we do not affirm (profanity), which may be offensive. As such, listening to this podcast is not required.  However, the content in the podcast may be quite helpful to most undergraduate writers. This podcast provides practical advice on the goals of writing about texts and the posture of a writer when writing about texts. If you choose to listen to the podcast in your free time or while exercising, you can download it to your iTunes library.

Note: This speaker discusses texts other than the ones we have read, but the advice in the podcast could be applied to an essay about any text. It’s just an optional resource that is available on the web from iTunes.