Week 1 Discussion Forum
This week’s DF covers the following module and materials. Use them to answer the questions below:
- The documentary film AltheaLinks to an external site.
- Reading Module 1
- Basic Principles of Academic Writing
- Types of Rhetorical Modes
- Steps of Writing a Paper
- Prewriting Techniques
- Building Your Paper
- Quoting and Paraphrasing
- Reading Module 2
- The Importance of Wording
- Word Choice
- Essay 1 assignment
IMPORTANT: You must answer ALL questions for credit. THERE IS NO PARTIAL CREDIT! Where indicated, write at least 250 words. Post the word counts for all of your answers.
1. Write a brief analysis of Althea, including its thesis (primary claim/main idea). (Write at least 250 words.)
2. What makes writing academic? How does academic writing differ from non-academic, casual writing? (Write at least 250 words.)
3. Which method of persuasion (pathos, ethos, logos) does Althea use primarily? Is this method impactful? Why or why not? Might another method work better? (Write at least 250 words.)
4. As described in the Steps of Writing a Paper and Prewriting Techniques sections, in answer to this question, perform either a brainstorming or freewriting session for Essay 1.
5. Based on your brainstorming or freewriting session, outline Essay 1 as described in Steps of Writing a Paper.
6. Essay 1 requires you to compare and contrast two subjects. Though it is not an argument or persuasive essay, modes of persuasion still apply because you want your writing to be engaging and worthwhile. Which mode of persuasion, ethos, pathos, or logos, will you primarily use in Essay 1? Why? You can use your outline from question 5 to pull examples of this mode of persuasion.
For the sake of demonstration, let’s say I am going to write a narrative essay about the time my dog escaped while my friend was watching her and how technology helped me find her. The moment I was reunited with my dog would be significant. From my outline, I pull that I am planning to spend an entire paragraph on that reunion. I am specifically going to describe how dirty my dog’s face was, and how much her eyes had changed, indicating lack of care. This would be an example of pathos, an attempt to elicit emotion from my audience.
7. Write your thesis from the perspective of each of the three modes of persuasion. Going back to my example in question 6, here is my thesis, three ways. See if you can tell which is which (then scroll to the bottom to see if you got them right):
- A) As an early adapter of smartphone technology, I well know the pitfalls of spending too much time scrolling and staring at a screen, but it was my so-called addiction that prevented me from losing my dog.
- B) It took a photograph of my poodle, her white face crusted with rusty tears, to show me that the true value of staying connected is being able to save someone you love.
- C) Though nomophobia, fear of being without a cell phone, gets a bad rap, it worked to my advantage the day my dog almost ended up on a missing poster.
8. The “Grabbing the Reader’s Attention” section of Building Your Paper lists seven strategies for opening a paper. Keeping your thesis and primary mode of persuasion in mind, write seven introductory sentences for your paper; that’s one for each of the seven strategies. Please go in order and label them so that it’s obvious which strategy you’re using. (You will choose one of these opening sentences for question 9.)
9. Take one of your opening sentences from question 8 and one of your thesis statements from question 7 — the thesis that best fits your primary mode of persuasion — and write an introductory paragraph. Use the concept-funnel structure mentioned in Building Your Paper. (Write at least 250 words.)
10. What is the difference between quoting, paraphrasing, and citation? When should you apply each one?
11. Paraphrase this passage from Roger Ebert’s 1972 review of The Godfather:
The remarkable thing about Mario Puzo’s novel was the way it seemed to be told from the inside out; he didn’t give us a world of international intrigue, but a private club as constricted as the seventh grade. Everybody knew everybody else and had a pretty shrewd hunch what they were up to.
The movie (based on a script labored over for some time by Puzo and then finally given form, I suspect, by director Francis Ford Coppola) gets the same feel. We tend to identify with Don Corleone’s family not because we dig gang wars, but because we have been with them from the beginning, watching them wait for battle while sitting at the kitchen table and eating chow mein out of paper cartons.
“The Godfather” himself is not even the central character in the drama. That position goes to the youngest, brightest son, Michael, who understands the nature of his father’s position while revising his old-fashioned ways. The Godfather’s role in the family enterprise is described by his name; he stands outside the next generation which will carry on and, hopefully, angle the family into legitimate enterprises.
Paraphrase this passage from Ta-Nehisi Coats’s “The Case for Reparations”:
Clyde Ross was a smart child. His teacher thought he should attend a more challenging school. There was very little support for educating black people in Mississippi. But Julius Rosenwald, a part owner of Sears, Roebuck, had begun an ambitious effort to build schools for black children throughout the South. Ross’s teacher believed he should attend the local Rosenwald school. It was too far for Ross to walk and get back in time to work in the fields. Local white children had a school bus. Clyde Ross did not, and thus lost the chance to better his education.
Then, when Ross was 10 years old, a group of white men demanded his only childhood possession—the horse with the red coat. “You can’t have this horse. We want it,” one of the white men said. They gave Ross’s father $17.
“I did everything for that horse,” Ross told me. “Everything. And they took him. Put him on the racetrack. I never did know what happened to him after that, but I know they didn’t bring him back. So that’s just one of my losses.”
12. For Essay 1, you are required to incorporate 3 direct quotes from Althea. On this note, do the following exercises based on the “Introducing a Quotation” and “Formatting and Punctuating Quotations” sections of Quoting and Paraphrasing:
A) Work with the following excerpt. It is from The Washington Post newspaper:
Caines spent much of his life stockpiling his paychecks of up to $700 a week to buy a home. Now, the 72-year-old worries that the Category 5 storms that took his roof also blew him and an entire generation of Virgin Islanders out of the middle class.
- Quote the excerpt using a signal phrase.
- Quote the excerpt by introducing it with a brief explanation. Use your imagination since you haven’t read the whole article. Make up an explanation that sounds suitable.
- Quote the excerpt with a formal introduction.
B) Work with the following excerpt from the same Washington Post article:
“I’m now going to die in debt,” said Cains, who expects repairs to his home will cost $100,000, far exceeding his savings or expected insurance payout. “It feels like hell,” he said. “I didn’t get the help I needed, and now I’m out here suffering.”
- Quote the excerpt with an omission, and indicate that omission with an ellipsis mark.
- Quote the excerpt and use brackets to either clarify meaning, change verb tense, or explain a word.
C) Quote the following excerpt as a two-paragraph long quotation:
On St. John, where million-dollar villas cling to hillsides overlooking teal ocean waters and coral reefs, business owners estimated that overall revenue is down as much as 70 percent this winter. But second-home owners are returning to high-end restaurants for lobster dinners and $100 bottles of wine. For Livio Leoni, who owns Da Livio Italian Restaurant in Cruz Bay on St. John, the major lingering post-storm inconvenience is that the island’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection office has not reopened. Without it, he said, he cannot import the cheese, cured meats, and bottles of wine bearing his family name directly from Italy. He instead would have to take a 25-minute ferry ride to St. Thomas to pick up those goods. Meanwhile, 25 miles away in Coral Bay, roofs and walls remain crumbled alongside roads. Some residents in this port town, known for sailors and a bohemian culture, sleep in tents on their front porch or in vehicles. A few hundred yards from the bay, Pearlette Lawrence was sweeping the front porch of the house where she had lived with her husband. The house has no roof, and the couple has been living in a shelter, but they return each day to cook meals and hand-wash clothes. Before the hurricanes, Lawrence had worked as a live-in maid and healthcare aid for an elderly woman who owned the house, earning $900 a month. The homeowner died shortly after the storm, the couple said.
13. One of the things student writers often struggle with is maintaining an academic tone. What elements convey tone? How might tone differ in an argument essay versus a narrative essay?
14. Read the introductory paragraph you wrote for question 9. Look for imprecise, general language. Revise that language to be more specific, being careful to keep the balance mentioned in “Word Choice.” (Write at least 250 words.)
15. Let’s be clear: It is not appropriate to write an academic essay in 1st person (unless you’re writing a personal narrative essay, which you are not). Academic essays require a 3rd person perspective. As a reminder:
- 1st person = subject is I/we
- 2nd person = subject is you
- 3rd person = subject is anything else, examples — dog, table, Mary, Jana, Shawn, sky, pencil, it, etc.
Changing from 1st person to 3rd person:
- I believe that we should come together and push the government for better legislation while we can.
- Everyone must come together and push the government for better legislation while they can.
Now, for practice, write a paragraph in 1st person. Then rewrite it in 3rd person. The topic of the paragraph doesn’t matter. (Write at least 250 words.)
16. Write 5 sentences using gender-specific language. Rewrite those sentences using gender-neutral language.
17. Write 5 sentences in the passive voice. Rewrite those sentences using the active voice.
Pay attention: Questions 1 – 3, 9, 14, and 15 require at least 250 words each. The rest have no word-count requirement. Again, always post word counts for all answers.