First Formal Writing Assignment: Literacy Narrative

Due date: Friday, February 14, 2014 in class

Who are you as a reader and writer, and who and what have brought you to this place?

Write an autobiographical essay (1000-1100 words, double spaced in a standard font) using the conventions of the literary narratives we have studied in this unit. For this essay, focus on one (or a very few) turning points or most meaningful events that have shaped who you are today as a reader and writer.
As you shape the essay, keep in mind your rhetorical purpose in writing this piece in this genre. Look for the theme in your experiences and analysis that will surprise, stir, delight, or educate the reader. Shape the details of your essay around this theme once you have discovered it.
You should organize your essay thematically rather than a strict chronological account. Look for the overarching theme or point that ties two or three prominent experiences (or the present and the past) together. You will have to be selective and choose only the most memorable experiences. Then develop each experience, thru anecdote, rendering, story-telling, to subtly support your overarching point. Specific examples, and specific details, are always better than generalizations or vague summaries. Make every word count.
Do not begin your essay with a thesis statement laying out your overall point (though writing that thesis sentence is a useful exercise). The literary essay as a genre depends on extensive descriptions and details to build to the point, which is usually revealed at the end of the essay.
Course objectives and grading for this assignment:
Rhetorical Purpose:
? Essay should show a clear focus and theme – “so what”
? Essay should match the genre features of a personal literary essay
? Essay should demonstrate what you have learned so far about genre and discourse communities, as applied to this particular situation.
? Essay should show insight about your writing/reading practice.
? Essay should use narrative and description to draw in your reader and create interest (pathos).
? Essay parts should follow a logical thematic sequence that lead up to the overall point of the essay. (“Logical” does not necessarily mean “chronological,” but rather “intentional.”)
? The point should be either implied or stated at the end of the essay, but without moralizing or over-generalizing. (If implied, it must be reasonably clear.)
? Paragraph breaks must be logical and facilitate easy reading of the essay, with appropriate transitions.
Linguistic features:
? Essay should show careful choice of language appropriate to your topic and intended audience.
? Essay should be free of sentence-level errors (spelling, grammar, run-on sentences or fragments, word usage).