The Deepening” Form

| February 27, 2014

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Essay 1 Prompt: “The Deepening” Form
Re-read and examine what you wrote in your letter (ex.#5) and consider why a more disinterested reader (by which we mean an educated and inquiring reader who does not know you) might not be interested in what you said in your letter. Step back from that preliminary work and consider how you might write a more thoughtful essay. Take the idea from the essay you read, and analyze it in light of these questions: What are the larger implications of the idea? How do other essays you have read in the course, or in other courses, change the way you think about the idea? How does your own experience influence your thinking?
The primary essay which you chose will play a significant role as a foundation from which the other texts and thinking was born. It is a foundational piece. Therefore, your reader will indeed need to understand that essay and understand something about how the idea, but also the narrative and the images work in that essay. You will have to somehow recreate that essay, and thoughtfully represent that essay for your reader.
And yet—and this is an important “and yet”– you have already, in part, moved on. You have moved into a larger landscape that now includes another thinker/writer (the 2nd essay) and a visual text and your own lived experience-text. You are actually concerned now with “borrowing” something from that primary text (your chosen essay) and “deepening” it by way of considering its questions and meaning or claims in conversation with the new pieces you have begun working with.
Your essay should be driven by conceptual thinking and some kind of “troubling” or uneasy question that you’ve now begun to see. In class, for example, we discussed that question in light of the lived experience evidence: One student’s work seemed to be asking:
Is it possible for photography, or art, more generally, to create or capture “meaningful stories”
especially in the face of human tragedy, real suffering? Is artistic composition capable of creating that for us, or only, the “natural,” acts “without deliberate consideration.”
Another of our classmate’s is possibly asking about the sacred and the human, ritual, the symbolic, and the real, prayer and gambling…
Another, perhaps is exploring the relationship between other and the self, stories and real experience, suffering and compassion, ancestry and individual identity…
These are the thoughtful possibilities of essaying which we have already encountered in our work. The essay form that you are now turning to is the formal container for being allowed to develop those ideas, while maintaining the inviting and engaging and real images and language from the texts so that your reader can feel the experience of those images, not just the ideas you’ve come to. The reader needs to feel, see and hear that you are figuring out something specific (not general, not about something so big as “culture” and “identity” and “society”). Those generalized terms will naturally be there. Of course Hong Kinston is writing about her culture, but rarely does she have to use such an abstract word… she shows us and engages us in the experience of it.
The Deepening essay will come through your own thinking, aided by the connections you make between the idea you borrowed from the initial essay, a second essay/ written text, a visual text (art object you chose in class, etc.) and personal experience will be used as the evidence (texts) for this essay.
Draft 1 Due: Monday February 24 in class
Sign up for conferences in class Monday to meet with me one on one in the next week to discuss your essay
Reading for Draft 1: Please read and print online the student Mercer Street essay
from last year, “Homeland” by Junnan Chen, an international student. Bring this essay to class.
In this first reading of that essay which will help guide you to what an essay might look like (there are infinite forms, not just this one, beautiful as it is)—in this first reading, please do 2 things:
1.) Underline significant meaning-making sentences and any major concepts.
2.) Please mark in the margins all the texts that she is using and name them. Write, for example “Rainy Mountain” or “Momaday” each paragraph or section in which she writes about that essay, and again if she returns to it. Name all the texts across the essay.
I have to at least use 2 references from the book “Occasions of Writing” by Robert Diyanni.
,i have some example essays that i would like to share with the writer so that he or she can get a sense of what i need for the essay. I will upload sample essay. The sample essay should reflect what my final paper should look like. a lot of close analysis and thoughtful summary should be required for each references in the book.
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Category: Literature and Language

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