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Chapter 4 Preparing to Write an Essay
Activities (p. 41)
1. Information sources for subjects:
a. The rising cost of tuition: Interviews with students, parents, college officials;b. An insight that altered your understanding of life: personal experience;c. The uses of technology in political campaigns: reading, interviews of election officials,political science professors, and candidates;d. Nannies who can‘t be trusted: reading, interviews;e. Chess masters as strategists: reading;f. The impact of sports on high school athletes: reading, personal experience, interviews;g. Parochial education: personal experience, interviews, and questionnaires;h. Life in the tropics: reading, personal experience;i. Surfing the net: direct observation, reading.
2. ―Sources of Desire.‖ One purpose of this assignment is to lead writers to ―preview‖ the concepts thatwill be discussed in the subsequent chapters. More than likely students will have a vague recollectionof thesis-support essay conventions, so we hope this assignment will clarify the concepts for them,thus preparing them for the detailed discussion that unfolds throughout Part 2.
a. The writer promises to explain through the use of examples how advertisers appeal to aconsumer‘s deepest desires.
b. Introduction—paragraph 1: The writer uses analogy to draw the reader toward thediscussion and showcases the thesis.
Discussion—paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5: The discussion develops the thesis. Paragraphs 2, 3,and 4 develop sub-points, which are as follows: the appeal of the rugged life, of freedom,and of social acceptance and tradition. Paragraph 5 is a continuation of the discussion ofsocial acceptance and tradition.
Conclusion—paragraph 6: Concludes the essay. The conclusion does the obvious: Itconcludes the essay. This conclusion is brief and makes use of rhetorical questions.
c. This exercise requires a more particular look at the overall pattern. Often students willslavishly record the actual thesis and topic sentences, pretty much as we have donebelow, so it might be interesting to edit them on the board to illustrate how the coreconcepts have been embedded in them.
―Advertisers . . . can use words and images to create the illusion that their productswill fulfill our deepest desires.‖
Advertisers ―have transferred a desire for the rugged life to smoking Marlboros.‖Advertisers ―associate their products with the freedom that nature promises.‖Alcohol advertisers seem to ―emphasize the desire to fit into society and the valueof tradition.‖
Paragraph 1: The writer sets up the essay with key words to help unify the essay,such as ―magic,‖ ―sorcery,‖ ― sorcerers,‖ ―advertisers.‖Paragraph 2: Besides the key words established in paragraph 1, the writer alsouses ―Marlboro‖ and ―transferred.‖ Although ―transferred‖ is not repeated, theexamples illustrate the concept of transference, which works to unify theparagraph.
Paragraph 3: Here the words ―freedom,‖ ―nature,‖ and ―associate‖ are introduced.Point out to students how these concept words are reflected in the examples eventhough the actual words are not frequently used.
Paragraphs 4 and 5: The concepts of ―conformity‖ and ―tradition‖ organize thesetwo paragraphs. Paragraph 4 emphasizes conformity with such words and phrasesas ―fit into society,‖ ―socializing,‖ ―socially correct‖; paragraph 5 emphasizes―tradition‖ as well as ―conformity‖ through both language and examples.Paragraph 6: The writer returns to the key terms established in paragraph 1 anduses ―products‖ effectively.Coherence:Analyzing this essay for coherence can be an exhausting in-class activity. The goalis to help students actually see coherence at work with the hope that being able tosee it will lead to their being able to do it, that is, to maintain coherence in theirown writing. We suggest you review only a couple of paragraphs in class, pointingout the glue that holds the sentences together.
d. Paragraph arrangementsWith the exception of the introduction, which is arranged so the thesis serves as theclimatic sentence, these paragraphs are arranged by moving from general tospecific, that is, from topic sentences to supporting examples. You might, however,point out how some of the individual examples are arranged, especially the moredescriptive examples.
e. This particular exercise works well with groups. Your writers can share their owncritiques to gain a variety of insights into this essay‘s arrangement.