Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer 2013 Work

Summer 2013 Work                                        Ms. Keyser 
                                                                     Mr. Konkoly

Overview:  You are reading a brief article, five essays, and two books.  You are writing five reflections, two essays, and keeping a reading journal.

The article and essays, or links to them, can be found at
You also will find other helpful materials there. Plus, you can use the comment option to pose questions to each other and reply!

You will have to get the two books through the library ( is a website to use to request a book using your library card), buy them, or share them.
Reading and Reflecting as a Writer
Read the article “What Do Students Need to Know about Rhetoric?” to develop an understanding of rhetoric.  Then use your understanding as you read each of the essays listed below.  Have your marked up copy of that essay with you on the first day.

For any FIVE of the essays, write a typed 1-2 page, single-spaced (max. 500 words) reflection in which you articulate and explain your understanding of some of the “rhetorical decisions” the author makes by applying the ideas from “What Do Students Need to Know About Rhetoric?.” You are being asked to read the essay as a writer, to imagine the composition of the essay in light of the rhetorical dimensions of all compositions.

Bernard Cooper, “Burl’s”
Chang-Rae Lee, “Coming Home Again”
Scott Russell Sanders, “Under the Influence”
Judy Brady, “I Want a Wife”
Erin Aubrey Kaplan, “Black like me--but not too black”
George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”
Mark Twain, “Two Ways of Seeing a River”

Your Own Personal Essay
Write one personal essay inspired or prompted by one of the above essays.  It can be inspired by the content or style or both.  A personal essay is a form of writing in which an author explores and shares the meaning of a personal experience and relates this experience to ideas. Although personal, the essay need not focus on the author. The subject and purpose could be anything.  The author’s presence is apparent through the reflection on the subject.
Your typed, double-spaced essay should be 750-1000 words. It should be a polished essay, not a first draft, but it is all right if you still have misgivings about some aspect of it. 

The Art of Narrative Non-Fiction  

1. Read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

Write an essay in which you identify at least three types of support and strategies of using language that Gladwell uses to argue his ideas. (Do not feel obligated to refer to specific rhetorical techniques; you may use your own observations as a reader to discuss Gladwell’s use of language and ways of arguing.) Also, evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies to persuade the reader. In order to write a unified essay, identify an overarching thesis of Gladwell’s text and at least three specific points that branch off the main thesis. Your final product should be 750-1000 words. See the rubric.

2. Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Complete two typed entries for each part of the book. The reading journal will be checked and used for discussion early in the semester. The Reading Journal for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is part of the homework/coursework category of your grade.
Reading Journal Guidelines for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Purpose: To promote active reading and prepare for discussion.The reading journal is NOT supposed to be a place to show off your mastery of the text or to simply prove that you read.  It is a place to think, to try to understand what isn’t immediately obvious, to appreciate something about the text, and to make your understanding of the text more complex.

Format of each entry
 1.  Write two typed entries for each part of the book. (The book has three parts.)
 2.  Identify the page number(s) of the passage that provoked your thought.
 3.  Write the passage, if it is brief. Otherwise, paraphrase it, and include a quotation.
 4.  Write your reaction and thoughts, giving no care to how well organized or how    “good” the thoughts are. 
 5.  Write at least three-quarters of a page (single-spaced, Times New Roman), making sure that no more than one quarter to one third of what you write is copying or summarizing the passage.    
 6.  Vary the response types you choose from the following list.  Use each response type no more than twice.

Types of Responses
  • Explore something to which you have a strong reaction or that strikes a chord in you.  What is the passage making you think or feel?  Stay focused on the feelings provoked by what you read and the factors in the passage that produced your reaction, not simply what you feel while you are reading.
  • Write about a passage that seems important.  Why might it be important?  What do you think it means?
  • Discuss a passage that really made you think or that stretched your imagination.
  • Pick a theme that the book suggests early on—such as friendship, person versus society, or how we relate to our heritage—and follow passages that seem relevant to that theme.
  • Find examples of what you really like about the book and try to explain as fully and in as much detail as possible what you like.
  • Write about a passage that confuses you or that is especially difficult.  Write out the thought process and experience involved in struggling with a passage, re-reading it, making more sense out of it, explaining how you made more sense out of it, stating what remains unclear even after multiple re-readings.
  • Make connections with another work of literature you have read.
  • Make connections with your own experience or something else you have an understanding of, being sure to relate aspects of the book with the topic from your experience or understanding.
Feel free to email your teacher with questions after you first have tried consulting a classmate ( or  We will be checking email periodically, so you might not get an immediate reply.  Don’t save your questions for the last minute!

Deadlines and Submission Guidelines
Always save copies of your work for yourself!

One essay reflection is due by noon on July 12.  (This will allow us to get back to you if your work shows the need for corrective feedback or instruction. I might ask you to submit a second reflection if I think that will help.) Include your name in the subject line of the email.  Put your name and a title on your work itself.

In addition to emailing it to the teacher, please submit it to  
Ms. Keyser’s class: The class ID is 6559922; the enrollment password is keyser.
Mr. Konkoly’s class: The class ID is 6559967; the enrollment password is konkoly.

The personal essay is due by noon on August 12. You only need to submit it to

The other 4 reflections and the essay about The Tipping Point are due August 27 on

Bring your reading journal for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to the first day of class.
Assessment and Grading

The essay reflections should demonstrate an accurate understanding of the text, attention to details of the text, insights into rhetorical decisions, and an explanation of those insights using evidence.  By meeting these criteria and completing all of the reflections, your work will be proficient or exemplary and will receive full credit for grading purposes.  This grade is part of the homework/coursework category of your grade.

The personal essay should have a clear subject, use specific details, include moments of reflection, and have an engaging and engaged voice. You will receive full credit for an essay that meets these criteria and a final grade will be given after you complete more work on the essay in the fall. Essays that are sloppy in their writing or organization and not proofread are not acceptable and will not receive summer credit. The summer version counts as homework/coursework and the final version counts as an essay grade.

The Tipping Point essay will be evaluated as follows and the grade counts as an essay grade for the first term:

Presents and develops a coherent and thoughtful perspective on how the argument strategies and use of language persuade the reader.
Shows an accurate and insightful understanding of the book.  
Provides relevant and sufficient details to support your claims.
Explains supporting details in relation to the overall development of your essay.
Use of language (sentence clarity and variety; precise and appropriate vocabulary)
Demonstrates mastery of Standard English conventions, including citations.
Typewritten, double-spaced and 750-1000 words; on time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Article to Understand Rhetoric

Read this article before reading the other essays and writing your first rhetorical analysis.

It provides a good introduction to "thinking rhetorically" and explains some terminology and concepts you might be able to use.

 “What Do Students Need to Know about Rhetoric?”

You also will find some student samples below.

Links to Essays for Summer Rhetorical Analysis

Bernard Cooper, “Burl’s”
(NOTE: You have to read multiple pages to get the whole essay.)

Chang-Rae Lee, “Coming Home Again”

Judy Brady, “I Want a Wife”

Erin Aubrey Kaplan, “Black like me--but not too black”

George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”

Mark Twain, “Two Ways of Seeing a River”

Sanders Essay: "Under the Influence"

Paying the price of my father's booze
By Scott Russell Sanders
Source: HARPER'S, Nov. 1989, pp. 68-75

My father drank. He drank as a gut-punched boxer gasps for breath, as a starving dog gobbles food--compulsively, secretly, in pain and trembling. I use the past tense not because he ever quit drinking but because he quit living. That is how the story ends for my father, age sixty-four, heart bursting, body cooling, slumped and forsaken on the linoleum of my brother's trailer. The story continues for my brother, my sister, my mother, and me, and will continue as long as memory holds.

In the perennial present of memory, I slip into the garage or barn to see my father tipping back the flat green bottles of wine, the brown cylinders of whiskey, the cans of beer disguised in paper bags. His Adam's apple bobs, the liquid gurgles, he wipes the sandy-haired back of a hand over his lips, and then, his bloodshot gaze bumping into me, he stashes the bottle or can inside his jacket, under the workbench, between two bales of hay, and we both pretend the moment has not occurred.

Sample Rhetorical Analysis 2

Sample Summer Rhetorical Analysis

Cynthia Ozick, “The Seam of the Snail”                                                                   

            Cynthia Ozick uses imagery and personal stories to illustrate the differences between her and her mother’s form of excellence. She is able to show the contrast between herself and her mother vividly because the subject is something she knows very well. What can one know better than their own life? Ozick is very self-aware, admitting her own flaws and struggle for perfection. She also recognizes that her mother’s life was lived fully and that it had its own form of excellence. She understands that she will never be like her mother; she is too concerned with the trivial things and perfect details to live lavishly. She is the snail, trapped inside the confinements of flawlessness.
Ozick uses stories of things her mother did when she was growing up to make the character seem familiar and endearing. A reader of this essay will relate to the differences between Ozick and her mother, a woman who, “…thought herself capable of doing anything, and did everything she imagined. But nothing was perfect” (302). For example,

Sample Rhetorical Analysis 1

Sample Summer Rhetorical Analysis

Power of Death Over Life
In reading “The Death of a Moth” it is easy to just go along with the story but a closer look allows one to see how Virginia Woolf connected with the reader. In the first sentence the reader relates to the feelings of the writer. The author includes the reader by using the word “us”. This use of wording makes the reader imagine that they have felt the emotional sense they feel on autumn nights and understand it, whether they have actually experienced it or not. The observation of the surroundings, of the moth, the day, and the farm establish a context in which the reader is put into the particular scenario with the author. Therefore, one is able to feel where Woolf is coming from.
            Woolf uses the appeal of ethos when describing the pity felt towards the moth. The moth is pathetic, being enthralled in happiness with only being able to do so little, yet she connects the creature to something more significant. The sympathy felt is mixed with warmth;