Expository+Writing+Lecture+on+Loffreda - Expository Writing...

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Expository Writing 101, Section LH Instructor Sarah Goldfarb Lecture on Beth Loffreda’s “Selections from Losing Matt Shepard Violence, “Progress” and Style In the past two essays we discussed how men are expected to prove themselves according to social standards. In this essay, we also see how men are pressured to behave in a certain way in society, even if they do not necessarily believe that they should have to; and we also see how men who feel under the most pressure to conform, or who are the most conformist, feel the most threatened by those who do not conform to gender roles. This essay is certainly about masculinity, and it would be easiest to write your own essays if you dealt with it as such. When you think about this essay, think about ethics and how Loffreda is trying to communicate a sense of ethics, entwined with her critique of the concept of ethical progress, as the town of Laramie clearly has not made the kind of progress that it claims to have made – and why politically correct “progress” is not always a useful way to gauge ethical response to situations in the first place, especially this particular situation. Think about how Loffreda represents the facts, which should get us, as readers, to understand why Matt was killed: Loffreda does not seem to have faith that the “facts” will really allow people to understand more than simply the fact that Matt *was* killed in the first paragraph of the essay. How does this relate to style? She is going to show that “making sense of them [the facts] took much longer” (368) through her own writing style – so she’s going to take a long time to get at the meaning of Matt’s death. On page 370, Loffreda cites that that Bob Beck, the news director for Wyoming Public Radio, heard from the sheriff that there was a man who’d been found tied to a fence like a scarecrow and the sherriff said “My recollection is there was discussion of exactly what do you mean, ‘tied like a scarecrow,’ and I think every single one of us who were in the room got the impression… of being tied up spread-eagled, splayed out” – but “Matt hadn’t actually been tied like a scarecrow” (370). What is Loffreda’s point in first conveying a misconception of the visual image of Matt propped up against a fence? She wants to demonstrate how Matt became used as a symbol for the “progress” of gay rights by the public, rather than seen as a person: “No matter its provenance, the notion that Matt had been strung up in something akin to a crucifixion became the starting point for the reporting and reaction to come” – 371 Another visual image that Loffreda cites in order to demonstrate that it was misused by public
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Expository+Writing+Lecture+on+Loffreda - Expository Writing...

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