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writing the essay syllabus

writing the essay syllabus - WRITING THE ESSAY V40.0100...

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WRITING THE ESSAY, V40.0100 Fall 2006 Instructor: Tara K. Parmiter, Ph.D. e-mail: [email protected] Expository Writing Program Office Hours: by appointment 411 Lafayette Street, 4 th Floor, Rm. 422 Course Description: An essay is not merely a final product handed in to fulfill an assignment; it is a record of a process that involves extensive thinking and rethinking, drafting and revising. Throughout the semester we will explore this process, focusing both on the development of compelling ideas and the creative expression of those ideas. How we write will be as important as what we write. Using the reading of professional essays and the world around us as inspiration, we will follow a series of progressions (directed writing exercises and activities) to lead us towards the completion of three essays. We will focus on the development of ideas, the use of written texts as evidence, the writing of essays through a process of inquiry and reflection, and the expression of our thoughts in our own unique voices. In her essay “Why I Write,” Joan Didion explains that “writing is the act of saying I , of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me , see it my way , change your mind .” Didion’s description is almost violent, but it stresses the importance of seeing writing as part of an interaction between the writer and the readers. How can your word choice, your structure, your evidence help convince your readers to “change their minds,” to “see it your way”? Didion’s description also suggests that writing is fueled by passion, by an intense desire to show other people what you have figured out about a given subject. If an essay prompt does not immediately seize your interest, it is up to you as a scholar to find something that excites you in the assignment, to take advantage of the flexibility of this class and shape your essay into something that matters to you. Finally, remember that even though writing can be a difficult process, it can also be illuminating if you approach it with a willingness to experiment. Cynthia Ozick has
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