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Wednesday, October 8

Page history last edited by Jane Asher 9 years, 9 months ago



Discuss "Caring For Your Introvert"

Definition Tips and Techniques

Invention Workshop

Get Essay II topics approved (signature on Invention Exercise II)


Meet in Lab (J141) on Monday. Bring materials to begin drafting Essay II.


If I wrote "Revise and Resubmit," on your Response II, I highly encourage you to do the following:

1. Re-read the Response Guidelines and Response II assignment

2. Closely read over all my comments, and revise and edit your response in order to fix all content and mechanic-related errors.

3. Staple your new, perfectly polished response on top of the graded one, and resubmit it to me on Monday.


Pick up Essay I before you leave. Revisions (<75%) are due on or before Monday, October 27. See syllabus for revision instructions.


Students will have the opportunity to revise and resubmit Essay I, Essay II, or Essay III if they receive a grade of a "C" (75%) or lower.  If the student wishes to take advantage of this, he/she must schedule a meeting with me to discuss his/her work, and/or attend a tutoring session at the Writing Center (get your paper stamped and signed) and then vigorously revise the essay and resubmit it by the revision due date.  In order for a student to receive a higher grade on the essay, it must be evident that the student has done more than fix the simple errors that I have pointed out.  The resubmitted copy must show proof of extensive content and organization revisions.  Grade changes are certainly NOT AUTOMATIC! Essay IV cannot be revised and resubmitted for a new grade.


Info about scheduling conferences with me

What you must do prior to our conference




Thinking about Introductions and Conclusions: Coming Full Circle

Being Clever and Thought-Provoking





Rauch's example:



Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?


If so, do you tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?





How can I let the introvert in my life know that I support him and respect his choice? First, recognize that it's not a choice. It's not a lifestyle. It's an orientation.


Second, when you see an introvert lost in thought, don't say "What's the matter?" or "Are you all right?"


Third, don't say anything else, either.




"Caring for Your Introvert"


How is this definition essay different from the others we have read?

What motivates Rauch to write this definition essay (exigence)?

How does Rauch redefine introverts? What are the criteria he uses?

How does Rauch use comparison to present his argument?


"Are introverts arrogant?" Why is this an ironic question?




Writing Effective conclusions


Your conclusion is the easiest to revise, because you will probably have already written a conclusion that makes a good point. Most of us write to discover, and it is at the end where we discover our most interesting ideas. We have to make sure our introductions cohere with our conclusions, but for the most part, our conclusions will be the richest, most complex part of our paper, because that is where we are prepared to do our richest and most complex thinking.


In addition to stating--or restating--the main point, usually as the first or second sentence of the conclusion, most writers want to go beyond it. You can do that in three ways:


1. You can suggest the significance of your conclusion. You do that by suggesting the consequences of answering the question you asked, solving the problem you posed. In effect, you answer the question "So what?" Try that as a strategy of revision: State your main point, and then have someone ask, "So what?" If you can answer that question, you have identified the significance of your point.



2. Another way of thinking about your conclusion is to try to say what further questions your paper raises--what would you like to know more about, what puzzle remains--better yet, what bigger puzzle do you now have?


3. The last thing you might add to your conclusion is a quotation from the text that brings your paper to a graceful close. The quotation should be striking, witty, terse (smoothly elegant/polished), graceful, figurative, etc.

Not cliche, overused quotes like


"what comes around goes around"

"That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." – Your Coach/Friedrich Nietzsche/Kanye West


 An effective title: previewing your key concepts


Avoid using words in your title if those words are not prominent in your paper.

The point of a title is to anticipate key concepts and cleverly preview them for your audience.


Definition Titles we've seen thus far:


"Caring for Your Introvert: The Habits and Needs of a Little-Understood Group"

"The Avatar Age"

"Homeschoolers: Our American Legacy and Future"

"The 'Trophy Kids' Go to Work" 



Definition Essay Techniques/Tips


1. Introduce the term right away.

2. Give the formal, traditional, or concrete definition

3. Give the background of the term

            • Historical context or historical use

            • Background of usage

            • Term’s origin

4. Provide brief examples of how the term is used in everyday life—to show the connotation of the term in practical use.

5. Include a full narrative anecdote with details about a specific event that happened involving the term. This anecdote vividly illustrates the term in action. You newly define the term from your personal experience.

6. Explain sub-categories or aspects of the term

            • Classifications

            • Divisions

7. Define via synonyms to compare what is similar or like the term

8. Define via negation – antonyms, what the term is NOT, contrast to other ideas or terms, give the opposite for contrast.

9. Enumeration – list characteristics

10. Explain with a metaphor or analogy to make the concept more familiar to your reader.

11. Explain by pointing out famous instances in popular culture to give the reader a familiar connection.

12. Use a personal hook early in the essay – explain why you care so much about the term. We care more about an essay when the author cares about it.

13. Use Rhetorical Questions to get your reader involved in thinking about the implications of the term in his/her own life – create a personal hook within your reader to make him/her care.

14. Offer interesting facts and/or ideas about your term.



Bonus techniques for use in any essay:

1. Come full circle. If you start with an idea or story, return to it at the end and re-evaluate it or revisit it with humor.

2. Use tone and diction in a surprising way.

(For example, when talking about introverts, Rauch uses the language and words of the gay movement ("It’s not a choice . . . it’s an orientation.), self-help pamphlets, care and feeding of a pet or plant. It is humorous to apply the diction from one area of life and apply it humorously to another area of life that we don’t normally associate with the term



Invention Workshop



Using your Invention Assignment as a guide, take turns explaining your Definition Essay plans to your partner.

  • Explain what term, item, idea, or concept you plan to define.
  • Explain why you chose this topic—what is controversial about the term that makes it worth arguing about.
  • Explain who your intended audience is and why this is a fitting audience.


After your partner understands your topic, you will work together to (1) evaluate the quality of the topic (and come up with a better one if need be), (2) access the scope/focus of the topic (and narrow it down or expand it if need be), and (3) analyze the complexities of the topic.


As you do this, be mindful of the definition argument format. Your purpose is to argue what something IS by way of a thesis that clearly identifies specific criteria for definition:

X is A, B, C, etc.

Something is an X because of A, B, C.

Or by way of an anti-definition:

Y is not an X because of A, B, C.  (In this format, you are still defining X)


(1) Use the following questions to evaluate the quality of the topic:

  • At this point, does the chosen topic work for a definition argument? Remember, an argument means that a reasonable person could disagree with the definition or that the definition is not the typical, accepted one.
  • Is it presenting a certain idea, item, term, or concept in a new way?
  • Is the concept generally agreed upon?
  • Why is it important that people have an appropriate understanding of this concept?
  • Does the concept need to be rethought? Why or why not?
  • If not, how can you refigure the topic in order to offer an argument?


(2) Use the following questions to discuss the focus/scope of the proposed topic:

  • Is the topic specific enough?  
  • Is it something that can be adequately developed in 3-4 pages?  
  • If the topic is too broad, how can you narrow it down so that it is more manageable? Think about how to add a new lens…Think about the examples we have covered. For example, Jacobs does not just define beauty in general terms nor does she cover the entire topic of cinematic beauty. Instead, she creates a specific focus of defining cinematic beauty in relation to Avatar.
  • If the topic is too specific, what definition criteria might you add to expand the topic? 


(3) Use the following questions to analyze the topic and shed new light on specific issues and connections:

What particular parts or qualities make up your concept/term?

What particular emotions, behaviors, or ideas are associated with it?

What qualities distinguish your term/concept/item from other terms/concepts/items that are associated with it?

Specifically, how does your chosen concept influence or change people’s lives?

What hidden role does it play in everyday life?

Are there complexities to the concept that people overlook? Explore the deeper implications that normally go unnoticed.



Throughout the conversation with your partner, jot down notes and ideas on the back of your Invention Exercise Assignment. Once, you have gathered some good feedback about your topic, switch roles and follow the instructions to explore your partner’s topic.

When you are finished, sign your partner’s Invention Exercise Assignment, and before you leave, make sure that I have also signed it.


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