Composition 1 – Personal Narrative
English 101 – FA 2021—Food Stories in the U.S.
Due Week 8: Sunday, March 25
Checklist for Success!
Read the entire prompt and make sure you understand what the assignment asks you to do. Then return to this check-list several times through your writing process to make sure you remember everything.
Assignment: 850- to 1000-word (3 ½ – 4 pages) narrative whose thesis answers a theme-based question (below)
Upload @ Canvas by 11:59 PM on due date
Process work: Multiple steps, drafts, and revisions due before the polished paper
Structure: Chronological; follows narrative arc; inductively reasoned, i.e., thesis appears at the end
Audience: English-reading youth and adults interested in course theme, higher education, community, and social justice
Development: Effective modes of development for narrative include description and narration, with context and cause & effect
Source integration: Integrate at least one meaningful quote from a course text to support the story
Style: MLA format (1” margins, double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman font; header, pagination); Works Cited; reader-oriented language choices; well-edited standard English
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not submit a “5-paragraph essay.”
In a first-person essay of at least 850 to 1000 words, write
· a fact-based personal narrative
· showing how you changed (perspective, belief, attitude) as a result of an experience
o thus, your reader will “see” the before and an after,
· related to a theme-based question (see Question below);
· integrating meaningfully a course text (with attribution, quote, synthesis, and citation); that
· discovers the thesis at the end (inductive reasoning); and is all presented
· in MLA style with Works Cited.
Write a story–shape your narrative–to discover the answer to this question through the writing process itself: What is your “American” food story? As you work, ask yourself:
o Does your story have conflict and resolution, a before and an after?
o Does your story help your reader understand how you changed?
o Does your story show with descriptive detail, not merely tell what happened?
o Does your story consider the significance of your experience beyond yourself and outward to community?
Broadly, the purpose of this writing is to entertain and to persuade. More specifically, you are writing to discover your story about food in America or the U.S., and to bring your reader with you. Each of our readings exemplify this purpose. Your narrative will be successful when you entertain through narrative and persuade with meaningful reflection and significance beyond yourself.
To entertain your readers, offer a clearly written, engaging narrative that describes relevant background, unfolds events chronologically, involves conflict, then climax or drama, and concludes with reflection.
Drama does not have to have some giant, heart-wrenching crisis! The conflict can be small, a beat, a crack or break, a moment when something goes “click”—or falls flat. That we humans enjoy stories is the point: we connect with the narrative form! And while stories make us feel something, descriptive details bring them to life. That, my friends, is how you entertain.
To persuade your readers, shape a thoughtful message about your feelings in response to what happened. Often, this is where the writer turns to an outside text—for us, one of the course readings—to help them think about their message, or the understory, as I like to say.
Contemplate the significance of the experience—really think about it on the page. Consider and reflect on what it means to your way of life, homeplace, or community identity. Craft your message so your reader can “see” and understand. You want the well-thought-out message to make sense and, in balance with emotional appeal, work persuasively.
Write individual paragraphs that are unified, coherent, and well-developed.
Read the Modes of Development handout at Modules, Course Materials, to get the larger idea and purpose of development strategies for writing. Specific to this assignment, I suggest:
· Description and narrative to describe your experience with sensory details and telling the events in order, and with effective pacing.
· Context paragraphs to set the scene for your reader
· Cause and effect to show (not just tell) your reader what changed as a result of the main action, and how things are different, how your view is different now.
· Authority: Connect and synthesize meaningfully a short quote from a course text to help your reader understand that connection between the story to the world beyond.
Narrative structure for our assignment happens chronologically. Here’s what that looks like:
1. Begin with the first scene of the story, relevant context, and characterization. (Do not begin with a 5-paragraph-essay-style “introduction.”)
2. Write sequentially. Follow the narrative arc, including only those moments necessary to understanding what happened and why it’s significant.
3. Write inductively. Discover the meaning of the story’s central event with your readers, through the story itself.
4. Show change. Toward the end, show how your views are different, how you are different, now, after your experience and upon reflection.
MLA format; standard grammatical English; writing is clear; sentences have varied structure; diction is casually formal with genre-appropriate colloquialisms; punctuation, spelling, and capitalization are generally correct and do not hinder reader understanding.
Composition 1 – Personal Narrative