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Exercise 5.1 Example Prewriting Assignment In a previous chapter, we examined six ways of exploring the mind, of preparing to write or of prewriting: telling a story, seeing the story, clustering ideas, listing details, using an artifact, and writing freely. Now select a topic or an idea and work through the example prewriting exercise below. Step One: Identify a Topic Isolate three topics: a topic about a person, a topic about a place, and a topic about a thing; for example, you might consider a friend's personality, a place such as a family vacation spot, or a certain thing that was very important in your life. Briefly explain each topic below. INDIVIDUAL, PLACE, OR EVENT: Topic 1 (an person):
Topic 2 (a place):
Topic 3 (a thing):
Step Two: Develop a Strategy The next step involves planning the organization of your ideas. The method of organizing the information in an exposition or theme is to focus on some aspect of the topic and to organize details according to the aspect I am emphasizing. As an illustration of an example strategy, I could select an historical situation from my own family background, specifically the time when one of my wife's ancestors spent a very difficult time in prison. The topic, his time in prison, is what we would have identified in the previous exercise; now I need to establish a strategy for presenting the details associated with my focus, in this case an example strategy of his difficult time in prison. Situation: In the late nineteenth century, William Grant spent twenty months in prison for polygamy. He suffered greatly from the difficult conditions, aggravated health problems, and separation from his family.
Thus when you actually write the paper. or sent his two wives identical roses on each of their birthdays. . devise an example strategy or example method of organization for one of the three topics that appeals to you. Many teachers of basic composition courses ask their students to frame a thesis by completing the sentence "The purpose of this paper is to prove (to convince. "The purpose of this paper is to prove to the reader that William Grant's prison term was difficult. the paper wanders and lacks basic unity. Example Strategy for Topic from Step One: Step Three: Focus on a Main Point--Construct a Thesis Now you must reconstruct the focus as a thesis. he is allowed only to present details that confirm that Grant's prison term was difficult. and as a result. .Topic: William Grant's prison sentence. As we have chosen an example strategy. convince the reader that: ." The predicate functions as the controlling idea. Exercise: Looking back at the topics that you recorded in the exercise above. resulting in a thesis: William Grant's prison term was difficult." Then I drop the first part of the sentence." The process consists of two steps: First. was a dedicated member of his community. . It is best to think of a thesis as a complete sentence composed of two parts: the subject--"William Grant's prison term"--and the controlling idea or predicate--"was difficult. Exercise: Try your hand at writing theses by completing one or more of the three sentences below for one topic from the exercise above. A thesis always has an argumentative edge. I complete the sentence. By the rules which the writer of the thesis has established. Strategy: Give examples of William Grant's difficult prison term. show. We are not interested in whether or not Grant provided well for his family. a statement which states what you plan to establish or prove about the subject. or establish for the reader) that . . It is important to remember this one simple fact since it is normally on this and this point alone that most writers of exposition go astray. we are going to include only those details or facts that will establish one and only one idea: the difficulty of William Grant's prison term. our thesis sentence will be an example thesis. . They assume that they can include whatever comes to mind about William Grant in the exposition. TOPIC: The purpose of this paper is to .
sketching a rough outline. Thesis: 1. Let us assume that you want to establish that a certain person named Ted will accept no advice in electing a course of action. 1. 2.persuade the reader that: establish for the reader that: There are as many ways to write an exposition as there are authors. 3. Step Four: Frame an Outline 1. All this brings us to the next step. The simple example outline might look something as follows: Thesis: Ted is authoritarian. Ted expects absolute obedience from his children. in other words that Ted is authoritarian. First. Now complete a simple outline for the thesis you have developed. 2. . Ted refuses to allow his wife to make decisions. and glean techniques that you particularly like and with which you feel comfortable. the writer will provide facts or details that deal only with establishing Ted's authoritarian nature. Once again. observe what others do. sketch out a simple outline: Actually we have already begun this step. While the subject of the exposition is Ted. Conclusion: Ted is so authoritarian that living with him is difficult. Ted expects unquestioning obedience from his employees. read widely.
decorations for the house." you might add details about how Ted expects his wife each Christmas to spend no more than $500. each supporting topic sentence will appear at the beginning of each succeeding support paragraph. might then appear as follows: Subidea 2: Ted refuses to allow his wife to make decisions. Conclusion: In the final essay. and he refused to eat it. Subidea #2. and 3 relate to the thesis and the conclusion. now develop a complete outline for the topic you have selected. and how Ted demands that his wife get his approval each week for the meals she is planning. with supporting detail. the thesis will appear normally as the last sentence in the opening paragraph. will appear in the concluding paragraph. it is clear why points 1. but Ted would not let them in the house because they had not called first to get his permission. Last Christmas. In complete sentences. and finally. which is a restatement of the thesis. Once she prepared a dinner for which she had not received his approval. Ted told his wife that she could spend no more than$500 on presents. Second. . "Ted refuses to allow his wife to make decisions. 2. add three or four details under each of the subideas or topic sentences (or points 1. 2. b. Once Ted's wife invited her parents for a visit. it should be clear why points 1. each subidea or topic sentence will appear at the beginning of each of the three support paragraphs. Actually any of the above writing strategies would work. the summary statement. Ted demands that his wife get his approval for the meals she is planning. In the final essay. which is a restatement of the thesis. and finally. 2. and 3). c.3. how Ted does not allow his wife to visit her parents without first seeking his permission. From the simple outline. a. From the simple outline. For example. for the second subidea. Whenever Ted's wife wants to visit her parents. Ted expects her to get his approval before leaving the house. the summary statement. 2. and special dinners without his permission. will appear in the concluding paragraph. the thesis will appear normally as the last sentence in the opening paragraph. and 3 relate back to the thesis and forward to the conclusion. Each week.
R. First topic sentence or subidea: a.S. For at least two of the details in your outline. if no author is given. then omit the name in the parenthetical citation. The parenthetical reference for conventional references is (author’s last name and page number): 335 households supplied the labor needs of the company at Bath in the 1680s (Neale 49). Supporting detail: 2. however. Essay thesis: 1. the supporting details. conduct research and supply the parenthetical reference in the outline itself following the detail. Neale concludes that 335 households supplied the labor needs of the company at Bath in the 1680s (49). Your task now is to complete and finish the outline for the thesis that you have written: thesis. Supporting detail: b. subideas. give the full citation for each parenthetical reference.One could continue on with topic sentences or subideas #1 and #3. Supporting detail: . If you mention the author’s name in the text. at the end of the outline. Second topic sentence or subidea: a. For electronic sources the proper form is also (author’s last name and date of access). Supporting detail: c. in the works cited section. and conclusion should be complete sentences and should total at least 250 words. adding the necessary details in complete sentences that would support each topic sentence or subidea. use (site and date of access).
Third topic sentence or subidea: a. include as many of the items as you can. Supporting detail: c. The URL or address (the date that you downloaded the information or accessed the URL). Using the following model.) Last Name.” The Name of the Site.b. The date of revision or publication. “The Title of the Article. First Name. Supporting detail: Essay conclusion: Works Cited: (Provide at least two citations that give the complete information for the parenthetical references in the outline above. Supporting detail: 3. Supporting detail: c. Supporting detail: b. .