Essay Assignment

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GWRTC 103: Fall 2011
Dr. Carol Del Vitto

Assignment #1: “My Greatest Fear”

Fear is a question: What are you afraid of, and why? Just as the seed of health is in illness, because illness contains information, your fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if you explore them.Marilyn Ferguson


While some of our personal fears, like many of those we mentioned on the first day, seem to have no story about behind them, many other of our fears do.  Recalling those stories and what claim you make about them can be interesting and sometimes even beneficial for you and for others who read about your experience.

The Assignment

In keeping with our theme of the rhetoric of fear, you’re going to write an essay about a fear you have/have had and for which there is a story to tell and about which you have claim to make.  It might be a story that demonstrates the root of your “greatest fear” or the incident that caused you to lose that fear. In those cases, your claim might be that your fear is/was either rational or not, or that it had a particular affect on you, and by extension on others like you. 

Description and Dialogue: Showing Your Story

When recounting your story, you will want the reader to "be there" with you, picturing what you saw, hearing what you heard, and feeling what you felt through “show me” rather than “tell me” writing.  It is important in your essay, therefore, to provide detailed descriptions of the places and people involved.  You may also want to include some dialogue, letting some of the characters in your story speak for themselves.  We can learn a great deal about people's personalities, sometimes, by the way they talk and what they say.  An exchange of dialogue can also reveal the emotions in play (two people are angry with each other), or indicate relationships between speakers (one dominant, the other meek), or simply provide information about past or current action (like a story within a story).  (Adapted from an assignment taken from St. Martin's Guide to Writing and developed by GSW, at BGSU.)


This essay should be a minimum of 4-5 pages, typed, 12 point, Times or Times New Roman font, following the format and submission guidelines on the syllabus. 

Project’s Required Components

  • Rough draft
  • Peer Review, Revision
  • Final Draft

One Final Consideration

Don’t forget that we’ll be sharing these with one another, so make sure that you’ll be comfortable doing so with the topic you’ve chosen.


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