Essay Assignment

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GWRTC 103: Fall 2011
Heather Comfort

Essay Assignment #1
Recovering Sovereignty: A Personal Narrative with Analysis

Personal Narrative:  Recount a single experience that you had before last semester. The incident may have occurred when you were a child, as a teenager, as long as it occurred at least before last semester. You will want to describe the specific incident in great reflective detail. Use dialogue. Use concrete details. Take your audience through your experience, so that they can see it and feel it. Show. Don’t tell. Your life experiences are unique. Don’t assume that your audience has experienced what you are describing. Remember Dillard’s piece and how she shows her experiences and then reflects upon them to make connections and to find meaning.  She enters a conversation with other texts and other author’s ideas in order to create meaning. These methods lead her to epiphanies about the experiences she has had within the world she inhabits and explores.

Describe the experience, and then analyze it.

Analysis:  After describing your experience, reflect upon it to make connections and to find meaning. Ask yourself, how do the ideas and examples from Percy’s essay relate to your experience and help you reflect upon your experience?

Assume that your audience is not familiar with Walker Percy or his essay, “The Loss of the Creature.”

Use Percy’s language and terminology to support your analysis. (Some examples: Sovereign, sovereignty, symbolic complex, surrender, specimen, prototype, symbolic package, conform, surrender, sightseer, tourist, layman, consumer, planner, expert, recover, recovery, dialectic, dialectical movement, sovereign discovery, sovereign explorer, individual, etc.). Explain the terminology to your audience.

Give an example or examples from “The Loss of the Creature” in order to support your analysis.
Show that you understand Percy’s ideas.  You are teaching Percy’s ideas to your audience by using your experience as an example. You are continuing Percy’s work.

Remember to cite Percy when paraphrasing or quoting passages from his essay. Explain what Percy is saying when using an example. Remember that your audience has not read Percy’s essay.

Expect to make significant changes or additions when you revise.  I will of course be looking for a well-supported thesis, good mechanics, etc., but I also will be looking for original thought and honest, deeply considered responses.  The final revision should represent a substantial rewriting of the first draft, based on discussion, peer review, and peer editor advice.  You will need to produce a thorough revision of your earlier drafts, not simply a corrected or slightly amended version.

The Final Revision must have:

  • 1250-1750 words, typed on a word processor, 1’ margins, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, double-spaced, with a title; your name, date, and course number; a page number and your last name at the top right corner of each consecutive page;
  • Percy cited within the piece, according to MLA format;
  • a Works Cited page citing Percy’s essay, formatted to MLA specifications;
  • In order to get credit for both your First Revision and your Final Revision, you must turn all drafts of your essay in a folder.


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