writing 101

writing 101
  Format: Minimum 1,500 words, double-spaced, 12-point TNR, 1” margins; put your name, my name, the class, assignment number, and date in the upper left corner of the first page; staple and number pages; have a title. Cite sources in MLA style.
 Basic Instructions: Compose an essay comparing and contrasting the rhetorical choices of two authors in Chapter 13 of the Common Reader: “Nature and the Environment”.
 Detailed Description: A2 is not a five-paragraph essay. It is also not an argument about any particular issue. It is an exercise in comparative rhetorical analysis.
 Look for what you can see by reading these two essays together that you could not see by reading them separately. Don’t simply make a list of similarities and differences. THAT there are many similarities and differences between any two texts is such an obvious thing to say that it’s useless. Here, that’s not enough.
 Do this instead. Look at HOW each author discusses and judges their subject. They directly say many things that are worth paying attention to. But in order to say these things (and to say them in the ways they say them), there are unstated assumptions, philosophies, worldviews, judgments, prejudices, etc. driving that person’s claims. So while two authors may seem to agree or disagree on certain things, you’ll find unexpected similarities within differences and unexpected differences within similarities if you look closely. Two authors who may argue for the same course of action may have very different reasons and logical thought processes (rationale) for making that argument. Those thought processes are what you’re comparing and contrasting here. What assumptions does each author make about their subject? What do they seem to value, and how can you tell? What (and whom) do they seem to value or de-value? What is significant and revealing about these and other rhetorical choices?
 You can’t effectively or responsibly join a conversation until you’ve defined the conversation you’re trying to join. So this essay is not about taking a position on the authors’ subject. You won’t actually be writing about environmental issues in this assignment. Instead, you’ll write about HOW people like Joy Horowitz, Rachel Carson, and Bill McKibben talk about environmental issues. Their writing is the subject of your essay.
 We will discuss several of these essays in class, but not all of them. Considering all the essays, you must choose at least two to work with at length. You might want to meet with me during office hours to discuss your pairing.
 Write to a general academic audience, not to me. Assume your reader has not read either essay, so make sure you appropriately summarize the main claims of each piece before or as you analyze their rhetoric.

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