Dominant Impression

Write a personal narrative that defines you, using descriptive language. In other words, narrate an incident from your past that you feel contributed significantly to who you are today. 4 pages, MLA format .Use first person because this is a personal narrative, but you should avoid using second person (you, your, yours). Must have a thesis statement.

Here are some tips that my professor has left:

Discovering ideas: We are not writing journals in this class, so use freewriting, outlining, clustering, or whatever prewriting technique you have learned in previous writing classes to generate ideas. Perhaps you just graduated from high school, or this is the first time you have taken a college writing class. How do those actions define you? Is there an incident that you could narrate (a conversation with a parent or friend, the first day on a job) that made you change your mind about what you wanted to do with your life?

Exploring the methods of development (I call them “writing modes”): These are being assigned to you in this class: narration, description, and definition. Tell a story, include descriptive language, and tell that story to try to define who and what you are, or who you would like to become, for someone who does not know you.

Drafting: The directions in your text are excellent. Read them. Then read them again.

Focusing on a thesis: I always say that once you have the thesis statement down, the rest of the essay will write itself. If you have been taught to use a three-part thesis statement, you’re welcome to do so in this class. If not, be sure your thesis is a general sentence that the information in the paragraphs in your essay supports.

Supporting the thesis: The body of your essay does this, in this case, using a narrative. Tell a story. Your organization is chronological. Follow the models provided by Nye and Angelou. After you’ve blocked out the story that defines you, add some descriptive writing. Describe the locations. Describe the people. Tell us what the places where your narrative happened look like, smell like, sound like. If you touched something, what does it feel like? If you tasted something, what does it taste like? Make sure there is a dominant impression and details to support it, both terms you should recognize from your reading in the text itself.

Shaping your introduction and conclusion: Here’s my simplified advice: Open your essay with something that will make people want to read it. Close it by asking (and answering!) the question, “So what?”

Revise, edit, proofread, and proofread again. There is one required instructor review of every paper assigned in this class.

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