The Reflective Essay. Elements of a Reflective Essay. Purpose: explore the connection between a personal experience and what it says about your life and, beyond that, what it says about the meaning of being human
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Elements of a Reflective Essay • Purpose: explore the connection between a personal experience and what it says about your life and, beyond that, what it says about the meaning of being human • Your subject: an experience that leads you to think about abstract ideas such as love, patience, courage, honor, etc. • Your reflection on the experience should lead you to a new examination of your beliefs about life and/or what it means to be human.
Reflection Questions • How does/did the experience affect me? • Realized that I find some tattoos pretty • How did the experience change my attitudes or behavior? • I used to think tattoos were ugly, but now I realize I am being judgmental • What universal truth or insight into human existence did the experience teach me? • People are motivated by values and reasons that vary, and that is what makes us unique
Things to Keep in Mind • Think not only about the narrative – the events that occurred – but also about: • Descriptions of sights and sounds that contribute to your overall impression of the experience • Explanations of factual information that relate to an important part of your experience or to life in general
Putting it Together • Engage your reader’s attention • Provide background info necessary for understanding the experience • Hint at the significance or effect of the experience
Putting it Together: Middle • Use narrative and descriptive details to relate the events that make up the experience. • Effectively organize events, descriptions, and ideas. • Continue to hint at the meaning of the experience.
Putting it Together: End • Bring your telling of the experience to a close. • Reflect on the experience: reveal its significance for you or its effect on you. • Identify the insight into life the experience gave you.