Rhetoric & Composition September 13, 2010
When you come in… • Get out your body sketch with all of your scars (literal or figurative) marked (home fun from last night). [Writing Process Section] • If you don’t have it, do it NOW! • DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE, YOUR SEATS ARE CHANGING!
God will not look you over for medals degrees or diplomas, but for scars. Elbert Hubbard For now and home fun… Swimming accident my mother’s death Sketch a body and mark places you have scars (can be literal or figurative). Write a caption about how you got the scar. Skin cancer removed Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh. Leonard Cohen I just don't want to die without a few scars. Chuck Palahniuk It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars. Garrison Keillor
Narrative Writing The Characteristics Turn to the Interactive Notes section of your spiral and divide a clean sheet in half (long ways).
Characteristics of Narrative Writing • To narrate is to tell a story. • A narrative is an account of any event or series of events. Your Response: Draw a picture that represents what a narrative is.
Five Essential Features • A clear context • Well-chosen and thoughtfully emphasized details • A logical, often chronological organization • An appropriate and consistent point of view • A meaningful point or purpose.
Let’s talk about what those five essential features mean with this excerpt by Willie Morris.
One afternoon in late August, as the summer’s sun streamed into the [railroad] car and made little jumping shadows on the windows, I sat gazing out at the tenement-dwellers, who were themselves looking out of their windows from the gray crumbling buildings along the tracks of upper Manhattan. As we crossed into the Bronx, the train unexpectedly slowed down for a few miles. Suddenly from out of my window I saw a large crowd near the tracks, held back by two policemen. Then, on the other side from my window, I saw a sight I would never be able to forget: a little boy almost severed in halves, lying at an incredible angle near the track. The ground was covered with blood, and the boy’s eyes were opened wide, strained and disbelieving in his sudden oblivion. A policeman stood next to him, his arms folded, staring straight ahead at the windows of our train. In the orange glow of late afternoon the policemen, the crowd, the corpse of the boy were for a brief moment immobile, motionless, a small tableau to violence and death in the city. Behind me, in the next row of seats, there was a game of bridge. I heard one of the four men say as he looked out at the sight, “God, that’s horrible.” Another said, in a whisper, “Terrible, terrible.” There was a momentary silence, punctuated by the clicking of the wheels on the track. Then, after the pause, I heard the first man say: “Two hearts.”
A Clear Context • The Who, What, Where, When of the story. • Look at the paragraph from Willie Morris’s “On a Commuter Train” and find the CONTEXT of the narrative. Your Response Fill in the blank: This reminds me of _____.
Details • Include enough detail so that the reader knows what is happening. • Do not include so much detail that your reader is bored, confused, or overwhelmed. • What were some of the details in this piece that added depth and interest to the narrative? Your response Highlight or circle the most important words on this slide.
Organization • Typically narratives are arranged in chronological order. • This piece is broken into 3 parts – • Beginning – sets the scene • Middle – paints the picture • End – makes his point. • Find the sentences where the story shifts from beginning to middle to end. Your response What are the possible effects of telling a story out of chronological order?
Point of View • Narrator – storyteller • Point of view – perspective from which a narrative is told
Omniscient Narrator • POV in which narrator is capable of knowing, seeing, and telling all. Your response Draw a picture that represents this POV.
Omniscient Narrator It is characterized by • freedom in shifting from the exterior world to the inner selves of a number of characters • a freedom in movement in both time and place • a freedom of the narrator to comment on the meaning of actions Your response Draw a picture that represents this POV.
Limited Narrator • 3rd person POV of story presented as seen and understood by a single character, restricting information to what that character sees, hears, feels, and thinks. Your response Draw a picture that represents this POV.
What point of view does this story employ? • How does this make the story effective?
Purpose • Why is the author telling this story? What statement is he trying to make? • What does he want us to believe or do as a result of reading his story? Your Response Fill in the blank: My purpose in life is _____.
Five Essential Features • A clear context • Well-chosen and thoughtfully emphasized details • A logical, often chronological organization • An appropriate and consistent point of view • A meaningful point or purpose. Your Response: Write an acronym for the five essential features: C – D – O – P – P –
Narrative Warm Up Please take out your scar information and your narrative notes.
Narrative Practice Show-Not-Tell: The Secret to Entertaining Storytelling
Show-Not-Tell • Narratives are more entertaining when you Show things rather than Tell them. Watch out for general statements like: • He is stupid. • This is the worst day of my life. • Waking up in the morning isn’t much fun. • I was happy.
Methods to Show-Not-Tell • Action • In medias res • Onomatopoeia and description of action • Dialogue • Overheard dialogue • Character’s own dialogue • Character’s thoughts Show-Not-Tell: Billy is a jerk. • Write a scene that lets me know that this guy is a real jerk without ever saying, “He is a jerk.”
SNT – Narrate the Action • You can do this by Showing him behaving like a jerk. • As the kindergarten girl walked by, Billy, the 4th grade bully, pulled her ponytail and then knocked her cafeteria tray to the ground. He laughed when she started to cry. • This is an in medias res beginning because you immediately start with action, no explanation of where he is or really who he is. Just enough to understand that immediate situation.
Use Dialogue • Get the point across by showing people talking about Billy in the way they would talk about someone who is a jerk. “That Billy is a meanie!” “Yuh-huh. Did you see him kick that dog on the playground?” “No, but I saw him push Jimmy out of the swing and into a mud puddle.”
Thoughts (still with dialogue) • Show his own words/thoughts that would make me believe he is a jerk. “I can’t believe I failed that stupid math test again,” Billy muttered under his breath. “Hey, wait a minute, there’s that kid in the wheelchair. That buttmunch always passes his math tests, and he’s all handicapped and stuff. I’ll show him who’s smarter …” As George rolled his chair down the sidewalk toward the gym, Billy grabbed the back of the chair and slung the helpless boy around so he could punch him in the nose.
Try It Out • In the writing section of your notebook, Show-Not-Tell one of the following statements: • Getting up in the morning is hard to do. • It was funny. • It was the worst day of my life. • Take out your “scar” writing. Show-Not-Tell how you got that scar. • First, let’s look at an example. • Take note of the punctuation for the dialogue (quotations, commas, and indentions).
For Example “I hate poetry!” exclaimed Jenny to her sophomore English teacher, and she slammed her English anthology closed. The class, mouths agape, gazed in total surprise at the normally “perfect-in-everyway” Jenny as she burst into tears. After class, Mrs. Fallon asked a tear-stained Jenny, “Why this intense hatred of poetry?” “I’m sorry, Mrs. Fallon. I didn’t mean to cause a scene,” replied Jenny, “but I had a bad experience with poetry in middle school.” Jenny recalls the painful scene…
“Jenny. What is the foot and meter for this line of poetry,” asks Jenny’s eighth grade Language Arts teacher Mr. Creech. “Troche hexameter?” “What? Are you a complete numb-skulled ignoramus,” cries Mr. Creech. “How could you possibly come up with that answer?” “I’m sorry, Mr. Creech. I just can’t scan poetry very well.” “Well, I never,” huffs Mr. Creech. “How could you have possibly made it to the eighth grade—and an advanced English class at that—without being able to scan poetry? I’m appalled. You’re a disgrace!”
Personal Narrative How To Begin …
in medias res The buzzer sounded and the roar of the crowd hit him like a wave. But they weren’t cheering for him. His desperate three point shot had circled the rim and bounced out as the clock ticked down to zero. They’d lost in the final seconds ... again. Walking off the court, he knew what was waiting for him in the locker room – coach’s disappointed post-game speech, the one where he lists all the screw-ups in tonight’s loss and insists on an earlier practice time in the morning. There was a paper due in Rhet Comp tomorrow, but he already knew he was going to take a zero. He just didn’t have it in him to do homework tonight.
Dialogue “Hey, you done that paper yet?” “No way, man. I just got home.” “Well, you’d better get on it. I’ve been working on mine all night and I’m not done yet. It’s harder than I thought.” “Great. Just what I needed to hear ...” “Hey, you should’ve worked on it earlier. Where you been, anyway? I thought your game started at 5:30.” “It did, but Coach made us stay for the varsity game. Said we needed to support our teammates. He never cares about our homework unless we’re failing a class.” “That sucks. Well, I guess you’d better go do some writing.” “Man, it’s already eleven ... I think I’m just gonna take a zero. I’m too tired to do a paper now.”
Personal Reflection As a teacher, I understand the demands that school and sports put on my students’ time, but I consistently find that students, parents, and coaches are putting a greater emphasis on preparation for extra-curricular sports than they are on the academics.
Frame the Story See “My Mother Never Worked” as an example.
Your Narrative • Looking at your writing about scars thus far, write an essay about how people can be scarred. • Be sure to Show-Not-Tell and to start with one of the beginnings we’ve discussed. • Also use the five characteristics of narrative – appropriate context, significant detail, organization, consistent point of view, meaningful purpose.
Good Writing Appeals to the Senses: • Taste- mouth watering, savory, salty • Touch-jagged, flimsy, rubbery, bumpy • Sight-multi-colored, cubed, dizzying • Smell-putrid, newly cut grass, mildew • Hearing-screeching, deafening, quack • Feeling (Emotions)-melancholy, anxious, disheartening, frightening, embarrassing • Your complete draft of the narrative is due IN CLASS TOMORROW.