Stockton Rhetoric & Comp Class #3/#3A: January 24th & January 31, 2017

I HATE to write, but I LOVE to have written – Oscar Wilde



Have read everything due.



  1. Personality Assessment & Discussion
  2. Narrative Assignment Overview, Discussion & Draft
  3. Reading Quiz #2
  4. Lecture: Costal’s 5 Keys to Writing



Reading Quiz #2: Is the Rooster a “redeemable” character? In a maximum of three sentences, tell me how the Rooster redeems himself by the end of the essay.

Costal’s 5 Keys to Writing: 

  1. SHOW don’t TELL
  2. Good writing = Strong Verbs
  3. Writing IS Rewriting
  4. Beginnings matter most
  5. Read close…like butter reads toast

Shooting An Elephant by George Orwell:  When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick–one never does when a shot goes home–but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd. In that instant, in too short a time, one would have thought, even for the bullet to get there, a mysterious, terrible change had come over the elephant. He neither stirred nor fell, but every line of his body had altered. He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old, as though the frightful impact of the bullet had paralyzed him without knocking him down. At last, after what seemed a long time–it might have been five seconds, I dare say–he sagged flabbily to his knees. His mouth slobbered. An enormous senility seemed to have settled upon him. One could have imagined him thousands of years old. I fired again into the same spot. At the second shot he did not collapse but climbed with desperate slowness to his feet and stood weakly upright, with legs sagging and head drooping. I fired a third time. That was the shot that did for him. You could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs. But in falling he seemed for a moment to rise, for as his hind legs collapsed beneath him he seemed to tower upward like a huge rock toppling, his trunk reaching skyward like a tree. He trumpeted, for the first and only time. And then down he came, his belly towards me, with a crash that seemed to shake the ground even


where I lay.

NPR piece.




Formal Essay #1: Descriptive Narrative

A narrative is a story. In writing a narrative essay, you share with the reader some personal experience of your own in order to make a point or convey a larger message. A great narrative, for example might be how your grandfather influenced your desire to become an orthodontist, or perhaps you’ll relate the story of the time you didn’t make the cut for the basketball team. Whatever the story, a good narrative relays a higher purpose or meaning.

Narrative effect is the main point of your story—the moral, the message, the insight you offer. Without a specific narrative effect, your essay is merely a series of unconnected events. If you are unsure what your main point is, you might ask yourself, “Why am I telling this story? Why should someone else be interested in reading about my experience?” In addition, you must decide whether to reveal your point explicitly (stated directly) or implicitly (suggested but not stated).

meoeamsYour narrative will be a story. It The must provide its description through the telling of a specific story. So a narrative that ask you to tell about your prized possession cannot simply DESCRIBE your favorite chair, you must tell me the story of how you got it, or a time when it provided you solace.

You can’t tell me about your boyfriend, you have to tell me about a particular memorable date. The time he told you he loved you. 

THIS is the difference between “show” & “tell.” More on that later in class.

The narrative MUST tell a story, and the story must illustrate the prompt.

Two – three pages double spaced, default font, 1″ margins. Write name and Formal Essay #1: Narrative in the header.

Bring an electronic copy to use in class on Monday. Make sure you can access it from a computer.

Frequently Committed Narrative Issues:

1. Inciting Incident: To begin…as weird as it seems…don’t just start at the beginning…MAKE the beginning at the point of incitement.

2. Write a story, not an expository essay. No traditional thesis or opening paragraph. Resist the urge to NOT tell me WHAT you’re describing. This device is rarely worth the confusion.

3. Dominant Impression: Too many of you will not focus your story on ONE, SPECIFIC, CONCRETE INCIDENT, instead you wrapped it up in a complete day’s worth of description. For example, if you “find peace” at Disney World, and you know that because you went last summer, don’t tell me the whole story, from packing the car to leaving Orlando on interstate 4. Instead, why not focus on riding your favorite ride with a loved one. Or one magical evening at Cinderella’s Castle. Or eating your way around World Showcase.


Narrative Prompts

Tell me about…

  1. a challenge you have overcome.
  2. a time you survived.
  3. a specific obstacle to success you have overcome.
  4. a time you failed. What you learned from it.
  5. a time you succeeded though you thought you might fail.
  6. a life lesson you learned from adversity.
  7. the most difficult goal you’ve reached and how you did it.
  8. a time you were forced from your “comfort zone” and what you learned.
  9. the last time you did something that scared or challenged you.
  10. What scares you.
  11. a specific fear or phobia.
  12. a personal superstition.
  13. your relationship with being alone.
  14. a time you cried.
  15. a time you felt overlooked and underappreciated.
  16. a time when you were the ‘New Kid.’
  17. a time when you had to deal with haters.
  18. a time when you were provoked. How did you act?
  19. a time when you were really stressed and the role it played in your life.
  20. a time when you made a bad decision and its effects resonated.
  21. a place where you find peace.
  22. something you once hated, but now you like.
  23. a time when specific feedback helped you improve.
  24. how sometimes trying too hard to be happy can make you sad. What happened?
  25. a time when an adult who was ‘Only Trying to Help’ made something worse.
  26. a time your love was not returned. How did it end?



  1. We will begin building our class blogs on Blogger. Use the very explicit directions provided here. 

2. Name the blog “”

3. Re-read & make the appropriate corrections to FE #1. Label FE #1.2

4. Blog Post #1: Look at NPR’s fact-checking analysis of the President’s State of the Union.  Choose one of the facts presented by the NPR editors and analyze it against the speech and other facts you can find. Do not worry too much about source credibility right now, and at the end of the blog post, cite the sources you use as best as you can.

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