I. College Level Expectations in English Language Arts B. Writing Level 100 Assignments

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1 I. College Level Expectations in English Language Arts B. Writing Level 100 Assignments I.B1) Developing and Argument and Using Quotations to Support Claim Massasoit Community College Writing I Assignment Working draft due: September 26 Final draft due on October 3 Length: a minimum of 500 words Focus: Language and Communication Steps: 1. Reread the three essays assigned for this section, Sex, Lies, and Conversation, The Ways We Lie, and Wife-Beater. Use one of the statements listed below, or find another statement that catches your attention, and take a stand on the issue the author is raising about communication and language. 2. Freewrite in response to this statement. 3. Using some idea in your freewriting, narrow your subject (communication) to a topic that can be explored in 500+ words. 4. Write a thesis: what do you intend to prove in this essay 5. Search through your own experiences and the experiences that are described in your text to get examples of problems in communication. 6. Decide on which examples you will use to make your case. 7. Write. Include at least one explicit reference to the reading (a quote or a paraphrase). 8. Rewrite. 9. Edit. In these times of resurgent ethnic conflicts, the world desperately needs cross-cultural understanding. Like charity, successful cross-cultural communication should begin at home. Tannen, 411. Saying it s okay to lie one way and not another is hedging. I cannot seem to escape the voice deep inside me that tells me: When someone lies, someone loses. Ericsson, 471 Therein lies perhaps the worst difficulty: that this name [wife-beater] for this shirt teaches the wrong thing about men. Smith, 522 1

2 English Comp I Language and Lies Language is essential and human. It is the thing that sets us apart from lesser creature; it is what allows us to communicate and commiserate. One can use it to convert to others what it is like to live in his or her world, therefore passing on one s human experience, or one can mislead, unknowingly or even purposely. The objective of language is to establish a consistent and reliable means of communication. Its objective relies on the honesty and perspicacity of it participants. That is why when a person tells an lie at all, even a small one he or she may think is harmless, it is wrong. According to S.I. Hayakawa, the late general semanticist, the effectiveness of language, and therefore communication, relies most heavily on the cooperation between the human beings partaking in the act. In his best-selling book, Language in Thought and Action, he explains; When someone shouts at you, look out! and you jump just in time to avoid being hit by a automobile, you owe your escape from injure to the fundamental cooperative action by which most higher animals survive (Hayakawa. 8) The cooperative act he writes of is the statement of warning about a hazardous truth for the benefit of another. If one is not warned by another about an unseen car speeding towards himself, he will likely be hit. And yet, with the help of another person, he can avoid the danger, if only narrowly, by placing trust in that person and jumping looking out, like his is told. Here is where the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf gains relevance. If a person can help another with a cooperative act based on trust, then a person can also ask for help in a similar manner and usually get it. People ask for and receive favors everyday, and it is rarely front-page news, however there are limitations. As children many of us are told and retold the story of the Shepard boy who got bored tending his flock of sheep and so lied several times about a wolf attack to bring some excitement into his life. The first few times he got the attention he so craved, but eventually, and when a wolf actually did appear, no one was left to trust he spoke the truth, and he did not receive the help he needed. In the same rite, nowadays, if someone were to lie to get attention or to spice up an otherwise boring situation they would be deemed untrustworthy. In many ways the moral of the story holds true; dishonesty breeds distrust. Often through, a person faces a moral dilemma as to whether or not they should lie and save someone else s feelings, or tell the truth and risk hurting him or her. If a person approaches her friend on a say when, say her boyfriend has broken up with her and she has stayed up all night crying and sulking over it, and asks if she looks all right, it is not secret that many, if not most of us, would say yes (even if the person looked like crap). This is because most people assume it is their responsibility is to make the person feel better, rather than answer their question. Assumedly, this person has a mirror, and is only asking to reaffirm her own observation, that she 2

3 does in fact look like crap. When she hears you tell a blatant lie, she may be flattered (though her belief in the lie may effect the way people judge her and actually may not work to her advantage), or she may also establish a slight distrust of her friend, having witnesses he or she lie outright to save her feelings. This type of lie is often referred to as a white lie. In her essay The Ways We Lie, Stephanie Ericsson explain what it is that makes lying in this manner so much more acceptable to people; The white lie assumes that the truth will cause more damage than a simple, harmless untruth. (Ericsson. 470). She goes on to say though, and perhaps mor e importantly; It is an act of subtle arrogance for anyone to decide what is best for someone else. In short, while the liar assumes the lied to will benefit from his dishonesty, it is not his place to make that decision. In fact, every lie told is detrimental to both parties and serves to defeat the purpose of language. No matter how small, or seemingly insignificant, each lie is like a stone in a wall placed on the pathway of communication between two people. When one talks to another one is literally creating his or her own image in the mid of that person. What a person says, and does, the manner in which he or she is constantly evolving and changing, is all conveyed through speech. To lie is to create a false image of oneself in the mind of another. It is also the act of creating a false world in the mind of another, where the rules are slightly skewed (as in the situation with the friend lying to another about her appearance), where one can stay up all night and cry and still look fine. It makes the liar unreachable. In effect, lies are only self-serving. They allow a person to dodge difficult situation unscathed, sometimes at the expense of others, and also on occasion to liven up an otherwise dull life. They can also be the downfall of many people, being that they are so detrimental to the on thing, human, communication. 3

4 Works Cited Ericsson, Stephanie. The Ways We Lie Patterns for College Writing: ARhetorical Reader and Guide. 9 th ed. Ed. Laurie G. Krizner and Stephen R. Mandell. New York. Bedford Hayakawa, H.I. Language in Thought and Action New York, NY. Harcourt Brace,

5 Massasoit Community College Writing I Rubric F D IDEA/PURPOSE THESIS: Response to Assignment; thesis;significance; unity; audience awareness Not about the assignment; no identifiable idea that controls the essay Just touches the assignment; the thesis does not unify the essay C Meets the assignment; the essay is mostly focused on the thesis; the ideas or their treatment do not seem consistently significant B The thesis and its development support the purpose of the essay; the idea has some moral and/or intellectual significance; this essay is mostly aware of audience A The idea is clear, original, and significant; the essay supports the thesis and engages an audience ORGANIZATION: Beginning, middle, end; paragraph unitiy and order; coherence; transitions Random and scattered The essay may have some sense of a beginning/middle/end but lacks a clear sense of purpose; the paragraphs often lack focus Organization is present in an automatic way Clear sense of beginning/middle/end; useful introduction and conclusion; mostly focused paragraphs; thoughtfully ordered paragraphs with transitions as needed Strong organization and flow throughout; does not feel mechanical DEVELOPMENT: Supporting details; examples; responsiveness to what an audience needs to know Support is lacking or not linked to idea Too general; too short; or details stray from the essay s purpose Adequate but not compelling support Strong details and examples support the idea and anticipate what an audience needs to know The supporting details and examples are logically chosen, vivid and compelling. LANGUAGE: Voice; Diction; Level No sense of writing for an academic audience; words are often imprecisely or incorrectly chosen; interference from spoken language Little sense of writing for an academic audience; language may seem immature at the college level The voice is appropriate for the essay, but the diction may be too high or too low The voice and the diction are both clear and appropriate The voice is distinctive; the vocabulary aptly chosen, lively, and sophisticated but natural CORRECTNESS: Grammar; usage; punctuation; spelling Little attention to the rules of Standard American English Errors interfere with reading of the essay. Errors are present but do no interfere with meaning Few Errors Essentially clean copy DOCUMENTATION (as needed): Integration and acknowledgement of sources; format of entries Sources are missing, are not integrated, or are unacknowledged Sources are inappropriate, awkwardly integrated, or incorrectly cited Sources sometimes lack integration and acknowledgement Sources are usually integrated and documented correctly; the writer understands the principles of documentation Primary and secondary (when required) sources are smoothly integrated and correctly cited 5

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