Reading & Comprehension

NFG: Read Chp. 18: Reflections and the sample essays in Chp. 65: Reflections. Make sure you understand the following key features: A topic that intrigues you, Some kind of structure, Specific details, and A questioning, speculative tone.

NFG: Read Chp. 37: Describing. This chapter deals with issues of perspective, detail, and description. It is essential reading for the reflection essay.

Handout: Read this guide to Descriptive & Sensory Details. As you will see, sensory details are a central component of the reflection essay, which cannot receive a passing grade without a sustained use of them. Read this handout carefully and be sure you understand the content.

Essay #2

Here is your assignment for the reflection essay: Choose a person, place, thing, or event that most people would consider insignificant. Write a 2-3 page essay that makes explicit use of description and sensory detail while commenting on the person, place, thing, or event in a thoughtful manner.

Sensory details include vivid imagery and/or attentiveness to smells, tastes, textures, or sounds. It is important to choose a topic that interests you! Don't write about something you find boring as it will show in your work. The purpose of any essay is to engage your imagined readership in some way. You are only writing for me, of course, but as Chp. 2 of NFG reminds us, you should always have an imagined readership in mind. For samples of effective reflection essays, refer to Jonathan Safran Foer's "My Life as a Dog" and the essays in Chp. 65, taking note of subject matter (e.g., what is being written about?) and how the authors of the essays make use of description. These authors employ sensory details to varying degrees. Remember, however: the use of seonsory details should be the dominant component of your essay.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While reflection essays may be written on a wide variety of topics, they should all accomplish the same goal: coming to a greater understanding of a subject by combining descriptive and meditative passages. As it says in NFG, “Reflective essays are our attempt to think something through by writing about it and to share our thinking with others." In its most basic form, the reflection essay describes a person, place, thing, or event and then reflects on how that person, place, thing, or event has allowed you to come to a greater understanding of yourself, society, and/or the human condition.


Discussion: There is a discussion topic for "My Life as a Dog." Each of you must make at least one contribution to this topic, explaining how Foer's essay meets (or does not meet) the requirements of a reflection essay as stipulated above. You are also encouraged to respond to one another. DUE DATE & TIME: Friday, Feb. 5, 11 a.m.

Summaries: In NFG, summarize each of the sample essays in Chp. 65: Reflections in a paragraph of no less than 100 words apiece. The first sentence of each summary should convey the essay's thesis or main theme. These essays include "Guys vs. Men," "If You Are What You Eat, Then What Am I?," "The Ides of March," "Grief" and "The Unexpected Lessons of Mexican Food." Hence you should submit a total of five summaries. Compile them on the same MS-Word document and submit via Pilot. DUE DATE & TIME: Friday, Feb. 12, 11 a.m.

Reflection Essay: Submit via Pilot. DUE DATE & TIME: Friday, Feb. 19, 11 a.m.