Class Constructed Grading Criteria

EN 101
Dr. Fox

According to the class, good personal essays:

• Have a theme or connected themes. There is a reason/purpose for the essay to exist. In Welty, the theme is that there are ugly realities beneath our most cherished childhood memories (our illusions).

• Bring a place alive through description that uses all of the senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, sound.

• Have a tone that matches the theme (nostalgic and wistful for Welty; nostalgic and somber for White).

• Engage the reader emotionally.

• Show rather than tell (or rather than just tell).

• Are somewhat surprising and unconventional; this surprise may come at end (in case of Welty and White) or be threaded throughout.

• May provide a sense of immediacy, making the reader feel the scene unfold in real time.

• May present much focused detail about one place – the store in Welty’s case.

• May feel like the writer is speaking to you.

• Control repetition and use this repetition to emphasize the theme.

• May include lists (the lists of items on the shelves of the Welty’s store).

• May use flashback.

• May talk about a character as a way to talk about the writer’s own experiences without seeming self-indulgent.

• Use images and descriptions sometimes of minor things; these description of minor things don’t get in way of the focus of the essay.

• Describe a part as a way to describe the whole. Welty’s description of her street serves as a description of her entire town.

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