Writing about Place

Critical Summaries
1 page summary of a Bill McKibbon article about global warming (“Worried? Us?”)
2 page summary and rhetorical evaluation of a Scott Russell Sander article about the ecological importance of the U.S. ceasing to be a mobile society (“Homeplace”)

Personal Essay (from Derek Owens’s Place Portrait assignment in Composition and Sustainability: Teaching for a Threatened Generation and ourmap.org)
Model Essay: Eudora Welty “The Little Store”
4 page essay describing your home neighborhood. From place portrait assignment:

Your goal is to describe this place so that your readers can form a detailed and relatively accurate picture of it in their head. If this place has changed over time, describe those changes…The point is to be honest, and to convey to your reader what you think about this place through your descriptions…Spend some time describing the house or apartment building you live in [but]…even more time describing the surrounding area. What is the street like outside your front door? The adjacent buildings? Is it a residential or commercial area, or both? Are there stores nearby? What are they, what do they look like, and what kind of an impact do they have on you - that is, how do they make you feel? Is there traffic, and if so, how would you describe it? Are there parks or fields or lots nearby? Open spaces? Are there lots of people around, and if so, what kinds of people - age, culture, appearance? What do the people do in your neighborhood? If there aren't many people around, describe what that's like. Think about your neighbors: what kinds of jobs do you think they have? How do you think they spend their days? What is the name of the street you live on? The town or village? What are the names of the nearby neighborhoods, and are they similar to yours or different? If there are things that strike you as positive and good about your neighborhood, tell us about them. If there are things that are negative, let us know what they are. If you feel your place is "boring," try to explain why, exactly. If you feel indifferent about your neighborhood, and find it neither "good" nor "bad," try hard to explain why you feel that indifference. Do you think your neighborhood is similar to many others, or unique? In general, how does this place make you feel, and why? (Owens)

Research Essay
Model Essay David Guterson “No Place like Home”
6 page research paper about a cultural or political or social or economic or environmental issue that grows out of your personal essay (such as the housing bubble, development, zoning, immigration, divorce, contemporary childhood’s scheduled activities). This research project will involve the critical summary and synthesis of 4+ secondary sources as well as field research – interviews, observations, surveys.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License