This assignment asks you to write an essay describing a person, object, or event from your life using only facts, which we define as empirically verifiable statements. The objective of this essay is to present an unusual perspective on your subject while ensuring that your paper remains completely free of any evaluative language. Most of your essay will consist of details that you know or can recall from memory.
Those details count as facts so long as we could verify them had we been present at the event, or could see the person or object that you are describing. For example, you could say: My father was born the day after the 1970s World’s Fair opened in Osaka, Japan. His dad, my grandfather, was out of town for work and did not make it to the hospital in time for his birth. Even though you will be writing about something or someone from your own life, you can still incorporate research. For instance, if you are describing someone who does a certain type of work, you could cite research on that occupation or you could quote from other people’s narratives about that job. If you are describing a person who is or was a paramedic, for example, you could quote Nicolas Cage’s character Frank in Bring Out the Dead who says, “Saving someone’s life is like falling in love. The best drug in the world.” By citing research and quoting other narratives, you can provide different perspectives on a subject while refraining from evaluating and editorializing yourself. Remember, a quote is a fact because all you are claiming is that someone else said it. You will need to incorporate six different sources into your essay. After you choose a topic, begin to compile facts that allow you to show your subject from an unusual perspective. By “unusual” I mean different from how most people would think about a certain kind of person, or a certain kind of object or event. Your essay should NOT be a report. You are not writing an encyclopedia entry. You are making an argument by presenting an artful, carefully crafted perspective.
If you think this is impossible consider that journalists do it all the time. Though you are being artful, you want in every case to use only empirically verifiable statements. At no point should you state your opinions or use evaluative language unless you are attributing it to someone else. Your essay should only contain carefully collected and composed empirical statements that you have strategically organized. Other instructions 1) Your opening paragraph must introduce the subject of your essay with a vivid, detailed description. Be careful the words you choose. You can tell us that a birthday cake was red, but you can’t say that the cake was “deep red” or “bright red.” 2) After your introductory paragraph, write a two sentence preview of your essay that explains what you will tell us about. If done well, your introduction and preview should get our attention, but remember: all statements must be empirically verifiable
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