writing project home

“I’ve been using the Montaignian definition of essay, since that is what I write, what I study, and what I read. I think the form itself is particularly suitable for place-based inquiry. It is a fluid, malleable form that combines narrative and exposition as the canvas upon which the writer’s mind moves its brush.”

—Karen Babine

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“Home implies both rest and settlement, and movement. Home is the place from which things originate and to which they return, or—where movement is blocked—an imagined return. It is a place of belonging, involving a sense of family, intimacy, or affinity among those who live close to each other, surrounded by movement.”

—Tony Bennett

Our last writing project (WP3) asks you to focus on the community and culture that you identify as “home,” the network of places that helped to form your identity. If you grew up in one location, that may be the place. If you moved around and lived in different locations you will need to pick one location to write about for this project. The only place you should avoid choosing is Green River College, even if you identify it as home in some way. Look to a community that shaped who you are now. (Note: this may be a home you wish to build in the future.)

Your goal is to explore narrative details, along with personal circumstances, and develop your definition of “home” with an expository style that investigates factual, tangible elements of the physical locations. In other words, this isn’t strictly a memoir. Locate the culture beyond yourself and intertwine it with very specific details of your life. Incorporate a style that mixes public and private knowledge (as well as Insider/Outsider perspectives) to create context.

The Essay (at least 5 pages of polished prose)

Think about the intersection of “public” and “private.” What do you identify as the important public aspects of your home community? Think about how “movement” is a part of defining “home.” Where and how does that happen for your home? Select a few important traits or places and use language to detail and describe them. This will take research and imagination to explore the historical facts, design elements, and/or societal contexts. These research tangents will help shape the ideas and narrative for an audience. But you also need to make clear your personal connection. Description will be important to help us understand what your specific home looks and feels like. Remember, good description will always include your personal feelings, thoughts, and reflections as you construct pictures with words. Good description is evocative, not mundane.

There are many possibilities for structuring the content. You might refer back to readings we’ve discussed for ideas of how to structure your paper. For example, Karen Babine uses songs and what she terms “songlines” to navigate the places she calls home. You may choose something similar to help structure your paper.

Beginning the Project:

Which geographic locations do you consider your home?

What places and facts do the general public know about these locations?

What distinct physical places in that geographic location do you consider home? Break the place into its parts. What places are most important to you?

Narrow your paper down to a couple of these public and private spaces.

Source Integration: use sources to supplement the personal and public narratives. Sources help a reader understand more about the physical locations you write about, as well as your definition of “home,” which may be more conceptual. You will need to choose at least three different authors from the available sources on our Canvas page, so look through them to find relevant ideas. I have selected these sources for you. (Look for the file “WP3 Articles.”) These sources explore some component of “home,” so read through them to find ideas that relate to your paper.

I’ll consider these aspects, among other things, while grading:

Create a compelling introduction wherein you inform the reader of why this place, your home, matters. Define “home” in some way. Create pictures of the physical and emotional life your paper will develop.

The thesis should synthesize the main points into a layered couple of sentences. What will your paper say about “home”? Make it arguable.

Consider descriptive, figurative, and informative language.

Use sources to develop a few specific points (3-4 cited sources are required). Use MLA. Dig deeper into this place with outside ideas.

Logical paragraph structure: A topic sentence that states the point of the paragraph (what it will say about “home”); support sentences to elaborate on the topic sentence; concrete details and evidence (including quotes and summary from source materials); analysis of concrete details from sources and related aspects of home in your paper; support sentences connecting analysis and concrete details to your thesis; transition sentences (including a concluding sentence for the paragraph). One main idea per paragraph.

You may use multiple concrete details and points of analysis in each paragraph to fully develop the topic sentence..

WP3 Articles — “Home” Sources for your paper

You can use the document I upload for the reference and you can use the online source too. But most I want to use the document source.

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