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Qingdao city essay

Question Description


For your first major writing assignment this quarter, you will write a Vignette in the style of John Steinbeck.

You will also write a companion essay we will call the Style Memo. This is a rigorous, first-person analysis of Steinbeck's style and your imitative choices.

The Style Memo is just as, perhaps more important than your Vignette. Think of the Vignette as a way to practice close reading of Steinbeck, and a way to practice writing details and imitating writers generally. The Style Memo is where you prove that you have closely read Steinbeck and imitated him — and it's where you, VERY importantly, practice your essay writing skills in preparation for the Critical Essay. Take it seriously!

Vignette: Intro to a Place (2-3 pages)

In this vignette, you will write a creative introduction to your hometown in a style emulation of John Steinbeck's introduction to Cannery Row (p. 1-2). In this assignment, you should not imitate Steinbeck sentence for sentence (that's why it's called an emulation and not an imitation); however, you must open your vignette with a paragraph that closely imitates Steinbeck's opening paragraph, which begins: "Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light…etc…"). After that, you should emulate more loosely, capturing his descriptive and detail-writing style, though you should NOT imitate sentence-by-sentence.

  • In this vignette, you will use specific details of people, places, and things, to introduce and describe your hometown, much like Steinbeck does in his introductory chapter.
  • Remember, this is not an advertisement or brochure! The goal is not to get me to want to visit. The goal is to tell the story of your place through vivid, detailed description. Think about what lies beneath the façade, and try and get to that in your writing. Every place has a story, or an underbelly, something particular to set it apart from every other place. It should be your goal to both expose and explore the inner-story of your chosen place much in the way that Steinbeck exposes and explores the inner-story of Monterey.
  • To repeat — this is not sentence by sentence imitation after the first paragraph. Instead you should think about the overall purpose of this chapter in Steinbeck, and his overall writing style (in this chapter AND OTHERS), and try to follow a similar purpose and writing style.

Style Memo: (3-4 pages)

As previously indicated, this is a rigorous, first-person (i.e., you're writing about what YOU wrote, so you must use "I") analysis of Steinbeck's style and your imitative choices.

This is meant to show that you are reading closely and making conscious CHOICES in terms of style (not content!). It is ALSO meant, just as importantly, to prepare you for your critical essay: you will be practicing some important academic essay writing skills, as below.

To that end, it is AS IMPORTANT in my evaluation as the vignette itself. Do not ignore this assignment!

  • This is in MLA essay format. Including parenthetical citations, as well as include a works cited.
  • Use a clear, complex thesis and organized, cohesive paragraphs with clear transitions.
  • Quote directly from both Steinbeck AND your own writing, and analyze those quotes in detail.
  • You should likely structure the piece based on the main style choices you noticed and then imitated (e.g., a paragraph on Steinbeck's use of imagery, one on his paragraph length, one on the overall structure, one on his sentences, etc.). Consider which style choices should come first — don't just randomly order them.

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