Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Heart of the Matter: Week 5

How do we get to the heart of our story this week?

Well, it depends which heart you're talking about.  If you're looking to find the beat of your belief, look at yesterday's post.  For those of you who attended this week's class, you can refer to questions 1-3 of your handout/worksheet (1.  What are two things you'd like to have written on your tombstone? (also in yeasterday's post); 2.  What are two things you'd like people to say about you?; 3.  What underlying belief do these answers reveal?).

If you're looking for the heart of what you want to write in your essay, then move forward to the next question:
  • How do you see this belief exemplified in your everyday life?
Sometimes, this is really, really hard.  Yes, I know I'm being redundant, but I'm doing so to let you know that it's hard not in the herculean sense that it is a single overwhelming task, it is more onerous.  It will take time and effort to slog through your memories of your day to find the habitual actions of small seconds that reveal the essence of your belief.

Example:

In Sarah Adams's essay, she clearly has four guiding principles: humility and forgiveness, empathy, the honoring of honest work, and equality.  And she has discovered a single repeated action with aspects that demonstrate the application of each of these four values in everyday life--actions which she very succinctly describes.
  • Take home lesson:  You can cover more than one value when you outline it clearly and illustrate it vividly.  Feel free to tell, then show.

In James Michener's essay, he states, "I believe that all men are brothers."  He then follows it with case after case after case.  Each case becomes more intricately described until he zooms back to his home. 
  • Take home lesson:  Once you have found your belief and an action or series of repeated actions that demonstrates that belief, get closer and closer to it before you zoom out and reiterate your belief.
In Tim Wilson's essay, he states his belief then gives us negatives, the actions surrounding the words are alluded to but left as suspense.
  • Take home lesson:  Sometimes the example or belief is the opposite--and that can be okay.
Deirdre Sullivan also uses a single example to convey more than one ideal.  But instead of going straight into her beliefs in her essay, she begins with a dramatization of the first funeral she went to alone before really going into what her father meant by it.  By the time she gets to what her father meant, we are sold on examples, entertained, and willing to follow her through more examples.
  • Take home lesson:  Even in an essay, dramatizations can draw the reader in and keep their attention.

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