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English 270, Fall 2017

Final: Write your essay in any word processing program you'd like, and then Block, Copy and Paste your essay into a standard email, and send it to me AT or BEFORE 4:30 pm. Late papers will be penalized at the rate of 1 point per minute! (I repeat: DO NOT SEND YOUR PAPER AS AN ATTACHMENT! BLOCK, COPY, AND PASTE it into a standard email addressed to!)

Below are two passages from two different authors. Choose ONE for your analysis, and then go to work.

In your answer I will be looking for pretty much exactly what we have been doing in class for the past 2 weeks:

  • a characterization as you see it of the speaking voice of the passage--e.g., is it formal, informal, chatty, serious, high, low, wise or is it any other set of adjectives?
  • an explanation developed as best you can from your understanding of the passage why you think the author makes the choices s/he does in the passage you analyze. e.g., What is the intention, as you see it, of this speaking voice? Why is s/he taking the tone he takes? What is s/he trying to accomplish in this section of the text? Do you think you have in fact responded to the text as you think the text seems to want its reader to respond? If not, why not?
  • a careful and full description of the stylistic features of the text that you see as having led to your conclusions about the style and purpose you are claiming the passage enacts. What stylistic language choices does the author make, and how do those choices work to create the tone of voice you have identified and enable her or him to pull off the effects you have described?

Word limit: 800 words.

Passage 1: Peter Elbow, from Writing Without Teachers

The most effective way I know to improve your writing is to do freewriting exercises regularly. At least three times a week. They are sometimes called “automatic writing,” “babbling,” or “jabbering” exercises. The idea is simply to write for ten minutes (later on, perhaps fifteen or twenty). Don’t stop for anything. Go quickly without rushing. Never stop to look back, to cross something out, to wonder how to spell something, to wonder what word or thought to use, or to think about what you are doing. If you can’t think of a word or a spelling, just use a squiggle or else write, “I can’t think of it.” Just put down something. The easiest thing is just to put down whatever is in your mind. If you get stuck it’s fine to write “I can’t think what to say, I can’t think what to say” as many times as you want or repeat the last word you wrote over and over again; or anything else. The only requirement is that you never stop.


Passage 2: Geoffrey Scott, from The Architecture of Humanism

The architecture of Europe, in the centuries during which our civilization was under the sway of classical prestige, passed in a continuous succession through phases of extraordinary diversity, brevity and force. Of architecture in Italy was this most particularly true. The forms of Brunelleschi, masterful as they appeared when, by a daring reversion of style, he liberated Italian building from the alien traditions of the north, seem, in two generations, to be but the hesitating precursors of Bramante’s more definitive art. Bramante’s formula is scarcely asserted, the poise and balance of classic proportion is scarcely struck, before their fine adjustments are swept away upon the torrent that springs from Michael Angelo. In the ferment of creation, of which Italy from this time forth is the scene, the greatest names count, relatively, for little.