What is definition? Simply defining the topic of discussion.
Why define? Often the first step of a debate or disagreement Ensures writers and their audiences are speaking the same language May lay foundation to establish common ground or identifying areas of conflict Inform/Clarify Often the first step of a debate or disagreement Ensures writers and their audiences are speaking the same language May lay foundation to establish common ground or identifying areas of conflict Inform/Clarify
Why define? Establish boundaries Show essential nature of something Explain the special qualities that identify a purpose, place, object, or concept and distinguish it from others similar to it Entertain Establish boundaries Show essential nature of something Explain the special qualities that identify a purpose, place, object, or concept and distinguish it from others similar to it Entertain
Keep Your Audience in Mind! Anticipate questions a reader may ask about your essay. “What differentiates what you’re writing about?” “What is the basic character of what you’re writing about?” “What does that mean?”
How do you define? Give examples Analyze qualities Attribute Characteristics Define negatively Use analogies Show function Give examples Analyze qualities Attribute Characteristics Define negatively Use analogies Show function
Notice! When aiding another mode, defining a concept provides clarity and is usually written in 1-2 paragraphs or less. Use other modes that will work together to convey an overall definition of a concept. The entire essay is used to define the concept. When aiding another mode, defining a concept provides clarity and is usually written in 1-2 paragraphs or less. Use other modes that will work together to convey an overall definition of a concept. The entire essay is used to define the concept. Definition can be used to aid other modes of development and other modes can be used to aid definition!
How is it not… Description? Doesn’t require vivid detail or have to appeal to the senses Exemplification? Doesn’t require examples to explain concept
What is the author defining and how? “Good families prize their rituals. Nothing welds a family more than these. Rituals are vital especially for clans without histories because they evoke a past, imply a future, and hint at continuity. No line in the seder service at Passover reassures more than the last: “Next year in Jerusalem!” A clan becomes more of a clan each time it gathers to observe a fixed ritual (Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving, and so on), grieves at a funeral (anyone may come to most funerals; those who do declare their tribalness), and devises a new rite of its own. Equinox breakfasts can be at least as welding as Memorial Day parades. Several of my colleagues and I used to meet for lunch every Pearl Harbor Day, preferably to eat some politically neutral fare like smorgasbord, to “forgive” our only ancestrally Japanese friend, Irene Kubota Neves. For that and other things we became, and remain, a sort of family.” Rituals Analyzes qualities Shows function Gives examples
What is the author defining and how? “I didn’t have the vocabulary to say “paragraph,” but I realized that a paragraph was a fence that held words. The words inside a paragraph worked together for a common purpose. They had some specific reason for being inside the same fence. This knowledge delighted me. I began to think of everything in terms of paragraphs. Our reservation was a small paragraph within the United States. My family’s house was a paragraph, distinct from the other paragraphs of the LeBrets to the north, the Fords to out south and the Tribal School to the west. Inside our house, each family member existed as a separate paragraph but still had genetics and common experiences to link us. Now, using this logic, I can see my changed family as an essay of seven paragraphs: mother, father, older brother, the deceased sister, my younger twin sisters and our adopted little brother.” Paragraphs Shows function Uses analogies Attributes characteristics
What is the author defining and how? “I hope you will believe that my delay in answering your letter could proceed only from my unwillingness to destroy any hope that you had formed. Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excess of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged, must end in disappointment. If it be asked, what is the improper expectation which it is dangerous to indulge, experience will quickly answer, that it is such expectation as is dictated not by reason, but by desire; expectation raised, not by the common occurrences of life, but by the wants of the expectant; an expectation that requires the common course of things to be changed, and the general rules of action to be broken.” Hope Analyzes qualities Defines negatively Improper Expectations Gives examples Defines negatively
What is Theroux’s message? In “Being a Man” (1985), Paul Theroux discusses how being a writer and a man can only coexist if he first proves his manhood.
How does he convey this message? Theroux presents his distain of being a man by explaining what America’s perception of what manhood is when he says “I was told to take up a sport, get more fresh air, join the Boy Scouts, and I was urged to not read so much”(¶ 5), by stating what society’s expectations of men are, and by using personal experiences, such as his dream of being a writer but fearing he will be considered less of a man, to further support his argument.
What is Theroux’s purpose? Paul Theroux states the expectations for men in order for society to realize what they are doing to men; they stop men from doing what they want to do because it makes them appear less masculine.
Who is his intended audience? Theroux’s intended audience could be anyone, but it is aimed mostly towards women who expect all men to have a job that is fit specifically for a man; he expresses an emotion of disgust on society’s idea of masculinity.
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