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Blog Post #3: Rhetorical Modes

In case you did not get the email with the invitation to our dropbox folder, here's a link to it: AP JJ Essays 

The message that came with that emailed link is as follows: 
Your homework is to read and score your selected (anonymous) peer's essay.

Do not identify yourself in your commenting. Be honest, but be helpful and constructive. Use the scoring guide you received in class to guide your comments and scoring. You must decide on a final score, you cannot give a 6.5 or some such nonsense. Do not score below a 2. Reserve a score of 9 for an essay that is mind-blowingly awesome.

This process should take you no more than an hour and no less than 20 minutes of careful reading and consideration. We will debrief on Monday.


Okay? We good? Good.

Moving on. 

Your weekend blog post is something a little extra special. It's also going to be a separate little assignment in skyward. (Yay points. How exciting.) Have some fun with this. Play with language. It's important that you understand and can recognize and employ these modes. We will explore them further on in class next week.

Step 1: Choose an abstraction to work with (fear, jealousy, war, family, joy, generosity, truth, grief, trust, loss, courage, etc.) for this writing assignment. You cannot choose "love." I already did (see examples below). Also, barf.

Step 2: Find the document on my website (or on moodle) called Rhetorical Modes. Read it. Print it. Snuggle with it. Fold it into a swan and carry it around in your pocket. (Note: this is not currently live on but it will be later. It is currently live on moodle.)

Step 3: Write a post "about" your abstraction in FIVE of the NINE listed rhetorical modes on that sheet you just folded into a swan. Write about 75-100 words per mode.

Number your little blurbs for identification purposes, but DO NOT indicate which mode each blurb is written in. Your peers will have to guess eventually and you don't want to spoil the fun. You will reveal it all in due time. 


Step 4:  Read what your peers have posted, and for TWO different peers, guess the rhetorical modes they used for each of their numbered blurb. (Remember how you numbered them? This is why.)

Write down your guesses. Also post your guesses in their blog's comments sections. If you are unable to post your guesses in their comments section for whatever reason, fear not. You can give me your written version the next day. Everybody breathe. 


Step 5: The Big Reveal!

The Big Reveal entails you posting an answer key of sorts that includes the numbers of each passage and the rhetorical mode in which it is written. Check to see how you did on your guesswork.


Below is an example of how your initial post might look. Do not simply try to copy my syntax and just replicate what I've done here. That's taking the easy way out. Don't be lazy. Some of the blurbs written below for the various modes are way shorter than yours will be. Write between 75-100 words per mode (which is really not that much at all...and you can write more than that). Remember, you're writing in just 5 (any 5 you choose) of the 9 modes while I've at least begun a blurb for each of them. Mine are also in a scrambled order, which yours should be too.

1. My five year old half-sister-in-law is convinced that love involves exchanging presents (when she is the recipient anyway), fuzzy teddy bears, sharing cherry Popsicles, and endless games of leapfrog. Perhaps she is right--about the teddy bears anyway. They're always there for a hug; they don't judge, they listen patiently, and they comfort. 

2. When I was 10, I fell in love. Don't laugh, it's true. He was the boy next door--er, well down the street and around the corner and up the hill a ways, but we shared a bus stop for 9 years. We weathered middle school crushes and dumps and bullying and that stupid geography test in 7th grade. We had inside jokes and stories and memories of dumb school bus shenanigans. We always denied the flirtation. That is, until 9th grade when we went to Homecoming together. In my book, he was perfection--for a while, anyway. That's how young love usually goes.

3. An elderly silhouette against the glint of the sun off the river, expertly keeping pace with one another. He gingerly leans over to brush a fallen copper-glazed maple leaf from her shoulder and then laces his long, bony, arthritic fingers into hers; the same fingers that bear the diamond he bought her so long ago, held their babies safely, fixed so many suppers, and dried so many tears.

4. Love your enemy. Easy to say, but not so easy to do. We love our friends, we love our families, we love our favorite foods, movies, music, celebrities -- but our enemies? While it is counter intuitive for sure, it can be an exercise in empathy and compassion; it can open our eyes to a situation we hadn't considered. Loving our enemies can free us from our own misconceptions and burdensome emotions. 

5. Falling in love generally takes three stages. Sometimes it can happen instantly, and sometimes it takes many more than three stages, but the vast majority of us has fallen in love following the three basic stages. First, we set our sights on someone...

6. When we think of love, we most often think of romantic, storybook, rom-com, idyllic, glassy-eyed, idiot-inducing, do-anything-for-you kind of love. This myopic view of love, however, can blind us from the very real, very pure, very wonderful other kinds of love that exist. Love is a complicated endeavor full of unexpected dips and sharp turns that can send you careening toward certain doom if you are not sufficiently prepared. It involves the heart, the body, and the mind.

7. Love is the result of millions of synapses firing in the brain, a rush of endorphins, and elevated serotonin levels. It is a chemical reaction, they say, induced by sight and sound and smell and touch.

8. The difference between love and hate is apparent. This pair is by definition mutually exclusive. The difference between love and infatuation, however, is often not so clear. We love the new George Clooney movie, we love our favorite books, those cute boots, we love white fudge Oreos. But the thing is, with only a few exceptions, we really don't. We favor those things over others. We don't love them. Are we infatuated with them? Perhaps. Infatuation is typically superficial and fleeting, love is neither. George Clooney? Chuck Klosterman books? Cute boots? Infatuation. Well, maybe it's love with George. Or maybe it's creepy obsession.

9. Love is not this elusive, unattainable, perfect thing that we make it out to be. Rather, it is in the everyday mundane details of our lives. It is the people who surround us and take care of us and lift us up and shake us out of our stupor when we need it. Love is the thread that holds us all together. Us, being the human race, of course. Love is there to give us a swift kick in the pants when we've gotten lazy or given up.

So "love" is off-limits. So is "guilt" since that's the abstraction in the document on my website. Sorry. But hey, guess what? There are so many more. So many.

Hey, one more thing: if you still don't see your blog linked over there in the student blogs section, email me your URL again. I had trouble with a number of them. Broken URLs, URLs unable to be found, etc. If you have your privacy settings as such that only I can see it, then maybe remind me of that? Thanks!

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