Communing: They eat, I eat Background Over the past days we have encountered a s
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Communing: They eat, I eat
Over the past days we have encountered a small but widely varied set of individual experiences and thoughts that center on eating habits, customs, and other encounters with the culinary.
These include: Jhumpa Lahiri, “Indian Takeout”; Ray Gonzalez, “Hangover Cure”; Junot Diaz, “the chef”; Michelle Zauner, “Crying in H Mart”; Frederick Douglass, “Ash Cake”; Ntozake Shange, “What’d You People Call That?”; Diana Abu-Jaber, “A House and a Yard”; Chang-Rae Lee, “Sea Urchins”
The memoir, as we’ve discussed, is fundamentally personal, yet it is also public. As someone who is socializing with these writers by reading, first think about these questions: what details or perspectives have resonated with you, and why? What experiences do you connect with? Which perspectives are different from your own, or lie outside of how you think or what you have been through?
Create a piece of writing that relates one of the short memoir readings’ insights to a specific experience you have had with food or consumption. You might describe a memory, a way of thinking, an event—anything that will allow you to connect. The goal of this piece is to clearly reveal a specific and interesting way that your experience and the writer’s experience relate to one another.
Your discussion should include plenty of detail from the text, your experience, and explanation of their connections. Present these elements in a way that you deem appropriate for effectively conveying how these experiences connect.
At minimum your piece must include these parts:
Description of the memoir using accurate summarizing language and details that are carefully chosen to allow you to best relate your own experience.
Suggestion: Keep these descriptions specific to the author’s experience so that the uniqueness of their perspective doesn’t get flattened into generalizations (for example, lines like “This author shows that food brings us together” might be true sometimes, but is overly general—could we build more specifics from here?)
Description of your experience or observation with specific details that illustrate the significance, and accurate language that makes clear what is important to note.
Discussion that makes clear, and specific interesting link(s) between the two accounts of food/eating, and explains them logically.
The experience you choose does not need to be the same as the one in the memoir; in fact some of the most interesting pieces show how commonality exists in very different situations.
You may use any of the writings you have done for our class.
Clearly connected ideas and a specific overall insight about how your experience relates to the story. You do not need to craft a formal thesis statement for this assignment (we will cover thesis statements later); however, the descriptions of the memoir, your experiences, and connection between the two must be clearly explained and specific.
Strike an even balance between description of the memoir, of your experience, and how they connect.
1000 words, minimum; include word count at the end of the document
1” margins all around, 12 point font, double-spaced
Grammar and spell check. (Papers with more than 4 spelling errors will be returned for editing.)
Short memoir titles go in “quotation marks”.
When referring to the author, use their first and last name on the first reference. Use the last name only on every reference afterward.
Avoid list summaries (e.g., “First the writer says X, then she moves on to discuss Y; then…”) Instead, highlight the most important ideas and tensions, and use smaller details to add context.
See RWL Ch 4 for an example of a summary.
Ideas/thinking: the paper thoroughly summarizes both the memoir and the experience using specific details and careful explanation; reveals specific ideas and/or emotions in each experience and how they relate to each other (40 points)
Clear explanations: the paper describes the experiences and their connections clearly; sequences information logically (30 points)
Language: the paper employs specific and descriptive language that demonstrates critical thought (15 points)
Mechanics: the paper’s grammar and spelling create effective communication (15 points)