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English 111--Introduction to Composition

Unit 2: Reflective Narrative

Narrative or story dominates contemporary media. It is a key element or basic structure in many other types of writing (research report; court transcript; business writing…). Stories give us an opportunity to invent ourselves and to find meaning among the episodes and experiences of our lives. And when they are well-told they invite readers to share in the experience and to grasp the meaningfulness of others’ lives. 

Chimamanda Adichie:
The Danger of a Single Story

Interview with Jimmy Baca

The Human Connection

Produced by the Cleveland Clinic.

Ira Glass on Storytelling 1: The Basics

After watching ths video, consider the following questions:

  1. What is the difference between thesis-centered writing and story writing?
  2. What is important about the two parts of a story--the anecdote and the reflection?

Ira Glass on Storytelling 3: On Good Taste

After watching this video, consider these questions:

Have you had the experience that Ira describes? In other words, have you been harsh in judging yourself because you know your writing does not match up with the best writing you know or the writing of peers? Can you tell a story about that experience? If you've never had this experience personally, then tell your readers how Ira's experience in radio might apply to the experience of a writer in general.

Local Storytelling Resources

Ira Glass on Storytelling 2: Finding Stories

After watching the video, consider the following questions:

  1. What is Ira Glass's best advice?
  2. What is your story and how did you go about finding it?

Ira Glass on Storytelling 4: 2 Common Pitfalls

After watching the video, consider these two questions:

  1. What are the dumb errors Ira describes?
  2. How might these errors and the recommended action to avoid the errors work in your story?