Assignment I Advise
Deadline: 26th February 2012
Although the assignment consists of just three single paragraphs, it will take a great deal of thought. If you do it well, you will be able to derive a great deal of benefit from it: you will be well placed to do well on Assignment II and what you have learnt will be of benefit beyond this module.
The assignment gives you the chance of putting into practice what you have learned so far on the module. You will be able to show your skills in paragraphing and sentence construction. (It would be a good idea to revise both these topics before beginning the assignment.) As you have considerable liberty in what you write about, I hope you will be able to write with commitment and enjoyment, too.
Your assignment should be printed in double spacing. If you print in single spacing, I shall ask for the piece to be handed in in double spacing before marking it.
Portfolio of short writing tasks (30% overall mark) to include:
• introduction to one of the set essay titles
• a paragraph in support of the argument
• a paragraph refuting the argument of the same resource
1. Introduction to one of the set essay titles
Choose any of the set titles (below) and write a single paragraph introduction to it. The title you choose here must be different from the title you choose for the full-length essay in Assignment II. In consultation with me, you can, if you like, choose your own title. The single paragraph should be ten to fifteen sentences long (250 – 300 words). Think of it as being suitable for an essay of 1500 words (even though you will not go on to write the full essay).
Set essay Titles (Choose one for the single-paragraph introduction)
1. Discuss the self-presentation (ethos) of any one writer or two writers studied on this module.
2. Discuss your development as a writer at university over the last two terms.
3. What have you learned about forgetting and remembering so far on this module?
4. Discuss the conceptions of memory in any two texts you have studied on this module.
5. Compare and constrast the writing styles of any two writers you have read on this module.
6. I would like to encourage you to come up with your own titles. This is the reason I’m not giving many set titles. We can discuss your title ideas. The important thing is that you come up with something that you want to write about. Your title must relate to module content (i.e. what you are studying on this module) and it must be agreed with me.
2. Confirmation: a paragraph in support of a claim made by any writer you have studied on this module.
Choose one of the claims from bellow. Then identify the writer’s argument (his claim).
Then write a paragraph of 10-15 sentences (250 – 300 words) in support of that argument.
Sample claims that you should use.
• Ulric Neisser (2008:86) claims that ‘It is always wise to take memory with a grain of salt.’
• Referring to memory, Neisser (2008: 86) claims that ‘All the rigid metaphors – film, audiotape, videotape, even computer storage’ are inadequate.
• Richard Holmes (2008: 94) claims that ‘There is a goddess of Memory, Mnemosyne; but none of Forgetting. Yet there should be, as they are twin sisters.’
• Holmes (2008: 108) remarks that ‘Smell can be piercingly direct in its transporting power’ (its power of directing us back to memories).
• Freud (1901) claims that the forgetting of a name, together with a substitute name (or names) coming to mind, is not likely to be accidental.
3. Refutation: a paragraph refuting the argument (the claim) of the same resource.
Turn back to the same text. Now write a paragraph of 10-15 sentences (250 – 300 words) refuting the argument of the same writer (you will be arguing the opposite of the previous task).
As for the second part of the assignment… I am just asking for two paragraphs.
First, choose something you have read on the module that has interested you. Read the text again. Find a claim made by the writer in the text. (I have provided a brief list of claims that you might choose and I have put them on this page – see above – but you can choose your own.)
A claim is a statement that is arguable, so it is different to a fact. ‘Brown eyes are more common in Spain than blue ones’ is a fact. ‘Brown eyes are more beautiful than blue ones’ is a claim, a statement that posits something that is arguable. Someone could say, yes, that is true, and it is true because of x, y and z; or someone could say, no, that is not the case, and it is not the case because of x, y and z.
Every time someone asserts something to be the case, they make a claim. Usually we expect claims to be more than a mere matter of opinion; we expect them to have reasonable grounds – that is, we want them to be substantiated by evidence. ‘Ulric Neisser says that flashbulb memories are less reliable than we might think’ – Neisser does indeed say this, and gives a great deal of evidence in this matter, and what he says is a claim; it’s arguable. You can argue on the one side (in favour) and on the other side (against). Arguing in favour is what I call a confirmation; arguing against is a refutation.
You are asked to find a claim in one of the texts you have studied on this module and write one single-paragraph confirmation of the claim, and one single-paragraph refutation of the claim. Each paragraph should be 10-15 sentences (250 – 300 words).
You will find that convincing claims are difficult to refute, of course. Conversely, unconvincing claims are difficult to confirm. The exercise really makes you think hard. It is an excellent exercise in argumentation.
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