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The Logic Behind Problem Areas (pt. 3)

Assignment Summary


Finding the Logic Behind Problem Areas: Writing Samples

Sample #1:
The problem in this paragraph, taken from the second page of a personal narrative, is vagueness:

In my ten years as a social worker I've had countless experiences helping people with all kind of difficult problems. I help people almost everyday with whatever things are going on in their lives–tough and easy problems alike. I enjoy helping others get their life on track.


Sample #2:
The problem in this paragraph, taken from the introduction to a personal profile, is its overly formal thesis:

Even on the sunny Saturday afternoon we met, Susan was studying in her room. As usual, she had a big test coming up–this one on advanced physiological analysis. This is what Susan's life has been like ever since she decided to become a medical student. Susan Morris, the subject of this personal profile is committed to her work, certain of her future success and in a hurry to get where she is going. These three traits, which will be discussed in order in this profile, suggest that Susan will be a success in whatever she does.

Without a doubt, Susan is committed...


Sample #3:
The problem in this second paragraph of a personal narrative is excessive detail:

The mansion was huge. The wall on the right of the first room displayed two paintings. One was about a woman standing on a wooden dock, fanning herself with a big yellow hat that looked like a straw sombrearo. Further alone the brown wood-grained wall was the second painting. It also took place on a dock. In this one, three small children were jumping off into the bluish-green water to join several kids that were already splashing around. I was amazed at the detail of the room.

When we entered the second room I immediately looked up at the grand ceiling. Hanging in the middle was an incredible glass schandelier.


Sample #4:
The problem with this selection from a personal narrative is underdeveloped paragraphs:

After the experience was over, I felt completely sick. It was horrible. I had never felt so bad before.

But, things got better right after that. In fact, just two hours later, I was almost fine.

I don't know if I'll ever get on a rollercoaster again though.

Instructor's Comments

genre narrative, textual analysis, argument, profile, survey, summary and response
course WRT 101 and up
activity type group revision exercise, small group discussion, class discussion
skills logical reasoning, revision (holistic revision)
duration 1-2 classes
corrected essays
handouts: Group Activity Worksheet (html, Word document), Student Writing Examples (html, Word document)
contributor: Ryan Calvey