Spreading the Word
Begin by reading "Coming Into Language" by Jimmy Santiago Baca (available through Blackboard).
Your Writing Task: Choose one option
Propose a process for introducing a group of people who doesn't usually get into reading to the world of literature. How would you go about it? Why?
- One of the core concepts of this course is that one must read and write well to get anywhere in the business or academic world. Think of a group of people who simply do not believe this idea. Describe the group, then discuss a process which could change their opposition to literacy. Be specific.
- Baca tells of a life of total illiteracy—not being able to read the simplest words. Few Americans are there. Many, however, are practical illiterates: they can read, but won't. Daily newspapers, political opinion columns, and novels are totally outside their experience. They, like Baca's sister, would never dream of walking into a bookstore or a library. Write a paper considering the effects of this practical illiteracy—people who never really have an encounter with the written word. Consider both the personal effects on the non-reader and the effects on the community at large.
Hints for Success:
A key here is to analyze the group you are trying to affect. Don't go on imagination; zero in on a group you know well (your high school team, your current lunch buddies or perhaps the people at the nursing home where you volunteer). This way you will have some feeling for what will work and what will not. You will also have some feeling for their current level of involvement with the world of literacy.
Another question is what kind of literature to introduce them to. Murder mysteries? Shakespearean plays? Current events essays in national magazines? Why would you choose this sort of literature?
Length: The equivalent of a four-page paper. A four-page paper should be between 1200 and 1440 words long, not counting title, your name, etc.
Format: Standard MLA format. (12-point Times Roman type, double-spaced, 1" margin all around, MLA header.)
Submitting the paper:
- The English Department wants electronic copies of all your essays this semester, so please upload the final product to the drop box in Blackboard. Some students (especially those who use Google
Docs) have trouble figuring out how to do this, so ask if you are uncertain how to proceed!
- If you have any trouble getting the Blackboard upload to work, simply print a copy and bring it to class.
- Final copy: Friday, February 16, 2018
This essay is worth 100 points.