The main purpose of this assignment is for students to showcase their non fiction prose, to present one incident, event, or experience that has changed their lives or made them into the people they have become today. This specific incident is called the memoir in the writing world. To get ideas and for a better understanding of the memoir, please read the model student paper below.
Choose an event, situation, or experience that has had a tremendous impact on your life. Describe the event and then tell how it has changed you. The event/incident/experience which you describe may be as profound as the death of a loved one, or it may be as simple as making the varsity soccer team. The only requirement is that the event must have changed you or your view of life in some way.
For obvious reasons, this paper must be written in first-person point of view. The paper should be 3-5 pages long, double-spaced in 12 font, somewhere between 1000-2000 words, and emailed by midnight of the due date. As part of your grade you must write and circle the number of words at the top of the first page.
You must also identify the tone word that best describes your paper: serious, poignant, humorous, somber, angry, etc. Use the tone word list provided as a guide. Write your tone word also at the top of the first page.
Examples of Topics
* the first day of school (elementary, middle, or high school)
* a divorce or change in the family structure
* a transfer to a new town, school, neighborhood
* a memorable vacation
* an award or achievement which impacted your life greatly
* an important relationship which has changed you
* a religious experience or pilgrimage
* a physical challenge
* an illness or accident
* an embarrassing event
* an ambition or goal which you struggled to achieve
Please note that the event / incident / experience may have happened in one hour, or it may be an experience which took place over several years. Don't worry about whether or not the topic you have selected is acceptable for this paper. If the event or experience is important to you and impacted your life, it is a good topic for this assignment.
Organization and Questions
Think about your topic and make a list or outline of what you remember about this event or experience. Although students may organize this paper in many ways, all papers will answer these fundamental questions:
1) What is the event / incident / or experience.
2) How did the experience take place?
3) Who was with you at the time, and what did these people add to your experience?
4) What were your initial feelings, emotions, beliefs?
5) How did you react or change immediately because of this experience?
6) Looking back on the experience now, how did the event change you fundamentally? Have your feelings changed over time?
7) Why is this experience / incident / event so memorable today?
Remember to use sensory (sounds, sights, tastes, odors, feelings, etc.) and concrete details to describe your experience. Use descriptive language and dialogue which will allow your reader to feel as though he or she was there with you. Spelling, punctuation and grammar will count so be sure to edit for a final draft.
Note on Paradox: Some English teachers (like myself), will tell you that writing as if grade doesn’t matter usually makes for more powerful prose. Try that here. Most importantly, be unique in your words and ideas.
Lacey Griffin Word Count: 1219
Quahog High School Tone: Solemn
February 30, 2011
Visits to the Home
The date was February 18, 2003. I woke up that morning thinking it would be another ordinary day in the life of a teenage girl in high school. Unfortunately, this day is now one that will be instilled in my memory forever. While sitting in class, a girl came into the room with a small, brightly colored piece of paper, and somehow I just automatically knew that it was for…