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Before/After Essay

Before/After Essay

Author: Nathan Mattson
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Before/After Assignment

ENGLISH 11 Writing Assignment                                                 


BEFORE & AFTER   100 points   2 pages, minimum


First, read the sample student essays, if provided, to get ideas.  The task in this essay is to analyze a crucial life-changing moment or event.  You’ll be comparing and contrasting your life before and after that change.   Some popular past topics:  before/after I came to Marshall, before/after I could drive, before/after my parents’ divorce.  Choose some event in your life that truly made you into a different person, something that changed you in important ways.   


Drafting:  The main challenges with this paper are organizing all the details and analyzing oneself.  Be certain to write more about how you changed than about what changed you.  Once you choose your before/after situation, you will need to come up with at least three bases of comparison—specific aspects of your life that you can analyze in detail and that will show the changes that occurred.   These must be described in the introductory paragraph.  It’ll be a sort of preview to the rest of your essay.  Then you will need to choose which method of organization you wish to use:  block or alternating.

Intro. due:  Oct. 7. 


Each body paragraph must include specific details, good examples, vivid descriptions, or brief anecdotes.


Draft due date and peer review session:  Oct. 9. 


Revising:  Part of analyzing yourself is to evaluate the way you’ve grown and developed.  Was this change a good one?  What has it taught you?  How do you see the world differently as a result of it?  Your paper should answer these questions.  You might also wish to look into the future and imagine further changes in your life….  


On a more practical note, transitions between paragraphs will be very important in this paper.  And you should also use parallelism. Make sure you put commas after introductory phrases, and that you join independent clauses with a comma-and-a-conjunction.  Avoid fragments and missing or extraneous apostrophes. Use similes and metaphors to make your writing interesting and evocative.   


Final Draft upload deadline:  Oct. 11.


Student Examples

These are good examples, but they do not do a very good job of introducing the ideas contained in the body paragraphs; there is no preview of the three bases of comparison.


"The Lesson" by Nathan McCall


Source: McCall, Nathan. “The Lesson.” *The Sundance Writer.* Ed. Mark Connelly. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2004.

Rhetorical Device Review and Exploration of "The Lesson"

This is worth 20 points.