Evolution Essay Question

One issue that I brought up in class yesterday was that I was torn over what was an appropriate amount of “old work” to include in my essay.  There are a few different parts of my paper where I included pretty large quotes from previous work in order to critique specific elements of the writing and show how it has changed.   I’m curious as to whether other people employed this same sort of strategy, and if so, to what extent?  My intention was to break up my actual writing for this piece and give readers a chance to actually see what I am describing, rather than simply telling them.  I just don’t want the structure of my paper to become too redundant by using this tactic too many times.  Finding clever ways to critique your writing throughout this assignment is definitely a challenge.  Did anyone employ the same tactic that I did in referencing excerpts of older work and comparing it to newer work?  If so, to what extent?  If you did not use this approach, do you implement a different idea that you think works well?  I’m curious to get a better sense of what other people are doing to demonstrate how their writing has truly evolved.

2 thoughts to “Evolution Essay Question”

  1. Hi Benj!

    I actually used this same technique in my essay as well. After reading your essay draft, I definitely think that this is an effective technique for you. You are using the excerpts of writing as evidence to support and prove specific claims and arguments that you make about your writing. I think you have executed this in a way that makes these excerpts very relevant and important in proving your argument! I would not worry about using too many of them or trying to cut them down, I think you have a great balance of prose and examples. Good work!

  2. Hey Benji,

    I actually chose to take the opposite approach by not (at least to this point) including any passages from my previous writing within the essay. I’m actually starting to reconsider this after having read some drafts of other people in the class, but my reasoning is that people don’t want to read my past writing–they want to read what I THINK about my writing/writing progress. I think there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches; the way you did it, its very easy to piggyback off your past writing and comment directly on it. A disadvantage to your approach is that you are giving readers a brief snippet of something that may not actually represent the work as a whole. How many times have you heard athletes say their words were “taken out of context” or they were “misquoted”? I think its important to find the best of both worlds and if you are going to use parts of past papers, make sure that they don’t dominate the entire conversation. That gets boring really fast!

    Good luck!

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