Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Close Reading: Paul Theroux "Being a Man" - Section 2: Close Reading for Personal Anecdote as Evidence


As I suspected, the students didn’t care too much for the persona of this writer.  It is really interesting that the students (at least with the two pieces we’ve read with this kind of voice) just don’t care too much for the writers who come on too strong—that almost attack the reader with their negative opinion.  I wonder why that is—maybe because the writer doesn’t really leave a lot of room for the reader to engage or think about the topic; they don’t seem interested in a discussion as much as providing a lecture (and we all know how much students like being lectured to!).   The next time we read a piece like this I will have to ask the students this question to see what I can learn!

Recognizing the use of personal experience as evidence here in a more abstract way was a bit of a challenge at first, though by the fifth paragraph when he talks about his teenage years (the quote used in the narrative of this lesson), the started seeing it.  As we were going through the piece, we talked about the simile he uses when he says “this version of masculinity is a little like having to wear an ill-fitting coat for one’s entire life,” and I realized that he is using simile as evidence, too—something we hadn’t really talked about yet.  We did, though not well, since they were already challenged by his use of personal experience.  However, it is something I will teach more explicitly in the future as another creative way to logically argue a point.

  Simile as Evidence
  Adjustments to Practice: Simile as Evidence
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Close Reading: Paul Theroux "Being a Man"

Unit 6: Thematic Unit: Gender and the Rhetorical Power of Narrative
Lesson 7 of 12

Objective: SWBAT recognize how personal experiences can be used as evidence in rhetorical arguments by tracking evidence use in Paul Theroux's essay "Being a Man."

Big Idea: Evidence in reflective arguments come in a variety of forms.

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paul theroux
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