Project #61527 - imitating essay

Essay #4: Rhetorical Analysis: An Imitation

Length: Hard to predict, as there are so many choices, but to write a fully developed essay will probably take about 750-1000 words, or 3-4 pages. This essay will be accompanied by an introduction that is about 1 ½ - 2 pages, or approximately 350-500 words.


  • word-processed and double-spaced
  • online submission
  • MLA format for headers, title, margins, paragraphs, etc.
  • Include the introduction in the same document as your essay, at the beginning. At the end of your Introduction, put a page break, and then start your essay on the next page.

Introduction: Your essay must be preceded by an introduction which explains what you noticed about the original writing and what features you were particularly aiming to imitate. Include the introduction at the beginning of the same document as your essay. Further instructions for the introduction are below.

The Assignment: Write an essay of your own which imitates the structure, form, and the writing style of one of the following essays that we’ve read for class. You will also write an introduction (instructions below) which explains your process of decision-making in composing your imitation. You may imitate any one of the following essays:

“Joyas Voladores”
“Once More to the Lake”
“The Ugly Tourist”
“Shooting an Elephant”
“The Death of the Moth”

Choosing a topic: Think of a topic that somehow will work with the form and style of the original essay. For example:

  • If you choose “Joyas Voladores,” you might write a meditation and exploration of some aspect of nature, and connect it to human emotions.
  • If you choose “Once More to the Lake,” you’d highlight a specific memory and write about it a way that evokes a theme and point of view about that theme.
  • If you choose “The Ugly Tourist,” you might write about something in society that angers or troubles you, and let yourself fully express your bitterness about it, while also finding the ways in which you are, yourself, culpable.
  • If you choose “Shooting an Elephant,” you might write an essay that uses a symbolic story to express your strong opinion about a specific issue in society or culture.
  • If you choose “The Death of the Moth,” you might write about a view out of a window, or an object of some kind, or an animal. In describing these, the speaker will work out ideas about an issue or decision on her mind. For example, the speaker might be meditating about some aspect of the meaning of life: what does it mean to be alive? How should we use our lives? Or perhaps the speaker faces some sort of important choice: should I move? Should I stay here? Should I take this new job? Should I get married? The speaker’s ideas about the meaning or decision are illustrated in the descriptions of the view or object or animal.

These are only a few ideas about what topics might suit each essay. You might have additional wonderful thoughts for topics.

Does the imitation have to be in exactly the same style as the original? Your writing will certainly be flavored with your own voice; however, your essay should steal as much of what’s amazing and wonderful and applicable from the style of the original.

Sentences: Your sentences do not have to be in the exact language of essays written in earlier times: They will probably be in contemporary General English, as Trimble calls it. However, your essay must show close observation of the sentences in the original. In your essay, try to write some of the same kinds of sentences—similar lengths, similar grammatical structures.

Vocabulary: Consider the vocabulary the original uses: why is it apt for the topic, why did the author choose it? Does a similar level of vocabulary suit your topic? Perhaps you will be inspired by the original and by the needs of your topic to use some different kinds of words and to extend the range of your vocabulary.

Overall structure: Consider how the original conveys the information: What order is it in? How big are the paragraphs? What is the structure within each paragraph? Again, you do not need to copy the original exactly, but you do need to understand the structure of it and deliberately decide how various elements of that structure can serve your topic and purpose.

Introduction: Your Introduction (see instructions below) will discuss your process of developing the imitation and will explain all the ways that you see your essay imitating the original. That’s how I will know what you are learning about writing, so the introduction is very important.

How to get started:

  1. Think of a topic that will work, and that you would like to write about.
  2. Do the worksheet to help you study the style of the essay you are imitating.
  3. Freewrite and brainstorm and in general write as much as you can, a zero draft, in which you get all your ideas down while also trying to channel the style of the original.
  4. Read over this first draft and see what you want to keep. Of it.
  5. Keep on shaping and cutting and re-writing and adding and rearranging your own essay while also checking in with the original to see if you are keeping to its style and using its features to your own essay’s best advantage.
  6. When your own essay is complete, write the Introduction.

The Introduction

Length: About 1 ½ - 2 typed and double-spaced, or approximately 350-500 words. Can be longer.

Format: Include the introduction in the same document as your essay, at the beginning. At the end of your Introduction, put a page break, and then start your essay on the next page.

What to say in the Introduction: Discuss the following questions: Which essay are you imitating and why did you choose it? How did you pick your topic and why do you think it fits with the style and structure you’re imitating? What aspects of the original did you especially intend to imitate? Be specific: Discuss word choice, sentence structure, sentence length, paragraph structure, overall order, etc. What aspects of the original do you think your essay is the most successful at imitating? What aspects of the original do you think your essay is the least successful at imitating? What have you learned about writing from doing this imitation? How do you think having done this imitation might affect your writing (and reading) in the future?

Grading: 100 points total

Basic MLA format (3 points): The essay follows the required MLA format for header, title, spacing, margins, paragraphing, etc.

Introduction (15 points): The Introduction details the process and intentions of your imitation, answering the questions in the assignment.

Imitation (30): Your essay successfully imitates the structure and style of the original at all levels: overall structure, tone, sentence style, and word choice. It fulfills the intentions laid out in the Introduction.

Opening and ending (8): The opening (including the title) starts the essay off clearly and strongly, and the ending takes the idea further. Both opening and ending follow the model of the essay you’re imitating.

Main idea (8 points): The essay has a clear main idea, either implicitly or explicitly stated, depending on the essay you’re imitating.

Example and evidence (8 points): The piece supports its point with plenty of detail and vivid example, giving plenty of information and addressing counterarguments if the topic and imitation need them.

Organization (8 points): Although the overall structure is dictated by the overall structure of the essay you’re imitating, and may allow for leaps between paragraphs (if the original makes these leaps) your essay is still easy for a careful and attentive reader to follow, in coherent units (sentences and paragraphs) that clearly lead from one to the next.

Grammar and proofreading (20 points): The essay is free of distracting errors in grammar, and it has been carefully proofread.


THE ESSAY TO IMITATE IS “Shooting an Elephant” :

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 03/09/2015 11:00 am
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