Assignment 5: Personal Narrative (Memoir)

Assignment 5:

Personal Narrative (Memoir)


Proposal: Aug. 3

Rough Draft: Aug. 5

Final Draft: Aug. 6


A personal narrative is one that connects personal experience to larger cultural contexts.  For this assignment, choose one of the following prompts:

1. Write a narrative about an experience that increased your awareness of a broader issue of social justice. Social justice refers to issues that relate in some way to inequality, mistreatment, civil rights or human rights.

2. Write a narrative about your hometown and its economic circumstances. You may consider topics such as your neighborhood in relation to the rest of the city, unemployment, entrepreneurship, important manufacturers, businesses or areas of commerce in relation to the broader populations. However, you must also weave in your own experiences of your town and how that shapes your understanding of these issues.

3. Write a narrative that challenges a stereotype, about you or about someone else. Use your experiences to illuminate and elaborate on the stereotype you choose to investigate.

“The problem of stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.”– Chimamanda Adichie


Whichever prompt you choose, make sure to write your narrative for a specific audience and purpose.  Most narratives aim to produce some kind of change—what do you want your audience to do, feel, or consider?  Narratives are often used to develop and support a formal argument and narrators often use stories to do what arguments do: to convince, persuade, inform, explore, make decisions, and/or to meditate or pray.  Whatever your intention, make careful use of narrative and descriptive devices to convey your message and purpose.  Experiment with evaluative commentary: how much do you need?  Where?  When can you use narrative and descriptive devices to do the work instead?  Pay keen attention to your rhetorical situation and be “mindful of the ways in which “your” words may be understood.

How will your audience best experience the story you want to tell? Traditional prose? Through a podcast or YouTube video? In a blog? These are options available for you to consider. The method of delivery you choose should fit your audience and purpose.

Regardless of how you decide to deliver your memoir, you will submit a one-page letter addressed to me that explains why you chose the medium you did and how it fits your rhetorical purpose.


Format: Length and format are determined by the task. I will only approve proposals that I think are substantive enough to fulfill the requirements of this assignment. You must also submit a basic word document that contains the essential material of your memoir if you use multimedia to compose your personal narrative. This could be a script for those who produce audio or visual recordings. I just need something that I can provide written comments and feedback on.


Knowledge Commons:

Pattee Library (first floor)

Media Commons:

ASI Building, Room 109

Holser Building, Room 20

Pollock Building, Room 206

Sparks Building, Room 11

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