Below are the work and instructions it’s mid-term. Read Ann Dillard and lecture.
Jana Shepard ©2020
Dillard has started a “conversation” with her essay.We have spent considerable time “listening
to her” by reading her essay, engaging in the discussion questions, reading my lecture notes,
thinking about what she wrote, etc.
Now, for your essay, it is your turn to “step into the conversation” and add something to it.
You have a wide latitude about what you write about as long as it ties in with the main idea(s)
from Dillard’s essay.
Think of the essay by Dillard as a source you will use to help support your thesis.I expect
you to cite brief passages from Dillard’s essay to help establish the context for your essay.But,
keep in mind that your essay is not simply a summary of Dillard’s essay.
Before your begin writing your essay:
• Reread Dillard’s essay.Annotate, take notes, and ask questions as you read.
• Review the discussion postings.You can’t copy/paste material from your classmates’ postings
as this would be plagiarism.You may, however, see a pattern with the ideas presented which
will help you explore your own ideas.
• It is important that clearly understand the main point (thesis) of Dillard’s essay.This is a
crucial first step in the writing of your own essay.You must understand the point that Dillard is
making before you can make a point of your own that relates to and expands upon Dillard’s
Begin writing your essay
Once you know what Dillard’s thesis (argument) is, you are ready to step into the conversation
and add another facet to the “conversation” that Dillard has started.
Brainstorm ideas for your thesis.Then do some research to find one or more additional sources
that help support the claim (thesis) you will be making in your essay.
Engl 1101 Mid-Term Essay Assignment1
Jana Shepard ©2020
Mid-term Essay Requirements and Grading Rubric
• Formal writing style, no mechanical or grammatical errors
• A thesis that is clear and focused
• Thesis is supported with evidence from the sources—in this case, the essay by Dillard and one
or more additional sources
• MLA conventions for formatting, in-text citations and Works Cited page
• Quotations, paraphrases, and summaries are synthesized into your essay with proper MLA
• An appropriate and consistent point-of-view
• 750 to 1000 words not counting quoted material
• Times New Roman 12 point font, double-spaced
Length: 750 – 1000 words (not counting quoted
material and Works Cited entries)
Yes (continue with grading) No (stop grading—0%)
Attempted but lacking
Missing or not
Works Cited entries for all sources 4 2 0
Student’s thesis is clear and focused and is supported
with evidence from sources 5 2 0
Quotations, paraphrases and summaries of the sources
are synthesized into the student’s argument using proper
MLA format 5 2 0
Sentences are strong, clear, and direct; text can be read
quickly without any confusion; sentences vary in length;
few, if any, bloated sentences or excessive metadiscourse 4 2 0
Paragraphs contain clear topic sentences and demonstrate
a coherent flow of thoughts 4 2 0
Proper mechanics, grammar, appropriate word choice
4 2 0
Essay is written in an appropriate and consistent point-
of-view 4 2 0
Plagiarism of any form will result in an F for this paper.
Engl 1101 Mid-Term Essay Assignment2
Jana Shepard ©2021
While Dillard is focusing on nature in her essay, the concepts she describes can apply to other
aspects of life.We all have preconditioned notions that are ingrained in our minds from a young
age: Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny are some benign examples.Racism is a not so
benign example.Religion is another example which can, in some circumstances, condition an
individual to judge, mistrust, or even hate people of a different religion without knowing a thing
about them.In recent years politics has become very divisive as well.
Dillard says “There are a lot of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises.The world
is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand” (17).
What isthe “pennies cast broadside from a generous hand” (17).For a visual of this phrase,
imagine someone with a bag of grass seed under one arm, reaching in for handfuls, and then
spreading the seed out on a lawn.In Dillard’s phrase, the pennies are a metaphor for the
“unwrapped gifts and free surprises.”Dillard doesn’t state who the “generous hand” belongs to.
I suspect that in her mind it was God since she is a somewhat religious person.If this is who
you think owns the generous hand, that is fine.She leaves it open, however, so non-religious
people or those with differing views than she has can fill in what makes sense to them.It could
be fate, mother nature, life, etc.
Dillard says, “what you see is what you get” (17) and then later states, “I see what I
expect” (20).This comes back to our preconceived notions about things.For example, if we
have been conditioned to think of Muslim people as terrorists, when we see a Muslim person, we
will see a terrorist.What we won’t see is the more accurate reality of the situation.The Muslim
person most likely has many of the same concerns as everyone else—paying the bills, the
teenage kid wants a car and insurance rates will go up, why did the littlest kid put bubble gum in
his sister’s hair, etc.
Dillard discusses two ways of seeing and says one of these ways “of seeing involves letting
go” (33).Letting go means to let go of our preconceived notions, to let go of whatever it is we
use to fill in the gaps and to allow what we are seeing to present itself as it is, not as we think it
Toward the end of the essay, Dillard says that “all [she] can do is try to gag the commentator,
to hush the noise of useless internal babble that keeps [her] from seeing” (34 – 35).This
commentator is the voice in her head.How often do we have all these thoughts bouncing around
in our heads like bumper cars at a carnival?And, like the bumper cars, how often do we actually
get anywhere with the thoughts?I’m not saying thinking isn’t a good thing—some people should
do more of it, but most of us need to learn to use thinking as a tool and not a a substitute for
being.With all these thoughts, the “noise of useless internal babble,” we miss a lot of the
pennies, the gifts and free surprises.We will discuss this in more detail in the next Unit when
we read Eckhart Tolle.
Annie Dillard “Seeing” overview 1
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