Reading Remembered Event Essays

Reading Remembered Event Essays

Basic Features As you read remembered event essays in this chapter, you will see how different authors incorporate the basic features of the genre.

A Well-Told Story

Read first to enjoy the story. Remembered event essays are autobiographical stories that recount an important event in the writer’s life; the best ones are first and fore- most a pleasure to read. A well-told story

arouses curiosity and suspense by structuring the narrative around conflict, building to a climax, and leading to a change or discovery of some kind;

is set in a specific time and place, often using dialogue to heighten immediacy d d

Basic Features

The genre’s basic features are introduced toward the beginning of the chapter, so you know what to look for in the readings. Each basic feature is assigned a color, which is used whenever that basic feature is discussed later in the chapter.



Calling Home

Jean Brandt

As we all piled into the car, I knew it was going to be a fabulous day. My grand-

mother was visiting for the holidays; and she and I, along with my older brother and

sister, Louis and Susan, were setting off for a day of last-minute Christmas shopping.

On the way to the mall, we sang Christmas carols, chattered, and laughed. With

Christmas only two days away, we were caught up with holiday spirit. I felt light-headed

and full of joy. I loved shopping — especially at Christmas.

The shopping center was swarming with frantic last-minute shoppers like our-

selves. We went first to the General Store, my favorite. It carried mostly knickknacks

and other useless items which nobody needs but buys anyway. I was thirteen years

old at the time, and things like buttons and calendars and posters would catch my

fancy. This day was no different. The object of my desire was a 75-cent Snoopy button.

As you read, look for places where Brandt lets us know how she felt at the time the event occurred. Also consider the questions in the margin. Your instructor may ask you to post your answers or bring them to class.

Basic Features

Color-coded highlighting in the chapter’s first essay calls attention to the student writer’s use of the basic features of the genre; questions in the margin ask you to analyze and reflect on the writer’s use of various strategies.


Usually, the remaining readings in the chapter are by professional writers. Each of these additional essays is accompanied by the following groups of questions and activities to help you learn how essays in that genre work:

Making Connections invites you to explore an issue raised by the reading that is related to your own experience and often to broader social or cultural issues.

Analyzing Writing Strategies helps you examine closely some specific strate- gies the writer used. The questions in this section are organized according to the basic features of the genre, to help you keep track of different aspects of the essay’s construction. Following essays that include visuals, an Analyzing Visuals section asks you to examine what graphics, photographs, and the like contrib- ute to the written text.

Considering Topics for Your Own Essay suggests subjects that you might write about in your own essay.

Following the readings, each assignment chapter also includes the following sections:

a “Beyond the Traditional Essay” section that provides examples of that chap- ter’s genre of writing drawn from unexpected contexts — advertising, blogs, museums, even public parks

a Guide to Writing that will help you write an effective essay in the genre for your particular audience and purpose. The Guides to Writing, the most impor- tant parts of the entire book, will be explained fully in the next section.

a Writer at Work narrative showing key elements of the writing process of one student whose essay appears in the chapter

a concluding section titled Thinking Critically about What You Have Learned, which invites you to reflect on the work you did for that chapter and to consider some of its wider social and cultural implications.

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