Discussion feedback with examples

Discussion feedback with examples

Read Chapter 9 in Argument Today to learn the particular considerations that we take into account when writing a narrative essay. Then, read Eggers’ “The Long Road to Riyadh.” One interesting element of this essay is the manner in which Eggers weaves his own travels through the Saudi desert with the larger geo-political make-up of the Middle East. Identify at least two instances where he switches back and forth between “him time” and “global time.” This is to say, how does he transition between discussing his own personal experience and the greater global concerns of the essay. What technique(s) from the Argument Today reading does he use to transition? How is this different from our understanding of a narrative as a, “first this, then that” chronological flow?

Write them in one document but individually.


1. The author begins introducing us to global issues with him mentioning, “I made a joke about American-Saudi relations, and our military, their oil, various complicities and maybe even the CIA, and from then on, things went cold. It was as if he suddenly realised I was an American, and presumably participating in my country’s various crimes, real or imagined.” He transitions really well by saying, ” I would normally think, He’s a young man, and he made a joke to another young man on the phone, and it has nothing to do with me.” and goes right into ” But lately things have changed. ” This initiates the thought process change of the audience. The audience is now prepared for a different direction in the story which goes into the global issues. He transitions from one paragraph to the next and starts with “But” to change the tone. Towards the end of the writing, he ends a paragraph with, “I very well could be imagining it all, but I have no choice but to hope. He flips the cassette in the tape player and lights another cigarette.” this ends the paragraph and allows the writer to start again on either his own travels or on the global issues. The writer goes back to global issues by writing, ” I made no decision to be an American, made no sacrifices to be called an American”. This shows his concerns are still for his safety based on the global issues that are much bigger than him. He then continues on about how different they are and yet the same. He hopes that “if the worst came to the worst” they would get along. The author transitions in and out of his personal and global issues more smoothly than calling them out with a “first” and/or a “then this happened”. Good transitions keep the audience’s attention throughout.

2. The first transition I noticed between between “his time” and “global time” in “The Long Road to Riyadh” is where the author jumps from describing the driver lighting another cigarette to comparing how they both ended up in their own lives by random chance. He transitions between this by inserting a picture between the two paragraphs. This element added more to the design (as stated in page 180 of the textbook), however it also provided a physical transition between ideas and introduces a lesson to be learned right in the middle of the story.

The second time Eggers does this within the essay is a few paragraphs earlier, where he states “We pass a tanker truck as if it’s not moving. At this speed I have no options. I’m going wherever this man wants me to go. I want to make clear that I’ve rarely if ever felt in actual danger while traveling anywhere in the world.” (Eggers, para. 15) After coming full circle in explaining why he is in a Saudi Arabian car, going 160kps on the highway, he emphasizes the importance of the situation. This part of the story I see as part of evaluating the complication as well as subtly explaining another of the stories lessons. The transition itself is more of an explanation to the reader of the significance of this moment, though.

Overall, they essay is told completely out of order; it opens right after the disruption of the scene to create interest, and then circles back to setting the scene and the complication itself to give context. It then continues in the usual order: Eggers reacts to the situation through reflection on his history in his travels, and tries to have a casual conversation with the driver. Spliced within these reactions, though, are small lessons the reader should take from the story. While normally this would be placed at the end, Eggers has it placed in specific locations. Finally, Eggers concludes the story with a simple yet satisfying ending.

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