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Partial Biography of a Classmate and a Mini-History of an Object

Introduction of the Classmate and Their Object

This essay will be part profile of one of your classmates and part expository essay about an object that is important to your partner. You will write a partial biography of your partner and a partial biography of the object.

Primary Research – you will interview your partner about the object or device s/he has chosen.

Secondary Research – you will conduct library and internet research on the object itself so that your essay is not only about your partner but also a mini-history of the object and its cultural importance.

1. Conduct an interview with your partner. Asking many questions about the object, such as perhaps: the partner’s positive or negative feelings it, history with it, and how it contributes to (or takes away from) the partner’s sense of identity. Write down as much as you can – including full sentences that might work well as quotations in your essay.

2. Freewrite on how you think the interview went. Write about what your subject told you, but also read between the lines of what your partner told you.

3. Conduct secondary research on the object itself. Browse online search engines for newspaper or magazine articles (avoid blogs), library databases, and library stacks for information on the object. Encyclopedias are good places to start – do not, however, trust Wikipedia as a quotable secondary source.

4. Fully read and annotate at least three reputable secondary sources that provide background and/or arguments about the object. Take notes and highlight strong sections in the sources you may want to quote. Keep  copies of these three sources.

5. Freewrite on what you have taken away from your secondary research and how it informs or helps you write your mini biography of your partner.

6. If necessary, conduct a second interview with your partner based on what you find in your research.

7. Write a preliminary outline for how you will organize your essay (see below for a sample).

8. Draft and edit the essay.

1. Introduction of your partner and his/her object – perhaps using a story s/he has told you about the object. (include one quotation from your interview)

2. Introduce the object alone. What is its history (Invention? Early uses? Is it common? When did it become common? – Include at least two quotations from your secondary research sources.)

3. Return to your partner and her/his experience with the object. Report another story about her/him and consider how her/his feelings about the object might be many people’s feelings about it (include at least two quotations from your interview).

4. Return to the object apart from the subject. (Are there any controversial problems with the object? Include quotations from your secondary research sources.)

5. End your essay by returning to your partner and his/her relationship with this object. Why is this object important to your partner? Why is this object important in general?

Give your paper a strong title and be sure to include the Word count

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