An Exploratory Draft is an example of “low stakes” writing.
1) summary of the article and a description of specific moments in the text you want to analyze and the connection with Dunbar Ortiz
2) From the article select a direct quotation or a textual moment that stands out to you, it could be something that surprises you or attracts you or repels you or rises questions for you etc. Copy the quotation (be sure to enclose it in quotation marks) or briefly summarize the passage. Include the author’s name at the end of the sentence in parentheses, per MLA citation style. Then explain the importance of this quotation or rhetorical gesture to the text where it appears. What is so special about this moment? how does it support the author’s purpose? complicate the author’s purpose? offer new information, or a new interpretation of some information presented earlier? what would the text be missing without this passage? what questions does it leave with you? your comments should be based on how the author is using this quotation or moment in the text. Please do not summarize but interpret. Feel free to repeat this step with multiple moments, prompted by the various questions about author, purpose, and other rhetorical strategies that Lunsford demonstrates in her chapter on Rhetorical Analysis.
3) INTERTEXTUAL CONNECTION: Now introduce the Dunbar-Ortiz chapter or key concept you want to talk about. Don’t worry about a smooth transition or pivot point if one doesn’t occur to you immediately. First introduce Dunbar Ortiz and her project. Then ask yourself, what do you want an outside reader to know about Myth 1 “the real Indians died off” that you’re working with? What context does this myth provide that’s useful to you as the analyst of this article? you may want to use specific moments in the text, follow the same guideline of introducing. citing, and explaining.
4) Make sure you’ve considered: The Bigger So What: After you’ve laid out your project, evidence and analysis, step back from your draft and see if you can identify something that makes this “puzzling encounter” or “tricky situation” significant to more than just you, or more than just this class. So finding some larger resonance in the ideas you are exploring. What does your experience of these two texts make you consider differently? What changes in your reading of this article one you’ve completed your rhetorical analysis or applied the context from Dunbar Ortiz. Remember to look beyond “win rhetoric”- your gol isn’t to criticize or “take down” the author of your article, but to help your reader understand something about it in a new way. Imagine one of this writers was sitting across from you, is there a question you’d ask them, that you could attempt to address or answer for yourself here? Or imagine a different ideal reader, what do you want their takeaway from the article, or Dunbar Ortiz, to be?
Once you’ve begun, don’t get hung up on word choice or perfect syntax, just keep writing, imagining you’re introducing yourself to a stranger. Keep your fingers moving. If you get stuck, write out the questions or uncertainty that’s holding you up. It’s fine to use placeholders, like [insert better word here] or [like this but more serious]. Try to be as specific as you can.
There is no minimum word count for exploratory drafts, but keep in mind editing is always easier the more you have to work with. This draft should be a meaningful step toward the Formal Draft you will write and workshop next week, so do your future self a favor and put a good amount of thought in now.
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