Category Archives: Writing Exercises

Marco Polo Project So Far – Part 2

During yesterday’s meeting with your team leaders and programmers, several people asked me whether I could share a template for what I considered to be a perfectly formatted placemark.  There’s unfortunately no easy way for me to upload a KMZ file to either this website or to Google Docs, but I’ll e-mail all of you a copy of the “Road to Cathay” file, which contains many excellent examples.

Meanwhile, here are some screen shots that should help you out.  The first shows the “Kashmir” placemark, which I think does a great job with textual sources.  Note that the person who wrote this paid equal attention to Marco Polo and the contemporary situation in Kashmir and incorporated these two parts into a fluid piece of prose, rather than just juxtaposing quotations.  The bibliography is professionally formatted and doesn’t require me to click through to another page.
The second screen shot shows the source code that was used to create this placemark.
The only problem with “Kashmir” is that it does not contain an image.  The last screenshot, of the “Wakhan” placemark, shows how to properly work with pictures.  The file has been resized to an appropriate dimension, and it has been attributed to the original creator who placed it in the public domain via Flickr.

Marco Polo Project So Far

As promised, here are some thumbnails of the Marco Polo project as it looks so far:

Since we last talked about this in class, I’ve had a chance to review a few more of your place marks.  I’m very happy with the work, but please keep in mind the copyright requirements that come with the assignment, specifically as they concern images.  The idea is that you go out and find image files that have a creative commons license; you cannot simply take a copyrighted image from, say the AP or the Washington Post and use it for this assignment, even if you attribute it.  Admittedly, such usage would almost certainly be covered by “fair use” clauses, but that’s not what the assignment stated – you need to find images that are in the public domain!

Peer Review Groups for Final Paper

Here are your peer review groups for the final paper:

Group 1:

Group 2:

Group 3:

Group 4:

Group 5:

Be sure to email your paper to your two teammates and to me in MS-Word compatible format (.doc, .docx, .rtf) no later than Tuesday, November 23, at 5 pm!

Odyssey Intro (Thesis 10)

An Odyssey Transcending the Tangible

What defines a home?  Is it the roof over one’s head, the riches it holds, or the family found within?   The characters of Odyssey expound on this question: Menelaos living in a lavish palace, but having lost comrades and brother, and Odysseus, longing to return to family and fatherland, though surrounded by beauty which only the gods could procure.  Neither feels at home in the place where they find themselves: both men lost since the battle of Troy.  Each presides in one place, while their hearts lie in another.  The grieving of Odysseus’ and Menelaos’ hearts in Homer’s Odyssey cannot be alleviated by luxury and riches alone.

Thesis #6 Intro

EJ, Vivien, Quinn, Connor

The Pursuit of Fatherhood

Throughout history many children have coped with the absence of a father. These children have felt the despair of a broken childhood, the immediate consequences of not having a father, and the hope that they will one day fill the empty void they have experienced their whole lives. Homer puts on display in his epic poem the troubles that fatherless children go through, and many of these same predicaments haunt children in our world today. The Odyssey opens by focusing on Odysseus’ son Telemakhos, revealing the emotional effects of his father’s absenteeism, effects common to both ancient Greek and common society.

Thesis #1 Intro

By: Sarah, Allison, Rob, and Bobby

Homer’s Odyssey introduces its reader to more than just a classic story recounted through the ages; through the written words of the ancient storytellers, readers are exposed to the values and tenets of Mycenean culture. Strong familial ties and prevalent religious devotion form the backbone of this ancient society. The intimate relationship between the mortals and immortals in Mycenaean civilization exposes to the reader the unique theological ideals of the culture. These ideals are lived out through the interactions between the gods and mortals. The gods mentioned in The Odyssey foster and encourage ancestral relationships through their mentorship of Greek families.  In payment for these services, the immortals of Mount Olympus demand sacrifice, loyalty and respect. This respect perpetuates a cycle, bringing gods and mortals closer, uniting them all as a family. The quintessential example of this cycle is found on Skheria, an idyllic isle where the boundaries between god and man are blurred.

Thesis #9 Intro

Epithets as Connections and Contrasts

Epithets in the usual sense help to reinforce a character’s personality and in some way alert the reader to key aspects of the story. But Homer employs epithets to a greater degree, using them to connect and contrast characters. With a vast index of characters, these signals guide the reader to the important plots and themes. Themes including mythical deities benefit from this realism. The repeated use of epithets in Homer’s “Odyssey” serves to both highlight important character traits and ground mythological creatures in the mortal world.

Outline (Thesis #9)

Thesis: The repeated use of epithets in Homer’s “Odyssey” serve to both highlight important character traits and ground mythological creatures in the mortal world.

Body #1

  1. The epithets of the main characters, Telemakhos and Odysseus, introduce personalities that will appear throughout the epic.
    1. “clear-headed Telemakhos” (II, 137)
      1. Telemakhos visits Menelaos and rejects his invitation (IV, 635)
    2. “the stategist Odysseus” (V, 223)
      1. Odysseus flatters Kalypso (V, 224)
    3. “that kingly man, Odysseus” (VI, 231)
    4. Odysseus does not have a single epithet, but rather many. Both father and son share similar logical personality traits as indicated through their epithets. Continue reading

Odyssey Outline (Thesis 10)

I.                   Introduction

A.                Both Odysseus and Menelaos went to battle in Troy

1.                  Odysseus was thrown about the Mediterranean ever since

2.                  Menelaos made it back from the war, but he never truly felt at home

B.                 Thesis

1.                  The grieving of Odysseus’ and Menelaos’ hearts in Homer’s “Odyssey” cannot be alleviated by luxury and riches alone.

2.                  [Odysseus and Menelaos’ private sorrows in Homer’s “Odyssey” suggest that luxury alone cannot maintain happiness.] Original Thesis

Continue reading

Thesis to Outline

Here are the four theses statements for which you are supposed to create outlines.  Keep in mind that your outline should be for a 4-5 page double-spaced essay, i.e. one that comprises about 1,500 words.  Pay attention to all the things we discussed in class, especially our discussion of “dynamic” papers (those in which one idea leads naturally to the next) versus “static” ones (the three body-paragraph model).  Don’t forget to list the quotations you are going to use!  And feel free to modify the theses to suit your needs, as long as the original idea stays intact.  You will need to post your outlines by midnight on Monday.  I will provide instructions on how to do this over the weekend.

Continue reading