short assignment 2: personal abecedarius

university of washington | english 131 autumn 2020

We looked at how a word can be coded by its historical and sociocultural context and usage. Now we’ll reflect on ourselves and what experiences and histories have coded US, via an Abecedarius exposé on our personal, educational, familial, cultural, linguistic, literacy history. An abecedarius is a creative form in which each sentence -- in our case -- begins with a new letter of the alphabet, beginning in order with the letter A. 

The restrictions of the abecedarius form might make this challenging -- and it should be! Let each sentence be its own story. Together they weave an even larger one. You might be surprised to see what it is. 


Actually, I’m not technically Catholic, but still I feel closest to Something under Basilica frescoes. Babushka always grates the beets; soup’s better that way. Can we pause to appreciate compromises like “I get the inside half of the bed if you get the blinds open” and “Scoot over, your hair is tickling my nose.” During his last few years, I think I still pronounced Missouri “Missour-uh” just like my grandpa did. Every time I fail to roll my Russian R’s, I excel at ら り る れ ろ. [ … ] “Very worried,” my seventh-grade teacher said, “very worried and praying for you,” but there was nothing to pray about, I just ran away from school because I didn’t want to be there. Why do I write so fast, my print becomes cursive anyway? Xanax is not the same thing as prescription Benadryl. You really don’t want to argue with me when the reputation of Alexander the Great is at stake. Zone 3, now boarding: airport-alone is a particular shape of existence.


short assignment 4: cracking codes

university of washington | english 131 winter 2021

Reread Chapter One of the The Song of Achilles (Madeline Miller), “The real vampire slayers” (Taylor, The Independent), or the scholarly article you deconstructed in Week 5. 

  1. Identify five (5) different rhetorical moves/elements of grammar in the piece. 

  2. Crack the code: Rewrite the piece in a different genre, being critical and conscious of the rhetorical moves you make to engage the new genre.

  3. Writer's Memo: In one full page, identify and explain the five (5) rhetorical moves you made to crack the code.  

Example: The Song of Achilles becomes a scholarly article; or “The real vampire slayers” becomes a Twitter thread; or your article from Week 5 becomes a travel journal. 

Short Assignment 4 should be no less than three (3) pages in length, not including Writer's Memo.