Write an essay in which you engage with a question of your own that has come out of your thinking about the tension between vision (what can be perceived through the eyes) and understanding (what can be “seen” through the mind). This essay should developan interesting and complex idea in responseto your question. You will build your idea and your essay through a rigorous consideration of various types of evidence.
In order to do this, you will use a variety of sources—essays, and other texts and images from this class and from your own research, experiential evidence— as lenses through which you’ll consider and reconsider an exhibit.
The exhibit is the thing your essayistic work interrogates—something that you make strange and new through the process of re-seeing and reconsidering through the lens of other sources. A likely choice for your exhibit is the artwork you wrote about in Exercise One—but it could also be an object from everyday life: something that’s worth reconsidering (and reconsidering again) in light of the thinking you’ve been doing for this class over the past few weeks. Your goal is to come to a deeper understanding of this exhibit’s value, power and significance. Through this process, you’ll develop an idea about the value and implications of the exhibit in question. More than this, though, this work will take you back tothe question of your own about the tension between vision and understanding– it will help you reconsider and refine this question.
Assume your audience for this essay is another section of Advanced College Essay– one that has not read the same essays you have. Reveal your thinking to these smart people: what are you trying to say to them? Why do they need to know? What do you need to tell them about your evidence or the steps of your thought process so that they can follow you in your thinking? As you craft your essay, consider also the tone and style that you might need to employ to interest this smart, reasonable and rather busy audience–you'll have to grab their attention in the first sentence, but to keep it you'll have to show them why it's worth paying attention to your thinking in the first few paragraphs. In the beginning of your essay, you need to strive to give your reader a sense of motive–that is, you need to convey to your reader why you think it's worth consideringthis evidence inthis particular way. In other words, what are you doing to let the reader know that your inquiry has larger implications (beyond personal passions and preoccupations)? How are you giving the reader a sense of what is at stake?
Since you are writing an essay, you'd do well to return to your "principles of essay"– what we discussed in class, what you recall from last semester, what you've learned from the essays we've read. An essay needs to have an IDEA, it needs to include representation of evidence and reflection on that evidence, it needs to have a discernible beginning, middle and ending, it needs to include moments of doubt, AKA "but" moments, AKA moments where the thinking "turns"… these are just a FEW of the things essays need to do.
Your essay must explore at least one of the essays you’ve read in this progression as a primary source of evidence. You must also consider your artwork as a primary source. Additionally, you must bring at least two other written sources into your essay– these can come from our reading in class, your research, or other essays in theBrooklyn Reader. This makes a minimum of four pieces of evidence. Youmay write a scene from your experience and reflect on that as a piece of evidence—though this is not a requirement, it might help to ground and motivate your thinking. (Whether or not you include a scene from experience, you may want to remind yourself of the way(s) in which the inquiry of your essay is actually important to you.)
Your essay must be 5-7 pages long, double-spaced, Times New Roman font. Include a works cited section and in-text citations of quotations—use MLA style documentation.