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Modes of Discourse


Modes of Discourse Introduction & Narration Modes of Discourse Mode = method (HOW) Discourse = communication / discussion In terms of written communication, we ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Modes of Discourse

Modes of Discourse
  • Introduction Narration

Modes of Discourse
  • Mode method (HOW)
  • Discourse communication / discussion
  • In terms of written communication, we classify 9
    main modes of discourse
  • Narration, Illustration, Description, Process
    Analysis, Definition, Division and
    Classification, Comparison and Contrast, Cause
    and Effect and Argument.

  • To narrate is to tell a story or to recount a
    series of events. Whenever you relate an incident
    or use an anecdote (a very brief story) to make a
    point, you use narration.
  • In its broadest sense, narration is any account
    of any event or series of events.
  • We all love to hear stories some people believe
    that sharing stories is a part of what defines us
    as human beings. Good stories are interesting,
    sometimes suspenseful, and always instructive
    because they give us insights into the human
  • Although most often associated with fiction,
    narration is effective and useful in all kinds of

  • Good narration has five essential features
  • a clear context
  • some well-chosen and thoughtfully emphasized
  • a logical, sometimes chronological organization
  • an appropriate and consistent point of view
  • a meaningful point or purpose
  • Consider, for example, the following narrative,
    titled Is Your Jar Full?

Narration Example 1
  • One day, an expert in time management was
    speaking to a group of business students and, to
    drive home a point, used an illustration those
    students will never forget. As he stood in front
    of the group of high-powered overachievers he
    said, Okay, time for a quiz, and he pulled out
    a one-gallon mason jar and set it on the table in
    front of him. He also produced about a dozen
    fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one
    at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled
    to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he
    asked, Is this jar full?
  • Everyone in the class yelled, Yes.
  • The time management expert replied, Really? He
    reached under the table and pulled out a bucket
    of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the
    jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves
    down into the spaces between the big rocks. He
    then asked the group once more, Is the jar
    full? By this time the class was on to him.
  • Probably not, one of them answered.
  • Good! he replied. He reached under the table
    and brought out a bucket of sand. He started
    dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all
    of the spaces left between the rocks and the

Narration Example 1 Continued
  • Once more he asked the question, Is this jar
  • No! the class shouted.
  • Once again he said, Good. Then he grabbed a
    pitcher of water and began to pour it in until
    the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at
    the class and asked, What is the point of this
  • One eager beaver raised his hand and said, The
    point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if
    you try really hard you can always fit some more
    things in it!
  • No, the speaker replied, thats not the point.
    The truth this illustration teaches us is If you
    dont put the big rocks in first, youll never
    get them in at all. What are the big rocks in
    your lifetime with your loved ones, your faith,
    your education, your dreams, a worthy cause,
    teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put
    these big rocks in first or youll never get them
    in at all.
  • So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are
    reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this
    question What are the big rocks in my life?
    Then, put those in your jar first.

Narration Continued
  • This story contains all the elements of good
    narration. The writer begins by establishing a
    clear context for her narrative by telling when,
    where, and to whom the action happened. She has
    chosen details well, including enough details so
    that we know what is happening but not so many
    that we become overwhelmed, confused, or bored.
    The writer organizes her narration logically with
    a beginning that sets the scene, a middle that
    relates the exchange between the time-management
    expert and the students, and an end that makes
    her point, all arranged chronologically. She
    tells the story from the third-person point of
    view. Finally, she reveals the point of her
    narration people need to think about whats
    important in their lives and put these activities

Narration Non-Chronological
  • Non-Chronological Narration is where the writer
    does not simply tell the events in the order that
    they happened.
  • Writers use non-chronological narration to
    provide clues or foreshadow what will happen
    in the story.
  • Assignment Read The Scarlet Ibis and focus on
    how the writer uses non-chronological narration.

  • Day Two

  • Last class, we discussed the concept of
    non-chronological narration. The story that we
    read was written with non-chronological
    narration the writer did not simply tell the
    events in the order that they happened.
  • We begin by hearing from the narrator as a grown
    man, remembering his childhood. The story then
    flashes back to when he was 6 years old and his
    brother was born. This opening section is
    necessary for setting the tone of the story. It
    gives us many clues that something sad will
    happen as we are given the impression that Doodle
    is no longer alive.
  • This non-chronological narration allows the
    writer to set up the tone of grief and sadness
    before we even begin to read the story of Doodle.

Your Turn
  • Be sure to give some thought to the organization
    of your narrative. Chronological organization is
    natural in narration because it is a
    reconstruction of the original order of events,
    but it is not always the most interesting.
  • To add interest to your storytelling, use
    non-chronological narration. Begin your narration
    at the end of the story with an important or
    exciting event, and then use flashback to fill in
    what happened earlier.

Classroom Activity Using Narration
  • Assignment Choose a significant event from your
    life one that you attach some emotion tohappy,
    sad, scared, angry, etc. It could be a wedding, a
    birth, a vacation, a competition, a tournament,
    Christmas (a specific one), starting a new
    school, moving, etc.
  • Think about the usual demands of narration but
    especially the requirements that your narration
    have some meaningful point or purpose and a
    non-chronological organization.

  • When you have chosen your event, break it down
    into four chronological steps. For example
  •             Soccer Game
  • 1 We changed in the locker room
  • 2 We walked onto the field
  • 3 I scored a goal
  • 4 Final whistle blew. We won the game.
  • You will now write a 4 paragraph narrative
    of your event. Each of your steps will
    be included. Your paragraphs will go in this
    order 4,1,2,3. If I was writing up the event
    above I would BEGIN with a paragraph that
    described the final whistle blowing, how excited
    I was and how my team-mates reacted, etc. In my
    2nd, 3rd and 4th paragraphs I would then go back
    and describe the details that led up to that
    moment. Please  write detailed paragraphs,
    remembering all we have learned recently about
    parallel structure, active voice, modifiers,
    and using the 5 senses in your writing.

(No Transcript)
Narration Example 2
  • One afternoon in late August, as the summers sun
    streamed into the railroad car and made little
    jumping shadows on the windows, I sat gazing out
    at the tenement dwellers, who were themselves
    looking out of their windows from the gray
    crumbling buildings along the tracks of upper
    Manhattan. As we crossed into the Bronx, the
    train unexpectedly slowed down for a few miles.
    Suddenly from out of my window I saw a large
    crowd near the tracks, held back by two
    policemen. Then, on the other side from my
    window, I saw a sight I would never be able to
    forget a little boy almost severed in halves,
    lying at an incredible angle near the track. The
    ground was covered with blood, and the boys eyes
    were opened wide, strained and disbelieving in
    his sudden oblivion. A policeman stood next to
    him, his arms folded, staring straight ahead at
    the windows of our train. In the orange glow of
    late afternoon the policemen, the crowd, the
    corpse of the boy were for a brief moment
    immobile, motionless, a small tableau to violence
    and death in the city. Behind me, in the next row
    of seats, there was a game of bridge. I heard one
    of the four men say as he looked out at the
    sight, God, thats horrible. Another said, in a
    whisper, Terrible, terrible. There was a
    momentary silence, punctuated only by the
    clicking of the wheels on the track. Then, after
    the pause, I heard the first man say Two

Narration Model Essay
  • Read the model essay entitled, White Lies and
    take notice of the use of an interesting
    technique called perhapsing
  • This essay uses what the writer Lisa Knopp
    calls perhapsing. Sometimes when were
    writing, we cant recall the exact details of
    our experiences. In this case, we can perhaps
    or speculate about what actually happened. In
    the final paragraph of White Lies, I speculate
    about whether I saw or dreamt about Connie and
    her mother in the convenience store. The result
    of this rhetorical strategy is two-fold it
    establishes me as a reliable narrator and allows
    me to question my own motives in remembering
    the past.
  • In your notes, answer the following question How
    well does this strategy (perhapsing) work for
    Murphy in her final paragraph? Explain.

Your Turn
  • Ask yourself why you are telling your story
  • Your purpose will influence which events and
    details you include and which you leave out
  • Include enough details about the action and its
    context so that your readers can understand
    whats going on
  • Dont get so carried away with details that your
    readers become confused or bored by an excess of
    information. In good storytelling, deciding what
    to leave out is as important as deciding what to