Wallace’s essay on “Shipping Out”

1) Wallace’s essay “Shipping Out” was originally published in Harper’s Magazine.  Before you read his essay, go to Harper’s website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and read about its history.  Based on how they describe themselves, what they publish, and any other details you notice, who do you think is Harper’s intended audience?  Describe this audience’s concerns, interests, and assumptions, education level, and socio-economic status.  Avoid broad stereotypes!

2) As you read “Shipping Out,” list as many conventions of travel writing as you can identify from the beginning of the essay to the end.  Make sure to note page numbers and quote as needed.  Refer to the chapters we’ve read in Thompson as needed–especially this week’s assigned chapter “Representing the Other.”

3) Now that you’ve finished reading the essay, consider its rhetorical effects on the audience.  How does Wallace’s use of conventions (identified (in #2) affect his audience (described in #1)?  What specific response(s) do these conventions elicit from this audience?

4) What is Wallace’s message?  What is his purpose for writing?  How does this intended response (explained in #3) from the audience serve Wallace’s purpose?

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