Write a Procedural Document-The stories are Breakfast by John Steinbeck, Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston, and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

Write a Procedural Document-The stories are Breakfast by John Steinbeck, Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston, and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

Write a Procedural Document

You have now read the story of a wife who feels trapped by her marriage, a young girl who refuses to hide behind her race, and a young man who is profoundly affected by the kindness and joy of strangers. Each of these works portrays the story of a person and his or her perceived place in the world. Did you notice how the authors use overstatement, the exaggeration of an emotion or event, or understatement, minimizing the significance of an extreme emotion or event, in order to develop their characters? How does the sensory language of the authors contribute to how you picture their characters?

In our world today, we are surrounded by “self-help” books and mantras. This 9-billion dollar industry is built on telling people how to lead themselves to happiness, full bank accounts, love, and even psychic abilities. For this assignment, you are going to write a procedural document from one of the characters’ perspectives about how to live life.

A procedural document is a step-by-step guide to accomplish a task. Procedural documents are included when you buy electronics or furniture that needs to be assembled. They also tell you how to set up accounts with online websites. Some of this course is even a procedural document.

  • Step 1:  Select a character from one of the three stories, and decide what kind of “how-to” paper you are going to write. For example, if you choose Louise Mallard, you could write a paper about how to pretend to be a happy wife or how to deal with being alone.
  • Step 2:  Start your document with a couple of sentences that introduce the task that you will explain. Since you are giving instructions, use second person (you). Feel free to have a little creative leeway. You can hypothesize about what has happened before the story to create background information. This will serve as the “introduction” to your story. Here is an example:Despite being a widow, Louise Mallard in Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is able to find happiness. She has compiled a list of the steps she took down the road to personal fulfillment. If you follow her procedure, perhaps you, too, will become happy in any circumstance (Now move to Step 3 and list the steps in chronological order, elaborating on each one, as needed).
  • Step 3:  Write an ordered list of at least seven steps your reader will need to prepare for or encounter. For example, if I were writing a procedural document for Hollywood socialites who wanted to embarrass themselves on the Internet, I would suggest that they spend lavish amounts of money on skimpy clothing to ensure that they expose themselves in front of the paparazzi regularly. This list of steps should walk the reader through the story of your character, much like the plot of a regular story would. Be sure that your list builds so that it includes rising action, a climax, and falling action.
  • Step 4:  The last step of the document should be a summary of the task once it is completed. For example, now that you have welcomed a complete stranger into your tent home, given him breakfast, and allowed him to get to know your family, you can be confident that you are a good person. This will serve as the “conclusion” to your story.This procedural document can be as serious or humorous as you desire. Once you select a tone, however, it is important that you maintain that tone throughout the document. It would be very confusing to begin reading a serious piece about wifehood and end with a lighthearted joke.
  • Step 5:  Include a visual representation of the main idea of your procedural document.

Have fun with this assignment, and remember that the more creative you are with this, the more successful you will be.  Read beyond the lines of the text and push into the realms of the imaginative!

The stories are Breakfast by John Steinbeck, Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston, and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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