The Art of Distinction: Description and Analysis
Lesson objective(s): Fostering an awareness of the distinction between description and analysis.
Total estimated time: 75 minutes.
Additional outcome(s): Students will practice producing and discussing original writing.
Course work or assignment underway: Reading food narratives.
Work and/or reading completed before class:
Students have read and commented on Jumpha Lahiri’s “Rice.”
Sequence of Classroom Activities
1. Students are asked to read and discuss the following paragraph:
After reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Rice,” consider the connections that your own family has with certain foods. First, as evidenced by the title of Lahiri’s essay, identify a single item or dish that bears the most significance for you. Next, describe the dish: What ingredients go into it? How is it cooked? Who makes it? Where? When? What aspect of your heritage does it speak of? Next, tell a story about your family that concerns this dish: What happened? How does it relate to this food? Why did you choose it? Make sure to take special care to remember the distinction between description and analysis.
2. Examine the questions as a class. Discuss which choices would make particularly strong answers and why. Also discuss the difference between distinction and analysis, using the narratives students have already read (10 minutes).
3. Have students write their own answers (10 minutes).
4. Have students share their work with the class (25 minutes).
5. Remind students that this assignment can be the beginning of a future essay about their own food culture (strengthening awareness of the writing process).
Download: Food_Predraft1_DescrptionAndAnalysis (doc)