In a Tortoiseshell: In these first three paragraphs of her essay on revolutionary action in prison abolition, Meryl Liu provides powerful and efficient orienting for her readers. She introduces relevant historical events, gives context for the scholarly discussion, and defines her own key term that acts as a framework for the remainder of the piece. By illuminating a “unique and intriguing tension” Meryl captures the reader’s interest and primes them for the thesis of her paper, which follows immediately after the excerpt published here. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In this excerpt of her essay on Hugo Chávez’s mythologization of Simón Bolívar, Anais Mobarak demonstrates how best to establish scholarly motive when numerous texts are in conversation. Anais is clear and deft in her explanation of a tension that exists between two scholars, highlighting the relevant points made by each writer. She then plays peacemaker, suggesting a new lens through which to view Chávez and his complex relationship to Bolívar. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: After establishing her thesis, Akhila moves towards orienting. Tasked with the tricky dilemma of introducing the reader to both the general subject area and the scholarly conversation that surrounds her work, Akhila deftly sets a foundation that allows a compelling argument to follow. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In his essay, Sam delves deeply into the implications behind David Hammons’s 1988 piece How Ya Like Me Now? At odds with the rest of Hammons’s works, which involve raw and compelling depictions of Blackness in America, How Ya Like Me Now? is a painting that portrays Jesse Jackson, a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement and lifelong activist for justice for Black Americans, as white. The following excerpt highlights the way that Sam layers motive from both his primary and secondary sources to create an exemplary introduction.Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In this excerpt of his short story, David Smith exemplifies how key elements of writing taught in academic contexts are essential to other, unconventional forms of composition. In particular, the author displays the role of motive, methodology, and conventions in a work of fiction.
In a Tortoiseshell: In this excerpt, Will conducts a careful close reading to analyze the chronological ending of David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas. He begins by selectively choosing pieces of evidence from the novel, creating a strong foundation for his analysis. Importantly, this analysis goes beyond merely interpreting individual pieces of evidence; it is grounded in a surprising and compelling argument about his source. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In this excerpt, Willow develops a rich and multilayered motive for writing about the Martin Hayes Quartet’s album The Blue Room. She begins with a hook that orients the reader to the album and prefigures her motive. She then establishes an explicit personal motive, which is interwoven with her primary source motive. Having made her question clear, she deftly answers it in her thesis and later analysis. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In her exploration of two animated shows, Megan analyzes the erotic undertones present during the mental violation of a young female character. As she engages with this piece of evidence, Megan not only draws a compelling parallel but goes a step further to include detailed notes of visual design and its deeper ties to animated pornography, which ultimately ties to her paper’s global motive. Continue reading
In a Tortoiseshell: In her exhibition statement for a hypothetical museum exhibit, Shirley prepares her readers to encounter exicon terms visually and spatially. She provides her audience with orienting information on architectural estrangement, with clear motivating questions to guide audience members’ experience of the exhibited objects, with evidence in the form of the objects themselves, and with suggested routes of analysis in the way those objects are displayed in the exhibition space. Overall, Shirley’s exhibition invites hypothetical museum-goers to join a scholarly conversation on architectural estrangement and to find their own argument in the exhibited objects. Continue reading
In any piece of writing—academic or otherwise—orienting information is not a mere prelude to what follows. Providing just the right amount of context is crucial if the reader is to understand the argument. Both pieces in this section contain strong examples of narrative that rely on orienting for their emotional and argumentative impact. Akhila Bandlora’s paper orients readers in the theoretical literature surrounding racialized bodies to add to the reader’s “understanding of Black pain.” In her commentary, editor Diane Yang emphasizes Bandlora’s skillful differentiation of an array of scholarly sources. Similarly, in her essay, Meryl Liu provides relevant historical context to orient her argument in the larger narrative surrounding the non-reformist prison abolition movement. According to editor Owen Travis, Liu’s treatment of key terms in her orienting section provides a strong framework for her subsequent analysis.
— Frances Mangina, ’22