Due for Grade: Wednesday, 9/21 (mw class), Thursday, 9/22 (TuTh Class)



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ENGL 101H, Fall, 2016, Dr. Harnett Essay 2 Assignment, page of

Essay 2: Illustration of The Biophilia Hypothesis.

Draft/Planning Due: Monday, 9/19 (MW Class), Tuesday, 9/20 (TuTh class).

Due for Grade: Wednesday, 9/21 (MW Class), Thursday, 9/22 (TuTh Class). On time essays are eligible for revision after they are graded. See the syllabus.
Assignment: Essay 2 is meant primarily to be an illustration of hiking—everyone's own "walk in the woods," based on our hike at Monrovia Canyon Park. If you can’t go to that hike, you may instead illustrate another notable experience you have had in the natural world, such as an animal encounter; see me for approval of these alternative topics. Formulate a thesis to address the larger, deeper question of why people are drawn to natural areas and to interactions of some kind with other forms of lifethe Biophilia Hypothesis. Illustration is the development of examples to explain an idea. In this case, that idea to explain is Biophilia, and then the job of this essay is to apply it to Bryson’s and your own experience in depth. Note that the focus of this essay is to illustrate the concept, not to argue your views or merely cover the readings.

The essay’s development must include three required sources and one optional source (See Works Cited below):



  • Stephen R. Kellert’s theoretical explanation of the Biophilia Hypothesis; select one element of his 9-element typology that are most relevant to your experience and also to Bryson’s adventures. Note that you may use ideas and examples from Edward O. Wilson’s article as well, but Kellert’s is the main emphasis.

  • Bill Bryson’s account of the Appalachian Trail and his experiences hiking it, especially examples related to his reasons and reactions to the hike to which The Biophilia Hypothesis applies. Go beyond summary in developing these examples from Bryson, and re-create the scenes he narrates and describes as vividly as you can. Extensive passages may be quoted or paraphrased, and/or many small examples may be collected and presented to provide the kind of illustrative depth that is needed.

  • Your own vivid, in-depth narrative description of your hiking experience in Canyon Park, or another hike or interaction with the natural world in some way (see me for approval), to which The Biophilia Hypothesis applies.

Optional: You may choose to include a photo or drawing to aid the illustration, which you describe and then show how it helps to point out one or more aspects of your thesis, writing to describe it almost as if the picture were not there. This visual illustration should be your own work, such as a picture you take or painting you create. It is an example in your essay that needs your introduction, description, and explanation of its relevance and importance. Provide a caption, e.g., Fig. 1: Friends at Monrovia Canyon Park Waterfall. Refer to the figure in your essay.

Length: Approximately 1200 words or more. NOTE: This essay ends up being much longer in most cases. See Note below.

Development of the Essay:

  • Explain Kellert’s hypothesis, emphasizing one or maybe 2 elements (1 for Bryson and 1 for you, which may well be the same one), such as the Aesthetic appreciation of nature, the Dominionistic tendency, etc., to set a theoretical foundation for your essay, characterizing Bryson’s experiences that he describes and also your own. Select this very small number (1 or 2 elements) to allow the greatest possible depth of development. Select the element that applies most readily to your experience, and to Bryson’s, recognizing that more than one element may be involved, but that the goal of this essay is to develop 1 or 2 elements in great depth.

  • Select and develop relevant examples from Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, Chapters 8-21, explaining how these examples demonstrate one of Wilson’s or Kellert’s ideas about Biophilia. You may use examples from Chapters 1-7 in addition.

  • In as much detail and depth as possible, provide a vivid narrative and descriptive account of your own hiking or other experience that demonstrates, in great clarity, exactly what you did, said, thought, and felt; the setting and conditions of your experience; and any other things that are needed in order to make your illustration of Biophilia vivid and thus optimally effective. You should describe relevant aspects of the hike itself, such as physical challenges, social interactions, encounters with animals, etc. that you had, an observant perspective. You may use dialogue if it helps to re-create scenes and make them precise. Show, don’t just tell, what happened and how it happened, from start to finish, again in the necessary depth to be vivid rather than general. Keep in mind that this essay goes far beyond summary.

  • Provide transitions, writing in fresh terminology rather than using transition clichés and stock phrases, and otherwise connect each part of your essay; stay focused on your thesis as you proceed.

  • Please Note: Do not confuse length for depth. An excellent illustration can, and should, be concise as well as precise. Having said that, I point out again here that most of these essays come out much longer than 1200 words.

  • Also Note: This essay is about illustrating, not critiquing, an idea or source.

Organization Options: After establishing your topic, focus, and thesis that express the concept of Biophilia and your illustrations of it, decide on the best way to organize the development of your illustration.

  • Option 1: Source By Source. For this assignment, begin with the most basic, general information, and move increasingly toward more specific examples. Here, that means that you start with Kellert, move to Bryson with extended, in-depth examples, and then provide your own in-depth, precise, yet concise account of your experience. This strategy separates the essay into three sections, one for each source.

  • Option 2: Point By Point. Here too, the logic is general to specific. In this organizational strategy, though, you would establish points and then provide information and examples from each of the three sources. So you would make a point, clarify it with information from Kellert, move to Bryson in depth with examples that relate to it, and then provide your in-depth examples and descriptions that relate to it. In this organizational strategy, your own narrative will be divided into pieces according to each point your essay makes.

Other Requirements: Follow MLA formats for in-text citations, grammar and expression, document margins and other features, as with all writing for this course. Also, follow the GCC Academic Honesty Policy and do your own work. Refer only to Kellert and perhaps Wilson, plus Bryson, not other sources, including sources that explain them. Be aware that failure to document a source is plagiarism; so is using someone else’s essay or ideas instead of developing your own.
[make a page break for the Works Cited on your essay]

Works Cited

or

Works Cited and Consulted



[note: MLA 8th ed. format.]

Bryson, Bill. A Walk in the Woods. New York: Broadway Books, yyyy. [put the

publisher’s name and date of the edition you are using]

Kellert, Stephen R. “The Biological Basis for Human Values of Nature.” The Biophilia Hypothesis. Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson. Washington, DC: Island Press/Shearwater, 1993. www.dhushara.com/book/diversit/restor/bph1.htm. Accessed 12 Sept. 2016.



Wilson, Edward O. “Biophilia and the Conservation Ethic.” Kellert and Wilson. Accessed 12 Sept. 2016.

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