The Conversation

We have already learned two important concepts:

  • Literacy
  • Writing Process

The third concept is the metaphor of the conversation. What we are studying now, has a long history. People have been writing and researching everything you can think of.

For example, the conversation on how to speak well goes back a couple thousand years to Aristotle, Plato, and others that came before.

Everything you will write about from now on, needs to be based in a conversation. A scholarly one, a scientific one, a popular one. To know what has been said before, you need to read and research.

Burke’s “Unending Conversation” Metaphor

Kenneth Burke writes:

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.


Journals from now on should begin with a summary of the reading. Pick a point or topic to summarize. Chapter 2, which we are reading for next week, explains how to summarize and gives some tips. After reading chapter 2, summarize the reading.

Sample Literacy Narratives

“They Say”

Chapter 1 argues that good academic writing responds to what others are saying. What “They Say” is important to include in academic writing and is one way we can include the conversation when we write. The chapter includes templates for introducing standard views, implied or assumed and ongoing debates.

Why do you think this is important?

Entering the Conversation

The introduction to the textbook, page 1, explains that the book relies on templates to help us do the basic moves of writing. The templates are guides that when used help us to structure and generate our own writing. We will talk a lot about approaches to writing and how to think about writing, as well as use the templates provided to help us practice the principles of writing.

State your own ideas as a response to others. You are just entering a conversation that has been going on for thousands of years. You are not expected to know everything, but you are expected to begin to understand what others have said before and how to find it.


To argue means more than just stating your own position. To argue you need to enter into a conversation with others views. Then you can try to convince others of your position or just to see your position as valid.

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Check your oil
Take care of a pet
Time management
cope with trauma
mosh pit
managing health care
run a platoon
run faster
weight lifting
martial arts
parallel parking
make up
write music
play musical instrument
beats software
plan a wedding
fire starting
hair styling
short hand
cursive writing
touch typing
less dominant hand
shooting a basketball
lay up
having fun
listen to your body, well being
let things go
critical thinking, reading,
to write well
being parent
apply to school, use GI bill
speak Korean, language
fixing a car
manual transmission
riding a motorcycle
managing money
wealth management
living alone
work/find a job
attention to detail
detail oriented