Writing 2121F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Nalini Nadkarni, Solitary Confinement, Thesis Statement

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13 Aug 2016
WRITING 2121G: Writing for MIT
Week 3
Jan 19
Nalini Nadkarni: Life science in prison
Calculated how far a single tree moved in a single year, which was equal to 7 times around the
globe each year
Trees are not simply static entities, but are rather dynamic
Prisons are also static entities
oPeople within are stuck, confined behind bars
oDespairing cycle of incarceration
How can her lesson of trees be applied to prisons?
Worked with prisons to bring science, sustainability, and conservation projects to inmates
Inmates chose to participate over watching TV
Grew endangered plants and animals
The development of the inmates and the prisons themselves exemplify movement
Those segregated in super-max facilities were brought images of nature in exercise yards
Uses Mr. Lopez as an example to enhance credibility of her lecture
Small, collective movements of change can move an entity such as the prison system in a
direction of hope
Perhaps there are other static entities – grief, addictions, racism – that can also change
At the beginning of her speech, she says she wants to think about static entities and their
movements, specifically by looking at the prison system
Most of the speech is devoted to her example (prison system) of a static entity that is capable of
mutating and transforming
Is focusing on a sustained example effective or ineffective?
oShe is encouraging us to rethink everything that is static
Look at what is valuable within the argument, and refine it by looking at the argument’s aims
Is she using pathos, ethos, or logos?
oAppealing to your emotions, especially where she shows the guy who is handcuffed
oUses the visuals to humanize the prisoners
Analysis to Thesis Statement
N.B. use visuals and relation to verbal elements
Outline argument: key points, transitions, visuals
oi.e. hit pause: note for major shifts ideas/images: note transitions (segues: visual and
Keep the outline to one page
Note structure and rhetorical strategies
oVerbal: trees seem static but move: stats (3 times circumscribe globe in year), describes
experiment with paint and canvas
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