Jul 20, 2017 Research papers

How does their orientation speak of their personality, or their relationships to each other?

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Family Ephemera


Essay Prompt


People write reports to inform readers about some condition or situation in the world, whether based on their own experience or the experience of others (thus requiring interviews, research, etc.). Because it stresses information, reporting is probably the most widely used of all the modes we cover for this class. 

At this point, students often question the difference between reporting and reflection. The two share numerous techniques, particularly on stylistic and structural levels. Both involve narration, and both can involve commentary and personal experience in addition to scene-based action and dialogue. They both focus on some conflict or condition that people may find interesting, troubling, unusual, or influential. 

A Family Story in Ephemera

First, I want to get you working outside your own experience, but rather than getting you to research some remote topic, I`m going to ask that you write a family story. Specifically, a family story based on old photographs and documents that you can pull together to support a written report.

Ephemera is defined as documents on paper, most of which were intended for short term or even one-time use. In recent years, a robust interest in collecting ephemera has sprung up, in part because they offer an intriguing snapshot into history and experience that is often lost in the more formal reportage of newspapers and historical accounts. While most ephemera collectors focus on advertisements, labels, accounting ledgers, etc., for our purposes we’re going to include snapshots as well. For some ideas of what typically constitutes ephemera, follow this link: 


Start this assignment by looking through family scrapbooks or junk drawers, particularly photograph albums (most of you will find this the easiest direction). If you don`t have any family pictures, go on a quest to get them--it won`t take that many to make for a solid paper. Call relatives and ask them to take pictures of drawers, or wall hangings, or pictures of pictures. 

Look for patterns and stories, ask relatives about the stuff that interests you. Some photos will evoke memories for you. By all means consider those, and you need not completely dismiss anything that involves personal experience, but you may find this easier if you focus on things that happened before you were born. Where the Natural History assignment asked you to mine memory, here I`m asking you to mine your family. Seek out pictures, concert tickets, newspaper clippings, licenses, diplomas, etc. that don`t necessarily involve you, but instead force you to interview family members for the story behind the picture. Pay attention to the people in the photos. How does their orientation speak of their personality, or their relationships to each other? How does the photograph tell its own story? Consider what they seem to say individually and collectively. We`re going to start with simple description, so begin by doing just that: observing and describing a sample of photos. 

Ultimately, I`m going to ask you to narrow your selection to 4-8 items. Choose on the basis of which photos or documents spark your imagination and interest. What defines your family? What defines your parents, siblings, relations? Though the report will be grounded it ephemera, it may also tell background stories about the people in them. 

Don`t forget that your primary job as is to communicate a story of some significance. If you have curiosity on this read Williams on Global Coherence. You may not know the importance of your subject right away. You might be motivated by simple interest, curiosity, passion for a person or an event, but from there you will need to investigate, talk to others, and possibly even do some reading. As I pointed out in my story: "My Uncle Carl has one leg shorter than the other, the result of a polio epidemic in a small town in Texas in the 1930s..." good reportage will seek to inform the reader of all the significant points that come up in the telling of a story. In my case, the story isn`t just about Uncle Carl, but about the people and places he encountered in his life, about the state of public health in rural counties during that era, etc.


Name: Institution: Course: Tutor: Date: Family Ephemera Introduction My best friends are the people that we spend most of my time together. Friendship takes time to build. The people who have been around me for the longest time are close and dear to me. They contribute alot to my psychological patterns because we have been together for the longest time. Blood is thicker than water. It is for this reason that I have a strong relationship with my nuclear family members. The nuclear family is the most basic social unit. It determines the different perspectives of an individual because our interactions with members of this unit have existed for the longest time. Since childhood, I have been working on the strengthening of the family bond to ensure that I benefit the most from the individual relationships that are exercised at this level. The objective of this paper is to tell my family story that explains the reason as to why I always value a strong family bond.  The picture shows my brother James 16years old, mother Deborah,41 years, young brother Hannington aged 14 years and me .This was during a Hong Kong Summer vacation in 2014.In this we are happy taking a cup of coffee. The family room The family room in Hong Kong adequately accommodates my nuclear family. Our family room has a good paint with three windows that are beautifully decorated by the use of curtains. It provides a better v


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