Identify the community’s specific reasoning (logos), its values and emotions (pathos) and explain how you built your credibility (ethos) as a new community member.


An effective way to engage with the topic of writing is to consider how writing and language matter in various communities on a daily basis. This paper provides you the chance to reflect in a personal way about a writing community you successfully joined by learning how to use the language and reasoning skills of that community.

By using vividly rendered personal experiences and short anecdotes (narratives or stories), you will trace your movement from an outsider to an insider in a particular community. Examples of discourse communities include a specific workplace, a sports team, a church community, a social or college club, a hobby you’re good at now, a different country and language, a specific discussion forum–online or in-person.


Write a 3-5 page (900-1500 words) personal narrative that explores a particular discourse or writing community that you are very familiar with and that you feel comfortable discussing with your peers. This writing community should be one that you have chosen, rather than one you were born into. Pick a clear writing community, explain and analyze the writing community’s specific language practices and value system, and show readers that you have become a full member of this community by learning those language practices. Follow these specific steps:

Include a main point or take-away (thesis) in the beginning of your essay to clearly indicate to readers what the essay is about and what overall point you wish to make.

Identify the community’s specific reasoning (logos), its values and emotions (pathos) and explain how you built your credibility (ethos) as a new community member.

Explain some of the tensions and limitations of this writing community: do some members demand or disapprove of certain language use?

Use what cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz calls “thick description” in your essay to identify a particular setting, mood, and people’s characteristics (names, ages, etc.). Show, rather than tell, by using sensory details in your own writing that cue readers to visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, and kinesthetic aspects.

Highlight one or two particular incidents (anecdotes or narratives) in each section of your essay in which the community’s language practices are vividly evident.

You may use quotes from individuals of this community, or from texts the community uses. Make sure to integrate such quotes into your essay (shorter quotes are more effective).

Your audience are your peers and myself, your professor. Thus, tailor the language of your essay to us, your real audience, and use a style that is distinctly your own.

Identify the community’s specific reasoning (logos), its values and emotions (pathos) and explain how you built your credibility (ethos) as a new community member.

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