Aspect of Burke’s Pentad: Purpose

What 1-2 sentences would you underline in the  research writing you are annotating that suggests to you this is the big idea, the purpose behind this scholarship?

Where in research writing do you look for purpose? How is purpose layered and complex beyond the “thesis’? What’s the goal of the research?  What is the scope of this problem? Is it an appropriate “bite’ to chew for the length of the discussion?  After reading the introduction, can you say back in straightforward terms what problem the writing is engaged in? What is the article’s contribution?  This may be the thesis– depending on the genre of the writing the purpose may or may not be a clear statement. If you cannot find the 1-2 sentences–articulate what you feel the purpose is behind the writing.

I expect a 3-4 sentence paragraph for each element. The last sentence of you each note should have a forward looking idea, a suggestion for deeper or further research. Here is one example which I copied and pasted from Alana Samuels’ article “The Village That will be Swept Away” in Atlantic Monthly.

example of  purpose
Alaska sits on the front lines of climate change. But the rest of the nation is getting warmer, too, and so communities across the country may soon have to face some of the same problems. That’s one reason President Obama is visiting the region this week.
“What’s happening in Alaska isn’t just a preview of what will happen to the rest of us if we don’t take action,’ Obama said in a video previewing his visit. “It’s our wakeup call.’
annotation entry
Alaska here is framed as front lines, preview, a wakeup call. The emphasis is not on Alaska but on the rest of the world. President Obama who speaks as a position of power contrasts the difference between preview and a wakeup call. A wakeup call is a call to action; whereas, a preview is a more passive relationship.  What “wakeup call actions” came from the visit to Alaska last August?


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