Travel Essay

1. Travel Essay (1500 words or more) Write a travel essay on a topic of your choice. In this unit, we will read first-person narratives in which journalists use creative non-fiction techniques to describe a travel experience. Travel essays are usually personal stories describing some aspect of experiencing another place or culture. In contrast to op-ed writing, travel writing may not contain an explicit argument, but, rather, is unified by a central theme. While travel essays may be of various lengths, they often run long, with use of detailed description, dialogue, and other story-telling techniques We will discuss examples representing a range of sub-genres and topics in travel writing: travel to controversial locations or so-called “dark tourism,” encounters with natives, adventure travel, unexpected insights in traveling to iconic locations, the American road trip, travel to discover one’s roots or oneself, and even a broader definition of “travel” to encompass immigrants, refugees, or those who live abroad for a longer time. We will read travel essays published in a variety of magazines for diverse audiences. Some of these essays have also been reprinted in the Best American Travel Writing annual series. 2. Burkean Analysis of Identification/Difference (300 words or more) In this unit, we will discuss Kenneth Burke’s rhetorical concepts of identification and difference; as you can see from the traveling gazes rhetorical frame provided on Canvas, these concepts, while applicable to many genres, provide a particularly relevant framework for understanding travel writing. To accompany your travel essay, provide a Burkean analysis discussing the role of identification and difference in your travel essay. Address the following questions: a. What is the rhetorical situation of your travel essay? (purpose/context/target audience/potential publication venue). b. How do identification and difference figure in your travel experience? c. What types of identification and difference do you expect from your audience? (What types of readers do you expect? Will they be similar or different from you in their perceptions of the travel destination or experience you relate? How did you adapt your writing to appeal to this audience?)

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