ERIC Number: ED347564
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
"Thoughts across My Corpus Callosum": What Lewis Thomas's Essays Can Teach Students about Writing Well.
White, Fred D.
As Lewis Thomas has maintained, much of today's public anxiety about science is the apprehension that the whole is being overlooked by an endless, obsessive preoccupation with the parts, and this is a suitable analogy for composition teaching. Students and teachers alike tend to fret endlessly over minute details of writing, like grammar, spelling, topic sentences, and conclusions. Writing essays recruits both hemispheres of the brain equally, and engagement in writing must come from heartfelt interaction with the world. Not even punctuation should be rulebound. Writing teachers can utilize the writings of Thomas to set off combinatorial fireworks in their students. Thomas reveals that the exploring self cannot be segregated from its social milieu, making some degree of personal writing not only inevitable but valuable. Thomas's essays demonstrate how the writer can become engaged holistically with a subject before indulging in objectified scientific observation. Students should be introduced to Thomas by reading select essays and then voicing their initial critical responses. Sample student responses show that Thomas's sudden and often inexplicable transitions bring about consternation and surprise. However, a difficult transition can be turned around as a question to the wondering student about the purpose of such a mysterious transition. Exercises like this will allow students to become receptive to truly creative thinkers and to recognize that hard forms are not always the best way to write an essay. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Thomas (Lewis)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).