ENG 3U: Insightful Classifications

Lecture 4008 via FIckr, by Reith Lectures
  1. Make it personal. While you need to define your classifications to some degree, your classifications shouldn’t read like dictionary definitions. Don’t tell me that hip hop is a form of urban music that is very popular with youths; instead, tell me how it makes you feel. Similarly, I am aware of the differences between diners and fancy restaurants; I’d rather have you classify them according to your memories.
  2. Use a tone appropriate to the taxonomy. Some taxonomies invite playfulness. I can’t, for example, imagine a serious examination of zombie classes. I can, however, imagine a humorous–perhaps even satirical–examination of our slow-moving friends.
  3. Rhetoric is powerful. Use the devices we studied in our last unit to help you structure your work. Allusion might be particularly useful. Think of famous examples of your classifications, and use them to your advantage. While some trees might be like the Giving Tree, patient and selfless, others might be like the oak tree in Boo Radley’s yard, full of mystery and secrets.
  4. Be descriptive. Use powerful and specific language. Zombies don’t just walk slowly: they shuffle, shamble, and shake. Descriptive language will also help you amplify the differences between your classifications. I love diner food, but I wouldn’t use the same language to describe a burger from my favourite diner and the crab cakes from my favourite restaurant.

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