Fresh Voices: Composition at Cal Poly


Caitlin Lee’s “Where Are the Crazy People?” focuses on Cal Poly Professor Lars Tomanek’s commitment to and passion for the environment. The author organizes her discussion according to a pattern of carefully selected responses to the interview questions that illustrate a particular depiction of her subject. This strategy of relying on Dr. Tomanek’s responses results in a sense of immediacy for the reader, in effect providing the audience a privileged glimpse into the interview and the subject’s worldview. Also, because ideas are sequenced analytically and rhetorically, not strictly chronologically, the essay maintains its focus on the analytical thesis by using as evidence only the strictly relevant portions of the subject’s responses. For instance, one paragraph explores a key point in Tomanek’s early development, while a later one defines him via descriptions of individuals whom he admires. Lee includes plenty of colorful descriptive detail that directly supports her observations about her subject in the opening paragraph. Quotation comprises roughly half of that paragraph—how well does this approach work in the introduction?