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I have to write an essay for my English 1 class. But the problem is I dont know what to...

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truemarooner | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 3, 2013 at 7:39 PM via web

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I have to write an essay for my English 1 class. But the problem is I dont know what to write about. I usually always have trouble writing narritives because I can't come up with a conflict or plotline.

The prompt is "Expect the unexpected"

Can somone give me an example to write off of? Or a conflict that goes with the prompt?

Thanks!

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:42 PM (Answer #1)

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The unexpected always happens.
                Bartlett's Quotations

I have often thought of writing an essay about expecting the unexpected. It seems to me that the unexpected happens to us every time we go outside our homes. Usually these are little things, but an essay about a number of little things that happen--or don't happen--in a single outing would illustrate the thesis that we should expect the unexpected. Something expected that doesn't happen is the same as something that happens that wasn't expected.

The best literary work I know of in which nothing but unexpected events keep happening is William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying, which you can refer to on the reference link below. The movie After Hours is a wonderful example of how unexpected things keep happening. The opposite would be Groundhog Day, a movie in which the same things keep happening day after day. A famous short story in which a man expects something to happen throughout his life and discovers that what happened was that nothing happened is Henry James' "The Beast in the Jungle."

Let me take today, a very ordinary day, to show how many little things can happen that you don’t expect to happen, or how many things don’t happen when you expect them to happen. I was planning to ride the trolley out to Santee this morning to have coffee and a pastry and enjoy the sunshine. We have been having beautiful weather for several days—but today it looked like rain! I decided to go anyway. I have to take a bus to get to the trolley. I was afraid the bus would be late and I would miss the trolley and have to wait a half-hour for the next one, because this is Sunday. I was surprised that the bus actually arrived five minutes early, so I had plenty of time to catch the trolley.

I took an early bus because I was hoping to avoid crowds. But the trolley was packed. Where were all those people going on a Sunday? I was afraid the coffee shop would be crowded, too, and there would be a long line waiting to order. But there were only a few customers and I didn’t have to wait at all. I spent about an hour in Santee and decided to head back early because it was cold and overcast. I thought the trolley would be packed, but there were relatively few passengers and I got the best seat.

I planned to stop at Whole Foods on the way back and pick up some canned tuna and cottage cheese. The front entrance was closed because of remodeling. I couldn’t find the cottage cheese. They are remodeling the entire store and everything looks completely different. My bank is right next to Whole Foods. I checked my balance at an ATM. It was substantially bigger than I expected!

I thought I would have to wait a long time for a bus because it is a Sunday—but one came along in just a few minutes. A friend had left a copy of a magazine in front of my apartment-door. It contained an article I found very valuable. I turned on my computer and found your question, which has led me to write a reply I never expected to write about a subject I have been hoping to write about someday.

I’m sure there were other little things that happened on my non-adventure this morning and other little things I expected to happen that didn’t happen. I suggest you write about such little things that occur or don’t occur to you in a single outing, such as between the time you leave for school and the time you arrive back home. If you look for these things you are sure to find them because the unexpected always happens.

Sources:

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