(Part of an ongoing series detailing our Lost Tools of Writing adventures. Previous posts here.)
One of the five tools in the Invention canon is Definition. Aravis and I went through workbook exercise to come up with this definition for Boromir:
"Boromir is the member of the Fellowship who does not want the Ring destroyed."
One result of this exercise was our realization that Boromir's motives place him directly in conflict with the rest of the Fellowship. Everyone else is committed to destroying the Ring by helping Frodo get to Mordor so he can throw it in the fire. But Boromir thinks he can use the Ring to destroy Sauron.
Cornflower observed and made comments, but Mariel was sick and stayed in bed. Cornflower then wanted to define her own term, so she and I came up with this about Sir Kay in the King Arthur legend:
"Sir Kay is a man who is Sir Ector's real son."
As the girls discovered, the exercise is a bit like a Venn diagram: How is this thing like others of its kind? How is it different?
The essay for this three-week cycle will be student's choice-- anything that has to do with their reading for school this year. I'm done giving them tough topics! Learning the form is tough enough.
Update: Mariel is feeling better. We worked together to come up with another definition for the Boromir issue. She wanted to define the word, "take". I was not sure this would be a good idea, but I was pleasantly surprised--
"The word, 'take', is an action verb with a negative connotation."
I am not sure we are using "connotation" correctly. I think what we really want to say is that "take" is negative in this context. I get context and connotation confused.
connotation: an idea or feeling that a word evokes for a person in addition to its literal or primary meaning. (Google)
context: the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning. (Google)