Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process - Frame of Reference Summary & Analysis

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Summary

The essay "Frame of Reference" opens with a story about one of McPhee's writing students who used a highly obscure sixteenth century word, "sprezzatura," in an assignment. John uses this story to segue into a discussion of word choice, which relates directly to the question of frame of reference. John uses the example of Italian Renaissance vocabulary to demonstrate a point of reference "that might just irritate rather than illuminate [...] most readers" (118). He then defines frame of reference as "the things and people you choose to allude to in order to advance [a piece's] comprehensibility" (118). John encourages young writers to avoid writing in such a way that their pieces are quickly obsolete and to chose "allusions and images that have some durability" (119).

John then discusses the trap of "borrowed vividness" (120). He uses the celebrity actor Tom Cruise as an example, writing "If...

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This section contains 647 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process Study Guide
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