Coppola’s student essay

Read Coppola’s student essay, “To Fish and Be Fished” in the CEL Ch. 3 (p. 70-75). Then, read the section on “Point of Contact” in the CEL Ch. 3 (p.76-78).  (attached as pdf)

We are moving in this unit towards writing about things we experience “in the moment” — working from our observations on moments that are unscripted.  As you read over Coppola’s essay on the Tinder app, think about how her observations on using Tinder have prepared her to write sections in her essay like this one: “When I match with another use, I get a ‘congratulations’ popup message as if I’d just done something worthy of celebrating” (72). Notice how Coppola takes the time to reflect on the strangeness of the app “celebrating” her matches, whether or not they are appropriate to Coppola herself.

Gaining insight into the the significance of habits like “dating through apps” requires us to notice, observe, and think critically about routines and relationships that we take part in.


For this writing activity, think about some of the daily routines and relationships that shape your life. Using the “Point of Contact” questions on p.77 as a guide, write down 2-3 ideas of places, relationships, businesses, or specific people that you can observe for a length of time in preparation for the Unit 3 assignment. Keep in mind that your observations may need to be designed around your current circumstances — perhaps by walking around your neighborhood or observing people online if you cannot get access to the XXX campus or other sites you might be interested in visiting.

After you write down 2-3 specific ideas, choose the one place or person that you feel most interested in writing about, and respond to the following questions:

  • What is the place or person?
  • Why is this place or person significant? Why do you think audiences would be interested in your observations of this person or place?
  • How will you observe this person or place? When will you make your observations? What plans will you have to make for travel or access to the people or places? How will you have to modify your plans around your current circumstances?
  • What are 2-3 next steps you can take?

Respond to these questions in at least one paragraph of 150-200 words. You do not have to answer each of these questions word for word in a separate paragraph, but your response overall should show that you are considering all of the questions above.

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