First Paper Prompt

Writing Prompt Paper 1



TED talk “Metaphorically Speaking” by James Geary

            “See through Words” by Michael Erard

“The Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors” by Dhruv Khullar


Exactly how important are the metaphors that we use and who is the most capable (and responsible) for making them? How does the metaphor best serve us? These questions play a direct role in James Geary’s “Metaphorically Speaking” and Michael Erard’s “See Through Words.” In “The Trouble with Medicine’s Metaphors,” Dhruv Khullar takes the conversation further when he explores metaphor’s significance as it pertains to healing and medicine.

Your task is to write a 1,200- 1,500 word paper advancing your personal position on metaphor’s role in how we perceive our bodies, experience sickness, and/or pursue health (mental health or otherwise). If you believe that metaphor plays a large role in health, what should be done about this fact, if anything at all? Some questions to consider as you brainstorm the angle you wish to choose: What kind of impact could a linguistic device actually have on our physical and/or mental wellbeing? Who is responsible for managing this language? How important are the metaphors that you use in your personal and public life—most specifically as they pertain to your health? From where do the most meaningful metaphors originate? (Professional metaphor designers/Advertisers? Public institutions? Average individuals?)

Make sure that you engage each text in conversation as you define and explore your own understanding of metaphor and its potential impact on health. Please be as specific as possible as you connect the texts with each other, the larger world, and your own personal experiences.

This prompt is intended to inspire and get you started. Please use the parameters as you find them helpful. Remember: The more specific you are, the better. There’s no right answer and no right approach. Try to choose an angle that best interests you.

Remember: Use the texts to support your arguments, but don’t forget to drive! This is your paper, your voice in the conversation. Try to approach the texts as raw materials. It’s your job to make something new.