Essay 1

Your first essay is a hybrid between a personal essay and an analytical essay. Its main goal is to explain, support, and test out an argument, as opposed to, say, help me get to know you.

Choose one or two personal essays from the Broadview Anthology, and use that essay as a “lens” through which to understand part of your own experience. The essay doesn’t need a formal thesis. It does, however, need to make a claim, and that claim needs to be meaningful within a particular discourse community. (I encourage you to use the wiki to help one another understand these concepts.)

Length: 1000-1500 words, or 4-6 pages.
Include a Works Cited list and use in-text citations for direct quotations.

A complete first draft is due on Friday, May 15, at 11:55 p.m.
There will be opportunities for peer review during the next week. A revised version is due on Friday, May 22, along with a revision statement.

I’ll be using the general rubric (wiki: section 1 / section 3). These are the skills I’ll be paying special attention to:

  • Purpose and connections: You must be deliberate in your choice of article, and in the parts of the article you focus on. The article and your experience should be mutually illuminating. That is, I should learn more by reading about them together than I would have learned by reading about them separately. Avoid convenient-but-pointless comparisons, along the lines of, ‘Margaret Atwood didn’t like her first job. Neither did I.’
  • Organization: How are you going to integrate the first-person and third-person parts of your paper? Think about the ways the essayists “weave in” ideas from other writers.
  • Finally, no matter what topic and perspective you choose, avoid making generalizations about groups of people based on race or culture. This assignment is also not a place to argue about sexual orientation in general. Recognize that all of the authors are being deliberate in the names they give to themselves and to others, even if those aren’t the words you would choose.

    Opening questions (suggested, not required)