ESSAY #2: The Photographer in Plato’s Cave
Percentage of Final Grade
Required Texts Needed to Write This Essay
- Video on Sontag is recommended but should not be quoted in your essay. Sontag’s On Photography is your essay source. (See Canvas link under Essay 2 section)
In your introduction:
Describe your own history with taking and viewing photographs. You can include when and why you starting taking photos as well as what your photos are generally of. Also include what kind of photographs you like to look at (besides your own) and why. The last sentence of your introduction should be your thesis.
In your thesis (last sentence of introduction):
Which 2 of the following ideas from Susan Sontag’s On Photography do your personal experiences viewing and taking photographs support?
(In your thesis make sure to avoid plagiarizing Dr. Kwa’s writing by summarizing these Sontag ideas in your own words.)
- Photographs are not mere reflections of reality. Photographs, with their widespread penetration into world cultures, reveal and determine biases in our perceptions of reality.
- Photographs can have negative effects when the viewer assumes her or his interpretation of what the photograph means is revealing a universal truth instead of merely one possible interpretation out of many possible meanings.
- Photographs can demoralize and even reduce a viewer’s empathy for the subject in the photo when the photograph has too much shock value or there are too many shocking photos of that same subject.
In your two body paragraphs, make sure to
- Provide quotations from Sontag’s “In Plato’s Cave” (from On Photography)
- Provide your own personal examples to illustrate Sontag’s abstract concepts. Make your personal examples like mini-stories with details such as names of characters, dialogue, setting, actions etc.
- Each body paragraph should discussion one idea that supports the thesis; in other words, body paragraphs should not repeat ideas from previous paragraphs and should not contain more than one main idea.
- Make sure to follow up all quotations with a 4-5 sentence explanation of how they support your topic sentence claim.
1) Thesis formation: The thesis should subdivide into the same number of points as your total number of body paragraphs. If you have two body paragraphs, your thesis would subdivide into two points. Thesis needs to be the last sentence of your introduction. The thesis should fully answer the essay question. It should also be specific, concise, and arguable.
2) Body Paragraph Organization and Unity: Limit to 2 body paragraphs.
3) Topic Sentences: Each body paragraph must begin with a topic sentence that tells the reader which thesis idea that paragraph will be about.
4) Concluding Sentences: Each body paragraph should end with a concluding sentence that restates topic sentence main ideas and adds supportive reasoning. The goal is to summarize the main examples you covered in that body paragraph.
5) Quotations: You will need to support any assertions you make with a discussion of quotations from the texts assigned. All quotations should have an introductory phrase and should use the following MLA format: Sontag writes, “XX” (24).
6) Quotation Analysis: All quotations should be followed by 4-5 or more sentences that provide a detailed explanation of how the quotation supports your body paragraph’s main idea.
7) Title: Divided into two parts separated by a colon. Centered. Double-spaced like your heading and the rest of your paper. Capitalize all key words. Should be a fragment. Not underlined or in boldface. No period at the end of the title. Your title should not just copy the title of this essay prompt or the title of the readings. Example:
Essay Topic: Your Two Thesis Ideas
8) Conclusion: A place for you to summarize your thesis and add any last reflections on your topic. Should be no longer than half of a page.
9) Essay formatting: Use MLA format. For help, see Purdue University OWL website and click on the MLA section.
10) Number of Paragraphs: In order to pass, your essay must have an introduction that ends in a thesis statement, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion.