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Pre-Essay Assignment #2: Thesis Proposal and Works Cited Entries

  • 300-600 word piece of writing in MLA format DUE: Friday 7/5 11:59 PM
  • 30 points total

This second pre-essay assignment is pretty straightforward and simple, but it requires a great deal of rereading, research, and critical thought to be able to present what it requires. Make sure to do all the necessary readings, writings, and assignments leading up to this to be able to submit what is necessary here.

Before composing this writing, make sure to first read the Essay #2 Prompt as well as the required articles and chapters (especially Chapter 4) from They Say, I Say.

Prompt: (300-600 words)

Begin your writing with an extremely specific, 3rd level working thesis statement you want to use for the essay. Then, list at least three separate works cited entries in MLA format, alphabetized (as they would be on a works cited page), with each of them followed by a few sentences on how they’ll be used within your essay and overall argument. Try to be specific and concise in these descriptions to show you have given strong, critical thought to the argument you are building.

Tips to Consider for Drafting:

  • Note that your thesis should be“extremely specific” and have three levels.
    • I want you to get as specific as possible because while 1200 words might seem like plenty of space, there’s actually not a ton of wiggle room for you to cover everything under a broad topic. Work with the specific claim from the specific main article you selected to create a thesis that will agree, disagree, or both. For example, if your main article is Carr’s “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” then all your articles and your thesis should help you answer Carr’s main question (which is now your main question). You are agreeing or disagreeing with his claim that our intelligence suffers from relying on computers to mediate our understanding of the world rather than talking about technology in general as harmful or helpful.
    • The three levels refers to observation + opinion + significance. The observation comes from you showing a clear grasp on the main article’s claim; the opinion comes from you interpreting multiple sources to build your own persuasive argument that is different from the main article’s; the significance comes from framing your thesis in a way that shows why this argument and issue is important in society or the world.
  • While your thesis statement may or may not change by the time you finish your first draft, use this assignment to narrow your focus and try to verbalize how you are building on the main article to create an argument of your own. Some examples include…
    • I agree with Wilkinson’s claim but believe that the extent of art programs reach far beyond just education, and that is why we must ensure that scholastic art programs are supported. Art’s many forms (music, painting, drama, and others) not only improve overall student performance, but also strengthen lifelong skills, and provide outlets for individual expression.
    • Although I agree with Collins’ final conclusion that health should be the focus when confronting the opioid crisis, I disagree with some of the solutions he proposes because they do nothing to treat the root cause of the problem, addiction. The first step to enact meaningful change is to change attitudes toward the opioid epidemic; once people understand the complexity and foundation of the situation, steps can be taken in the right direction.
    • I agree with Simons’s claim that sexism in the media is harmful and needs to be addressed. I think she successfully captured the essence of the problem with persuasive evidence, an explanation of why it matters, and a clear refutation of possible counterarguments to show that being more conscious of how gender is constructed in the media benefits all people.
  • Look back at the readings and your annotations to get ideas on how to create depth of meaning for very particular moments in a chosen text. It’s quite possible you will have more than a few different articles in mind for this assignment. Select the ones that have the most potential for you place them alongside each other in a cohesive argument, and to analyze, explain, and connect each one’s significance to the topic you’ll be writing about.
  • If you are having trouble getting started, I recommend working with classmates to get ideas, returning to the readings ,and/or setting up a time to meet with me in office hours to discuss any questions or concerns.

Grading Rubric for this Assignment:

27-30 points: Writer’s submission is full, complete, and finished on time. The thesis is extremely specific, and shows engagement with both textbook and outside research readings. This means the writer acknowledges the purpose of the original author and text while also showing how they will go beyond that argument to create one of their own for Essay #2. The writer shows an understanding of MLA format with alphabetized and correctly formatted citations. The descriptions for each citation show clear potential for an interesting and persuasive argument if used for Essay #2.

24-26 points: Writer’s submission is mostly full, complete, and finished. The thesis is fairly specific and shows engagement with readings but can be improved. The writer shows an attempt at MLA format but could do more to show how these can help with an interesting and persuasive argument if used for Essay #2.

21-23 points: Writer’s submission may be missing some elements of the assignment or is lacking length. The submission mostly meets requirements, but may lack some specificity, details or awareness and engagement with the texts and/or MLA format.

20 and under: Writer’s submission is incomplete or missing.

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