basically write an essay of 1 200 tightly focused argument in response to one of the prompts develop an astute

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Length: 1,200-word essay + 300-word self-reflection + 1 completed checklist.

Percentage of Final Grade: 25 percent.

Rough Draft Due: Thursday, November 14. Bring two hard copies to class.

Final Draft Due: Tuesday, November 19 by 5:00 PM. An electronic copy must be submitted via Blackboard.

Develop an astute, tightly focused argument in response to one of the prompts below. (You may also write on a topic of your own choosing, but in order to do so, you must run your topic by me for approval.)

  • Describe the depiction or treatment of black bodies in one of the following texts: Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, William Shakespeare’s Othello, John Cleveland’s “A Fair Nymph Scorning a Black Boy Courting Her,” Langston Hughes’s “Slave on the Block,” Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, or Nnedi Okorafor’s “The Magical Negro.”
  • Explain how one of the following texts treats the issue of internalized racism: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, William Shakespeare’s Othello, Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, Margaret Burroughs’s “What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black,” or Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry.”

At an absolute minimum, your essay should contain five direct quotations from your chosen literary text. You should also cite two secondary sources.

In addition to your essay, you must turn in a self-reflection and a completed checklist. All three should be submitted as one document. The checklist will be available as an electronic copy on Blackboard; you’ll need to copy/paste the checklist into your file and click the appropriate boxes. Photos of a hard-copy checklist are also acceptable.

Some Considerations:

  • Quotations from the text are your evidence. Without evidence, you cannot prove your argument. Realistically, each body paragraph should contain a minimum of 1–2 quotations. Make certain that your chosen quotations are relevant to your argument, are adequately contextualized, and have attributions/speech tags.
  • Make certain that your sources are appropriately scholarly. We will discuss in class where to locate scholarly sources and how to distinguish between popular and peer-reviewed sources.
  • Your thesis statement must be arguable. An “arguable” thesis is one that might be argued against. It cannot be a verifiable fact or a universally held opinion. If all readers would agree with your central claim, then your claim isn’t worth making.
  • Avoid subjective terminology and value judgments. Focus on what is provable. Be careful about moralizing.

Formatting: All papers should be typed, double-spaced, proofread, and spellchecked. You should use one-inch margins and a 12-point serif font (Times or Times New Roman). Be sure to include MLA-style in-text citations as well as a Works Cited page.

Second Essay Assignment – Checklist

Introduction and Conclusion (26 pts.):

Have you explicitly named your chosen text and author? (1 pt.)

Does your paper contain a clear, precisely worded thesis? (15 pts.)

Is your thesis specific and sufficiently narrow in its scope? (3 pts.)

Is your thesis arguable, i.e., not a statement of fact? (2 pt.)

Has your conclusion made clear why your interpretation matters? (5 pts.)

Evidence and Argumentation (35 pts.)

Have you supplied a minimum of five direct quotations from your chosen literary text? Are these quotations effective evidence for your assertions? (10 pts.)

Have you adequately analyzed all of the quotations included in your essay? (10 pts.)

Have you avoided sweeping, ahistorical generalizations? (2 pts.)

Have you effectively engaged with at least two pieces of secondary criticism? (6 pts.)

Are your secondary sources appropriately scholarly? (3 pts.)

Have you avoided subjective terminology and value judgments (e.g., “good,” “evil”)? (2 pts.)

Have you avoided “I”-centric statements (e.g., “I saw this quotation as evidence of XYX”)? (2 pts.)

Organization (15 pts.):

Does every topic sentence adequately introduce the ideas within the paragraph that follows? (5 pts.)

Does every concluding sentence summarize the points within the paragraph that precedes it? (3 pts.)

Do you have multiple, clearly defined body paragraphs? Do each of your paragraphs tackle their own unique ideas? (7 pts.)

Sentence Composition, Grammar, and Citations (16 pts.):

Is your language clear? (5 pts.)

Have you included page numbers, a title, and a properly formatted heading? (1 pt.)

Have you italicized the titles of novels or plays? Have you placed the titles of poems or songs in quotation marks? (0.5 pts.)

Have you removed unnecessary hedges, e.g., “somewhat,” “kind of,” “I think,” etc.? (1 pt.)

Have you cut all unnecessary words? (1 pt.)

Have you used gender-neutral terminology? (0.5 pts.)

Have you avoided comma splices, run-on sentences, and fragments? (1 pt.)

Is your paper free of all spelling errors? (1 pt.)

Is your paper appropriately formal? Have you avoided contractions, slang, and the second person (i.e., the use of “you”)? (1 pt.)

Have you embedded all quotations into your own prose? Do all quotations have speech tags? (1 pts.)

Have you included in-text citations for all direct quotations and a Works Cited page? (2 pt.)

Are your citations written in proper MLA format? (1 pt.)

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