The purpose of this essay is to connect and apply our readings to specific issues of authority and social constructions in current American culture, and to effectively analyze these elements through close reading and rhetorical strategies in order to gain a broader understanding of how authority and/or social constructions function in society.
Analyze an element of society, using the texts we have read as support, for the purpose of developing an argument about authority and/or social constructions in the United States today. This argument should critically analyze and evaluate how authority and/or social constructions in our society have an effect on specific groups, or sectors of society.
In other words, critically analyze how a specific authority figure, groups in authority, or social constructions dictate and control (or attempt to) who we are, what we do, how we think, and how we act. Make specific arguments about the negative and/or positive aspects of this. Select one of the below prompts on which to write:
- Develop an argument for how current political rhetoric uses its authority to create a sense of fear, or hate, or control, etc. Consider using Postman, King Jr, Eco, or or Lamb here.
- Analyze a specific medium (social media, advertisements, music, T.V, film, video games, etc.) and make an argument about what it says about gender, or gender issues. For example, do specific ad campaigns or companies promote sexist ideas? Here are some other examples:
- Analyze social media (a specific type) and its effects on politics (or gender, or bullying, etc.).
- Analyze music (videos, songs, an artist or genre, etc.), and its effects on gender (or politics, etc.)
- Analyze video games and their effects on gender (or violence, or bullying, etc.)
- Analyze a film or TV show and its message.
- Develop your own essay prompt! If you want to write about something, but it doesn’t fit either prompt, please message me for approval to do your own idea. As long as you use the texts and it is connected to the class, it should be approved!
- Essay length: 800 words
- Essay must be typed, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12pt font, 1” margins (Standard MLA FormatLinks to an external site.)
- Use a variety of direct quotes and paraphrasing from at least 2 of the readings that have been assigned up to this point in the class. You must use at least 3 direct quotes total for the paper.
Proofreading is an important step in the writing process, as it specifically focuses on catching any grammar, sentence, and/or language errors. We might need to be messy to get at the good stuff in our writing, but once we find it, we need to polish it and make it as perfect as we can to help with our credibility (ethos). Please click here to complete a proofreading activity that works really well. You are free to proofread using a different method than this one, but you are still required to complete the Proofreading Reflection, which is described in the activity instructions, and below.
- Develop a clear, compelling, argumentative thesis statement
- Integrate quotes from sources smoothly, providing context and correct citations
- Work on “close reading,” or detailed analysis of specific parts of your medium
- Use effective rhetorical strategies in your own writing
- Transition smoothly and effectively between paragraphs and within paragraphs
- Please submit your completed paper here by the due date.
- Please submit your Proofreading Reflection in the “comment” section of this assignment on Canvas. To be clear, you only have to post the reflection, not the full activity steps.
***Special Note: You will have the option of turning either Essay #1 or Essay #2 into your research paper. Please use the readings assigned and limit your topic and argument so that you do not need to do additional research yet. You will be able to revise your topic and argument for the research paper and incorporate research later. This models the writing and research process, as we often start with what we have read and know already, do more research, then revise our work, including our argument, based on that research.
Proofreading Reflection Instructions – This Should be Submitted with your Essay Assignments
This should be completed only after you have proofread your paper, but before you submit it. In a minimum of 200 words total, please reflect on the following:
- Identify what you think your top 2-4 patterns of error are. Bonus: Why you think you might make them? You might not know why yet, but think about it.
- How well do you think you did in terms of finding, identifying, and correcting your errors? For example, do you feel confident that you found most of them? Did you feel overwhelmed and like you missed a lot?
- Explain how you are finding errors. What is your process so far and how is it working for you? If you have already done this on a previous paper, how do you think your process is improving, or becoming more effective?
- What goals do you have in developing your ability to proofread your papers even more effectively?
- Anything else you wish to reflect on about this process.