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Unit 5: Essay #4: Entering An Academic Conversation

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  • Due Sunday by 11:59pm
  • Points 100
  • Submitting a file upload
  • File Types doc, docx, and pdf
  • Available Feb 10 at 12am – Mar 1 at 11:59pm 21 days

In Essay #4, you will enter in conversation with other writers by writing a thesis-driven essay that responds to 3 readings selected by your instructor:

How I Discovered the Truth about Poverty” by Barbara Ehrenreich, p. 482

“Seeing and Making Culture: Representing the Poor” by bell hooks, p. 486

“The Rise of the Working Poor” by Richard Reich, p. 749

Your essay should include all of the following:

  • A precise thesis, or main claim
  • Supporting details or evidence for your claim
  • A clearly defined audience
  • An outline of the “conversation” begin by the 3 assigned articles
  • Direct reference (through quotation, summary, or paraphrase) to the 3 assigned articles
Guidelines for Essay #4
Length/Due Date: At least 800-1,000 words, due Sunday by 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST).

Style/Format: This, as all essays in EN106, should be formatted according to MLA guidelines. As a reminder, the following document formatting guidelines are required:

  • Use 12 point, Times New Roman font, double-spaced.
  • Use 1-inch margins top, bottom, and sides.
  • Although no cover page is needed, you should include your name, my name, the course number/title, and date at the upper left-hand corner of the manuscript.

Research & Documentation: This essay must include formal references to the assigned articles. Use your skills of quotation, paraphrase, and summary to incorporate these writers’ perspectives, and be sure to provide in-text citations and works cited citations using MLA formatting. And, of course, you must also provide appropriate citations for any other sources you cite.

File format: Please submit your essay as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file. These formats are available in most word processors, including Google Docs and Open Office, and will ensure that your instructor is able to comment on your work.

Works Cited: Your essay should include an appropriate works cited page with an entry for each individual source you reference in the body of the essay.

Titles: Include a descriptive title at the beginning of your essay that tips your readers off to your thesis. Do not format your title with quotation marks, boldface, underlining or italics.

Cover pages: Please do not format your essay to include a cover page.

Deadline: Submit your final draft essay no later than 11:59 p.m. CT on Sunday at the end of this unit.

Use of essays for future courses: Please understand that your essay may be used–anonymously–as a sample for future EN106 students and instructors unless you expressly request that it not be used. Your work, of  course, will only be used for educational purposes.

Why Is This Assignment Important?

This assignment asks you to put together all of the habits of mind and academic writing skills you have practiced so far this term. You will need to read the articles critically, looking for “openings” or gaps in the conversation. You will need to seek out complexity among the assigned articles and use revision and reflection to enter successfully into the conversation. Along the way, you will practice your rhetorical analysis skills, your ability to develop a working thesis, and thesis development techniques.

You have a great deal of choice in this assignment. You might start by reflecting: after reading the 3 assigned articles, what do you think? What can you add to the conversation?

Remember that your essay must not simply be a summary of the three articles. Instead, you must develop and argue for a specific thesis, addressed at a particular audience. Consider who you want to write to about the issue: other students? Community members? Your friends? Your work colleagues? University instructors? The authors of the articles themselves?

The discussion this unit will help you develop a thesis, so make sure to participate!