Do characters shoulder or dodge their obligations? What do their choices say about them? Have you yourself accepted or avoided obligations in a similar fashion? Craft a thesis statement that will guide the argument in your paper.
Draft your paper, keeping these things in mind:
- Use at least two pieces from Assignment 07 to build your argument. You cannot use the same piece that you used for the discussion in Assignment 08, and one of the pieces must be a short story or poem from Portable Literature.
- Do not use any source other than the assigned readings.For example, do not consult an online dictionary and open your essay with “According to Dictionary.com, an obligation is …” or something similar.
- Write a good introductory paragraph. See W-4e, pp. 28 – 29, of the The Little Seagull Handbook with Exercises, 2nd ed., for ways to open an essay.
- For your body paragraphs, include direct quotations with parenthetical references, just as you were instructed to do for the last two discussions and the first essay.
- Do not use long, indented quotations; they make you look lazy.
- Your own experience about an obligation that you accepted or dodged can constitute no more than 33 percent of the essay.Tell a specific, vivid story.
- Write a good closing paragraph. See W-4e, p. 29, of the handbook for ways to conclude your essay.
- You must include a works cited page with entries for all of your sources. See the directions in Assignment 05 and any comments I made on your first essay.
Produce the final draft of your essay [a minimum of 1,000 words]. Follow these format guidelines:
- In the top left corner of the first page provide the following information:
- Double space the essay. Do NOT add extra space between the paragraphs.
- Have a one-inch margin on all four sides of the page.
- Use a 12-point font.
- Confirm that your essay meets the 1,000 word requirement. You will receive a 10-point penalty for every 100 words you fall short. For example, an essay between 900 – 999 words = minus 10 points; 800 – 899 words = minus 20 points, etc.
- An MLA-style essay must have page numbering. In the top rightcorner of every page, beginning on page 1, include your last name and thepage number. See pp. 149 – 157 of The Little Seagull Handbook with Exercises, 2nd ed., for a sample. Remember that the works cited page is the last page of the essay and must have a page number as well. not send the works cited page as a separate file.
In addition, your essay must have a title. See this handout for good advice on titling your essay. Be especially careful about correct capitalization and punctuation.
Carefully proofread your work. Here are some common errors you can avoid:
- If you question the spelling or meaning of a word, LOOK IT UP!
- Don’t use inappropriate abbreviations. Use and, not &; with, not w/; apartment, not apt.
- Don’t use you [or any other second-person pronoun] unless you are directly addressing your reader.
- Remember that you are writing a formal college essay, not a text message to a friend. Choose words and phrasing accordingly.
In Portable Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing, read the seven pieces below:
- “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, p. 69
- “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid, p. 79
- “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, p. 333
- “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, p. 289
- “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks, p. 479 [You can hear the author explain the poem’s inspiration here.]
- “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke, p. 623
- “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen, p. 642
In addition, read these four essays from The New York Times and Real Simple:
- “Disassembling My Childhood” by Dan Beachy-Quick
- “Four-Legged Reason to Keep It Together” by Timothy Braun
- “I Don’t Know How to Love You” by Alysia Abbott