Length: Approximately 2150 words

Requirements: The essay must refer to two sources.

Prompt The Personal Statement

   This project offers a wide range of choices. In differs from the first two assignments in that its thematic purpose is for you to express – to explain and justify—an idea of your own. There are many ways to approach this essay, but they all entail two features. One is that, while you may refer to our readings and use them as sources for ideas, the essay won’t be “about” them. Secondly, the essay allows you to relax the demands of academic argument, in both tone (level of formality) and in the rigors of citation and argument.

     Many kinds of ideas have been used for this project. Here are a few that have worked well for some students.

) Define in your own way one of the important concepts we’ve discussed, such as Freedom, Self, Individualism, Citizenship, Moral Autonomy. What do you think these terms should mean?

     Further, if you choose you can concentrate on how to attain these goals. And in this pursuit, you can focus on the personal (how can a young person liberate herself from the conditioning of u8pbringing) or the

Social. (an argument for mansatory voting laws).

2) Discuss an element of contemporary American life in light of the ideas we’ve talked about. For instance, do social media facilitate or undermine Individualism.

3) Analyze a specific activity in which you have some measure of expertise in terms of our ideas. Examples od topics that have worked well are am essay a student wrote about how the training of a serious musician must build on both Franklinian and Emersonian principles, and one drawing heavily on Thoreau about the moral obligations f individual soldiers.

4. You may also write a personal essay drawing on your own experience to develop ideas relevant to the circumstances and concerns of your readers, as Angelou does in “Graduation.”

  We will discuss the parameters of this assignment mthoroughly in class as the semestrer progresses.

Skills This Essay Should Exhibit

1. Framing an introductory paragraph that both identifies the issue you will address and states the claim you will be arguing for.

2.Accuracy of summary. This entails patience and selectivity as well as comprehension.

3.Offering reasons to support your claims– explain why you think what you think. What evidence or warrants will persuade the reader to agree with you?

4.Some attention to precision of diction and sentence variety.

5.Three organizational techniques– a) clear topic sentences, b) sensible transitions, c) avoiding repetition

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