ENG110 Essay Assignments


Essay Assignment #1

Literacy Snapshot


Your first essay offers a opportunity to identify and isolate a meaningful encounter with the written word—a moment when something you read or something you wrote made a difference in who you are, how you act, what you believe, or what you know.

The LitSnap is, by definition, a short essay: 2 pages minimum. In the same way that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” your snapshot will focus on a single moment of revelation, but it will also capture the “before” and “after” in such a way as to reveal the momentousness of that moment.

Some Ideas to Consider:
* Write about a reading or writing “failure” that was really a gift in disguise.

  • Write about a time when writing or reading helped you to find or flee from something
  • Write about a time when writing or reading gave you the courage to stand up for something or someone.
  • Write about a time you were really proud—really proud—of something you’ve written or read. You could also write about a time when your writing or reading shamed you.
  • Write about a time when writing or reading brought you closer to someone or pushed you further away.
  • Write about a time when writing or reading changed the outcome of something in your life or in the life of someone close to you.

Thinking Ahead to Portfolio: Some Warnings

  • This piece must stand on its own. In other words, portfolio readers who don’t know you or the assignment must be able to understand and appreciate the tale you tell.
  • Portfolio readers—rightly—hate the from-this-I-learned conclusion and the have-you-ever-wondered introduction. Don’t tell your readers what you figured out; recreate the event to show your a-ha. Think film, not police report.

Reminders:
* Attached are copies of the Essay Postwrites (for second and third drafts) and a copy of the Peer Review worksheet that will be completed by your writing group members. You will want to look at these carefully to assure that you are giving attention to the same criteria that your instructor and peer reviewers will be using to evaluate your drafts.

Literacy Snapshot Postwrite #1.pdf
Literacy Snapshot Postwrite #2.pdf


  • Essay Postwrites must be handed in with your second and third drafts. Essays submitted without postwrites will NOT be accepted.
  • Essays that fail to meet the minimum length requirement will not be accepted. See Formatting rules for clarification.


Essay Assignment #2

Descriptive Essay



Your second essay will provide you the opportunity to show off what you have learned about descriptive techniques, such as creating dominant perceptions, setting a mood or tone, using specific details, and providing sensory perception details. Choose from Options A-E below. (If E, your MUST write a one paragraph proposal describing your intended object of description and why you are so keen to describe it. You will be required to SHOW in your Working Portfolio all of the planning steps you go through (WLEs #5 and 6 plus the Descriptive Essay Planning Think Sheet.) You will work on these at home and in class and you will need to be able to show all the steps of your prewriting and planning because, as we have discussed, writing is a process.

The length of your Descriptive Essay must be a minimum of 2 ½ pages. The third page must contain no fewer than 13 lines. Papers shorter than 2 ½ pages will not be accepted.)


Some Ideas to Consider
Option A: Describing a Place
Choose a place to describe. This can be your favorite place, your least favorite place, a place you go often, a place where you spend a lot of your time, a place that you have only seen once, a place that you never want to return to again, a place that holds happy or sad memories for you, or a place that you dream about. It can be your bedroom, your house, your classroom, a street corner, a beach, a library, a grocery store, a park, a museum, a city, or any other place you can think of.

Option B: Describing a Person
Choose a person to describe. This can be a person you know well, a person you only met yesterday, a person you love, a person you despise, a person you would like to meet, or a person you hope you will never meet. It can be someone you remember fondly from childhood, someone who made you afraid, someone you had a crush on, or someone who hurt you. It can be your son, your mother, your best friend, your roommate, your next-door neighbor, an interesting stranger you saw on the bus this morning, your ideal husband or wife, the worst or best teacher you've ever had, or anyone else you can think of. If you are having a difficult time choosing a person to describe, go to the Pre-Writing Techniques Tutorial for some help.

Option C: Describing an Object
Choose an object to describe. This can an object you see often, an object you love, an object you wish didn't exist, an object you can't live without, or an object you wish you had. I can be your most valuable possession, something you can't get rid of, something you inherited, something your boyfriend or girlfriend gave you, something you have had since you were a child, or something you have had for only a week. It can be your car, your favorite shirt, a gift your mother gave you, a painting you love, a trophy you won, or any other object you can think of. If you are having a difficult time choosing an object to describe, go to the Pre-Writing Techniques Tutorial for some help.

Option D: Describing an Animal
Choose an animal to describe. This can be your favorite type of animal, an animal that you cannot stand, an animal you think is beautiful, or an animal that you think is ugly. It can be an animal that you have raised, an animal that makes a good pet, an animal that would not make a good pet, or an animal that you have strong memories about. It can be your pet dog, cat, iguana, alligator, tarantula, or fish, or it can be a general type of animal such as the pirhana, the cheetah, the rat, the kangaroo, or any other animal you can think of.

Option E: Your Idea
Choose another topic that fills the assignment. If you want to describe something that is not in the categories listed above, talk to your teacher to see if your brilliant idea will also fill the assignment.

Thinking Ahead to Portfolio: Some Warnings
* This piece must stand on its own. In other words, portfolio readers who don’t know you or the assignment must be able to understand and appreciate the tale you tell.

* Portfolio readers—rightly—hate the from-this-I-learned conclusion and the have-you-ever-wondered introduction. Don’t tell your readers what you figured out; recreate the event to show your a-ha. Think film, not police report.

Reminders:
* Attached are copies of the Essay Postwrites (for second and third drafts) and a copy of the Peer Review worksheet that will be completed by your writing group members. You will want to look at these carefully to assure that you are giving attention to the same criteria that your instructor and peer reviewers will be using to evaluate your drafts.

Descriptive Essay Postwrite #1.pdf
Descriptive Essay Postwrite #2.pdf

* Essay Postwrites must be handed in with your second and third drafts. Essays submitted without postwrites will NOT be accepted.
* Essays that fail to meet the minimum length requirement will not be accepted. See Formatting rules for clarification.


Essay Assignment #3

Definition Essay


Your second essay offers you the opportunity to parlay all you learned in constructing your wiki page into an essay that takes a stand on the word you selected.

The definition essay is a persuasive essay: one that extends a single claim about the word—your informed opinion about the word—and that provides sufficient proof to illuminate and bolster that claim (or thesis statement). The minimum length requirement for this essay is three and a half pages, with no fewer than 13 lines on the fourth page, though I suspect this essay will run anywhere between four and eight pages.

Some Ideas to Consider:
* Write about how your word has affected human behavior.
* Write about what your word’s use says about the society in which it is used.
* Write about why your word should be used more often.
* Write about why your word should be used less often.
* Write about why your word should be used differently.

Selecting a Claim:
* Do you wish to argue that something is, was, or will be true about your word? If so, you want a claim of fact.
* Do you wish to argue that something is good or bad, beautiful or ugly, right or wrong, ethical or unethical about your word? If so, you want a claim of value.
* Do you wish to argue that something about your word should change? If so, you want a claim of policy.

Thinking Ahead to Portfolio: Some Warnings
* Please eschew the phrases “what most people don’t know” and “most people think” and the like—unless you have considerable proof to back up that claim. Prefer, instead, examples from your own reading and research to show the misinterpretation you wish to correct.
* Please imbed in your essay the reason for its existence. Portfolio readers brook very few hey-check-out-this-word essays.

Getting Started: Prewriting
* Why did you select your word in the first place?
* What do you know now about your word--now that you've completed your wiki project--that you didn't know or realize or understand when you first selected it?
* Who needs to know more about your word? Why?
* In which magazine or newspaper can you imagine your essay getting published? Why?
* Does your word affect the way people act? How and why? (Or how come and why not?)
* Should people use your word more often? less often? Why?
* How has the definition of your word changed over time? How is that change important? IS it important?

Reminders:

* Attached are copies of the Essay Postwrites (for second and third drafts) and a copy of the Peer Review worksheet that will be completed by your writing group members. You will want to look at these carefully to assure that you are giving attention to the same criteria that your instructor and peer reviewers will be using to evaluate your drafts.

Definition Essay Postwrite #1.pdf
Definition Essay Postwrite #2.pdf

  • Essay Postwrites must be handed in with your second and third drafts. Essays submitted without postwrites will NOT be accepted.
  • Essays that fail to meet the minimum length requirement will not be accepted. See Formatting rules for clarification.


Essay Assignment #4

Free-Choice Essay


Your final essay is a chance to employ the skills you have developed throughout the semester to make your writing do what you want it to do. After working on different kinds of analytical writing (personal reflection, research, definition, etc.), this essay provides you with the opportunity to create your own writing prompt and to choose your own topic for an essay. For those of you who have a million paper topics rolling around in the back of your heads, this will be a welcome opportunity. For those of you who struggle to find paper topics, this will present more of a challenge--but I assure you that your brain and experience are unique and that there are many profound insights the world can gain from learning how you break down and make sense of an issue. Choosing your own essay idea allows you to use your skill at writing to achieve what you want it to, so choose carefully to make sure you like it.

Minimum length for this essay is four full pages.

You will have to pitch your essay idea to your instructor and peers: you will have to convince us of its potential. Remember that the essay must be a claim-driven analysis.


Some Ideas to Consider:
* Choose an interesting topic and angle from your Writing the World WLE.
* Choose a topic that has come up in one of your other classes (or in your life, the world, etc.) that you want to take a stand on.
* Analyze a local event, controversy, organization, institution, or place to advance an argument about it.
* Analyze a certain film, event, issue, or place and explain how it has effected you and your life (in a way that makes your audience care... not journal writing).
* Use an assignment that you thought sounded interesting from someone you know in another English 100 course. You will have to get the assignment sheet.

Thinking Ahead to Portfolio: Some Warnings
* If this essay contains an element of personal reflection, it may be too similar to the style of writing in your Literacy Snapshot. You will not be able to use both essays for portfolio.
* Please don’t forget that this is still analytical writing that will need to be in-depth but still unified to make a particular point to a purposefully chosen audience.


Getting Started: Prewriting
* What do you have to say?
* Who needs to hear your argument? Why?
* What form will your essay take?
* What will this writing you produce do?


Reminders:
* Attached are copies of the Essay Postwrites (for second and third drafts) and a copy of the Peer Review worksheet that will be completed by your writing group members. You will want to look at these carefully to assure that you are giving attention to the same criteria that your instructor and peer reviewers will be using to evaluate your drafts.

FreeChoice Essay Postwrite #1.pdf
Free Choice Essay Postwrite #2.pdf

* Essay Postwrites must be handed in with your second and third drafts. Essays submitted without postwrites will NOT be accepted.
* Essays that fail to meet the minimum length requirement will not be accepted. See Formatting rules for clarification.