- Participation: 10%
- Grammar Quizzes: 10%
- Essay #1: 5%
- Essay #2: 10%
- Essay #3: 15%
- Essay #4: 25%
- Final Exam: 20%
This grade includes taking part in class discussions, talking to me during office hours, and corresponding by email. Please note that you don’t get marks for being right in class or just for attending class; you have to actually participate.
You will write 8 to 10 grammar quizzes over the course of the semester–as many as we can fit in–and your grade is based on how many of them you write, not on how well you do them.
All essays are due at the beginning of class by EMAIL.
Draft Due Dates
All essays have two due dates, one for a complete draft and one for the final copy. You must submit a draft of a complete paper to me on the Draft due date. If you do not, I will not accept the final copy for marks (unless you have a valid excuse). You will also bring a copy to class on the draft due date.
All of the assignments require that you choose an article to work with. You may choose one from the list below. If you want work with an article that is not on the syllabus, then you may ask permission:
- Paolo Freire, “The Banking Concept of Education”
- George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”
- George Orwell, “Why I Write”
- Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal”
- Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
- Jay Smooth, “How to Tell People They Sound Racist”
- Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, “from Decolonising the Mind” (handout)
- Pierre Truduea, “Invocation of the War Measures Act”
- Adrienne Rich, “Taking Women Students Seriously”
- Penny Red, “Why I Write”
- Emily Martin, “The Egg and the Sperm”
- Peter Singer, “Speciesism and the Equality of Animals”
- Malcolm Gladwell, “None of the Above”
- George Orwell, “You and the Atomic Bomb”
- Doris Lessing, “On Not Winning the Nobel Prize”
Essay #1: The Ancient Appeals
Draft: Week #3, May 29th
Final: Week #4, June 5th
Length: 600 words maximum
For this assignment, pick one article from the list above and analyze its use of the Ancient Appeals: logos, pathos, and ethos. Find logos (logic/form), pathos (emotion), and ethos (the speaker’s persona) in the article and explain how they support the article’s argument. Remember that your essay must have a thesis of its own, as well, something that extrapolates a conclusion from the examples that you picked.
Essay 2: Figurative Language
Draft: Week #6, June 19th
Final: Week #7, June 26th
Length: 600 words maximum
Choose one article from the list above and identify two uses of figurative language: image, motif, analogy, simile, metaphor, symbol. Explain how your example fits the criteria, and then explain how it’s important or interesting to the text as a whole. Actually finding examples of figurative language is part of the assignment, so choose your text carefully (i.e., make sure that you can find examples before you start writing your essay). Also, do not pick simplistic or unremarkable examples. Look for examples that are complex and interesting.
Essay 3: Logic and Fallacy
Draft: Week #9, July 10th
Final: Week #10, July 17th
Length: 600 words maximum
Choose one article from the list above and identify one use of valid logic and one use of fallacy. Explain how the logic works and why it is sound. Then identify what kind of fallacy you’ve found explain why it’s not logical. Actually finding examples of logic and fallacy is part of the assignment, so you must choose your text carefully (i.e., make sure that you can find examples before you start writing your essay). Also, do not pick simplistic or unremarkable examples. Look for examples that are complex and interesting.
Essay #4: Research Paper
Draft: Week #12, July 31st
Final: Week #13, August 7th
Length: 1500 words
This essay requires that you pick a topic and research that topic using acceptable, academic sources: academic journals, books from university presses or other academic publishers, or textbooks. You may use some non-academic sources if it would be appropriate for your topic. There is no minimum number of sources. You must use as many or as few as you need to in order to make your point. That means that I will grade your essay based, in part, on how well you research it.
Pick one essay you have already written in this class and revise it using my comments as well as performing new research on the topic. This includes, but is not limited to:
- refining your thesis statement
- reducing the number of examples and expanding the ones you have left
- adding a section (if your original had only two)
- incorporating a second article and performing a comparison between the two
The assignment is still for a 1500-word paper, so you will need to make your essay longer. Also note that this is still a research paper, so incorporating research into your essay is required.
You can pick one article from the course readings or a different article all together (essay, newspaper or magazine article, long blog entry, etc.) and use a combination of the methods you have learned in the class (Ancient appeals, figurative language, logic/fallacy) in order to analyze the rhetoric of the article. Note that the goal, just like the essays you’ve written so far, is to demonstrate something about the technique(s) the author uses. You must show me the article well before the essay is due for me to give you permission. If you do not check with me first, your essay will receive an “F.”
You may create your own topic by picking an issue, controversy, or problem that exists in the world and writing an essay about it. Note that your essay still has to assert an argument (i.e., it has to have a thesis). It cannot be a general description or “exploration” of the controversy. The majority of the essay, then, will consist of analyzing your sources: quoting from them, discussing what they mean, explaining their logic, etc. To do so, you must consistently cite them, either by page (for text sources) or paragraph (for web sources).