ENG 099: Basic Writing

Fall I 2007
Section 0734: Tue. & Thur. 11:45AM-2:00PM, Bldg. C, Room 723
             Lab: Tue. 2:15-3:15, Bldg. E, Room 111

Seeing & Writing 3Keys for Writers, 5 ed.

Brian T. Murphy
LaGuardia Community College
Schedule and Office Hours
e-mail: bmurphy@Brian-T-Murphy.com
or bmurphy@lagcc.cuny.edu

 
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
 

Description

Objectives

Texts

Policies 

Assignments

 Grading 

Schedule

Links

Important Announcements and Updates: Click HERE
 

Print-friendly (MS Word) syllabus here; schedule here.
Other printable documents:
Works Cited page (Instructions & Sample)
Cover Page for Research Essays (Sample)
Revision and Editing Checklist
Paragraph Outline
Essay Outline

 

DESCRIPTION (from the college catalogue):
This course develops and reinforces students’ rhetorical and organizational skills through an understanding of the writing process. Essential principles of grammar and sentence structure are covered and students are introduced to at least three rhetorical modes, such as narration, description, development by example, argumentation, and comparison-contrast. Students write essays in response to classroom discussion and multicultural written and visual texts. Admission to this course is based on college placement test scores. Please refer to the English Department’s Introduction to English 099 sheet.

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OBJECTIVES:
At the end of this course, you will:

1.   Write essays of at least 300 words.

2.   Demonstrate success with writing as a process by using pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and reflecting.

3.   Prepare for and take essay-based, timed and high-stakes writing.

4.   Apply argumentation strategies to both the form and content of the essay.

5.   Write essays demonstrating an understanding of the rhetorical context including the concepts of voice, audience, and purpose.

6.   Write essays with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

7.   Draw upon textual references as one strategy for development in an essay.

8.   Prepare essays that demonstrate critical thinking skills.

9.   Identify and correct grammatical and stylistic errors.

10. Revise essays effectively.

11. Write effective essays in a variety of in-class, timed writing situations, including the SUNY ACT.

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TEXTS:
Required:
Raimes, Ann. Keys for Writers, 5 ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006 (Available used starting at $6.45 at Amazon.com**).

McQuade, Donald and Christine McQuade. Seeing & Writing 3. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006 (Available starting at $24.00 at Amazon.com**).

A good college-level (paperback) dictionary (Available used starting at $0.01 at Amazon.com***).

Recommended additional texts:*
Bloom, Harold. How to Read and Why. New York: Scribner, 2000. (Available starting at $1.00 at Amazon.com**)

Casagrande, June. Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite. New York: Penguin, 2006. (Available starting at $4.27 at Amazon.com**)

Crystal, David. Words, Words, Words. New York: Oxford U P, 2006. (Available used starting at $9.28 at Amazon.com**)

* Recommended additional texts are not required purchases, and have not been ordered for the course; however, they provide—depending on the course— alternative readings, historical and cultural backgrounds, criticism, personal literary responses, or entertaining (irreverent, possibly sacrilegious) revisions. Students who find themselves becoming deeply interested in one or more of the required readings may find these interesting and/or useful. When indicated with a dagger (†), texts are only provisionally recommended, as I have not read these works yet, although they have received excellent reviews or recommendations.

** Prices listed at Amazon.com do not include shipping, and are accurate as of posting date only; no guarantees of prices or availability are express or implied§.

 

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CLASS POLICIES:
Attendance:
Departmental policy allows no more than four (4) hours of unexcused absences in ENG 099, including both classroom and lab sessions. Students who do not meet the English Department’s attendance policy will not be permitted to take the ACT exam.
Students must not only attend every class, but also arrive on time, be prepared, and take an active part in class (see Participation, below). Moreover, once students get to class, they are expected to stay in the classroom until the class is over. Leaving class early or getting up in the middle of class is considered disruptive behavior and should happen only in extreme emergencies. Students may be required to sign in at the beginning of each class session to verify their attendance. Students unable to attend class should contact the instructor regarding their absence in advance or as soon as they return to school.

Plagiarism and Cheating:
Plagiarism includes copying or paraphrasing another’s words, ideas, or facts without crediting the source; submitting a paper written by someone else, either in whole or in part, as one’s own work; or submitting work previously submitted for another course or instructor. Plagiarism, cheating, or other forms of academic dishonesty on any assignment will result in failure (a grade of zero) for that assignment and may result in further disciplinary action, including but not limited to failure for the course and expulsion from the College. See the English Department’s Statement on Plagiarism and the LaGuardia Community College Policy on Academic Integrity (.pdf).

Homework/Essay Submission:
All writing assignments must be received by the instructor on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period, as indicated on the schedule, below. No late submissions will be accepted. A grade of "F" will be given for any draft or final report not submitted on the specified date.

Make-up Exams/Late Work:
All assignment deadlines and scheduled exam dates are provided at the beginning of the semester; therefore, late papers will not be accepted nor will make-up exams be offered, except under extraordinary circumstances with appropriate documentation. Excuses such as “crashed computers,” “lost flash drives,” or “empty printer ink cartridges” will not be accepted. It is suggested that all computer work be saved both on your computer’s hard drive and again on disk or removable storage device.

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ASSIGNMENTS:
Attendance and Participation:
As this class will combine both lecture and discussion, students are expected both to attend every session and to take an active part in class—joining in discussions and raising questions. Discussion is one of the best ways to clarify your understandings and to test your conclusions. Open discussion always involves personal exposure, and thus the taking of risks: your ideas may not be the same as your fellow students’ or even the instructor’s. Yet as long as your points are honest and supportable, they will be respected by all of us in the classroom. Questions, discussion, disagreement, and laughter are all encouraged in this class.

Diagnostic Essay:
During the first week of classes you will write a diagnostic essay, which will be read and commented on but not graded. This essay is intended to help you and the instructor become aware of your individual strengths and weaknesses, and will not affect your grade, nor will it count towards the eight-essay requirement.

Essays:
Students will complete at least eight (8) expository essays during the semester, of which at least four (4) will be in-class essays. Essays must be at least two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty (250-350) words, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation; at-home essays must be typed, double-spaced, and submitted on or before the due date.

Exit Exam:
The Exit Exam, a two-period, in-class essay that you take at the end of the term, is a major way of determining whether you pass the course. This exam is designed to assess your readiness for college-level composition. Your instructor does not grade the Exit Exam but will read your exam.

ACT Exam:
You will be required to take and pass the CUNY ACT exam. A passing reading and writing ACT qualifies you to move forward into college composition (ENG-101) courses. Regardless of final percentage, students must receive a passing grade on the CUNY ACT exam in order to pass ENG 099.

Additional In-Class Writing:
In addition to essays, students may complete various in-class writing assignments during the semester, including short summaries, mini-essays, response papers, and practice essay exams

Quizzes and Exercises:
With the exception of the first day, class may begin with a short (five- to ten-minute) quiz on the readings for the day, at the instructor’s discretion. Quizzes cannot be made up; if you miss a quiz due to absence or lateness, that grade will be regarded as a 0. At the end of the semester, the lowest quiz grade will be dropped. Frequent exercises reviewing essential grammar will also be assigned or completed in class.

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GRADING:
Final average will be calculated as follows:

Attendance/Participation  5 points
Essays 1-4 (in-class) @ 5 points 20 points  
Essays 5-8: Drafts @ 5 points 20 points  
Essays 5-8: Finals @ 10 points 40 points  
Additional In-class Writing 10 points   
Quizzes and Exercises 5 points

Total

100 points

Extra Credit (if any) will be added to the final total.

 

Total Points earned (Final Average) will determine the grade received for the course, as follows:

Total Points

Final Percentage

Final Grade

90-100+

90-100

A

85-89

85-89

  B+

80-84

80-84

B

75-79

75-79

  C+

70-74

70-74

C

60-69

60-69

D

0-59

0-59

F

NOTE: Regardless of final percentage, students must receive a passing grade on the CUNY ACT exam in order to pass ENG 099.

 

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OUTLINE:
Projected Schedule of Readings and Assignments

Note: Readings from  Keys for Writers and Seeing & Writing 3 are identified below by chapter number; for example, Keys 1 and 2 (pp. 3-39); SW3 "Writing Matters" (pp. 3-25). All readings below are required, and must be completed by the day indicated; the only exceptions are those indicated with an asterisk (*), which are recommended additional readings or resources.

Note: This schedule is subject to revision according to the Academic Calendar for the semester, school closings due to inclement weather or other reasons, and the progress of the class.

Important Dates, Fall 2007:

Classes Begin: Monday, 10 Sept.
Last Day to Add Course
or Change Section:
Monday, 17 Sept.
No Classes: Thursday, 13 Sept.
Thursday, 20 Sept.
November 22-25
Last Day to Withdraw: Tuesday, 23 Oct.
CUNY ACT Exam Date: Thursday, 29 Nov.
Final Exam/Last Day of Class: Thursday, 6 Dec.
Exam Period (Finals Week): December 12-18

Preliminary Schedule:
           

Week:

Dates:

Readings and Assignments:
(Complete all readings before the dates indicated below)

1 Sept. 11

Introduction to Basic Writing; Course Requirements

Diagnostic Essay

Sept. 13 No class
2 Sept. 18 Keys 1, 2 (pp. 3-39); SW3 "Writing Matters" (pp. 3-25)
Thursday Schedule: No Lab
In-class Essay 1
Sept. 20 No class
3 Sept. 25 Keys 3 (pp. 39-51);
Lab assignment: Thesis Statements
Sept. 27 SW3 (pp. 44-49, including Larry Woiwode, "Ode to an Orange")
At-Home Essay 1 Draft
Due
4 Oct. 2 Keys 37, 38 (pp. 353-366)
In-class Assignment: Fragments posted here.
Lab assignment: Fragments
Oct. 4 SW3 (pp. 104-118, including Annie Dillard, "Seeing")
At-Home Essay 1 Revision Due
5 Oct. 9 Keys 39 (pp. 367-369)
Click here to see a 239-word sentence that is not a run-on sentence!
Lab assignment: Run-ons and Comma Splices
Oct. 11 SW3 (pp. 209-215, including Scott Russell Sanders, "Homeplace")
In-class Essay 2
6 Oct. 16 Keys 40 (pp. 369-377)
Lab assignment: Sentence Snarls
Oct. 18 SW3 (pp. 310-327, including Susan Sontag, "On Photography")
At-Home Essay 2 Draft Due
7 Oct. 23 Keys 41 (pp. 378-396)
Group exercise
Lab assignment: Verbs (Verb Forms, Verbs Commonly Confused, Tenses)
Oct. 25 SW3 (pp. 388-405, including Chris Ballard, "How to Write a Catchy Beer Ad")
In-class Writing: Group Exercise
At-Home Essay 2 Revision Due Due date for At-Home Essay 2 changed to Tuesday, October 30
8 Oct. 30 Keys 43 (pp. 398-408)
At-Home Essay 2 Revision Due
Lab assignment: Subject-Verb Agreement
Nov. 1 SW3 (pp. 407-419, 440-444, including Donnell Alexander, "Cool Like Me")
In-class Essay 3
9 Nov. 6 Keys 44 (pp. 409-421)
Lab assignment: Pronouns
Nov. 8 SW3 (pp. 553-563, including Chip Kidd, "Super"; Richard B. Woodward, "Wonder";
Neal Gabler, "Inside Every Superhero Lurks a Nerd")

At-Home Essay 3 Draft
Due
10 Nov. 13 Keys 45 (pp. 421-429)
Lab assignment: Adjectives and Adverbs
Nov. 15 SW3 (pp. 652-656, including Susan Sontag, "Regarding the Pain of Others")
In-class Essay 3 Optional Revision Due
At-Home Essay 2 Revision Due Due date for At-Home Essay 3 changed to Tuesday, November 20
11 Nov. 20 Keys 47 (pp. 439-449); SW3 (pp. 657-676, including Mitchell Stephens, "Expanding the Language of Photographs";
Kelly K. Spors, "Where All School Photos Are Above Average"; John Long, "Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography";
Carla Marinucci, "Doctored Kerry Photo Brings Anger, Threat of Suit")
Lab assignment: Commas
At-Home Essay 3 Revision
Due
In-class Essay 4
Nov. 22 No class
12 Nov. 27 Keys 48, 49, 50, 51 (pp. 450-468)
Lab assignment: Punctuation (Apostrophe, Quotation Marks, Semicolons and Colons, Other Punctuation)
At-Home Essay 4 Draft Due
Nov. 29 CUNY ACT Exam
13 Dec. 4, 6 Keys 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58 (pp. 469-479, 481-486)
Lab assignment: Mechanics (Italics/Underlining, Capitalization, Abbreviations, Numbers, Hyphens) and Spelling
At-Home Essay 4 Revision
Due
Exit Exam: Final
In-Class Essay
14 Dec. 11, 13 CUNY ACT Exam results available
Final conferences

 

 

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TOPICS:

For each of the assigned essays, a topic or list of topic choices will be provided. Select one of the topics to discuss in a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay. Your essay must be on one of the assigned topics for that assignment or developed in consultation with the instructor, or it will receive a grade of “F”. All essays must be submitted on or before the due date, by the beginning of the class period; late work will not be accepted.

Essays must be at least two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty (250-350) words, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation; at-home essays must be typed, double-spaced, and submitted on or before the due date.

Be sure to focus carefully on the topic, and remember that these are formal essays: they must have an appropriate, original title; contain an introduction, body, and conclusion; have a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement (thesis statements must be underlined); and (unless otherwise indicated) avoid use of I or you throughout. Essays should be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation. Please refer to the Paragraph Outline or Essay Outline and Revising and Editing Checklist for additional assistance.
 

Diagnostic Essay (Tuesday, Sept. 10):
Select one of the following topics. (Use of "I" is allowed for both choices.) Note that while the first two topics are similar, they are not identical: a moment of glory may be brief, not life-changing; a life-changing event may not be a moment of glory!

1.) Write a narrative account of a time you enjoyed a "moment of glory" other than completing high school, receiving your driver’s license, or participating in a sports- or competition-related event. Explain what happened, how you reacted, and why you reacted the way that you did. Be sure to explain both the immediate and the long-term significance of this event.

2.) Write a narrative account of a time you experienced a "life-changing event" (as above, other than completing high school, receiving your driver’s license, or participating in a sports- or competition-related event). This may be something you only later came to realize had significantly changed your life, or one that you immediately recognized as life-changing when it happened. Again, explain what happened, how you reacted, and why you reacted the way that you did, as well as both the immediate and the long-term significance of this event.

3.) Why are you here? That is, why are you attending LaGuardia Community College? What are your goals, your purpose, et cetera.

In-Class Essay 1 (Tuesday, Sept. 17):
In "Why Are Students Turned Off?" by Casey Banas*, Ellen Glanz says that students like to describe their teachers as "drips, bores, and numerous varieties of idiots." Write a description of one of your high school teachers or college instructors who either does or does not fit that description. Show, in your essay, that your teacher or instructor was weak, boring, and idiotic—or just the opposite (dynamic, creative, and bright). In either case, your focus should be on providing specific details that enable your readers to see for themselves that your thesis is valid.

*Banas, Casey. “Why Are Students Turned Off?” College Writing Skills with Readings, 7 ed. Ed. John Langan. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2005. 657-59.

In-Class Essay 2 (Thursday, Oct. 11)
Select one of the following topics to discuss in a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay. Essays must be at least two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty (250-350) words. Be sure to focus carefully on the topic, and remember that these are formal essays: they must contain an introduction, body, and conclusion and be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation.

Each topic involves a choice between two alternatives. Be sure to make clear which alternative you favor, offering at least two good, solid reasons for your choice, and explaining your reasoning. As you assert reasons, be sure to develop explanations for each, including evidence, examples, or other supporting information. Each topic also specifies a particular audience, such as a specific college official, the mayor, et cetera. Be sure to address your response to that audience, and remember that your purpose is to persuade that audience that you have chosen the better alternative.

Prewriting for the assignment may take place in groups; however, your final essay must be your own work. You will receive more specific instructions in class.

1. Due to recent events at other schools and colleges, the government has recently given a large grant to LaGuardia Community College to increase security and improve student safety on campus. Two options have been proposed: to increase the number of security guards on campus, or to install metal detectors at each entrance. There is enough money to fund only one of these proposals, however. Write a letter to the college president, Dr. Gail Mellow, explaining which option you support and why that option would most improve the safety of students. Begin your letter, Dear President Mellow:

2. Mayor Bloomberg has recently proposed several measures to decrease traffic and congestion in New York City. The city council is debating two specific measures to effect this: the first is to offer all New York City residents a $300 voucher for public transportation; the other is to charge all rush-hour drivers within the city an additional fee of up to $10. Write a letter in support of one proposal, explaining which one will most benefit commuters and reduce congestion in New York City. Begin your letter, Dear Mr. Bloomberg:

In-Class Essay 3 (Thursday, Nov. 1)
Select one of the following topics to discuss in a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay. Essays must be at least two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty (250-350) words. Be sure to focus carefully on the topic, and remember that these are formal essays: they must contain an introduction, body, and conclusion and be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation.

Each topic involves a choice between two alternatives. Be sure to make clear which alternative you favor, offering at least two good, solid reasons for your choice, and explaining your reasoning. As you assert reasons, be sure to develop explanations for each, including evidence, examples, or other supporting information. Each topic also specifies a particular audience, such as a specific college official, the mayor, et cetera. Be sure to address your response to that audience, and remember that your purpose is to persuade that audience that you have chosen the better alternative.

1. According to recent news reports*, New York City anticipates a huge budget shortfall over the next few years: $2.7 billion in the 2009 fiscal year, growing to $4.8 billion in 2010 and $6.5 billion in 2011. Mayor Michael Bloomberg may institute hiring freezes and/or budget cuts in city services to address this issue . Consider two essential services: the Metropolitan Transit Agency (MTA), or public transportation, and the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Obviously, both are critical to the city, and ideally neither one would suffer a cut; however, if Mayor Bloomberg were forced to cut the budget for one of these services, which one should it be? And why? Write a letter to the mayor explaining which agency’s budget should be reduced, and why. Begin your letter, Dear Mr. Bloomberg:

*Cardwell, Diane. "Tighten Belts, Bloombeg Tells Officials." New York Times 31 Oct. 2007: B1, B2.

2. Faculty in several programs have recently suggested that students are inadequately prepared to do the higher-level writing required in their advanced or upper-level courses, or to succeed in four-year institutions upon graduation from LaGuardia Community College. To help improve students’ writing skills, the English Department is considering two options: adding additional tutors and hours to the Writing Lab schedule, so more students can utilize the center on a drop-in basis, or making weekly Writing Lab attendance mandatory for all writing classes, not just for Basic Writing courses. Write a letter to the chairperson of the English Department, Dr. Sandra Hanson, explaining which option you support and why that option would most benefit students. Begin your letter, Dear Dr. Hanson:

In-Class Essay 4 (Tuesday, Nov. 20)
Select one of the following topics to discuss in a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay. Essays must be at least two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty (250-350) words. Be sure to focus carefully on the topic, and remember that these are formal essays: they must contain an introduction, body, and conclusion and be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation.

Each topic involves a choice between two alternatives. Be sure to make clear which alternative you favor, offering at least two good, solid reasons for your choice, and explaining your reasoning. As you assert reasons, be sure to develop explanations for each, including evidence, examples, or other supporting information. Each topic also specifies a particular audience, such as a specific college official, the mayor, et cetera. Be sure to address your response to that audience, and remember that your purpose is to persuade that audience that you have chosen the better alternative.

1. According to recent news reports*, due to the mortgage and foreclosure crisis, "more than one million properties are expected to enter foreclosure this year." Many of those buildings, at least one in eight, are probably rental properties, and families who are renting may therefore face eviction, even though they have made all of their rent payments on time! In New York City, where a large number of low- and middle-income residents could potentially be affected, Mayor Michael Bloomberg could in theory take one of two measures to help address this issue: He could demand a halt to bank foreclosures on rental properties, or he could insist that renters currently residing in foreclosed properties be allowed to complete the terms of their leases even after the foreclosure. Assuming Mayor Bloomberg is able to get only one of these measures to protect renters passed, which one should it be? And why? Write a letter to the mayor explaining which option you support and why that option would benefit the most renters. Begin your letter, Dear Mr. Bloomberg:

*Leland, John. "As Owners Feel Mortgage Pain, So Do Renters." New York Times 18 Nov. 2007: 1, 35.

2. Some students attending community colleges in the CUNY system have said that they feel that the four-year schools in the system get preferential treatment in staffing and funding. To help address these concerns, CUNY is considering two options. The first is to allow students who enroll in one of the community colleges to take their first-year courses at any of the CUNY schools, not just at the community college, so long as there are available seats in the classes. The other is to share faculty between the community and four-year colleges of the CUNY system, so that all faculty would teach one or two courses at a community college and the remainder of their courses at a four-year school. Write a letter to the President of CUNY, Dr. William Kelly, explaining which option you support and why that option would most benefit students. Begin your letter, Dear Dr. Kelly:

Exit Exam: Final In-Class Essay (TBA)
Instructions: 
You will have two hours to write an essay of at least three hundred (300) words, on one of the topics provided. Before you begin to write, take time to plan your essay carefully. Essays should focus on the selected topic and contain a clear beginning (an introduction, with a thesis), a middle (the body paragraph or paragraphs), and end (conclusion), and use appropriate topic sentences and transitions to guide the reader.

Be sure to include evidence, examples, or other support for your assertions; the more support you include, the stronger and more convincing your essay will be. You may include your own ideas or examples, but you must include evidence from the text you are discussing, as well. Remember that you are not summarizing the essay, but responding to it in a critical manner, and do not copy directly from the textbook unless quoting.

Your essay will, as always, be evaluated in terms of Main Idea, Organization, Support, and Mechanics (Words and Sentences), using the standard Evaluation of Essays form. Therefore, make certain your essay is not only well organized and developed, but also grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, and spelling.

You may use both your book and a dictionary during the exam.

     Topics T.B.A.

At-Home Essay 1 (Draft Due Thursday, Sept. 25; Revision Due Thursday, Oct. 4):
Exercise, p. 5: The word literacy has spawned numerous variations in recent years. Educators now speak of computer, visual, and media literacy, for example. What variations on the term literacy have you encountered? What does being literate mean in the 21st century? Take a few moments to write your own definition of the word literate, being sure to support each point you make with an example.

At-Home Essay 2 (Draft Due Thursday, Oct. 18; Revision Due Thursday, Oct. 25  Revision Due date changed to Tuesday, October 30)
In his essay "Homeplace," Scott Russell Sanders asserts that "people who root themselves in places are likelier to know and care for those places" and also asks, "How can you value other places if you do not have one of your own?" Define the value of being (in Sanders’s terms) settled, placed, or an inhabitant. What does it mean to be each of these things, and how does one’s sense of  home affect one’s sense of self, of community, or of the world?

 At-Home Essay 3 (Draft Due Thursday, Nov. 8; Revision Due Thursday, Nov. 15)
Select one of the following topics to discuss in a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay. Essays must be at least two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty (250-350) words, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation. Be sure to focus carefully on the topic, and remember that these are formal essays: they must have an appropriate, original title; contain an introduction, body, and conclusion; have a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement (thesis statements must be underlined); and be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation.

1.) According to our textbook, "More than 135 years after the abolition of slavery, and despite civil rights legislation and the increasingly prominent presence of people of color in American public life, racial and ethnic inequalities persist in virtually every dimension of American life and culture. [...] Americans have talked about racial and ethnic categories for a long time, and racial issues have been—and continue to be—serious problems in our country" (McQuade and McQuade 408). Are racial issues distinct from issues of region, class, education, or ethnicity in our country? Why or why not? Be sure to clearly define your terms and use examples to support your assertions.

2.) Based on "Writing" topic 2, page 444: Write an essay in which you assess the media representation of African Americans or some other ethnic group in our culture. How are members of the group portrayed in the media? Are members of the group portrayed positively, negatively, or some combination, for example as what Alexander says about African Americans: "a cop-show menace and a shoe commercial demi-god"? And is this portrayal accurate or inaccurate? Why or why not? Be sure to clearly define your terms and use examples to support your assertions.

 At-Home Essay 4 (Draft Due Thursday, Nov. 29; Revision Due Thursday, Dec. 6)
Discuss the following topic in a well-developed, coherent, and thoughtful essay. Essays must be at least two hundred fifty to three hundred fifty (250-350) words, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation. Be sure to focus carefully on the topic, and remember that these are formal essays: they must have an appropriate, original title; contain an introduction, body, and conclusion; have a clear, explicit, assertive, objectively worded thesis statement (thesis statements must be underlined); and be grammatically correct, free of errors in mechanics, grammar, usage, spelling, and documentation.

1.) Based on "Writing" topic 2, page 676: Write "an argumentative [persuasive] essay in which you agree or disagree with Stephen’s proposed standard for labeling manipulated news photos: ’Digitally manipulated photographs must not be used as a tool for deceiving. They must be labeled, clearly, as what they are...’ ([p. 659,] para. 11)". Support your argument by using evidence from the readings: Mitchell Stephens, "Expanding the Language of Photographs"; Kelly K. Spors, "Where All School Photos Are Above Average"; John Long, "Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography"; Carla Marinucci, "Doctored Kerry Photo Brings Anger, Threat of Suit" (657-676).

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