Writing Project #1

English 111 Dr. Dickson Fall 2009


Description: Write a 3-5 page essay (double-spaced, typed, font 11 or 12, regular margins) that demonstrates how much you’ve learned about one or both of the topics of this class: counterculture and spirituality. Your essay’s purpose is to inform your audience of a particular book’s (CTA) approach to and definition of counterculture on your way to make some interesting observations about what is and isn’t counterculture. In other words, take it granted that much in culture might seem countercultural (because “cool” & “subversive” styles and programs sell well) but little of this commercialized rebellion actually is counterculture. This, like any other, essay is more about inquiry and thinking than making a single point. So, in the course of writing this essay, you should have the opportunity to really think about whether or not Goffman and Joy have discovered a topic worth writing a history about. Who cares about a history of counterculture? You should be able to answer that question by the end of your essay, but not necessarily at the beginning.


Format: Your essay does not need to be a “thesis-driven” essay. Like any piece of writing, you need to orient your reader and keep a focus. Your transitions and topic sentences have to all “tie” back into the central topic. You can’t “ramble.” But you can orient your reader without stating a three point thesis in the first paragraph. Some people use questions. Some people use the tactic of an implicit focus. For instance: Some people think vegetarianism is just about not eating meat. (This sentence implies what is to come: a new or expanded definition of vegetarianism).


Due Dates:


Sept 21: 5-6 pages of freewriting (typed or hand-written)

Sept 25: 1-2 page draft (typed)

Sept. 28: full draft of essay (typed; 4 pages at least)

Oct 5: Revision of essay (stapled on top of previous draft with my comments)


Grading Criteria:


A: uses the templates in MTM to incorporate Goffman/Joy’s text in order to establish the meaning AND relevance of the term counterculture; descriptions of examples that do and do not match the criteria or essence of counterculture include ONLY those details that actually help us understand the match/no-match; uses the templates in MTM to incorporate one or two other texts (from CTA, the course packet and/or blog); prose shows excellent command of grammar and mechanics (no splices, run-ons, non-colloquial English, etc); by using transition/topic sentences and coherence devices, the essay flows well within paragraphs and between them; student met all deadlines; first draft (with my comments) is attached to final draft.


B: meets some but not all the criteria of an “A” paper


C: meets only about ˝ the criteria but the essay is a finished coherent piece of writing


D: struggles in almost every area; essay really is still in progress—not finished





Two things should be obvious:


  1. you can't do this essay the night before (or even the day or two days before). It has to be done over a period of time.
  2. you will be pulling together the course's two books, CTA AND MTM. One of the "moves" in this first essay will be "contrast." You'll be contrasting examples of rebellion that don't fit with those that do fit a definition. And of course you'll be summarizing and perhaps quoting...so you'll be drawing on the templates explained in MTM. You'll be using those "moves" as well.