Writing Project #2
English 111 Dr. Dickson Fall 2009
Description: Write a 5-page essay (double-spaced, typed, font 11 or 12, regular margins) that responds to ONE of the following prompts:
How does our technological, consumer society create a spiritual crisis for some people today and what have been some effective and some ineffective responses for dealing with that crisis?
How does social injustice (gender inequality, the growing gulf between rich and poor, or the lingering effects of slavery) create a spiritual crisis for some people today and what have been some effective and some ineffective responses for dealing with that crisis?
Your essay’s purpose is to use the essays in CTA, MTM, the course packet, and the class blog* to come to terms with the “rhetoric of spiritual crisis” and to evaluate a few strategies people have used for dealing with that crisis. In other words, this essay asks you to ponder:
why aren’t Americans, who have so much, happier? [First Prompt]
why does the suffering of others somehow compel some people to act in ways that counteract egoism/self-interest/complacency/hedonism? [Second Prompt]
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 the authors describing the problems with overconsumption or social injustice really have a valid point
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).
See syllabus (but Monday the first installment is due: brainstorm IN WRITING for 2 ½ hours on the prompt you choose)
Suggested Invention Process:
(….for instance, in the bold text on page 1 I see the following requirements: define spiritual crisis….establish factually that it happens (for some)….explain/analyze/ evaluate strategies that people have for dealing with this crisis….Note: why do you think I put the verbs in italics?)
*the topic you first talk about could be spiritual crisis (that goes for both prompts). Or: it could be consumer society (in first prompt) and social injustice (in second prompt).