English 126/2052: Spring 2012

Dr. Elisabeth Carmichael

Assignment Sheet for Response Essay

Assignment: In preparation for writing your first essay in English 126, you should carefully re-read and annotate any of the groups of weekly essays that we have discussed in class to this point. You may, of course, choose the essays that you find the most interesting, but you must choose essays that explore the same topic. In other words, you cannot choose one essay by Michael Moore and one by Anna Quindlen unless you can make some kind of logical connection between the two. Choose one essay that you find particularly engaging or convincing, and one that you find unconvincing, infuriating, or poorly argued. Your assignment is to write an essay of approximately 2-3 pages in which you engage the debate at the center of these essays. You should begin by introducing the broad subject under debate, and then continue by summarizing and analyzing the inferences, judgments, facts, claims, premises, and conclusions made by the authors. The bulk of your essay will consist of an argument in which you will align yourself on one side of the debate, using the authors’ most compelling points to support the position that you take on the issue. Your essay should include significant references to the authors and texts you are discussing, but it must consist primarily of your own arguments and conclusions.


Your essay should be typed or word-processed, in 11- or 12-point Times, Times New Roman, or Courier font, with one-inch margins, and should include the following:


q  a first page that includes your name, the name and section number of the course, and the date;

q  a title that accurately reflects the topic and the position of your essay;

q  an introduction that lays out the topic that the essay will cover, that presents the various

positions of the essays that you will reference, and that prepares the reader for the position

that your essay will ultimately support;

q  assertive topic sentences and smooth transitions;

q  a conclusion that (a) briefly summarizes the scope of the debate and your conclusions and (b)

ends gracefully.

Please remember to save your document as an MS Word document, and to save it using the following format:  126.Yourlastname#1.doc

Essays:  Michael Moore, “Idiot Nation”; John Taylor Gatto, “Against Education”; Adrienne Rich, “Claiming an Education”;  George Gilder, “The Idea of the Feminized University”; Andrew O’Hehir, “The Myth of Media Violence”; David Kupelian, “Killer Culture”; Scott Stossel, “The Man Who Counts the Killings”; Rush Limbaugh, “Condoms: The New Diploma”; Anna Quindlen, “A Pyrrhic Victory”; Jonathan Alter, “The Name of the Game is Shame”


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