Rubric: Out of class writing assignment #1
This essay requires you to look closely at the concept of cultural identity. How does culture affect how we see ourselves? What role does media play? How important is it to recognize differences among people or simply treat each other equally? What does it mean to be an American? What are some prominent icons or symbols that define what it means to be American and what do they say?
In a ¾ to 1 full page type-written, double-spaced writing assignment, address one of the following prompts:
In what ways does the media perpetuate stereotypes within certain demographic groups? Explain.
Do people tend to embrace or to reject the concept of cultural diversity? Why or why not?
Choose two or three icons, products, or customs that originate from a culture other than America and discuss their significance.
Select one national symbol and discuss what this symbol says about the culture it is said to represent.
Describe a personal experience, event, or news story where someone was left to feel inferior or alienated because of a cultural bias.
Consider the first sentence or two as a brief introduction. Use one of the following strategies to get your reader thinking about the idea or concept:
*Think about how you want to introduce your essay. Do you want to 1) tell an anecdote, 2) make a startling remark, 3) challenge a widely held assumption, 4) ask a question, 5) address the reader, 6) call to action, 7) define a term, 8) tell a joke
How can you hook the reader? In what clever way can you broach your idea in a creative way?
“Why is it considered funny to see a woman hit a man but not the other way around?”
*Think about a response to one of the prompts (MI). How can you integrate it into the assignment without it sounding forced—like you’re answering a question? For example, a poor example would be “When I was six, I saw my father abuse my mother and that is an experience that has demonstrated a gender bias to me, because from that point on I saw men as strong and women as weak.” A much more subtle and effective way to “answer” the question would be to seamlessly incorporate an idea like “Physical abuse has a way of burning itself into a child’s memory like the time when I was six and I saw my father abusing my mother, illustrating how gender roles play a part in shaping identity ”, probably followed by a fair amount of description or narration or both to serve as support.
Follow the rules for thesis statements from the exercises in class.
*Think about your support system. The topic for this essay is cultural identity. Most of your support will come from personal experience, observation, or opinion. If you choose prompt #6 for example, after identifying a clear thesis statement, make it a point of validating your idea(s) with specific details about the experience or idea and how it reflects on culture at large i.e. how domestic abuse reinforces stereotypes and biases toward men and women .
A good conclusion involves reaffirming your thesis statement without repeating and then bringing about closure with a remark that leaves the reader with something to ponder. If the same thesis statement about physical abuse is used, a probable conclusion might be “All those years ago, I never imagined how much that violent night would have impacted my life. It has made me more aware of…”
First person (I, me), Third person (he, she, it, they, we, Heather etc)
Language that is precise
Adherence to grammar
Paragraphs (you choose amount)
Identification with one or more of the readings
Second person (you, your)
“Talking” to the reader (In this essay I will discuss….)
Vague Expressions (I think, In my opinion, you know, sort of, kind of, stuff etc)
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