Essay 3: Final Exam Essay/Proposal Prompt/Instructions

Objective: Write a full five-page essay complete with proper MLA style, formatting and citation (to include a sixth Works Cited page).

Per the course syllabus: Because the state curriculum board mandates that all 1301 courses write a certain amount of words, you are required to submit developed work. In other words, if you want your essay to be evaluated, you must submit an essay that is five full pages. Essays that are substantially shorter than the requirement will be considered incomplete and ineligible to earn a grade. If your essay does not meet minimum MLA standards with regard to basic formatting, your essay will be considered incomplete and ineligible for evaluation. You will be required to draft a complete essay and resubmit the work in a timely manner if you want it to be graded.

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Instructions:

Preparation/Analysis:

I. After reading and annotating chapter 12 in your text, go to YouTube and look through the playlist of the Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=428&v=icNirsV1rLA&feature=emb_title
Pick a video like this one (Links to an external site.)
about a particular problem in the United States of America. Pick a video about a problem that you already know something about so that you have a framework to wrap your mind around the topic. This will be your pre-writing/heuristic/exploratory exercise. You can disagree with what he says and or how he says it but you can’t disagree with the facts that he presents. The reason I’m giving you this resources is that no other source I’ve found distills such complex material down so well, so briefly, and so understandably. This will be your starting point. The “great” thing about his show is that he analyzes the problem (believe me, there are many credible sources that analyze the problem too and you can use those in your paper as well) but he doesn’t solve the problem. That’s where you come in. Your objective is to “propose” a clear, strategic, reasonable, and realistic solution to the problem. Most of your paper should be about the “plan for solving the problem.” When evaluating your paper, I will check how many paragraphs you dedicate to the crux of the essay (what makes the essay a proposal) compared to the problem analysis and subsequent benefits of the plan. So, when you’re doing academic research through EBSCO (go back to my video on academic research if you’re confused about that), you should be looking to find sources that will be used primarily for that particular section of the paper.

II. You should have at least three but no more than four scholarly journal articles and or periodicals cited in the text and on the Works Cited page** (Links to an external site.). Scholarly journal articles are long, comprehensive, and useful in numerous ways, for numerous reasons, in different sections of your paper. They contain so much data and interpretation of data that you ought to be able to find one or two that you can use over and over again throughout the essay and then you can supplement with current magazines and newspaper articles because, depending on the topic, on the problem, you may not find a large amount of published academic material from the last couple years (given what you know about academic research and its incredibly rigorous process).

III. Before ever writing a word (or typing), you must know what you want to say. Think about what you read. Think about why what you read ought to be useful (or not). If you need to go back to EBSCO and find new sources, do that. Before you ever start writing the essay, you ought to have your mind made up about what research you’re going to incorporate and why you’re incorporating it and where it ought to go in the essay. You need to have a plan.

IV. Draft your essay according to the template provided to you on page 209.

Essay Template/Synthesis:

I. Introduction: Provide one paragraph of general, brief, contextual information to bring your audience “up to speed,” so to speak, so that they’ll understand your angle and purpose. Maybe they don’t know what a proposal is so you may want to mention why you’re writing. No matter what, your job is to provide background information that will lead seamlessly into your breakdown of the problem and your proposed solution to the problem. End your introduction with an argumentative thesis answering the question, “How should the United States of America fix X [insert the problem here]?

II. Problem analysis: This is a brief paragraph (or two, depending on how deep you need to go) that provides only the most relevant and important causes and or effects. I’m sure that no matter what problem you choose to solve, you’ll be overwhelmed with all of the causes and effects. Don’t write about all of them. Choose a couple so that you can focus on creating a firm foundation for your solution. Keep in mind that your solution should be logically connected to what you say the causes and or effects are. They need to be connected. If you say that x problem has y and z effects, your solution needs to offer up ways in which to solve y and z so that x can decrease; the effects will be mitigated, reduced. You cannot and will not solve the whole problem so don’t try to.

III. Plan for solving the problem: A) Major steps (be specific), B) Support (research with citations); C) Deliverables;

IV. Benefits of the plan (please note that yes, there will be costs but the section is about “benefits” mostly because people are usually motivated by promises of gain (pathos). Mention the costs but spend a good deal of time proving that if your audience believes you and is persuaded to be a part of the solution, they will gain in tangible ways. Prove it.

V. Conclusion: Compose one paragraph that summarizes and paraphrases your topic sentences (the main ideas of your body paragraphs). Restate your thesis. Justify the importance, the urgency, of taking action now.

Evaluation: Please refer to the general essay rubric in our course materials module. In terms of overall composition and structure, I will be looking for how well you show off your understanding of how to format an academic essay in general (intro, body paragraphs, conclusion, Works Cited) and how well you follow the diagram on p. 209 in your textbook.

**Your essay doesn’t need to mention Hasan Minhaj’s material since it was intended for pre-writing/heuristic/exploratory purposes. It’s not an academic source. It was supposed to get your brain juices flowing so that you could focus on the problem more clearly and then start academic research through EBSCO.**

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