Seminar/Section 19/Dr. Schell
Week 1 •
Assignment: Introductory Essay REVISION
essay is due in class on Monday, September 12th in class (hardcopy & email
– see below)
The purpose of this writing exercise is to go through the process of
substantially revising your first essay, including rethinking the organization,
Write a thesis driven essay (500-750 words, approximately 2-3 pages,
double-spaced, typed) that is supported by evidence and explanation. Use ONE of the
following question to prompt the thesis of your essay. Your paper should be
based on your having read all of Part I of Obama.
- RACE. Significant
portions of "Origins" are dedicated to Obama's difficulty navigating between
two racially determined worlds. On page 82 he writes, "As it was, I learned
to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds, understanding that
each possessed its own language and customs and structures of meaning,
convinced that with a bit of translation on my part the two worlds would
eventually cohere." Find three examples from "Origins" in which he "slip[s]
back and forth," and explain if he is able to make the worlds cohere
and how he does it. If he can't bring the worlds together (in any of the
examples), explain why.
- ORIGINS. Why did Obama
give the first section of this book (the title) “Origins” and why is it
- EXEMPLARY LIFE. Where in
the autobiography does Barack Obama display "exemplary" characteristics? Why
can these be considered "exemplary?" What is an "exemplary life"?
writing the essay:
reading and think about it in terms of the topic you have chosen. Make notes o
the text so you’ll have relevant quotes that can help you develop your essay.
thinking about the questions and so some pre-writing (brainstorming,
note-taking, outlining, listing, clustering ideas, etc.) before you
begin a draft.
Begin the essay
with an introduction that gradually leads to your thesis.
Develop a thesis
and spell out what you are going to argue in the essay (provide a roadmap).
essay with paragraphs that include topic sentences that support your thesis,
and evidence (quotations from the story) and explanations that support your
topic sentences. Strive to make the connections between your main points
clear, and use transitions and explanations.
Finish with a
conclusion that goes beyond merely re-stating your main points, but reinforces
the significance of your topic in terms of the story but also the real world.
Be able to answer the “so what?” question.
Take the time to
come up with a thoughtful title that indicates the subject of your essay.
final copy before submitting it.
Use the MLA
guidelines for documentation as outlined in your seminar handbook and as
spelled out in the Bedford Handbook. Document sources using parentheses at the
end of sentences and include a list of works cited at the end of the essay
(this does not need to be on a separate page).
For this essay, that will mean
citing Dreams of My Father properly.
FOR THIS ESSAY,
do not use or consult any outside sources to develop this essay without my
permission. Doing so will constitute academic dishonesty.
Use 1” margins and a standard 12 point font (Times or Palatino). At the top of
the page (not on a separate cover sheet!) put on the left or right hand side.
Center the title above the essay. Make sure to include the following information
at the top of the page: Your Name, First Year Seminar
Section S/19, Professor Schell, Date
Please bring a hard copy of the essay to class on the day it is due. You must
also submit your paper to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the paper. The site can be found at
You will need to set up an individual account, and add my class to your account,
in order to submit your paper. You will need the course code and password
below in order to "register" for the class. Then, when you are ready to submit
the paper, log on to your account (using your own login [email address] and
password) and then access the click on the class, then the assignment (Paper 1)
and hit the submit button. A window will prompt you to select the file from your
computer. You will need the following codes:
If you have trouble submitting the paper, please
email me a copy of the paper as an attached document so that I can upload it.
Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to do this.