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I’m studying and need help with a Writing question to help me learn.

Pre-Essay Assignment #1: Quote Selection and Thesis Proposal

  • 300-600 word piece of writing in MLA format DUE: Sunday 6/23 11:59 PM
  • 30 points total

Whether you choose to write about a transformative moment or a language moment, you will need some textual evidence to show your ideas in relation to and in dialogue with one of the authors we’ve read. This first critical response paper asks you to begin that process of analyzing and understanding how an important quote can add depth and meaning to the topic and thesis you have in mind.

Before composing this writing, make sure to first read the Essay #1 Prompt as well as the Preface, Introduction, and Chapters 1-3 (pages xvii – 52) from They Say, I Say.

Prompt: (300-600 words)

Begin or end your writing with the working thesis statement you want to use for the first essay. Select a key quote from one of our required readings to perform an in-depth analysis of that particular passage. Work to show how you think you’ll be able to use this quote in relation to your ideas on the prompt thus far. Use our readings to show strong integration of the quote into your own writing by contextualizing the quote in your own language, using a strong signal verb for the speaker (states, claims, discusses, etc.), parenthetically citing according to MLA format, and fully analyzing or explaining the quote’s significance. (See Ch. 3 of They Say, I Say for more on quote integration.)

Tips to Consider for Drafting:

  • While your thesis statement may or may not change by the time you finish your first draft, use this assignment to narrow your focus and try to verbalize the underlying purpose of the moment you’re going to explore, describe, and analyze. This can be something like…
    • “A transformative moment in my life was when __________ because this caused me to _________.”
    • “When I encountered __________ it showed me that language ___________.”
    • “Before __________ happened, I saw myself as _______________, but now I know that ____________.”
    • “I used to think of speaking two languages as ____________, but now I know that it is actually ___________.”
  • You might start by looking back at the readings and your annotations to get ideas on how to create depth of meaning for very particular moments in a chosen text. It’s quite possible you will have a few different quotes in mind for this assignment, select the one that seems like it has the most potential for you to analyze, explain, and connect its significance to the topic you’ll be writing about in Essay #1.
  • Work to shape your ideas into a cohesive piece of writing. This means that although you will not have space for all the components of a formal essay here, this short writing should use paragraph breaks to show ideas that flow well in conjunction with one another. The writing should also have an identifiable beginning, middle, and end.
  • If you are having trouble getting started, I recommend working with classmates to get ideas, returning to the readings to reread them (and see how they help you “read the world”), and/or setting up a time to meet with me in office hours to discuss any questions or concerns.

Grading Rubric for this Assignment:

27-30 points: Writer’s submission is full, complete, and finished on time. The quote selection, integration of the quote, and analysis of the quote show engagement with our readings. This means the writer acknowledges the purpose of the original author and text while also showing how they might apply this to their own purpose for Essay #1. The writer shows an understanding of MLA format and college-level insertion of quotes as evidence. There is a clear potential for deeper meaning if the quote and ideas given here are used for Essay #1.

24-26 points: Writer’s submission is mostly full, complete, and finished. The quote selection, integration of the quote, and analysis of the quote show engagement with our readings but can be improved. The writer shows an attempt at MLA format but could do more to show how this quote would provide deeper meaning if used for Essay #1.

21-23 points: Writer’s submission may be missing some elements of the assignment or is lacking length. The submission mostly meets requirements, but may lack some details or awareness and engagement with the texts.

20 and under: Writer’s submission is incomplete or missing.

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