For your first timed essay, you used two readings to make an argument about a common theme that they raised. For your second paper I’d like you to bring two readings together in a different way. I’d like you to explore how one reading shapes your understanding of the second reading. In other words, how does reading #1 affect what you notice or understand about reading #2?
Some questions you might ask yourself include:
- Does text #1 give you reasons to see that the argument in text #2 is valid?
- Does text #1 give you reasons to question the argument made in text #2?
- Does text #1 help you to better understand the argument made in text #2?
In order to prepare for Timed Essay 2, you should do the following:
- Review/reread the texts from this unit.
- Decide on a pair of texts (you can choose any two of the texts by Blanda, Leonard, Boyd, Moro, Alexander, or Vance).
- Brainstorm a theme or issue that they share, but then go further and think about how one text impacts your understanding of the other. There are many ways to connect/combine the texts, but it’s a good idea to first identify a common theme or issue and then ask yourself questions about how one text shapes your understanding or raises questions about the second text.
- Identify the specific ways in which the texts address the particular theme or issue.
- Identify key passages in both texts to support your understanding/analysis.
**When you write your timed essay, be sure to save a copy for yourself.
In order to prepare for Process Essay 2, follow the steps listed above, in addition to the following:
- Use Timed Essay 2 as your starting point. (Think of it as your rough draft.)
- Look at your introduction. Does it provide context? Do you introduce both texts? (This also includes mentioning the authors’ names.
- Look at your thesis. Is it complex and specific?
- Look at your body paragraphs. Do you have clear topic sentences that frame each paragraph? Do you use quotes from the texts? Do you fully explain the quotes? Do you transition from one idea to the next?
- Does your conclusion add a final thought?
- Think about ways to expand your paper. This could mean taking one or more of your ideas and further developing them. It could also mean adding another idea for analysis.
- Think about the ways you connected the texts. Does each body paragraph focus on one text at a time? Can you think of ways to revise your paragraphs so that you connect the texts within paragraphs?
- Look over your sentence structure. Are your sentences clear? Try reading your essay out loud to see if you catch any sentences that sound awkward.
For your essay, you are going to be asked to incorporate your choice of two of the following texts:
- Sean Blanda, “The ‘Other Side’ Is Not Dumb” (212-217)
- Robert Leonard, “Why Rural America Voted for Trump” (279-284)
- Danah Boyd, “Why America is Self-Segregating” (219-228)
- Gabriela Moro, “Minority Student Clubs: Segregation or Integration (269-277)
- Michele Alexander, “The New Jim Crow” (230-249)
- J.D. Vance, “Hillbilly Elegy” (251-267)
Review the notes for how to prepare.