Essay #3: Writing Strategy Prompts
Using the techniques of social satire modeled in “A Word from My Anti-Phone Soapbox” (pg. 131), assess a public policy, social movement, or cultural trend you believe deserves serious and detailed criticism. But don’t write a paper simply describing your target as dangerous, pathetic, or unsuccessful. Instead, make people laugh at your target while also offering a plausible alternative.
After examining the way Charles Paul Freund deals with jeans (pg. 170), identify a comparable trend you have noticed or a change in society or culture that deserves scrutiny. It might relate to technology, entertainment, political preference, fashion, popularity of careers, or other areas. Write an analysis of the phenomenon, considering either causes or potential consequences of this new mania. Then illustrate the trend with images that suggest its cultural reach or significance. Spend some time in the opening of your paper describing the trend and establishing that it is consequential.
Using Seth Stevenson’s “Ad Report Card Can Cougars Sell Cough Drops?” on pg. 253 as a model, write your own critical analysis of a single ad or full ad campaign you find worthy of attention. Choose a fresh campaign, one that hasn’t yet received much commentary.
In “Insanity: Two Women” (pg. 231), Kanaka Sathasivan does a close, almost line-by-line analysis of Emily Dickinson’s “I felt a Funeral in my Brain”; then she compares the themes and strategies of the poem to those she finds in Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” For a project of your own, do either a close reading of a favorite short poem or song or a comparison of two works from different genres of media.
For the close reading, tease out all the meanings and strategies you can uncover and show readers how the text works. For the comparison, be sure to being with...