English 103

Fall 2007

Essay 1





As we experienced with our personal literacy narratives, an essay is always a discovery.  Essay 1 will help you figure out what you feel, think, and want to tell our class about your experience of the complex American culture that surrounds you.  You will recognize that you know more than you ever imagined about that culture, but that you may have taken much for granted, or at face value.  This assignment will help you become more conscious of American culture's pervasive and profound influence.




Write about one of the spheres of American cultural expectation we’ll be exploring together this semester, i.e. family, education, opportunity and success, gender roles, equality, religious expression (public and private), and individual freedom. What are some “standard” American beliefs or expectations regarding the particular sphere you chose?  How do your own experiences within that sphere either reinforce or challenge those “standard” beliefs?  Use detailed narration and examples.  In what ways do you think those American “standards” have influenced you personally?  Has the influence been positive, negative, or mixed?




Your essay should be 3-5 pages and should observe conventions for printing a college essay as indicated in your handbook, pp. 42-44 (please use Times New Roman, 12-point font).




Essay 1 will receive a letter grade that will count for 10% of your final course grade.  A successful essay will include provocative material, be thoughtfully and generously developed, have a distinctive personal voice, and draw meaningful conclusions.  Halfhearted efforts toward poorly organized, stingily developed essays will receive lower grades, as will essays with surface errors so numerous that they interfere significantly with communication.


Due date:


Friday, September 14