It is hard to imagine an important essay that is not, first of all, a display of intelligence. And sheer intelligence of the highest order can in and of itself make a great essay. ~Susan Sontag
Independent Reading Essay
Susan Sontag claimed that “a display of intelligence” is one aspect of a good essay. This analysis essay is to be a culmination of the intelligence you garnered through The Language of Composition and your nonfiction independent reading this summer.
Prior to summer break, we talked about what it means to be a college student: to make independent choices, to flex your creative muscles, and above all to take the initiatives necessary to be successful in life. That being said, this is your moment to shine as a college student.
- There is no length restriction on this essay.
- You only need to submit a final draft.
- All standard MLA formatting applies.
Topics to consider including in your essay:
- What is the writer’s purpose(s)? How does the author reinforce their purpose?
- What are the main points of the arguments presented in the text? Which points do you agree or disagree with the author?
- What rhetorical strategies does the author use within their argument? How do these devices strengthen the author’s claim? Are there devices not used that could have strengthened the argument?
- Defend the argument made in the text you are reading by considering another text that echoes the same ideas or concepts.
- What claims and evidence does the writer use support their argument? Are the claims logical and appropriate?
- How does the writer’s purpose and audience influence the choice of language, organization, illustrations, and tone?
Things to consider when constructing your essay:
- Does your essay have a clearly stated thesis statement? Do the claims, evidence and explanation directly support the thesis?
- Is your argument built out of textual evidence, both explicit and implicit?
- Does your essay recognize the textual choices of the author (argument, style, structure, etc.) and the effect of those choices?
- Does the prose of your essay maintain your readers’ interest?
- Is the diction and syntax mature or simplistic?