Your writing project should be clearly and logically organized and thoroughly develop and support your ideas. Your opening paragraph should convey why your primary text is representative of the American experience/identity and should establish a statement that controls the focus of your writing project and makes a claim about what insights your primary text makes about the American experience/identity. Body paragraphs should contain only enough summary for background and context, relevant details from the texts, direct quotes when needed to support/illustrate a point, and thorough analysis. Be sure to move smoothly from one text to the next by drawing significant connections and utilizing transitional phrases. Rule of thumb: There should always be more analysis/interpretation than summary. Assume that your reader is basically familiar with your chosen texts. You may want to explore characters and what they reveal about the American experience/identity. Finally, you may want to end your writing project with a conclusion that contains your final thoughts on how texts taken from our popular culture convey or reflect or shape American experience/identity. An interesting and informative title An introductory paragraph that identifies your primary text and establishes an explicit statement in your introductory paragraph that makes a claim about your text’s message and its impact on our understanding of the American experience/identity An awareness of audience, purpose, and context An appropriate voice, tone, style, and level of formality An analysis of argumentative strategies and/or persuasive appeals present in your primary text Development and support of a compelling idea through relevant and thorough exploration of one (and only one) primary text Development and support that incorporates ideas and evidence from two (and only two) secondary sources An identifiable structure, including introduction, coherent paragraphs, and conclusion Appropriate conventions for structure and paragraphing Appropriate mechanics and format Effective use of syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling Proper MLA documentation of primary text and secondary sources in both the body of the essay AND on a Works Cited page At least two direct quotes from primary text (unless the primary text is a painting/sculpture or some other work that does not contain written text) At least one direct quote from each secondary source Appropriate textual conventions for incorporating ideas from sources, e.g., introducing and incorporating quotations; quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing A minimum of 1,000 words (not including quoted material or the Works Cited page) Here is a list of secondary sources that you CANNOT use: any assigned readings or textbooks for this course blogs dictionaries Wikipedia Master Plots Cliff’s Notes Spark Notes Bartleby film/book reviews Internet Movie Database (IMdB) abstracts juvenile/children’s books works of literature songs dramatic/fictional films DVD commentaries A PRIMARY TEXT is a document or physical object that can be the subject of interpretation or analysis. Some types of primary texts include: ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS: Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, music, songs, plays, short stories, novels, art (paintings, sculptures, etc.) dramatic films/TV shows, music videos RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings Examples of primary texts include: The novel The Great Gatsby The film The Big Lebowski The TV show Modern Family The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. A SECONDARY SOURCE interprets and/or analyzes a primary text. A secondary source can also provide historical, critical, and/or background information that can help you interpret/analyze a primary text. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of secondary sources include: PUBLICATIONS: Textbooks, magazine/journal articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, interviews, biographies, a documentary film INFORMATIONAL WEBSITES: A university/college website, a scientific website, a government website Examples of secondary sources include: A journal/magazine article that interprets a novel, dramatic film, or work of art A documentary film about The Civil War A book about the effects of WWI
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