English Paper

Unit 5-Assignment 1: Ethics Essay (Due 4/28)

Much like the Government Essay, for this assignment you are being asked to use at least one reading of your choice from the “Ethics and Morality” section of our textbook, A World of Ideas 9th edition, to write a synthesis essay. Read “Civil Disobedience” (301-26), Selection from “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” (327-342)

This essay should be a minimum of five full pages (not counting the works cited), in MLA format, include two to three sources, and is due on Saturday, April 28th. One or two of the sources should be from the in-class readings. You pick the approach source(s) as you wish. They can come from the textbook, and you can use academic articles related to the text or issue. You could also use essays we haven’t read from the book—or even bring in essays from outside our text that apply to your topic. They all need to fit together in some logical way for your purposes. Here are several possible methods:

  • Essays written in direct response to one of these sources. If you think some essays have clearly been inspired by a reading we’ve previously covered, develop their ideas in particular directions and analyze how they have picked up where they left off.
  • Essays written in direct or indirect rebuttal to one of these sources. If you think some essays have an implicit or explicit tension with Thoreau (such as Machiavelli, for example), analyze how they respond their ideas or try to mitigate his moral shortcomings. You can also include in this section essays that respond favorably to his; it does not have to be entirely oppositional.
  • Essays that fill in blanks left by one of the sources. How does Thoreau try to deal with Rousseauian ideals in new context of American government?
  • Essays that respond to the intellectual space created by one of these sources. Without thinking directly of works, writers often work in an environment set up by those works. How has Gazzaniga reconciled Thoreau’s moralistic values in a world where people don’t always do what is right?

Grading Criteria

  • student presents an effective summary of the text(s) that demonstrates a clear understanding of the arguments underlying the texts they read;
  • student makes a claim which is a critical argument engaging with one primary source and incorporating secondary sources by evaluating the validity and soundness of the authors’ arguments;
  • student includes sufficient supporting evidence drawn from sources, presenting a clear understanding of the conceptual connections between the texts;
  • clear organization and structure;
  • student uses appropriate documentation of the secondary source and follows conventions of Standard Edited English.

Other Requirements

  • at least 5 pages, double spaced, one inch margins
  • 12 point Times font
  • MLA format (no title page, 4 line heading upper left of first page, last name/page # in upper right of each page, in-text citations, etc.)
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