The Awakening Essay

awakening 2

Writing Prompts:

  1. The Ending: Some critics view the ending of the novel as Edna’s failure to complete her escape from social conventions, an act of cowardice once she no longer has a man by her side. Others view it as a final awakening, a brave decision to give herself to the sea in a show of strength and independence that defies social expectation. Which interpretation do you agree with, and why? (You may want to discuss “The Story of an Hour” as well.)
  2. Motherhood: How does Chopin describe motherhood in The Awakening?  What does she suggest are the possibilities for women who engage in this traditional female role?  Choose at least two mothers who appear in The Awakening and discuss both of their attitudes toward motherhood as well as what Chopin seems to be saying about this supposedly sacred institution. How does this contrast with Mademoiselle Reisz, a single, childless artist?
  3. Themes/Symbolism: What is the central theme of The Awakening? How does the author, Kate Chopin, use symbolism to convey her message? Symbols in the text include: music, art, children, changing houses, birds, the sea, cigars, clothes, food, the moon, sleep.

Writing Criteria:

  • Well-organized multiple-paragraph essay.
  • A clear thesis statement (main argument).
  • Textual evidence with analysis (quotes must be cited with page numbers in MLA Format).
  • Creativity and sentence variety.
  • Checked for spelling/grammar/mechanics.

You may also choose to use the following texts below in your essay:

Handouts and Writing Resources:

Editing/Revision Resources:

Farewell to Manzanar



“Scene of barrack homes at Manzanar,” by Dorothea Lange (Public Domain)


Essay Writing Prompt: Farewell to Manzanar is a true memoir that describes one family’s experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp during WWII. What can we as readers learn from this story? In at least a five-paragraph essay, describe a theme (lesson, message) that this memoir reveals. Connect this theme to at least two other sources (article, film or poem) with a recurring message. Include textual evidence to back up your ideas.

Handouts and Writing Resources:

  1. Farewell to Manzanar Essay Criteria
  2. Farewell to Manzanar Tree Map or Persuasion Map
  3. MLA Typing Guidelines

Online Resources:

“Work Your Mind” Article

Chalkboard boy

Essay Prompt: Do students need to “struggle” in order to learn? According to the article, what are the benefits of students learning on their own? What should the role of the teacher be in the classroom?


  • Clear thesis/main argument
  • Must include at least 3+ quotes from the article (integrated correctly, use sentence starters)
  • Explain/analyze the importance of each quote (use sentence starters)
  • At least 3+ well-developed paragraphs!

“Work Your Mind” Article from Time For Kids (Authors: Annie Murphy Paul and Stephanie Kraus, 4/25/12)

Sentence starters to introduce quotes:

  • X states, “…”
  • According to X, “…”
  • In X’s view, “…”
  • X agrees when she writes, “…”
  • X disagrees when he writes, “…”

Sentence starters to explain/analyze quotes:

  • In other words, X believes ____.
  • In making this comment, X urges us to _____.
  • X’s point is that _____.
  • The essence of X’s argument is that ____.

(Sentence starters above from the book, “They Say / I Say” by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein and Russel Durst)