“Inside the Nightmare” Essay

nightmare

Writing Prompt: Why are our brains drawn to fear (the gothic/sublime)? Why do we dream of things that frighten us? What can we learn about ourselves through scary experiences?

Resources Online:

Editing Resources:

Advertisements

Dystopian Worlds Essay

dystopia

“Escaping the Dome.” Image courtesy of yumikrum (Flickr)

Writing Prompt: The short stories, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut and “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula Le Guin, and “the Lottery” by Shirley Jackson present seemingly perfect worlds that hide injustice under the surface. Societies sacrifice the joy of the individual for the benefit of all. What can we as readers learn from these stories about our own world? In at least a five-paragraph essay, describe a central theme (lesson, moral) in at least one of the stories. Include textual evidence to support your ideas. What lessons can we apply to our world today?

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.

Texts and Online Resources:

Handouts and Writing Resources:

Editing/Revision Resources:

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:

Looking for Alaska Essay

alaska

Writing Prompts:

  1. Alaska’s Death: Was Alaska’s death an accident or a suicide? Analyze the text for textual evidence and clues that indicate the answer to this question.
  2. The Teenage Brain: According to scientists, the teenage brain seeks out new, risky experiences, but also is very vulnerable to drugs, alcohol, and change. How can brain science explain some of the behavior of the teenage characters in Looking for Alaska? Cite examples from the novel as well as the science articles we discussed in class.
  3. Themes/Symbolism: What is the central theme of Looking for Alaska? How does the author, John Green, use symbolism to convey this message? Possible themes might include: death and the meaning of life; self-discovery and independence; mischief and guilt; or trust and friendship. Symbols in the text include: cigarettes, the lake, alcohol, white flowers, last words.

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: