HONORS ENGLISH 2
ESSAY ASSIGNMENT ONE
HALL SPR 03
General Directions: Write an argumentative essay on an issue related to free speech, perhaps one of the topics listed later. This initial essay is your first opportunity to demonstrate that you can think critically about a controversial issue and present a coherent cogent argument for your position on that issue. Emphases here are on both the analytical and evaluative aspects of critical thinking as well as understanding the assumptions which underlie not only your position but the position(s) of your audience. Review the "Aspects of Critical Thinking" box on page 8 of Barnet and "Organizing and Revising the Body of the Essay" on pp. 138-9 of Barnet. This essay is not intended to be a research paper, but you will need to bring facts to bear upon the issue you have chosen; some work may be necessary, then, to find information/examples which persuade that your claims are correct and/or address the claims made by an audience that disagrees with you. Be prepared to include and cite sources as necessary.
First Due Date: Complete draft of this essay is tentatively due for workshopping on Tuesday February 4th at the beginning of class. Bring two copies of the draft with you to class on that day. Double space the essay and leave wide margins to allow ample space in which your colleagues can respond. Before you come to class, number in the margin each ¶; this will allow your workshop colleagues to quickly point to specific places in your essay. NOTE: For this first essay, I am also requiring a Paragraph Purpose sheet (2 copies of these too) in which you identify on a separate piece of paper, by number, the purpose of each paragraph of your essay and explain briefly why it is where it is and how it relates to the paragraph preceding and following it.
Final Due Date: Final Version of Essay is tentatively due on Thursday February 6th at the beginning of class. Review the initial syllabus handout for directions on how to prepare and present your final draft.
Specific Assignment: Select a topic related to the issue of Free Speech about which you feel passionately. During our discussions, several of you have already discovered for yourselves that you have firm opinions of some of these issues. We will have already framed the discussion to recognize that some limitations on absolute free speech are warranted. Your job is to argue within that general context either against or for specific limitations and supply cogent reasons to support your position.
Possible Topics include but are not limited to: parents' rights to censorship for their children, mascots which some parts of the population find offensive, censorship of specific books or pieces of art such as Harry Potter or nude statues, community standards as an idea regarding obscenity, allowing or disallowing public demonstrations by minority populations such as the Ku Klux Klan, pornography's definition and possible limitations on its access, limitations on advertisers of when and how they might advertise their products, the effect of the internet on the concept of community standards, the display of symbols which some parts of the population find offensive such as flags and/or tee shirts, actions which are sometimes defended as protected such as burning of the flag, and so on. You have much latitude this time in topic choice. One absolute requirement is that you have a real audience for your topic and thesis; in other words, you must be able to find, analyze, evaluate, and address opinions which really exist, opinions held by real people.
Skills practiced in this essay include:
AT LEAST HAVE SELECTED THE TOPIC FOR YOUR ESSAY BY JANUARY 30. BE PREPARED TO SHARE WITH THE CLASS AT LEAST YOUR GENERAL TOPIC SO WE CAN START THINKING ABOUT THE ISSUES AND SHARING FEEDBACK ON TOPICS.