Essay Assignment

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Essay 4

Smith, GWRIT 103
Spring 2008

For your last essay, you should use A Clockwork Orange to help you make an argument about public policy and criminality. Consider the possible implications of some the potential topics we’ve already introduced: juvenile delinquency; parental abdication of responsibility; the so-called “Modern Youth” problem; the Generation Gap; the language barrier; sexualized youth; identifying/treating the source of deviant behavior; the possibility/impossibility of rehabilitation; the effectiveness—even the pragmatics—of prison; the ethics and efficacy of torture; the power and ascendancy of film/image over the printed word; the medicated/tranquilized society; idle, de-contextualized violence as entertainment…

And so on.

Your paper will be more successful if you can narrow your subject, and pinpoint your discussion as much as possible. You don’t want to begin, for example, by considering all of America’s prisons and the varied approaches to imprisonment. Turn, instead, to a consideration of the “Super-Max” prison (of which Virginia has a few), the successes (or perils) of a particular kind of work-release program, the Panopticon prison. Gather information about your subject. Research.

You should

  • Develop a clear, focused, thesis, one that embraces the complexity of the issue;
  • Communicate a real purpose, for a real audience (No more “You-made-me-write-this paper-so-here-it-is-I-hope-you-like-it-but-at-least-its-done.”);
  • Back your claims with specific, well-developed examples, description, and evidence. Be concrete;
  • As always, choose a tone and style that’s appropriate for your audience;
  • Minimize mechanical errors. As you revise, eliminate problems of grammar and syntax. (Spelling errors? Still? How?) Use MLA format.
  • Keep your paper tight, well-organized. A logical train or progression is probably best and easiest. Argue your perspective.

Finally, you will need to offer a functional and realistic proposal that addresses the problem. Anyone can say, “This is terrible, we’re sick and perverted as a culture.” Anyone can pound their chest and pull out their hair and cover themselves in ashes, and more than one commentator has bemoaned the disintegration of the nuclear family, or the failure of parents to instill discipline, or how “kids nowadays” have no sense of values. But it takes a real rhetor to come up with a feasible process that might help. So, you should advocate that something should be done to address or alleviate the crisis, and that your audience can take action to respond to that problem.

Note: You are required to use and cite at least four sources in this assignment.

I want you to make this the best, most interesting paper you have ever written. We’re almost done, so have fun with it. Take risks.



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