Essay Assignment

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GWRIT 102D/Storey Fall 2000
Essay Assignment #2

Essay Topics

Choose one of the following:

1. Research a famous painting that represents an aspect of history (Picasso's Guernica, is an example, though there are of course many, many others to choose from). What do you think the artist's intent was in the way he/she represented the past? How does the "way you see" the painting affect your interpretation? This essay should include research on the painting itself and on the historical event. It should also include, however, your own interpretation of the artist's goals and an acknowledgement of how your own history affects your interpretation of the painting. These final two elements are going to be the center of your argument. Please also include a reproduction of the painting you are discussing with your essay.

2. Berger claims that "being seen" can affect how the human "object" views itself. He discusses how the male gaze affects female self-perception, for one. He also claims that who does the gazing, who defines how the object is seen, holds the power. Address this issue in a way that makes sense to you, using specific examples. This topic offers a good deal of freedom in interpretation on your part, but remember that you will need to ultimately present a clear argument and that you must include at least two outside sources. Consider sharing your topic idea with me before you begin so that we can make sure you will be writing within the reaches of the assignment.

3. Berger's essay, "Ways of Seeing," offers a view of our culture and, in particular, of the way our culture reproduces and uses images from the past. Such images are placed in museums, on bulletin boards, on T-Shirts, and in advertisements. They are described by experts in certain predictable tones or phrases. It is interesting to look at our use of those images as a story we tell ourselves about ourselves, as a practice that says something about something else. Write an essay in which you interpret ways that our culture reproduces and uses images from the past. If these practices say something about something else, what do they say and about what do they say it? What story might we be telling ourselves about ourselves? Remember to work toward a unifying argument in your draft-one that will be polished in revision.


o 750-1250 words, 12 pts., typed, double-spaced, with a title.
o Copy of image or painting being discussed attached
o Stapled
o Correct citations and correctly formatted "Works Cited" list placed at the end of the essay if outside sources are used.
oYou must include at least two outside sources, cited to MLA specifications.

Reminders from our syllabus:

The Draft: Reminder-this is a DRAFT!! Expect to make significant changes to it when you revise. Feel free to test things out and to experiment with writing techniques. I will of course be looking for a general focus, good mechanics, and so on, but I will also be looking for original thinking and honest, deeply considered responses.

1. It has a main idea--a conceptual framework--although it is all right if this idea is not yet fully formed. I'd prefer that you use your draft to work toward figuring something out--perhaps something that will be crystallized upon revision.
2. The main idea is developed with concrete details and examples.
3. All quotes or paraphrases are cited to MLA specifications (including references to Ways of Reading essays and references to Webboard postings of other students in the class).
4. It should fulfill the word requirement (approx. 250 words per page) with a type size of 12 points.
5. It must be written on a word processor

The Revision: The revision should represent a substantial rewriting of the draft based on class discussion, peer editor advice, and my comments. You will need to produce a thorough re-vision of your earlier draft, not simply a corrected or slightly amended version. If you hand in a revision with only simple corrections, you will most likely receive a lower grade than you did on your draft. We will talk more about revision versus correction in class.

Note: Drafts must be handed in with revisions in order for you to get credit.


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