Home button


English 1102 paper topics, spring 2020

Paper 1

Read every word below carefully, more than once, before starting your essay.

Respond to the topic below in an argumentative essay of 800-1200 words (in the body of the essay, excluding headers, name, date, title, works cited entries, etc.). Raise a central question at the end of your introduction that the rest of the paper strives to answer in the persuasive format.

For details of the physical formatting of your paper on papermargins, headers, titles, etc.see the simple stuff page. For guidelines on quotation and documentation, see the quotations page. Both options require quotations from the readings, so a works cited page is necessary.

I encourage you to seek my help with your paper outside of class. I cannot respond to whole drafts through email, but I will be glad to go over your paper from start to finish with you in person before you submit it for grading.  If my office hours don't mesh with your schedule, let me know and we'll make arrangements for other times. 

Note that you must submit the final draft (only) in both hard copy (printed on paper) and digital form (via the Brightspace/D2L dropbox for the assignment).

Paper proposals: before you begin writing the essay, construct a topic sentence outline: begin the outline with the literal question your paper addresses, then give full topic sentences that answer the question directly for each primary point in your paper (i.e. for each body paragraph), just as they will appear in the essay itself, and conclude the outline with the paper's overall thesis, answering the central question directly and combining your essential points from the various topic sentences. We will talk more about topic sentence outlines in class. Your paper proposal should resemble the topic sentence outlines we constructed in Writing Exercise 3. See the sample topic sentence outlines on my writing tips page and on the paper proposal assignment page.

The topic:

Construct an argument debating the issue of whether A Raisin in the Sun is more concerned with racial issues or universal issues, issues that apply to people of all races. The idea here is to argue that Hansberry's play is more about one set of issues or the other, so draw the lines of argument clearly and precisely, with emphasis on the word "more." Quote the play four or more times in illustrating your assertions—at least two of the quotes should support the opposing viewpoint, and of course you should use quotes to back up your own major points on your side of the argument. Also include at least one quotation from the pertinent selections included in our text before and after the play (pp. 1446-56 and 1520-43).



blue bullet Make every topic sentence answer the central question directly.
blue bullet Introduce all quotes: see nugget 3.
blue bullet Sweat the details: use the Golden Rules, Nuggets, Simple Stuff, and Quotations pages and proofread carefully.
blue bullet Offer concrete evidence (quotes) in support of each of your major assertions.
blue bullet See me in the office or email if you have questions or problems. 

Use the Writing Center! I encourage you to see tutors for help with your papers at the Student Success Center (SSC) and/or the Writing Center. We have well-trained, qualified tutors who can give you plenty of one-on-one attention with any aspect of the writing process. Be sure to take a copy of this assignment with you to any tutoring session, or show your tutor this assignment page on the web.