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Liberty: A Slave’s Water

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Essay #1: Brief Analysis of Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”

The Assignment:

Compose an essay of approximately two double-spaced pages (300-400 words) in length in which you use well-chosen textual evidence to prove a very specific textual point about Douglass’s lecture.

Required components of the assignment:

*A very short introductory paragraph of no more than one sentence in length that contains only your thesis.

A thesis that indicates exactly what you will be arguing in the essay. The thesis should be narrow enough to be provable with the use of two or three pieces of evidence drawn from the text.

These paragraphs should be built around the key pieces of evidence you will be using to substantiate your main point. Each paragraph must include:

1) A topic sentence that introduces the paragraph’s featured piece of evidence by indicating where that piece of evidence arises in the text and how it will substantiate your point. For example: “Douglass first uses the word “cheese” early in the lecture during the discussion of the positive qualities of the revolutionary generation.” DO NOT introduce evidence with page locations (“On page 32”) . On this and every English paper, you should be imagining a reader who is familiar with the text in question, but may not have it immediately at hand. When you introduce evidence, you are in essence saying, “remember the part where…?” It is best to order your paper chronologically. Dealing with early parts of the text first, and later parts of the text last.

2) A direct and accurate quotation of the paragraph’s key piece of evidence. The quotation should be enclosed in quotation marks and include a parenthetical citation of the quotation’s page location. As in: “Quotation” (25). No italics. No “page” or “p.” or “pp.” in the parentheses.

3) A 2-3 sentence analysis of your chosen quotation indicating how it proves your point.

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