response to two prompts
*** Write a response to two of the following prompts. Each response should be at least three paragraphs long. Keep your introductory paragraph brief—no more than three sentences. ***
You should include at least two specific citations in each essay, and one of the textual references you cite should be a direct quotation, like this: We see Willie’s courage when he says to his bullies, “I am not going to run, and I am not going to fight back. You are the ones who are afraid, not I” (99). The ‘99’ refers to the page number.
Also, strive to use the following “PIE” structure in your paragraphs. Now here is a paragraph that makes a claim or “point,” supports the claim with textual evidence or an “illustration,” and then adds “explanation” to tie the evidence to the claim and make the point convincing:
Willie’s courage is deserving of our admiration, but sometimes we must question his judgment. For example, when he describes riding freight trains as his main mode of traveling from city to city, job to job, he does so even though he has been warned that it is a federal crime and that the rail yard guards carry cudgels and are accompanied by fierce dogs. He says that he felt “invisible” (76). He would hide on the tops of tanker cars and underneath the flat cars. He’d heard stories of hitchers being caught and beaten or robbed of all their belongings at knife point on a moving train, but that “never scared me; my newfound freedom seemed to dissolve all fear” (83-84). Willie’s actions were bold, and he certainly rejoiced in his freedom, but he seems oddly unconcerned for his safety and without fear. Here the two-page range is cited because the quotation spans both pages. ? Notice how the quotation does not start the paragraph; instead, it follows statements made by the student writer.
1) Select a passage from both “Pigeons” and “Sign Here if You Exist” that you find particularly engaging, one that holds your attention. Perhaps you find it engaging because you can identify or “relate” to the narrator, the situation, or to one of the minor characters. Perhaps you love the writing style or how the passage is written—the diction, the sensory details, the intimate spoken quality, etc. Or perhaps your interest is engaged because of the subject matter. Write an essay of 3 paragraphs that explains how and why these two passages engage you. (Note: By passage we mean a paragraph or a few paragraphs.)
2) Write an essay of three paragraphs that characterizes the personal paradigm shifts that Quinn (“Sign Here if You Exist”) and Pollack (“Pigeons”) describe in their respective essays. What events change them, and how and why do they transform? Finally, in your conclusion, assess how the two transformations are alike or different.
3) We are taught that an “essay” makes a point. It has a main idea or argument. Do these two narrative essays by Quinn and Pollack have that main idea, and is it stated explicitly for the reader? If so, what is it, and where in each essay is it openly stated?
4) Both essays use their closing paragraphs to “synthesize” or tie together the experiences and ideas that are presented up to that point. What does the conclusion accomplish in each essay? Do you find both convincing—that is, are you persuaded by what the author says in her closing reflection? Explain why or why not. I am/not persuaded because…
5) What do the two essay titles mean? Write an essay that interprets the two titles metaphorically. Close your essay with an insight about how titles work and what makes a good title
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