Background: As we continue to explore narratives, we can not only consider how a writer appeals to a reader using rhetorical appeals, but we can also gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the writer’s main message as well.
While your first essay allowed you to investigate the techniques a writer uses to effectively convey a message to an audience, your second essay will require you to consider the impact of these narratives and how they can inspire and motivate changes in society.
Assignment: Choose one autobiography or memoir written by an individual who has had a significant impact on society (national or international), and research how this individual’s narrative has had an effect (either in negative and/or positive ways).
Examples: Malala Yousafzai (I Am Malala), Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom), Ishmael Beah (A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier), Andre Agassi (Open), Robert O’Neill (The Operator), Maya Angelou, (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings), Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential), Neil deGrasse Tyson (The Sky Is Not the Limit), Michelle Obama (Becoming)
*You may use an autobiography/memoir not listed here – these are simply examples!
A successful essay will include a clear, direct thesis which incorporates evidence and support from the selected narrative and additional credible sources to support claims, connected by strong, in-depth analysis.
Essay Question: What is the significance of this individual’s narrative, and how has this individual inspired social, political, and/or economic change?
Consider the following questions as you brainstorm and develop a thesis:
*Note that it is not necessary to answer each question – use these for brainstorming purposes.
Context: Where did the subject spend their childhood? What were the social, political, and/or economic issues at the time? What were some major events happening at the time? Were they or their family directly impacted by these circumstances?
Narrative and Rhetoric: How does the subject use ethos, pathos, and logos effectively in their writing? Who is their target audience? What are the messages of the piece? How does the public view this individual?
Effects: Based on this subject’s story, how does the public view them? Did their story change perceptions, or reinforce them? What changes to social, political, and/or economic circumstances were inspired by their story? How have they directly contributed to these outcomes? How do they continue to appeal to others?
Research: This essay must incorporate credible (and/or scholarly) sources to support the thesis. These sources must be evaluated to ensure proper placement within academic writing. SparkNotes, CliffNotes, Shmoop, and other study guide references are not appropriate for this essay. Remember that Wikipedia is not a credible source!
● 6-7 pages in length (MLA format)
● Works Cited (minimum of five credible outside sources)
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