Essay 1 Assignment

English 102:
Freshman Composition

Section 46
Spring 1999
The University of Mississippi
Department of English


Write a 600- to 800-word essay addressing one of the following topics.
  1. Analyze the use of language, pictures, colors, and other appeals in one or two specifics instances of food labeling or advertising and explain how these elements work together to entice consumers.
  2. Analyze an American cultural icon from several perspectives and explain how that icon has shaped the American consciousness.
For either topic, you must determine for yourself how to write a sound, interesting essay that addresses the criteria of the topic. Within each topic, you have a good bit of freedom in which to formulate your ideas. In Topic A, for instance, you could choose to write a comparison/contrast essay, in which you could compare two current advertisements for similar products, for instance, or two advertisements for a single product but which appeared years apart. The choices of potential "American cultural icons" in Topic B are vast; they include cartoon characters, such as Mickey Mouse in your book, as well as real people (Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe).

For additional writing ideas, review the "Suggestions for writing" that appear at the end of assigned reading chapters in Juxtapositions.

Regardless of which topic you choose, you should plan to make use of at least one outside source (other than the advertisement/label or the icon itself). You should identify the source(s) clearly and concisely in your essay and attribute any ideas from your source(s) within the body of your essay; you will not, however, be required on this essay to cite your sources parenthetically within the body or to include a formal "Works Cited" page. Your sources should bear some key connection with your chosen topic.

The ideal essay: Do not refer to this class or classroom discussion in your essay. Do not refer to classroom reading assignments as assignments. Part of your job as a writer is to establish within the content of your essays a rationale that goes beyond the obvious one of being required for a class. You should try to make each essay stand on its own merits, as if written not for a class but for the writer's own edification, enjoyment, or need to communicate.

Formatting: Each essay draft must be word processed and should be typed and double-spaced with one-inch margins on each side. Pages should be numbered, preferably by the word processor rather than by hand. On the top left of the first page, you should include your name, your email address, the class and section number, and the date. On the top right, you should indicate an approximate word count. About four lines below the date, you should center your title -- do not put it in quotation marks. The first line of paragraphs should be indented no more than one-half inch. Use a viewer-friendly font, such as Courier or Times, and a viewer-friendly font size, at least 11 points. Though you are going through drafts, do not print them at "draft" quality (or low quality); make sure the printed copy is dark enough and easy to read. Print the essay in black ink.

Due dates: Your first draft of Essay 1 is due in class on Tuesday, January 26. We will be doing peer critiques in class that day; failure to bring a suitable draft (typed, double-spaced, etc.) will result in an absence for that day and a "zero" for daily work. At the end of the period, be sure to get back the peer critiques from your classmates and your original draft. On Thursday, January 28, your assignment is to bring to class your written responses to each of your peer critiques from the previous class. In your responses, you should explain which peer critiques you found most useful and why. The second, revised draft of Essay 1 will be turned in to the instructor in class on Tuesday, February 2. At that time, you will turn in the revised draft, your peer critiques (and your responses to them), and the earlier draft, as well as a written reflection on your progress to date that will be done in class that day.


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