English 120: Essay 1 (written in class on Tuesday 9/24)
Write a well organized and clearly written essay that
“Looking for Work” by Gary Soto and how
“When Should a
Child Be Taken from His Parents?” by Larissa MacFarquhar respond to the dominant
myth of “
family” in our culture. Use class notes, homework, group
discussions and both readings to write your essay.
This essay is written entirely in class, no exceptions.
3 pages (double space, leave 1 inch margins all around)
Use at least 3 quotes. There are two reasons to use a quote: 1) to illustrate or
support a point
are making, or 2) to address a point of view you wish to rebut.
Your 3 quotes must come from both readings.
Cite each quote. To cite, put the author’s last name and the page number for the
quote inside parentheses at the end of the sentence, like this: (Sargent 1).
Here are some questions to help you while planning what to write:
What is/are the dominant myth(s) about family in our culture? How do these
readings connect with myth(s) about the “model” or “ideal” family?
How do various
people in these stories define the myth?
Where does this myth about family come from? Where does it come from in these
How does myth about an “ideal” or “model” family control or
complicate people’s lives in these stories?
Does this myth about the “model” or “ideal” family have value? Is it problematic?
When is it of value and when is it a problem?
How does the myth influence
people’s point of view in these stories?
How is this myth a cultural force that shapes lives? In other words, what are the
effects of this myth on the people in these stories?
Why does a myth about the
“ideal” or “model” family have so much power?
How do your personal knowledge and your own assumptions about “family”
influence the way you interpret both “Looking for Work” and “When Should a Child
Be Taken From His Parents?” In other words, how has the dominant culture shaped
your ideas, values, and beliefs about “family”?
How have these readings affected
the way you interpret cultural influences about the “model” or “ideal” family?
SEE NOTES ON NEXT PAGE
This is NOT an argument essay.
It’s NOT about whether you think the myth of the “ideal
family” is a good thing or a bad thing
It’s NOT about whether you think child protective
services is doing a good job or a bad job with potentially
abused or neglected children.
It IS about your take on how these authors are
treating the myth of a “model” family. (this is the
POV that requires support and discussion; the
support comes from details in the text; the
discussion is how you connect all the details to
points you are making)
What is their main point about this myth?
How do they connect the myth to characters in
Why or how does the myth affect characters?
What is the message these authors are giving us
about this myth?
How do they convey this message?
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