Dr. Kristi Siegel
English Department
Mount Mary College
Module Four
Cultural Critique
(Nov. 10 - Dec. 6)
Cultural Critique - Paper no. 4
Does the grading system give you fits?  Do you bemoan the fact that gym shoes now come in more varieties than Carter has pills and are as expensive as sin?  Do you believe that a computer becomes obsolete before you've finished paying for it?  Do you think the Superbowl commercials are better than the game?  Do you think people are becoming ruder because they can be rude at a "distance," e.g., by email, in their cars, on the telephone, in chat rooms, in messages on T-shirts, hats, or bumper stickers? 

For  your second paper, look around and select some (small) aspect of society you'd like to critique.  You may have a topic you'd like to analyze already.  If not, listen to the radio (talk stations), read the paper, books and/or magazines, scan the Internet, watch television or just keep your ears/eyes open.  There are "topics" all around you. 

When you find an issue you'd like to critique make sure you have a clear thesis.  What is your position on your topic?  Will your thesis require some research?  When you write a "position paper" it's easy to lapse into a generalized sermon-like style.  Avoid writing one generalization after another by having specific ddata (personal or researched) that you can use. 

I'll be posting a very good "sample" cultural critique written by one of my former students (the essay will be posted in Nicenet).

First paper due - Nov. 20
Revision due - TBA
Links for Cultural Critique

Writing a Persuasive Argument

Using Sentence Variety:
Varying Sentence Length

Backing up Assertions

Using Effective Diction

Assignments and Schedule
Week 11 - Nov. 13 - Nov. 18

1) Do some
brainstorming.  By Nov. 15, post six
    possible topics for the cultural critique paper (on
    Nicenet). None of these topics have to be topics you
    are considering.  This is simply a way of generating
    and sharing ideas.

Read the student essay posted in Nicenet (under
    documents),  Post a brief paragraph explaining why
    this is an effective critique (or not, you don't have to
    like it!). -
Due by Nov. 17.

3) Read "That Lean and Hungry Look," Suzanne
    Britt's tongue-in-cheek denouncement of
    thin people, pp. 493-495. 

4) Begin reading
Chapter 12 (Argument:
    Convincing Others)
--you should use this
    chapter as a reference for the entire module,
    pp.   156-181.  Despite the examples shown
    in the book,
do not even think
    about writing on the following topics
    been written to death): abortion, gun control,
    drinking age, the death penalty, etc. 
Week 14 - Dec 4 - Dec 9

1) E-mail a short report outlining the essays you intend to include in your final portfolio. Your report is due by Dec. 6.

2) Complete the final portfolio and put in my mailbox (in the college post office) or in my drop box.  If you would like your portfolio returned, please include a self-addressed, large (and sufficiently stamped!) envelope.

Week 12 - Nov. 20 - 25

Read Perri Klass's essay, pp. 590-592   Post an answer one of the questions on page 592 and explain how George Orwell's quote ["But if thought corrupts language, language
can also corrupt thought?] relates to Klass's essay.

Read the material in Chapter 12 (Argument: Convincing Others) and Chapter 15 (Effective Sentences).

The cultural critique is due on Monday, Nov. 20.


Week 15 - Dec. 11 - 14

1) Your final impromptu essay topic will be posted on Nicenet on Dec. 10.  Your impromptu is due on Monday, December 11.  In keeping with the constraints that would be in place for a real-time class, please do not spend more than two hours on the essay.  You may use your dictionary, text, notes, etc., as you write the impromptu.  Send the impromptu to me by e-mail Monday, December 10.

2) If you are having your portfolio mailed back to you, and would like your final grade included, please indicate that when you give me your envelope.  Thank you!
WEEK 13 - Nov. 27 - Dec. 2

1) Using the following sentence-variety techniques: persona-paraphrase, right and/or left branching sentences, parallelism, and sentence combining, 8 sentences from one of your previous essays.  [Only use one technique per sentence!]  Include the "before" sentence and the "after" sentence.  Please
post to the link provided in Nicenet.  Due on Nov. 29.  The different sentence varieties are explained in the writing links for this module.

2) Depending on how you did on the cultural critique, you should be focusing on the cultural critique revision or on beginning to organize your portfolio.

Review the areas of grammar that have been cited as weaknesses in your writings or by the grammar assessments.  You'll be taking the grammar post-test at the last real-time class scheduled for Saturday, December 2.  We'll also be discussing the portfolios in more detail during that class session (Saturday, Dec. 2 - computer lab)


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