final essay

Length Requirement: 2000-3000 words (8-12 pages).

Purpose: To demonstrate competence in all the writing skills learned this semester and to integrate your thinking with that of others in a sophisticated and scholarly manner.

Grammar as Protest

Writing Task: Much as we began to do in our Module Four discussion, explore the relationship between Jeff Chang’s use of slang in We Gon’ Be Alright, and answer this question to focus your research: “Beyond the normal attention brought by breaking rules, what purpose(s) does the use of slang serve in Chang’s work, We Gon’ Be Alright?”

As an example beyond the title itself, consider the following two quotes from Chapter One, “Is Diversity for White People?”: “{Trump’s] ham-fisted ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan-so prosaic and dull next to Reagan’s ‘Morning in America’-seemed designed for bro-style first-pumping…” (11) and, “Trump descended from the air and air waves to talk shit*” (12). You might discuss the added weight of the term “bro” in an election cycle that saw “Bernie Bros” pitted against most other camps, including Trump supporters. You might dig into how “talking shit” is an activity found more on the street than at the podium, and then, tell us whether these language choices obscure or illuminate the audience’s view of the subject. What is being revealed or subverted, emphasized or downplayed or omitted, and are the choices ethically justifiable or irresponsible? The type of thesis will have the kind of specific focus on Chang’s language as I illustrate here. Dig deeper, not wider.

Be sure to present a clear focus and an argument in your thesis statement, as ever, and avoid spending too much time explaining (or, summarizing) the issue or slang term(s) you’ve chosen as your focus.

You most likely will need to research any choice (as my example of the potential unstated reference to “bros” illustrates). In consulting other sources, you can achieve some critical distance from your subject. You will then be in a better position than you would otherwise be to gauge the account you are analyzing. In your discussion, please note and articulate if pertinent, the gray area implied in your task. Critical thought lives in the gray area!

Requirements:

1. You must cite at least five sources in your final essay. You may quote from Internet sources and magazines, but at least two of the sources you cite must be scholarly (peer-reviewed books and articles). You must provide an MLA Works Cited page as explained by Hacker in “Research and Documentation.” Note that this is not the same as an Annotated Bibliography, which you will submit in Module Five. A list of Works Cited includes only the sources that you actually cite in the body of your paper. and is attached to the end of your paper but not included in your paper’s page count.

Note: You are not obligated to use in the final paper all the sources you reviewed in the Annotated Bibliography.

2. Follow MLA guidelines for formatting and documentation, which are explained in depth on the OWL website.

*Please faithfully render any language used in our text or any other text you are referencing. Not only are we all adults here but we want to honor and be true to the original text.

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