We Can’t Go Back To Normal. Literature & Language Essay (Essay Sample)
At-home Writing Assignment #3: Argument-Synthesis
TASK: Write a 3-4 page (700-1000 words) argument-synthesis essay on the topic listed below. Refer to at least 3 sources in your paper with a minimum of two sources being from the source texts listed within the individual assignment pages. (You can use more than 3 sources and/or ll three sources can be from the provided source texts.) This assignment provides another opportunity to demonstrate your academic writing skills, improve your cultural literacy, and express your own point of view about an important topic in which thoughtful, informed people may come to differing conclusions. (Last updated on April 16, 2020; see highlighted text below.)
GENRE: Argument-Synthesis (A Sequence for Academic Writing ch. 7)
“An argument is an attempt to persuade a reader or listener that a specific debatable claim is true and worthy of support… Would readers accept your conclusions? That depends on the quality of your supporting evidence and the care and logic with which you have argued your case. What we are calling an argument synthesis draws on evidence from a variety of sources in an attempt to persuade others of the truth or validity of a debatable claim.” (SAW, p. 121)
This kind of writing—making an argument and integrating the claims of others—is a typical kind of writing task in university courses in the U.S. and one that you will need to do in University Writing. We will examine different aspects of this genre of writing by working on tasks in chapter 7 of the textbook in our lessons in Weeks 9, 10, and 11 of the semester. (post-Spring Break through mid-April.)
GENRE ESSENTIALS: Be sure that your essay contains the following elements:
A focus on the topic
A clear thesis statement. (See this Canvas page on writing thesis statements.)
An argumentative take
At least three sources, two of which must be from those that I list, incorporated using strategies such as summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting.
The New York Review of Books may be a good source. LINKLinks to an external site..
Rhetorical strategies including counterargument, refutation, and concession.
Organization and coherence.
Accurate use of MLA formatting.
AUDIENCE: Your instructor; your peers. For this assignment, we will do peer feedback on Drafts 1, 2, and 3.
FORMAT: MLA format. Please refer to the "MLA Style resources" module for MLA information and support. Include a Works Cited page. Please submit your paper as a Microsoft Word document.
Argument: Your essay should respond to the following questions. Your essay doesn't need to respond to all of these questions directly, but these questions should guide your thinking about how to approach the topic and thesis of your essay:
To what extent will the coronavirus (COVID-19) change the world?
Are societies going to face massive changes in the economic, social, and physical landscape, or will life return "to normal" after the disease is beaten?
What steps should governments take to stabilize countries to maintain steadiness in a chaotic moment? For instance, is this the moment for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to become mainstream?
Will civil liberties such as free speech and privacy rights survive this crisis?
Synthesis: Use at least two of the following sources, listed in chronological order, and add one of your own: 1
"Illness as MetaphorLinks to an external site." by Susan Sontag in The New York Review of Books (1978)
Excerpts from "Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600 (Links to an external site.)", taught by Professor Frank Snowden at Yale in Spring, 2010:
"Comparative Questions about diseases (Links to an external site.)" (00:00-12:37)
"Themes of the Course (Links to an external site.)" (09:28-18:48). (And if you listen to that, you will understand it better if you listen to the part that comes before it, "The Historical Importance of Epidemics.")
A short interview with Professor Snowden on COVID-19 (Links to an external site.)
"Throughout history, pandemics have had profound economic effects (Links to an external site.)" (The Economist) (March 12, 2020)
"Two Things We Know With High Confidence (Links to an external site.)" by Morgan Housel (March 16, 2020)
"Can City Life Survive Coronavirus? (Links to an external site.)" by Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times (March 17, 2020)
“Clarifications (Links to an external site.)” by Giorgio Agamben (March 17, 2020)
"Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus (Links to an external site.)" in The Financial Times (March 21, 2020)
"Life BC and AC (Links to an external site.)" by Rana Foroohar in The Financial Times (March 23, 2020)
"A Vision of Post-Pandemic New York (Links to an external site.)" by Tyler Cowen in Bloomberg. (March 31, 2020) (Paywalled, so here's a copy in Word format.)
"Why the Wealthy Fear Pandemics (Links to an external site.)" by Professor Walter Scheidel in The New York Times. (April 9, 2020)
"When the Pandemic Leaves Us Alone, Anxious and Depressed (Links to an external site.)" by Columbia Professor Andrew Solomon in The New York Times (April 9, 2020)
National Coronavirus Response: a Road Map to Reopening (Links to an external site.) (March 28) and an interview with one of the authors (Links to an external site.) of this report on Vox (April 13.)
Francis Fukuyama on coronavirus and the crisis of trust (Links to an external site.) in The Financial Times
“Most Americans don’t think cellphone tracking will help limit COVID-19, are divided on whether it’s acceptable (Links to an external site.)” - survey data from Pew Research Center (April 16, 2020) ← Added on April 17
Inspiration: Consider how you might integrate any of these sources into your essay:
William Carlos Williams' "The Use of Force," a short story from The Doctor Stories. (1938)
Susan Sontag "The Way We Live Now (Links to an external site.)," a short story published in The New Yorker (1986)
"The Great Empty (Links to an external site.)," photographs by The New York Times (March 23, 2020)
Argument Synthesis Assignment: Please refer to the main Argument Synthesis assignment page for details about this writing assignment.
I strongly recommend you listen to Professor Snowden's lecture "Comparative Questions about diseases". ↩︎
Advanced Academic Writing
May 2nd, 2020
We Can’t Go Back To Normal
One of the most challenging global crises that all countries is facing recently is the fight against the coronavirus –COVID19. Around the world, both developed and developing countries are greatly affected by this pandemic. Each country's government has implemented their own policies and strategies in combating this disease to control its widespread among their countries. One of the major countries that are greatly burdened by this virus is the US, which is currently considered as the global hotspot for the COVID19. Due to the rapid increase of positive cases, the US government has been heavily criticized due to lack of preparation in handling this pandemic that resulted to a considerable number of deaths in the country. With the cases still continuing to increase, to what extend would this virus change the way people live in this world? The aftermath of this pandemic is still indefinite.
Fighting something that cannot be seen is a hard task for a government to handle, especially with this new kind of virus spreading all over the world. Both the government and the healthcare system are put to test in this struggling period. Several approaches and strategies appropriate in addressing this pandemic were sought by both sectors.
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