Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In-Class Essay Topics: I Choose to Stay. Choose only one of the three questions to write about for this Thursday, June 25.

In-Class Writing on I Choose to Stay--Due in class on Thursday, June 25

Choose one of the following options to write about. Of course, this is an academic essay and you should use the format we have been discussing all semester: Title, introduction with thesis student, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph.

Option #1: Many people believe in love at first sight, or in cases on the Internet, love at first write. They say things like, “I’m going to marry that person” even before they meet him or her. When they do get to know the real person, the one that lives behind the attractive cover, they often find that he or she is not what they seemed and would make a terrible match. Often these relationships end in frustration and divorce. Shawnna and Salome seem to have experienced love at first sight. But the question for you to answer is this: “Did Shawnna make the right choice of a husband? Why or why not?”

Option #2: One summer, I loaned my copy of I Choose to Stay to my 14-year-old niece. A couple of weeks later, when I asked her what she thought, she said that she got tired of it about halfway through. She complained, “Mr. EL never does anything wrong. He acts as if his whole life is wrapped up in these school kids, and just about everything he does is right and turns out good. But even I know that people make mistakes and fail. Besides, the lessons I got from reading the book are the same lessons I got from kindergarten up until now: Aim high, work hard, do it for the team, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Enough already!”

Because of what my niece said, I am now hesitant to suggest I Choose to Stay to other teenagers, for fear they may not like it. Your writing task is to give me some arguments, with examples from the book, to help me convince teenagers like my niece that they can learn something truly valuable from reading this book.

Option #3: After class, a student told me that what he got out of I Choose to Stay was a message that smart people succeed while not-so-smart people pretty much failed in the world. Mr. EL was smart from the beginning of his life—and wound up very successful. His sisters and brothers didn’t have his brains--or his success. In general, he thought that the book was not really a message of hope for everyone, but one of “genetics determines one’s level of success.” In other words, those who were born smart and strong grew prosperous while the person of average or below-average intelligence failed. He mentioned Eli, Salome’s twin, who was really affected badly by his dad’s absence. He also mentioned two of Salome’s sisters who got pregnant and had kids without husbands, therefore repeating the same cycle of Mr. EL’s parents. Do you think this student’s attitude about the book is right or wrong? Why?


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