Literature and Philology

English 101A

Personal Adversity Paper

Points: 50
Length: 2 typed pages (double spaced)
Format: MLA
1. To focus on a specific topic and write a logical explanation
2. To demonstrate college level writing with effective sentence structure, sentence variety,
and proper punctuation.
3. To illustrate an ability to research a specific topic and use a resource in a writing
1. Examine your own life and choose an adversity that you have personally experienced,
such as bullying, physical abuse, or poverty.
2. On the first page of your paper, write a description of how you experienced this
adversity. What exactly was the adversity? Who was involved? When did it happen?
How often? How long? Where did you experience it: home, online, school? Why do you
think it happened? How did you react to your negative experience? Be specific about
your actions, feelings, thoughts.
3. On the second page, provide some research information about your type of adversity.
You must use a library database source, a book, or a reputable website for your source.
Include statistics about who is affected, where it happens, why it happens, how people
recover from it. You must also provide some geographical information, if possible. You
only need to use 1 or 2 sources.
1. Start each page with a strong claim about your topic. For example, for your first page
you could claim: “During my three years of middle school, I experienced such violent
bullying that I avoided attending school and nearly dropped out.” For the second page
you could start with: “Bullying is a serious problem for many middle and high school
students in California.”
2. Organize your description and research explanation using logical paragraph structure.
Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence followed by details that support it.
Paragraphs should include specific details and avoid vague statements. Be sure to
include in-text citations for facts, quotations, or paraphrases that you take from your
3. Provide a works cited page for your source(s). Use MLA format.

English 101A
Essay Prompt: Educated: A Memoir (A true story about Adversity and Resilience)
Westover’s memoir Educated is her tale of growing up in a survivalist family in rural Idaho. She
never went to school until she was seventeen, and then she jumped right into college, at first
attending Birmingham Young University, and then going on to Harvard and Cambridge.
Essay Prompt: One of the themes of Westover’s memoir is abuse. What types of abuse can you
identify in the story? What are the effects of this abuse? Who is involved and how much do
they contribute to the abuse from reading this story.
Follow the instructions for literature analysis essays that we have been discussing. Your essay
should include an introduction, body and conclusion. You are required to provide an outline for
your essay. Your outline is a good planning tool to help you establish the relationship between
the parts of your essay before you write. Your outline must include:
1. A working title and a complete thesis
2. Complete topic sentences for each body paragraphs
3. A list of evidence (with citations) you plan to use for each body
4. Ideas for an insightful conclusion and
5. A work cited page

Your introduction needs to:
1. Get the audience attention
2. Provide the necessary background of the author and story
3. Present the thesis for your essay

The body of your essay should include paragraphs that are focused on proving the claim of your
thesis. Achieve this by developing a topic sentence for each paragraph that makes a claim
connected to the thesis. Next provide quotes or paraphrases (at least 5) from the story for
evidence. All quotes or paraphrases must have in-text citations that conform to MLA standards.
Use signal (attribution) phrases for each quote to integrate it into the paragraph. Finally,
develop the paragraph with your own argumentation so that you finish proving the claim made
in the topic sentence. You may not use outside sources for this essay

The conclusion of the essay should not include any summary of the essay. Instead, explain how
readers of your essay can benefit by reading your analysis of Westover’s story. Do not include
questions in your conclusion. Delight the readers with insightful statements.
Include a Works

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