assignment 2-4: writing a thesis and statement of purpose

Due: Monday September 26
Format: Type the assignment and print a hard copy to bring to class. Do not post anything on the blog or Ning for this assignment.
Length: A sentence for your working thesis, and then two paragraphs (or one longer paragraph) for your statement of purpose.

Introduction: For this assignment, we will begin moving away from “Composing to Learn” and toward “Composing to Communicate” by writing a working thesis and a statement of purpose for your interpretive essay about “Back to the Land.”

Remember that a thesis statement for an essay is not the same as a purpose for writing. As you work on developing a thesis statement, you’ll want to think about the main claim (which should be debatable, concrete, and focused) that your paper will develop or pursue. In contrast, as you develop your statement of purpose, you will be “thinking on paper” to get a clear sense of “what you really want your readers to think, feel, or do as they read your writing and when they are done reading it” (DK Handbook 200). Thus, the thesis becomes an explicit statement in your paper, while the purpose forms the background to “control” what you want to say.

Guidelines: Before you start writing, first read about thesis statements in the DK Handbook (pages 138 139) and the statement of purpose (pages 200-203). Then, develop a working thesis and a statement of purpose for your interpretive essay about “Back to the Land.” (A first draft of the essay is due on Friday 9/30). A few things to note:

  • You should follow the guidelines in the DK Handbook, but your statement of purpose does not have to be as long as the example on page 203. It could be one longer paragraph or two healthy paragraphs.
  • You will not be making a “proposal for action” claim like the thesis in the example on page 139. Your thesis might be something like “In ‘Back to the Land,’ Kalman uses x y z to show…” or “The placement of x and the contrast of y and z help Kalman’s readers understand that…” or “’Back to the Land’ encourages city residents to… through Kalman’s use of x y z strategy.” (or whatever you want to say about Kalman’s piece)
  • Look at the model for an evolving thesis statement. Your goal now is to simply write the working thesis, keeping in mind that the revised thesis statements will come later as you draft and revise your essay.