Discuss the ways in which Atwood makes her novel relevant to contemporary society.

Reedley College
English 1A – Fall 2015
1
Essay 2 – Atwood
Argument
READ THESE GUIDELINES CAREFULLY
READ THEM MORE THAN ONCE
Important Dates:
Rough publish Due to TURNITIN: Sunday, 8 November on or before midnight
Three (3) Peer Reviews Due: Wednesday, 11 November on or before midnight
Final publish Due: Sunday, 15 November on or before midnight
Prewriting:
With this essay, and with any writing, prewriting needs to occur. Prewriting takes many
forms— reading, thinking, discussing, and writing. You have already begun prewriting.
You’ve read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, participated in discussions, read literary
analyses (articles) on Atwood’s novel, written extended summaries of two, and, hopefully,
taken some notes. With these assignments completed, you are ready to begin the essay.
Essay Instructions:
Below are several topics. Choose one for this essay. All essays must utilize passages from
throughout Atwood’s novel as a means of support for the thesis. Two additional sources
must also be used. These sources must be academic, peer reviewed sources. This means
book reviews, blogs, SparkNotes, etc., are NOT acceptable. You may use any of the
articles provided by me or conduct your own research. If you do conduct your own
research, use the sources available through the Reedley College Library. The online sources,
such as EBSCO, Artemis and JSOR, are wonderful. Use them!
A dictionary is extra. It does not count towards the two required additional sources.
A source that provides information about Atwood herself, and does not add to the discussion
in the body of the essay, also does not count towards the two required additional sources.
1. The Handmaid’s Tale is referred to as “a scathing satire and a dire warning” on the
back cover of the edition we read. What elements of our own society is Margaret
Atwood satirizing, and how does her satire work? What is important about this? You
must look at the novel, and use passages from the novel to show what and how
Atwood is satirizing. Then, make a comparison to our own society.
Reedley College
English 1A – Fall 2015
2
2. What is Margaret Atwood warning us about in The Handmaid’s Tale and how does she
oblige us to consider it? Why is the important? Again, passages from the novel
must be utilized to support the discussion and argument.
3. “My name isn’t Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it’s
forbidden. I tell myself it doesn’t matter, your name is like your telephone number,
useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter. I keep the
knowledge of this name like something hidden, some treasure I’ll come back to dig
up, one day” (Atwood 84). What is the significance of names and of naming in The
Handmaid’s Tale? Why, for example, do all the Handmaid’s names begin the “Of”?
What about the name Gilead?
4. Discuss the ways in which Atwood makes her novel relevant to contemporary society.
You must look at passages from the novel! What is important about this?
5. A palimpsest is a medieval parchment that scribes attempted to scrape clean and use
again; however, they were unable to obliterate all traces of the original. How does the
new republic of Gilead’s social order often resemble a palimpsest? What is significant
about not being able to obliterate all traces of the original government and society?
As for all prompts, using the text as the primary source is required.
6. In Gilead, women are categorized as wives, handmaids, Marthas, or Aunts, but Moira
refuses to fit into a niche. Offred says she “was like an elevator with open sides” who
made them dizzy; she was their fantasy (Atwood 133). Trace Moira’s role throughout
the tale to determine what she symbolizes. Your thesis will be what Moria symbolizes
and why this is important.
The introduction MUST mention Margaret Atwood and the novel. The introduction MUST
end with a thesis statement, which you MUST highlight with yellow, bright green, or turquoise
using the highlight function of Word.
The thesis MUST be an argument and address the “so what” concern. The thesis must also
include Atwood and her novel.
The body paragraphs must reference passages from at least five (5) places from throughout
the novel and show how these support or elaborate upon the chosen essential question the
essay is working to prove and explore.
At least two additional sources MUST be used with this essay. You can use the sources used
for the Annotated Work Cited Summary Assignment or the other articles I’ve posted to
Blackboard. You can also conduct your own research. However, the research you conduct
must be academic research. Look at my notes on page one about this.
Reedley College
English 1A – Fall 2015
3
When using an additional source, this source should be weaved throughout the body
paragraphs. It should not stand alone, but it should be integrated into the essay—the
discussion.
The final page of the essay MUST be the Works Cited page. Remember, you need to include
Atwood and her novel on the Works Cited page.
Other Notes:
Length of Essay:
I do not assign page length for essays. I do not believe that quantity equals quality. Your
paper needs to be as long as it needs to be.
Saving Your Essay:
When you save your essay to your hard drive, flash drive, or other device, save the essay
with the following name: Last Name, First Initial, E-2Atwood.
Example: JonesM.E-2Atwood
OTHER TECHNOLOGY NOTES:
1. You MUST learn to use your word processing program and pay attention to the
technical aspects of your essay.
2. Learn to have page numbers automatically inserted into the essay.
3. Set your program to automatically run grammar check along with spell check.
4. Learn to create page breaks.
5. Learn to create hanging indents.
6. Learn to ask questions and to use the Help function of your program.
7. Review the MLA format video and take notes. Make sure to set up your essay correctly.
8. Essays that are not set up correctly according to the MLA format checklist will be
docked 5%, which is ½ of a letter grade. This can have a damaging impact on your
grade for the semester.
The most important part of your essay is what is has to say and how well it is said. However,
if problems with technology distract your reader, then the reader has difficulty paying
attention to your ideas. The reader loses respect for the writer and wonders how much the
writer cares about his/her work.
Reedley College 4
English 1A – Fall 2015
Name: English 1A Essay Rubric Assignment:
Content Organization Conventions
A Strong, original, and arguable thesis statement
Strong topic sentences in all body paragraphs
Strong examples/details/reasons that are wellchosen,
thoughtful, original and balanced which
support the thesis
Each example is developed fully
Thoughtfully, critically, and logically addresses
the essay prompt
Demonstrates a complex, sophisticated treatment
of the topic
Strong essay structure with informative
introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion
Strong paragraph structure
Strong use of transitions within the paragraphs and
between paragraphs
A strong sense of logic in the paragraph’s
organization
Sophisticated, varied sentence structure
Excellent control of sentence structure
Sophisticated choice of vocabulary and
appropriate level of formality
Few if any surface errors (spelling, mechanics,
punctuation) that do not interfere with
understanding
Accurate, precise word choice
MLA formatting followed correctly for
parenthetical source citations and Works Cited
Quotations are always chosen effectively and
integrated into the essay correctly and smoothly
Textual evidence has strong signal phrases
Sources are of collegiate level
B Clear, arguable thesis statement
Clear topic sentences in all body paragraphs
Clear examples/details/reasons that are mostly
well-chosen, original, and balanced and support
the thesis
Each example is developed
Clearly and logically addresses the essay prompt
with some degree of depth
Meets the essay’s requirements
Good essay structure, with a clear introduction,
body paragraphs, and conclusion
Good paragraph structure
Good use of transitions within the paragraphs and
between paragraphs
Good sense of logic in organization
Complex and varied sentence structure
Good control of sentence structure
Appropriate choice of vocabulary and level of
formality
Few surface errors that do not hinder
understanding
MLA formatting followed correctly or nearly
correctly for parenthetical source citations and
Works Cited
Quotations are often chosen effectively and
integrated into the essay correctly and smoothly
Textual evidence has signal phrases prior to
quotations and correct parenthetical citations with
slight errors
Sources are of collegiate level
C Clearly-defined but simplistic arguable thesis
statement
Adequate topic sentences in most paragraphs
Adequate supporting examples/details/reasons that
support the thesis
Each example is developed
Adequately addresses the essay prompt
Meets the essay’s requirements
Adequate introduction, body paragraphs, and a
conclusion
Adequate paragraph structure
Some use of transitions within the paragraphs and
between paragraphs
A basic sense of organization, perhaps with some
discrepancies in logic
Attempts made at times to vary sentence structure
Adequate control of sentence structure, although
there may be errors
Simple vocabulary and adequate level of formality
Some surface errors that do not hinder
understanding
Some word choice errors that do not hinder
understanding
MLA formatting followed adequately
Quotations are often (though not always) chosen
effectively and integrated into the essay correctly
and smoothly
Most of the textual evidence have signal phrases
prior to quotations and parenthetical citations with
errors
Sources are of collegiate level
D Unclear or confused thesis statement
Missing or unclear topic sentences
Supporting examples/details/reasons present, but
are weak, poorly developed, disconnected from
the thesis, repetitive, or very unbalanced
Examples are not developed
Attempts to address the essay prompt, but may be
incomplete and/or demonstrate lack of
understanding of the prompt
Does not meet most of the essay’s requirements
Weak essay organization
Weakly organized paragraph structure
Few or improperly used transitions
Little sense of organization, with major
discrepancies in logic
Simplistic sentence structure
Limited control over sentence structure
Simple or inappropriate vocabulary
Significant surface errors that may hinder meaning
Significant word choice errors that may hinder
meaning
MLA formatting followed inadequately
Quotations are seldom chosen effectively or
integrated into the essay correctly and smoothly
Errors in following citation rules
Most of the textual evidence used are missing
signal phrases
Non-collegiate material used
F No thesis
No specific evidence provided or most of the
example, reasons, and details are very weak and/or
off topic
Essay is incomplete or doesn’t address the prompt
No sense of organization
Major errors in essay and/or paragraph
organization
No use of transitions
Lack of control over sentence structure
Major problems with surface errors that obscure meaning
Frequently inappropriate
Numerous and significant word choice errors that obscure
meaning
No MLA formatting
Lack of citations or major mistakes
No signal phrases used before quotations (or no textual
evidence provided)
Plagiarized
FINAL GRADE: Revised 12.2011

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