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Review the revised Essay Three Assignment Sheet and produce an outline that
includes the following in bulleted format:
In two or more bullet points, explain the danger of a single story (citing Adichie)
and the power of our words to create our worlds (citing Postman). This will be the
basis for your powerful essay introduction.
In one or more bullet points, identify the addiction and the community you will
In one bullet point: state your main claim, based on your more accurate new
narrative about the addiction and community you're focusing on. For your main
claim, youu can either argue that we need to adopt this new narrative as a society
(if this is arguable) or propose how society and/or institutions should address this
In one bullet for each, identify a minimum of four subclaims that support your
For each subclaim bullet, include a minimum of two accurately cited pieces of
In one or more bullet points, identify a strong counterargument with an accurate
In one or more bullet points, rebut this counterargument.
In one bullet point, share one further insight you can address in your conclusion.
Review the Essay Three assignment on the following page and the FAQs to
produce an essay that accomplishes the following:
Discusses the “danger of a single story” (Adichie) and the power of words to shape
the world (Postman) in-text citations.
Provides an introductory paragraph or section (this may be more than one
paragraph, if necessary) with context for the debate to include the “single story,”
key opposing thinkers, a logical lead-up to the main claim, and the arguable main
Provides arguable subclaims that support the main claim.
Provides sound evidence and reasoning for each subclaim.
Provides a counterargument/rebuttal.
Provides a strong conclusion.
Uses our authors and other sources/citations as indicated, on the Essay Three
Assignment Sheet and on the Week Twelve Assignment Sheet.
Corrects all Essay Checklist items.
Essay Three (Revised):
The Narratives We’re Told and the Narratives We Tell
We create the world around us, in part, by telling stories about it. These narratives
can be fictional, like the Harry Potter series or non-fictional like the articles and
videos you’ve read and viewed in this class. Fictional works include novels, short
stories, plays, and comic books. Non-fictional works include essays, histories,
memoirs, biographies, newspaper articles, scientific studies, and journal articles.
Fictional texts are invented by writers; non-fictional texts are factual.
While the sources for fictional and non-fictional works are distinct, both interpret
aspects of human life and experience. Harry Potter novels help readers to explore
the nature of friendship by immersing them in a world where friendship is
important. Sociologists or psychologists study aspects of friendship, for example,
through academic studies rather than novels. If insightful and accurate, both inform
our knowledge and understanding and contribute to our understanding of our
The knowledge we gain, in part, from well written narratives help us to lead more
informed lives. It’s possible you’ve heard the expression, “knowledge is power.”
Knowledge empowers us because it helps us to understand more, to make sound
decisions, and to be more effective. Education is valued because we believe that
the knowledge it provides empowers and improves our lives.
It’s also helpful to consider the inverse of this expression: “power is knowledge.”
This means that those in power have a tremendous ability to shape what we believe
to be true, or what we consider to be sound knowledge. Governments, businesses,
the media, and institutions like schools have a great deal of power to tell us what is
“true” and they have the mechanisms to enforce this truth. In some
cases, this truth is insightful and accurate. In other cases, it serves ends like greed,
benefiting only a few through manipulation that takes advantage of our fears and
short-term desires. In some cases, it’s just poorly informed.
Careful and critical scholars and writers (like us) have the power to shape our
worlds and help readers think more clearly and form more accurate conclusions
through the narratives we tell (like the arguments we make). This means we play
an important role in informing those around us. It doesn’t necessarily mean that
we’ll always arrive at the very best conclusion or that we’ll know more than
anyone in the world, but it does mean that if we strive to be ethical, remain openminded, think critically, research well, and work hard to be accurate, we will have
done something important. In our personal lives and in our academic and
professional careers, when we make arguments –when we explain our positions,
back them up with evidence and reasoning, and consider counterarguments - we’re
telling narratives about ideas that help to shape what we (our readers and
ourselves) consider to be accurate and useful knowledge. These narratives take
readers from a starting place (the introduction of our essay where we provide some
overarching context) and walk them through our thinking and that of others, to
arrive at thoughtful, non-obvious, and accurate conclusions. After reading, our
readers have hopefully learned something that contributes to their knowledge, and
we’ve learned something through thinking and writing.
For Essay Three, you’re going to consider the power of narratives (in this case, the
arguments experts make about addiction) to shape our world. You’ll consider
common narratives about addiction, question those narratives, and then work to
arrive at truer and more accurate narrative that can better help us address the
problem of addiction in our society.
Essay Three Details:
Essay Three is a 4-5 page MLA formatted essay. In Essay Three, you will
accomplish the following, using the essays and video provided and at least two
sound outside sources.
Part One will provide very general context for your essay, drawing from Postman
and Adichie. In PartOne, you will –
o Reflect on and explain the power of narratives (our words, our stories, and our
arguments) to shape
o Explain the ethical responsibilities we have as writers and thinkers when creating
o Consider and explain why it is important for writers and thinkers to look below
the surface – to look
carefully at the complexities of any problem to arrive at meaningful and useful
o Explain the danger of a single story.
In Part One, you MUST use Postman and Adichie as sources and include at least
ONE quote or
paraphrase from each source with a signal phrase, accurate in-text citation, and
explanation. You may
also use other sources in this section.
Part Two will provide context for your argument. In Part Two, you will –
o Identify a common narrative we hear about addiction that you found in our
readings (for example,
that addicts lack will power, that they should be jailed, that medical treatment
provides the best
o Introduce and explain the positions of at least two authors on at least two
different sides of the
o Explain how one or more of these positions or parts of these positions may be
o Recommend how our society should think differently and more accurately about
o Recommend the most important factors we should consider when addressing
addiction (for example, economics, race, will power, the law).
o Draw a conclusion (your main claim) either defending your new narrative for the
addiction and community you’re focusing on OR indicating what societal response
is most likely to be effective. As a model for your own claim, ask yourself how
each of our authors and those they report on would respond to this question.
NOTE: Your goal is NOT to recommend treatment plans to addicts (Twelve Step
programs, for example).
Instead, think about the larger societal narratives about addiction and make
recommendations about how US institutions, corporations, and/or the US legal
system should think differently about addiction to arrive at large-scale change.
Part Three will form the remainder of the paper. In Part Three, you will -
o Fully defend your main claim, using evidence from the readings and at least two
o Include body paragraphs that lead with subclaims. These will support the main
claim and be defended by evidence and reasoning.
o Link each paragraph back to the main claim.
o Identify and explain specific factors from the readings (which may be medical,
societal, racial, economic) that we should consider when attempting to address
addiction as a society.
o Identify facts, principles, circumstances, or reasoning should we take into
account that we may commonly fail to consider.
o Consider how a new narrative around addiction that is more accurate and
insightful might improve our outcomes.
o Include at least one counterargument from a specific, cited source and your
o Include a Works Cited list for outside sources.
o Conclude the essay with a new insight for your reader to consider, rather than
simply recapping what’s already been stated.
o To support this section, which will be multiple paragraphs in length, you MUST
§ Use Ross AND Duhigg AND Slater as sources and include at least ONE quote or
each with signal phrases, accurate in-text citations, and explanations.
§ Include at least THREE citations (total) from TWO sound outside sources, using
phrases, accurate in-text citations, and explanations.
Essay Development Process:
Stage One: The Word Weavers/The World Makers
During Week Nine, we’ll reflect on how language shapes our worlds, consider our
ethical obligations when
creating our narratives (our arguments), and evaluate the danger of looking at a
subject with limited
information (through a “single story”).
KEY READING/VIEWING QUESTIONS:
• How do humans “use language to create the world” (Postman 2)?
• Why is there an “inescapable moral dimension to how we use language”
• Postman cites the following as immoral uses of the language (2). Can you think
of an example of each that you’ve recently seen in the news or encountered
through social media?
o Using language to defend the indefensible.
o Using language to transform certain human beings into nonpersons.
o Using language to lie and blur distinctions.
o Using language to say more than one knows or can know.
• Given the role of scholars as truth-tellers, what are our ethical obligations when
developing our arguments?
• What is the “danger of a single story” (Adichie)?
• Why should we look deeply at a subject and consider the complexities of an
issue, rather than just arriving at an easy conclusion?
o How do the discoveries of scientists and other experts help us form strong
o How is our thinking enlarged and our judgments informed by learning about all
sides of a debate?
o What difference does the careful process of discovery make in the quality of
ournarratives (our arguments) and to the world in which they are shared?
KEY READING QUESTIONS:
• What are the primary causes of addiction?
• What are some unexpected causes of addiction?
• What societal, economic, and mental health factors contribute to addiction?
• What is the appropriate role of law enforcement in dealing with the problem of
1• “Dr. Robert K. Ross at 2017 YMCA of San Diego MLK Breakfast” (36:22)
o Start this at the 1:53 minute mark to skip over the introductory remarks.
o When viewing, think about the common narratives (or ideas about) addiction that
discusses, what he learned in his practice, the factors he thinks we should focus on
in order to
address the addiction problem, the population he has served and describes and how
like poverty, the psychology of hopelessness, and institutional racism has
contributed to the
problem he sees.
2• “The Neurology of Free Will,” by Charles Duhigg
o While reading Duhigg’s chapter, identify factors that contribute to addictive
consider who should be held accountable for the consequences of addictive
under what circumstances; and evaluate the role of free will.
3• “Rat Park,” Lauren Slater
o While reading Slater’s chapter, consider what environmental and physical factors
addictive behaviors and, given these, what responsibilities individuals,
companies, and economies bear in curbing addiction;
4• “Jeff Sessions ‘Appears Intent on Taking Us Back to the 1980s’ and the ‘War on
Drugs’” by Jeremy
o While reading Berke’s article, consider the role of law enforcement in curbing
the position of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Under what circumstances, if any,
enforcement the appropriate response to drug addiction? How might Ross respond
READING AND VIDEO:
• “The Word Weavers/The World Makers,” by Neil Postman
6• “The Danger of a Single Story,” by Chimamanda Adichie (18:46)
*Plus adding 2 outside sources.
*you can find all these on the websites.