Water

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For our first essay, write a 3.5 – 4 page (1 pg = 1 full pg) expository paper in which you address the
following topic, using the readings to provide evidence for your argument.
Topic Question: Explain how water influences (or has influenced) communities or the formation of
communities. (You may write about communities in the past or present.) This topic requires you to
analyze the concepts of “influence” and “community.” Your essay will at least implicitly offer a
definition of these concepts. (Is the influence positive or negative? What is a community or how is a
community defined?) Because most of these essays deal with San Antonio and the Southwest, you
will most likely be discussing the communities relevant to these areas.
Evidence/Sources: You must use at least two of the essays we have read in class so far (Frazier,
Harte, Miller, Porter, Meyer, Berry) to provide evidence and support for your argument. You may do
outside research, but it is not required. One of the challenges of this essay is to find a connection
between your own and another author’s ideas. You should cite direct quotes and paraphrases, and cite
them using MLA citation. For this essay, you DO NOT have to include a Works Cited list unless you
are using sources from outside of the class.
Thesis statements: The end of your introduction should include your thesis statement, which should
then be re-stated (though not in the same words) in your conclusion. Your argument should be
specific and focused.
• VERY POOR THESIS: Water influences communities. (This is a poor thesis because it is
much too vague, and offers the reader no clues about what the author will be discussing.)
• POOR THESIS: Chicago’s proposed Riverwalk will influence the downtown community.
(This is slightly better because we at least know the topic, but it is still too general. How will it
influence the community? Which downtown community?)
• BETTER THESIS no. 1: While Chicago’s proposed new Riverwalk endangers the alreadyprecarious state of the Chicago river, it would offer those living downtown a place where they
could enjoy the river together. (Notice that this thesis is much more specific. It gives readers a
sense of what the essay will address, and it says what kind of influences the water has
(endangers/offers) and what community is being affected (downtown area) and how.
• BETTER THESIS no. 2: Although the flooding of the Des Plaines River destroyed a
significant amount of property, it brought the community closer together as residents helped each
other cope with the damage and protested the city’s lack of flood preparation.
Criteria
–A Central Argument. Include a thesis statement that lays out your argument.
–Supporting Evidence. Provide evidence from you the readings in order to prove your
claims/argument.
–Analysis. Don’t just summarize, make sure that you are analyzing the readings and your topic.
–Clarity & Organization. Follow an organized structure. The ideas presented should relate to
one another. Each paragraph should have a focus and a purpose or “reason for existence.”
— Conclusion. Your conclusion should re-present your thesis and answer the So What?
–Address the Prompt. Meet the requirements (appropriate length, format, topic, draft
deadlines, citations)

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