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Sample Essay

Exploring Classification

Purpose: This assignment should help you to develop your skills in organizing and sorting items into various categories by utilizing the rhetorical strategy of classification.  It should help you to develop ideas into discrete categories while making use of a single organizing principle.  

Assignment: Write an essay in which you organize and categorize a group of items.  Make sure that you have a single organizing principle when you classify your items.  You should have a minimum of three classifications, but not more than four.  Like Essay 1, your writing should be thesis-driven, with a well defined Introduction that leads up to and introduces a thesis statement, a series of body paragraphs that relate back to your thesis statement, and a conclusion that restates (without repeating) your thesis statement.  

Ways to Proceed: First, engage in some prewriting (brainstorming, clustering, or freewriting) to help you find a suitable subject for classification.  Make sure that your subject is easily divisible into three or four discrete categories.  Once you have done enough prewriting to generate your categories, construct an outline in which you develop three or four categories into individual body paragraphs.  Next, write your draft, and make sure that you reference your outline in order to keep your writing focused throughout your essay.  After constructing your draft, work on revising your essay, paying special attention to the "big picture" items: FOCUS, STRUCTURE, and DEVELOPMENT.  Is your essay focused on the writing topic?  Are your Body Paragraphs focused on your Thesis Statement?  Do you have a well-structured Introduction?  Body Paragraphs?  A Conclusion?  Do your Body Paragraphs substantially develop their topic using specific evidence?  If you answer "NO" to any of these questions, you need to revise your essay until your answer to all of these questions is "YES"!  Once you've done that, you can focus on a final reading that pays attention to sentence structure, grammar, and spelling.  After you've put on these final polishing touches, the only thing left to do is turn it in!

Criteria for Evaluation: Your essay should be at least four (4) pages in length.  It should be typed, double-spaced, with one inch margins (top, bottom, right, left), and use a 12 point standard font (Courier New, Arial, Garamond).  Your essay should generally conform to the MLA style of essay formatting.  You will be expected to categorize three to four items while keeping them focused on a single organizing principle.  Your essay will be graded according to how well you classify your items, and how well you establish a unified connection between these classified items.  Moreover, your essay will be graded on how well you construct a Thesis-Driven essay.  Special attention will be paid to: (1) how well you construct an Introduction that leads up to (and introduces) your Thesis Statement; (2) how well your Thesis PREDICTS the topic of your essay, CONTROLS the overall scope of the paper, and OBLIGATES you prove a certain line of reasoning in your paper; (3) how well you construct individual Body Paragraphs that (a) present/explore ONE specific topic in the paragraph and (b) relate back to your Thesis; and (4) how well you construct a Conclusion that restates (without repeating) your Thesis.  

Good Luck on this assignment!


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