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Prompt for Essays, WAL: Thinking Critically About Food

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Prompt for Essays, WAL: Thinking Critically About Food


Essay prompt: Develop an idea from your journal into a well-supported, insightful argument about one or more of our course texts. Your essay should be approximately 1500 words (or, roughly, 5–6 pages, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman or equivalent font). You must also turn in a photocopy of the journal page(s) from which your essay developed when you hand in your final paper.


Elaboration: The idea that you choose to develop does not have to be the main argument of one of your journal entries, nor does it have to respond to the original prompt for that journal entry. In fact, it doesn’t have to come from a formal journal entry at all, but can also develop from an idea that you jotted down during discussion or while doing the reading. Or, of course, it can respond to one of our formal prompts. Your choice. As long as it’s in your journal, it’s fair game.

Please also note that you are free, in your essay, to diverge from—even to argue against—your original idea (as often happens in serious writing). You can find additional information about my expectations for these essays in the rubric below.


Formatting: Please follow MLA guidelines for citations, formatting, works cited, etc. You can find a link to these guidelines on our Blackboard site (and here). Poetry should be cited by line number; fiction and screenplays should be cited by page number; full bibliographic entries should be provided in your works cited list for any work that you mention in your essay.


What we regularly talk about in class / questions to ask yourself while writing and revising:

       SIGNIFICANCE / ARGUABILITY: Is your thesis arguable—that is, could a reasonable person familiar with the text argue against it?

       INSIGHT: Do you reveal something that would feel new and exciting to someone else familiar with the text?

       EVIDENCE: Do you identify the evidence for your claim and explain the relevance of that evidence?

       PRECISION: Do you address this text, specifically, or are your claims more general?

       DETAIL: Do you discuss specific elements of the text (e.g., by analyzing quotations), or do you mainly paraphrase / make generalizations?


How I use the rubric below, and how you can use it to improve your paper: The rubric below lists characteristics of an excellent paper, broken down into several categories. When I grade a paper, I circle the numbers that indicate how closely the paper I’m grading seems to meet those criteria. This is intended to give you a sense of the strengths of your writing, and of areas for improvement. I also use the total scores to keep myself honest (so that papers with similar numerical scores receive similar grades) but there is no specific rubric score that corresponds to a particular letter grade.

You can use this rubric as a guide to my expectations, and as a way of checking your own work against them. Consider reading the criteria and assigning yourself scores in each category after your first paper draft, then using those scores to set priorities for revision.


Student’s Name

Professor’s Name



Developing an Idea from a Journal: Obesity

From the article, the predominant issues revolve around an obese man from Denver who walks into a restaurant to have a meal, where he ends up attracting the attention of the staff and other patrons. Obesity is a health issue whereby an individual accumulates excessive body fats, thus risking developing various health-related problems. For example, the man who visits the restaurant puffs from time to time (Carver, 3) this indicates breathing problems due to much weight gain. Indeed, it is significant to acknowledge that over 30 percent of Americans suffer from obesity (Center of Disease and Control). Obesity results from the intake and consumption of huge amounts of fat complemented by bad eating habits as well as lack of physical activity. Carver (1) asserts that the fat man "orders for Caesar salad, a bowl of soup with some extra bread and butter, lamb chops and baked potato and ice cream." These poor dietary habits point out the shortcomings in the American culture, where the society was heavily impacted by the era of recession. This situation leads to more Americans depending on welfare leading to an extensive loss of hope, resulting in the majority of them being inactive at home.

The tough economic period due to the recession period affected the way of life of most of the Americans. Obesity in the United States can also be attributed towards a different aspect of culture, where the majority of the population is developing dependence towards the continuous use of electronic media. The shift in culture has caused the majority of American citizen to lose interest in taking part in exercises while taking comfort from watching television. The economic condition in the United States has resulted in organic foods being very expensive, despite the nutritional wealth possessed by those kinds of food. In reality, most of the American population is unable to acquire all-nutrients as well as organic foods, as such they depend on the abundance and diversity of the microwavable and quick service restaurants, for example, McDonalds. According to Carver (1), the fat man orders a variety of fast foods, for example, baked potato and ice cream at the fast food joint.

The question why the government, as well as the general population, should be careful about obesity has often been asked, but no formidable answers have been provided. However, it is essential to recognize that obesity possesses various economic and social implications to the American society. According to Masters et al. (1900), between the periods...


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