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ENG102 ESSAY #1 ON SUZANNE RIVERA’S “MEMENTO MORI”
TOPIC AND DIRECTIONS
You are a therapist who specializes in counseling people who have an incurable disease and a limited time to live. You have recently decided that you want to inspire your patients to live what is left of their lives to the fullest. Someone suggested that you hang Suzanne Rivera’s poem “Memento Mori” on the wall of your office to provoke thoughtful discussions of the struggles they face.
Do you think this poem will inspire your patients? Consider their situation in life. Does the poem provide the motivation they need to make the best they can out of the time they have left? Why or why not?
Write a letter to the families of your patients explaining your decision. Base your reasons on the poem itself and use evidence from the poem to support your reasons.
HOW TO ORGANIZE THE ESSAY
INTRODUCTION PARAGRAPH. Introduce to the families of your patients:
· What you are writing to them about
· A powerful statement of your decision. What is it about the poem’s overall message that most influenced you in your decision?
PARAGRAPH #2: The 1st reason for your decision based on lines 1-10. Look at the meaning expressed in the sentence in these lines. Also look at the images (comparisons and similes) the poet uses:
1. Think about how she portrays death in lines 1-8.
2. Then look at how she completes her thought in lines 9-10.
3. How do you think her overall meaning in these lines will help (or hurt) your patients?
PARAGRAPH #3: Predict how lines 11-20 will affect your patients in the days and months they have left.
1. Look at the thought expressed in lines 11-12.
2. Also look at the images (comparisons and similes) the poet uses portray the things of life (time, flowers, names, bodies) in lines 13-20.
3. What does she say here that you think (or don’t think) will help your patients live the time they have left to the fullest?
PARAGRAPH #4: Use a counter-argument to support your decision based on lines 21-28:
1. First think about why your fellow therapists at the clinic might think you’re making the wrong decision:
a. Begin the paragraph by explaining their concerns.
b. Be thorough and respectful in explaining a reason they might disagree with you. Show you have already thought it through and you’re on top of this.
2. Then use a “turn” like “However, ___” and use lines 21-28 to reply fully and thoughtfully to your colleagues:
a. Look at what Rivera wants out of life in lines 21-23 and the metaphors she uses to express it.
b. Also notice in lines 24-27 she’s saying quite clearly what she doesn’t want without any comparisons.
c. Finally, what does she say in the last line (28) you think (or don’t think) will help your patients?
CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH: Find a powerful way to reinforce your overall decision. Don’t repeat your main points. Instead, think about the importance this has for your patients and their families.
1. Write an essay of 600-1,000 words.
2. Use specific evidence—summaries, paraphrases and quotes—from the poem to support your points. Focus on using ideas more than quotes to support and develop your own ideas, but you can quote to back up your explanation of an idea in the poem. And don’t be afraid of using an idea even if you don’t agree with it! Simply reply to the idea and explain how wrong it is. Use your reply to develop your own point.
- Do not use any other sources for information. The families of your patients are relying on your professional expertise. They want to know your opinion and your reasons for it.
- Do not go online for information or “help.” If you do the essay draft will receive an automatic F and you will have to start over writing the essay.
5. When you use the author’s words, keep these guidelines in mind:
· Try to quote a complete thought or image that makes sense in itself
· Don’t combine phrases from different parts of the poem to create your own “Frankenstein” quote
· Introduce the quote and give the author credit before quoting
· Cite the line #s in parentheses after the quote
· Explain and develop the author’s meaning so your readers understand the power of her words
· Here’s an example:
We hear Rivera’s determination to make the most out of her life when she writes, “When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular, and real” (24-25). [Go on to explain what she means by “particular” and “real.”]
6. Compose the draft in MS Word, Rich Text or Google docs.
7. Visual formatting:
· Put a heading on the top left of the first page only:
· Double space and Times New Roman 12 point font
8. Use transitions and conjunctions effectively to connect ideas within sentences and between sentences and paragraphs.
· Conjunctions: and, or, but, because, since, while, etc.
I’ve been all over the world, but there’s no place like home!
· Transitions: However, On the other hand, In the first place, etc.
I like living in New York. On the other hand, Southern California is a lot of fun!
9. Do not repeat the prompt in your introduction. Instead, find an interesting and powerful way to introduce the topic of your letter to your patients’ families.
10. Proofread after you finish writing. Read slowly and out loud. Listen for obvious mistakes that slipped your attention. Ask yourself if each sentence expresses your meaning clearly and use a dictionary. Correct the words Spell Check underlines.
ORIGINAL: What am I gonna do?
REVISION: What am I going to do?