The Power of Religion

File Compare-Contrast PowerPoint Compare-Contrast PowerPoint – Alternative Formats (1.106 MB)
The full writing prompt and directions for your Final Exam Essay will be available to you when you start the final exam, which you can access during the dates listed in the final exam folder.

The goal of your final exam essay is to conduct a comparison-contrast analysis with a then vs. now focus. To gain a clear understanding of what a compare-contrast analysis entails, please open the attached PowerPoint on compare-contrast writing. Review the material included in the PowerPoint, paying close attention to the Comparing Superheros example with the Block and Point-by-Point patterns.

Next, you will choose from a list of five topics for the focus of your essay. Choose the topic that interests you the most. Writing about a topic that interests you is always easier and produces a better essay. To make your decision, you may want to refer back to your Final Exam Preparation Journal answers. If you wrote more for one of the questions, that might be a clue that you could write a strong essay on that topic. Your choices are:

the power of religion
feminism and gender equality
the value of education
wealth distribution
race and ethnicity
Then, read the passages listed for the topic you chose, below. As you read, mark and annotate areas where the author addresses an important idea about the topic you’ve chosen. Look for representations of what people value in relation to the topic you chose (much like you did in your Final Exam Preparation Journal). You will be using a quote or example from two of the passages as evidence for your analysis, so be thorough and active in your readings. Even if the author’s experience or values are different from your own, you may find a strong representation of a culture’s or society’s view on the topic. For example, perhaps it is concern for more women to pursue STEM subjects and careers. You don’t need to have the same experience or values as the author to understand his or her opinion on the topic.

Once you have chosen a topic and read at least two passages on your topic, you should develop a list of specific values people had related to your topic in the past and a list of specific values people have related to your topic in the present. For example, you might list women’s role as a homemaker in the past vs. women in the workforce in the present.
Please note: You are not to summarize the author’s passage. Instead, find a quote or example that supports a claim you make about how something has changed or remained the same.
CHOICE 1: The Purpose of Religion
Langston Hughes’ “Salvation”
N. Scott Momaday’s “The Way to Rainy Mountain”
Richard Rodriguez’s “Family Values”
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
CHOICE 2: Feminism and Gender Equality

Gloria Steinem’s “Wonder Woman”
Susan Jacoby’s “When Bright Girls Decide that Math Is ‘a Waste of Time’”
Bobbie Ann Mason’s “Being Country”
Richard Rodriguez’s “Family Values”
Virginia Woolf’s “Professions for Women”
CHOICE 3: The Value of Education
David Leonhardt’s “The College Dropout Boom”
Frederick Douglass’ “Learning to Read and Write”
Susan Jacoby’s “When Bright Girls Decide that Math Is ‘a Waste of Time’”
Malcolm X’s “Learning to Read”
CHOICE 4: Wealth Distribution

Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America”
Paul Krugman’s “The Death of Horatio Alger”
Robert B. Reich’s “Why the Rich Are Getting Richer, and the Poor, Poorer”
CHOICE 5: Race and Ethnicity

Julia Alvarez’s “I Want to Be Miss America”
Malcolm X’s “Learning to Read”
Reihan Salam’s “Black and White in Shades of Gray”
Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”
N. Scott Momaday’s “The Way to Rainy Mountain”
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Frederick Douglass’ “Learning to Read and Write”

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