Signature Assignment (15%)
The signature assignment addresses all four of the course objectives. Personal responsibility: This essay
includes the integration of outside sources; it, therefore, requires students to demonstrate personal
responsibility as they use the words and ideas of other writers in an accurate and ethical manner. Citing
sources properly isn’t just a matter of mechanics. It’s a question of personal responsibility (with real
consequences for students) that overlaps with students’ responsibility to the academic community of
which they are a part. The construction of a clearly articulated thesis statement supported by a careful
analysis of textual evidence demonstrates critical thinking and communication skills. The development
of a well-organized essay that demonstrates the correct use of grammar and other writing mechanics and
demonstrates an awareness of the how to appeal convincingly to an audience further addresses the
communication objective. The critical analysis of the way the selected text engages a significant issue of
social responsibility addresses the social responsibility outcome.
Write a well-organized, effectively developed, 4-5 page analysis of at least one of the course texts. The
paper should critically analyze the way the text engages a significant issue of social responsibility.
Whatever issue of responsibility you chose should have something to do with stories and the role they
play in our culture and world, especially in America. Students will develop their own invention questions
and thesis from this general topic, should anchor the paper’s argument with a clearly articulated thesis
statement, and should use careful analysis of textual evidence to support their claims. Everything we’ve
read so far demonstrates that, to make an argument, you can be “formal” and rigorous in your analysis
and scholarship while still weaving your own experience and stories into the narrative. For this
assignment, you’ll do the same.
1. You must use at least one text we’ve read as a class to anchor your argument. The bulk of your
support should come from an analysis (not a summary) of how this texts proves the argument
you’ve made in your thesis.
2. You may use other texts from our class to add secondary support (a more nuanced argument will
work with a few other texts to both support their argument and to provide a counterpoint).
3. You must use two secondary outside sources (things we haven’t read as a class).
4. You must use your own experience with stories (reading, writing, telling them, hearing them,
etc.) to help support your overall argument. This should not be just a summary or straight
retelling of that story but should be woven in with your argument (like Nafisi and King do so
well) and should be used to help your prove your point. If you use a particular text, movie, poem,
song, etc., like Nafisi does with Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, that text does not count as one
of your two secondary outside sources.
Responsible Integration of Sources:
Students must properly integrate material from two outside secondary sources into their analysis in a way
that gives credit to the authors whose ideas and language they are incorporating. This is not a research
paper or a summary of the work of literature, but a paper in which you draw on secondary sources to
communicate an interpretive argument about your chosen text through the lens of social responsibility.
Students should use their secondary sources (#3 in the requirements list above) to support their argument.
Here is a list of credible sources:
National newspapers (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Dallas Morning
News, Fort Worth Star Telegram)
Print magazines (e.g., The Atlantic, Harper’s, New Yorker, Time, Newsweek)
Online magazines (e.g., Slate, Salon)
Scholarly articles (e.g., academic articles published in peer-reviewed journals; you can find
citations for these articles by using the MLA International Bibliography database, JSTOR, or
Project Muse—all of which UTA’s library gives you access to online)
Scholarly books or book chapters (it’s a good bet a book is scholarly if it’s published by an
academic press, such as Duke University Press; if you’re not sure, ask your instructor)
Historical documents (e.g., old newspaper articles, letters, speeches, journal entries) from
academic databases (see the History subject guide on the library website for ideas)
Students interested in using a source that isn’t listed here, should check with their instructor.
Your essay should be a Word document that is double spaced, with 1-inch margins, in 12-pt., Times New
Roman (or some other easily readable) font. Follow the MLA’s recommendations for formatting, citation,
In order to receive a passing grade on the signature assignment, students are expected to:
1. Write an essay that is at least 4 pages long, but no more than 5. (4 pages means the writing
reaches the bottom of page 4 or might spill onto page 5. 3 full pages with another ½ page is 3½,
not 4 pages.)
2. Integrate two appropriate outside sources.
3. Incorporate their own personal experience with a story
4. Have a thesis.
5. Have a title.
6. Incorporate evidence (i.e., quotations) from the literary text.
7. Have a Works Cited page and appropriately cite (within the essay) all sources used.
The Signature Assignment Final Grade is worth 15% of your overall class grade. That grade will be
determined by averaging the Signature Assignment First Draft (30%), the Signature Assignment
Final Draft (50%), and the Signature Assignment Draft Comparison (20%). Rubrics for each of these
stages of grading will be posted to Blackboard separately and closer to when they are due (see Course
Calendar). The Signature Assignment Zero-Draft is its own grade (5% of the overall class grade).
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