Inequality between the Classes Assignment
Writing for The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Kolbert makes a strong case that inequality is one of the greatest barriers to well-being and social mobility. Citing evidence from a variety of sources, Kolbert contends that “People who see themselves as poor make different decisions, and, generally, worse ones.” In other words, feeling poor has “consequences that go beyond feeling” such as the perception of less competence and risk-taking behavior (Kolbert). Furthermore, studies on both toddlers and brown capuchin monkeys suggest that a preference for equality “may be hardwired – a product of evolution, rather than culture” (Kolbert). Thus, one may ask, if inequality is indeed such an impediment to people who are “hardwired” to prefer equality, why aren’t we making more efforts to create an equal society? What would an “equal” society even mean? Conversely, one may contend that, just because inequality makes many feel a certain way (and even act in other ways), our preference for a fair society does not make us responsible for creating one. Moreover, one could argue that, historically, this lack of equality has been beneficial to our society. In fact, Kolbert admits that “inequity, which, by many accounts, is a precondition for civilization, has been a driving force behind the kinds of innovations that have made indoor plumbing and electricity, not to mention refrigeration, central heating, and Wi-Fi, come, in the intervening centuries, to seem necessities in the U.S.”
For this paper, you will respond to this issue by first crafting your own unique research question that addresses a particular, narrowed focus about inequality in the U.S. (See Formulating a Research Question for more details), Then, you will conduct outside research accordingly, compose a detailed annotated bibliography (see Annotated Bibliography Guidelines) and write a persuasive paper that provides an extended answer to your research question.
Goals of the assignment
Here are the key areas that you’ll need to focus on in writing a persuasive documented essay.
Provide an introduction that engages your reader’s attention, introduces your topic or issue, and states your own position.
Give your readers background and preliminary material, in which you place your topic in a current context and provide whatever background knowledge, socio-historical context, and definitions of key terms or concepts that your reader will need, if appropriate. You can also choose to embed this information as you explain your position, but some foregrounding will always help.
Support your own position, making the best case possible for your views by developing your claim with reasons and evidence. You should provide a separate section for each line of reasoning.
Anticipate the objections and counterarguments of your readers by summarizing alternative points of view.
Respond to objections through refutation or concession, pointing out the weaknesses in alternative points of view.
Write an effective conclusion by placing your argument in a larger context (summarizing your main points, showing why your issue is important, issuing a call to action)
Use MLA format correctly and consistently, citing sources that provide information for your research and documenting those sources in the Works Cited section.
Make sure your essay is organized coherently, with clear transitions and a structure that persuades the reader to take your argument seriously.
Thesis: Your thesis should be an argumentative statement that you support throughout your essay. Your thesis should contain a counterargument, alternative perspective, or common misconception, and map out the main points or logical structure of your essay. See the Thesis Worksheet for guidelines on writing your thesis.
You must use at least four (4) credible outside sources from the library databases, the supplemental essays, books, and/or one (1) TED talk or documentary.
Your sources should include the following:
Those that give your readers background and preliminary material, in which you place your topic in a current context and provide whatever background knowledge, socio-historical context, and definitions of key terms or concepts that your reader will need, if appropriate.
Those that support your own position, and help you make the best case possible for your views by developing your claim with reasons and evidence.
Those that anticipate the objections and counterarguments of your readers by summarizing alternative points of view.
Those that offer solutions to the problem, with data, expert opinion and facts.
1600 words, 4+ sources, double spaced, MLA format, Works Cited