The Earth Knows My Name: Making an Argument for this Book

The following Essay Assignment has been used as a final exam in my college preparatory English call at Santa Monica College.

Write an essay responding to this question:

Why is The Earth Knows My Name an appropriate choice as a required reading as part of SMC’s global initiative?

Background (what gave rise to this question): To support SMC’s Global Initiative and its mandate to integrate environmental issues more effectively into SMC classes, English faculty are currently discussing the choice of a non-fiction book for all students to read and discuss. This book chosen should help students consider today’s challenging global, environmental, and economic issues. The Earth Knows My Name has made the list of three finalists.  Students who have read chapters in the book are now being asked for input.  Your essay will help the English Dept. committee make the final decision.  Support your thesis with material from the book and from your own experience and/or observations.

Organize your essay so that your introduction provides your readers–who may be unfamiliar with the book–with the context they need to grasp your argument developed in the body of your paper. For example, they may need to know about what motivated the author to write the book or why she wrote it.

The body of your essay should argue for or against a policy for the year 2009-10 that will result in English composition students reading The Earth Knows My Name using information from the book and from your experience.  (Don’t recommend a different book; your task is only to explain why you are for or against choosing this book.)

Conclude your essay by confirming the significance of the global, environmental and/or economic issues facing your generation.

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