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In her book, Hawes discusses how some survivors and relatives of the victims immediately forgave the shooter at his hearing. For many, this act provided a feeling of hope in the face of hate. Yet in her book she also explores the counterpoint to forgiveness, a position that attempts to address the larger questions and issues surrounding race in Charleston (and in the US more generally) that were unmasked by the tragedy. For this topic, you should write a thesis-driven essay that asserts the role that forgiveness can and/or can’t play in the confrontation of the racial legacy in the United States. What are the benefits of forgiveness? What are its limitations? (You should think about the significance of forgiveness both from a personal/individual and political/cultural perspective; it will also help to research this topic from a historical perspective as well as thinking about contemporary issues — Black Lives Matter, defunding the police, reparations, etc.)
Remember that these are complex issues, ones that don’t have easy answers or solutions. To help you expand your knowledge, you will be required to find two outside sources for this essay. You must find these sources through one of the databases at Chabot’s library. These sources must be a substantial, academic articles (not just a brief newspaper article — at least 10+ pages). You can click on “peer reviewed” or “scholarly” articles when you’re searching (every database will be a bit different, but these articles tend to be research-based). If you want to use a source that you get outside these databases, you’ll want to approve it through me (I’ll give you a handout on how to evaluate sources to give you some guidance). In addition, if you see connections between Hawes’s book and our previous two books, you may cite from ONE of these (though you will still need to find two additional sources).
Note: This isn’t a personal opinion essay (so you won’t be using first person when writing). Instead, you will be developing an argument that demonstrates that you are thinking critically and more objectively about these questions. However, in your conclusion, if it seems appropriate and helps support your ideas, you can bring in your personal experiences/observations.
Evaluation of your essay: The length of your paper should be 1500-1750 words (PLUS your Works Cited page). I will evaluate your essay based primarily on these four things:
Your introduction should introduce the book in brief and then introduce the assigned topic. Then you should narrow your focus by asserting your main idea, your thesis.
Your thesis statement should clearly assert an idea that addresses the assigned topic. This statement should go at the end of your introduction.
Your body paragraphs should each develop one idea that develops/supports your thesis. Each paragraph should have a point (or topic sentence) that gives the paragraph a clear focus. Each paragraph should provide concrete textual evidence (at least one quotation, paraphrase, or example from the book and/or from one of your outside sources) and then your interpretation or analysis of this evidence in relation to the point you are trying to make.
Your understanding of the text. It should be clear to me when I read your essay that you have read the entire book. You will be citing both from the book and from your outside sources
Critical Thinking. I want you to show me that you are really thinking about this topic and this book. Essays that show original and complex thinking are far more interesting to read and tend to earn higher grades than 5-paragraph essays that essentially say nothing but what the author has already said.
Your conclusion should bring your essay to closure in an effective way. Make sure you avoid simply summarizing what your essay is about. Think of your conclusion as the final “So what?” of your essay.
The overall writing quality. This includes the clarity of your writing, proofreading, formatting, etc. (including your use of MLA documentation) You should also show me that you have proofread your essay for obvious errors, e.g., missing words, misspelled words, proper nouns, and titles from the book, etc.