ENGL 100 University of California Texts as Critiques of Society Essay

I’m studying and need help with a Literature question to help me learn.

The relationship between a text and the society that produced it can be studied critically to understand more deeply both the text and the culture from where it emerges. Texts have the ability to reveal values, ideologies and beliefs of a given society and can likewise be used in turn by readers to develop responses to and transformations of that society. The relationship between society and text is a complex and important one for us as participants in a democratic society.

Furthermore, Alexander’s text, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, reveals its own value-structures through a kind of institutional critique of the American criminal justice system. This critique can be studied critically to learn more about the relationship between text and the society from where it comes.

Prompt: Using the ideas presented in Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, develop a formal academic essay wherein you respond to the following question:

If democracy is our primary institution in American society how does Alexander’s text critique that institution and what does it reveal about our society?

Questions to Consider: Consider the following questions to help generate ideas for this essay project.

  • How can academic essay form be used to organize a response to this prompt in writing?
  • How might the text by Alexander be used to develop and support a response to the prompt?
  • How might the essay integrate ideas from Alexander’s text? How are you as a writer encouraged to develop your own ideas in response to the prompt?

Evaluative Criteria:

Successful essays will respond to the above prompt and include the following criteria.

  • Thesis statement reflective of prompt
  • TEA/PIE body paragraphs
  • Introduction and conclusions
  • Textual evidence in the form of quotes and paraphrases
  • In-text citations and works cited page
  • 4-5 pages of MLA formatted, double-spaced, academic prose