The Myth of the Model Family: Essay #1In this unit, you have read various essays that look at the establishment, the maintenance, and the myth of the American family. It is obvious that culture, tradition, religion, and other socially created paradigms have greatly influenced what we consider to be the model familyeven the media has had a part in the creation and perpetuation of this myth. The assigned readings offer diverse perspectives on the meaning of family and its relation to our broader culture: is the family a blessing to be cherished or is it an ordeal to be survived?For this 5-page essay, you will pull ideas from the 11 assigned readings from Rereading America to help you evaluate the relative importance of family in 21st Century America. You are NOT expected to incorporate all of the readings into your essay. What is the purpose of family? What makes up a family? Should the definition of a family evolve?QUESTION: What is the role of a family and should the definition of the family and role be rooted in any one religious or cultural tradition? What are some of the benefits and/or disadvantages to the arguments/scenarios presented by the authors of these essays? Really, should there even be one monolithic definition in the first place? If not, then how do we navigate all of these models of family in our society?As you do some prewriting in search of a topic and thesis, weigh the value of family in your own life (transmission of cultural traditions, socialization, moral support, conflict, etc.) and the evidence that it does or does not determine one’s life path. You may decide that family both does and does not matter, which is perfectly acceptable. Even so, craft an argument that advances a specific thesis. Consider, for example, whether older concepts (or myths) of family are on the decline and newer ones are on the rise, or vice versa. Consider whether family can or cannot matter for the same person in different contexts, or for different people in the same context. Consider whether the question has a different answer depending on your race, age, gender, or even sexual orientation. Consider your experiences and the experiences of the authors we have read. You may use your own personal experience as another source of evidence if you wish, although try to avoid using the pronouns I, my, you, and we.
I have given you a general topic that you can do a lot of different things with. Be sure to begin by prewriting, focusing your topic, and developing a provisional thesis and plan. Once you have begun writing, develop your thesis and support your argument with topic sentences and evidence-laden paragraphs (this means: give a lot of details and explanation so that the reader does not have to guess at what you mean). As you revise your first draft, check your essay for unity, detail, and coherence. And don’t forget to proofread!Again, I expect to see some of the reading materials pulled into your paper as support for your own arguments. This essay should not be an autobiography.
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