Sample #3


(expository essay)

This is an example of a straightforward expository essay assignment calling for considered knowledge of a specific work, analysis, and opinion. It also calls for a very particular structure. Clearly, the professor is looking to see certain writing skills demonstrated, and this essay is probably part of a section of work centered on writing mechanics.

English 201
Ibsen Essay

Date due: Tuesday, May 9

Read the essay questions and choose the one you feel you can answer best.

Write a 750-1000 word thesis centered essay using formal essay structure which suitably discusses and answers the spirit of the question. Support your ideas with the text and be careful not to generalize. Remember to focus each paragraph on one point that contributes to your whole answer.

The Essay Questions:

1. Nora, in Ibsen's A Doll's House, is a modern woman limited by a traditional society which denies women power and autonomy. A Doll's House shows her development from rebellious housewife to independent womanhood. Agree or disagree and use your interpretation of the ending of the play to support your argument.

2. Is Torvald Helmer (Nora's husband in A Doll's House) a controlling chauvinist who must keep his wife powerless at any cost or is he merely a man trying to live within the context of his society? Does he act unreasonably in the play or is he merely trying to keep his family and life together? Choose your interpretation of Helmer and explain and discuss.

Brainstorm and freewrite until you have a suitable thesis and a plan of the ideas you will use. Make sure you discuss fully and prove from the text.

The questions here are very specific. You would choose either 1) or 2) to answer, and are expected to have something to say directly in response. Both questions start with fairly strong statements which you are then asked to agree or disagree with and then explore. The two questions ask about characterizations in the play. The first question, about Nora, asks you to use the end of the play to aid in your response while the second question is asking about specific behaviors in the play, and for an interpretation of them - with your own evidence. Both call for a real knowledge of the play, and allow you to have strong opinions. The questions may seem to have a political slant - but craftily are asking you to take a stand - on whatever side you choose. According to the instructions, however, you are also expected to prove and discuss what you are saying with evidence taken from the play, and you are specifically asked to avoid generalizing about the play - choose specific examples and make concrete connections.