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Name: __________________________________

American Studies: English


Frederick Douglass Essay (75 points)
You will submit this essay to Turnitin.com by 9:00 PM on Friday, 11/20/15.
Choose from the following essay topics and address ONE in a complete and thorough essay that is at least five
paragraphs long and has all of the following:
-

an intro paragraph with a clear thesis


at least three body paragraphs with specific details and evidence from the narrative, including at least
THREE quotations
a concluding paragraph in which you re-state your thesis and draw a broader conclusion about the
topic/time period

1. According to Frederick Douglass, It is almost an unpardonable offence to teach slaves to read in this
Christian country, (53). Explain the irony AND importance of this quotation by examining how this was an
overarching issue throughout the Narrative.
2. Frederick said at one point in his Narrative that learning is a curse. What exactly did he mean by that, and
does that opinion change over time? How was literacy, ultimately, the key to his escape and his future
successes?
3. Describe the complicated genealogy and mixed-race status of Frederick and other slaves like him. Why
was this so prevalent across the South? How and why did slaveholders benefit from having children with
their slaves?

Grading Rubric:

Introduction
10 points total
Conclusion
10 points total

Excellent
Introduction contains a clear,
compelling thesis and thoroughly
prepares the reader for the
subject of the essay.
9-10 points
Conclusion restates the thesis
and extends this argument to
make a compelling point about
the topic/time period. The
conclusion logically and
skillfully flows with the
remainder of the essay.

Good
Introduction contains a clear
thesis and prepares the reader
for the subject of the essay.

Average
Introduction contains a thesis
and attempts to prepare the
reader for the subject of the
essay.
7 points
Conclusion restates the thesis
and attempts to extend this
argument to make a broader
point about the topic/time
period. The conclusion is
somewhat related to the
remainder of the essay.
7 points

Needs Improvement
Introduction does not contain
a thesis and does not prepare
the reader for the subject of
the essay.
6 points and below
Conclusion does not restate
the thesis or attempt to
extend this argument. The
conclusion is unrelated to the
remainder of the essay.

Essay contains body paragraphs


that are partially organized by
argument or subtopic.
Paragraphs somewhat build
upon one another in an attempt
to support the thesis.
11 points

Essay contains fewer than


three body paragraphs or is
not organized by argument or
subtopic. Paragraphs do not
build on one another and are
not cohesive.
10 points and below

12-13 points
Essay contains few errors in
capitalization, spelling, usage
of homophones, or
punctuation. Errors do not
hinder comprehension.

Essay contains several errors in


capitalization, spelling, usage of
homophones, or punctuation.
Errors somewhat hinder
comprehension.

8 points
Essay logically weaves in
quotations from the text as
support with page numbers
properly cited. Quotations
support claims.

7 points
Essay includes quotations from
the text with page numbers
cited. Some quotations are
unrelated to or do not fully
support claims.

Essay contains many major


errors in capitalization,
spelling, usage of
homophones, or punctuation.
Errors hinder comprehension
of the essay in several places.
6 points and below
Essay does not include
quotations from the text as
evidence.

24-26 points

21-23 points

8 points
Conclusion restates the thesis
and extends this argument to
make a broader point about the
topic/time period. The
conclusion logically flows with
the remainder of the essay.
8 points

Organization
15 points total

Grammar
and
Mechanics
10 points
Evidence
30 points total

9-10 points
Essay contains body paragraphs
that are clearly organized by
argument or subtopic.
Paragraphs strongly and
cohesively build upon one
another to support the thesis.
14-15 points
Essay contains proper
capitalization, spelling, usage of
homophones, and punctuation.
Verb tense is kept uniform
throughout. Errors do not hinder
comprehension.
9-10 points
Essay strategically and skillfully
weaves in quotations from the
text as support with page
numbers properly cited.
Quotations strongly support
claims.
27-30 points

Essay contains body


paragraphs that are mostly
organized by argument or
subtopic. Paragraphs build
upon one another to support
the thesis.

6 points and below

20 points and below