Ethical Resolution Into The American Cultural Views

Essay 1

Instructions: Choose one of the readings that we have already covered to respond to for this essay. Consider the ethical themes in the selected reading and consider the possibility of applying such ethics in modern day America. Your response will explore and discuss this application from a personal perspective (through your own ethical lens).

Purpose/Objectives: The purpose of this assignment is to engage you in the literature assigned on both an intellectual and analytic level as well as a personal and ethical level. You will respond to the selected literature in an exploratory manner in order to provide insight into the historical ethical positions reflected in the reading as they connect to, contrast with, or apply to current or modern contexts or modes of thought that are personally shared. Upon completing this assignment, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate detailed examples of his/her own ethical values and the source of those values
  2. Recognize consequences of his/her own ethical decision-making
  3. Demonstrate an ability to make connections between personal/ethical responsibility and the course content
  4. Identify characteristic perspectives and attitudes expressed in the literature
  5. Analyze the literary work as an expression of individual or communal values within the social, political, cultural, or religious contexts of the corresponding literary period.

Expected Essay Components and Parameters: The following guidelines should help you frame and develop your essay as regards content. Listed also are the specific formatting expectations.

  • Be sure to express clearly your personal ethics as you either initiate or develop your essay and the source (parents, peers, education, etc.). For example, you encounter ethical decisions daily—how do you decide what is right/ethical, and what influences that decision? (You may use first person in sections where you discuss personal values but avoid it elsewhere.)
  • Attempt smooth connections and transitions to the overall topic of your essay (the literature) rather than a disjointed essay that appears to discuss your own ethics separately from the ethical theme considered in the literature.
  • Provide insight (read between the lines and attempt to think beyond the obvious) into the ethical dilemmas presented in the literature (what can you see as the issue or issues in the literature? Consider our class discussions for ideas, too.
  • Make an insightful connection between the ethical dilemma presented in the literature and a relatable ethical dilemma today.
  • Consider an ethical resolution or possible resolutions to the dilemma according to your values and insight into American cultural views. Do not just throw this into the conclusion.
  • Use direct examples from the chosen literature to develop, clarify, and support your discussion of the topic.
  • Use a sophisticated tone (not conversational) but plain, clear language.
  • Format your essay according to MLA design and documentation. You will not need secondary sources, but you will need to document the primary source (the primary source is the literature you selected to write about).
  • Your essay should be at least 3 complete pages but should not exceed 4 pages.

Assessment/Grading: Your paper will be graded according to whether or not you include the above components, the quality of your content, and grammar + mechanics.

Some Topics to Consider: We will review each topic.

“Goodness” or “Good for All” in The Iroquois Creation Story

War and Violence in Mary Rowlandson

Puritan Attitudes toward American Indians in Mary Rowlandson

Independence and “Freedom” vs Community in The Navajo Creation Story

Christian Community in John Winthrop

Ego and Vanity in Anne Bradstreet

Hypocrisy of Puritan Judgment in “The Minister’s Black Veil”

Freedom and Idleness in Crevecoeur


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