Assignment:

This assignment asks you to write a 650- to 900-word essay (approximately 2-3 pages). Since this is essay format, you must have a clear thesis statement (i.e. argument) in your first paragraph. Your thesis statement is the answer to one of the questions below. Ideally a good thesis statement should be one sentence, but if you need to, your thesis can be two sentences. The rest of the paper should defend that argument using specific examples from Professor Johnson’s book. The Argument: A good thesis statement has several characteristics. First, your thesis is an answer to a question. Many students get confused with thesis and topic. A topic is what your paper is about. A thesis is what your paper plans to demonstrate to the reader. For instance, this is a topic sentence, “This paper analyzes Sam Patch the Famous Jumper by Professor Johnson.” In contrast, a thesis will answer a question. For instance, someone might wonder, “Is Sam Patch the Famous Jumper worth reading.” Your thesis would answer that question. For example, “In Sam Patch the Famous Jumper, Professor Johnson provides insightful analysis into nineteenth-century class relationships while telling an interesting story about a unique individual.” This is an argument. The rest of your paper would provide specific examples that would demonstrate that Sam Patch the Famous Jumper is both insightful and that it tells an interesting story. The second characteristic of a thesis is that it is a conclusion not a statement of fact. That is, a reasonable person might disagree. Take the example above. While one person might conclude after reading Johnson’s book that it is insightful and challenging, another might conclude that it is banal and uninspired. Evidence: A thesis statement is not simply an opinion. It is an argument. That is, you will provide evidence to support your interpretation. Your evidence should consist of specific examples from the book. If you simply state your thesis and then proceed to summarize the book, your paper will receive a poor grade. Analysis is more important than summary. Choose two or three specific examples from the book that you can use to defend your argument. That is not to say that your paper should not have a summary, but that the summary should be short (i.e. one paragraph). Your argument and the summary should appear in the first paragraph. Citation: Your citation will appear at the top of your essay (copy and paste the full citation below). You should the include page numbers for where you found all your information in parenthesis at the end of each paragraph. This is not a research methods class. Any use of outside sources will be considered plagiarism and result in a failing grade for the course. Johnson, Paul E. Sam Patch the Famous Jumper. New York: Hill and Wang, 2003.

Questions: Your paper will answer ONE of the following questions, Sam Patch often said, “Some things can be done as well as others.” What did this mean? Use specific examples from Professor Johnson’s book to support your argument. We might view Sam Patch’s jumps as a performance of nineteenth century masculinity. What characteristics define nineteenth-century working-class manhood? How did Patch’s critics challenge that vision of masculinity? Use specific examples from Professor Johnson’s book to support your argument.

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