OPTION 1: The Purpose Essay
Write a 4-5 page essay in which you carefully consider and clearly express your thoughts on the following question:
Beyond sustaining your basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, what do you see as your fundamental ontological purpose, your main reason for being here on earth…and how well do you feel you are achieving that purpose?*
To effectively answer this very broad essay question, you’ll need to quietly collect your thoughts on the following questions (and whatever else occurs to you as relevant) and compose an essay response to them in detailed fashion:
- What do you consider to be your main reason for being here on earth? What do you see as most important for you to accomplish in this life?
- What is your motivation for achieving this purpose? People? Humanity? Faith? Individual success? Other?
- Where (or from whom) do you get your moral and ethical sense of direction and how do these influence your fundamental purpose in life?
- What are you actually doing in this stage of your life to achieve your purpose? What’s working for you, helping you achieve your purpose?
- How are you getting in your own way and/or preventing yourself from fulfilling your purpose? What are you doing to fix this?
- What more can you do? What haven’t you tried? Discuss in detail.
*Note: Be certain…this is not an essay about one of your many minor purposes, like how much money you want to make or what you want to buy yourself. Dig deeper.
Remember, when writing you’ll want to make sure you’ve addressed the essay prompts, developed your thoughts, included relevant supporting details, and organized your flow of ideas logically using a clear thesis statement and well-supported topic sentences. Get started early and write/revise lots.
ontology the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
purpose the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
motivation the reason, general desire, or willingness one has for behaving in a particular way.
OPTION 2: The Woolf Essay:
In preparing to write your penultimate essay, first consider the following questions, freewriting on them to get yourself thinking about the subject. Some of what you write here may be useful in your essay.
- What is the predominant effect of Woolf’s story on you? Confusion, suspense, identification
with characters, interest, boredom, amusement, terror. Expand as much as possible.
- Why do you think the story had that effect?
- The nature of the story: subject matter, language, structure, use of familiar/unfamiliar conventions, organization, social norms, characters, themes, gaps or blanks in content that the reader has to fill in.
- The nature of the reader: Did you have prior knowledge of or expectations about the story, or about literature in general? Did you have knowledge or lack of knowledge about the story’s historical period/setting? Did your ethnic background/ gender influence the way the story affected you?
- What does your response tell you about yourself? About your style of reading, about your values, about assumptions you hold regarding literature, our society, our codes of behavior, your notion of what is “normal,” “conventional.”
The Essay Assignment
Discuss Woolf’s growth over the course of the text—that is, how her opinion of men and women changes through the chapters of her book. You may want to consider the following:
1) What is Woolf’s initial view of men? of women? What does Woolf say about men’s roles in
determining the situation she describes? about women’s roles?
2) What events occur in Woolf’s life that help her to grow into a more understanding person.
3) What does Woolf say about women’s roles and the efforts they’ve put forth to be freer?
4) What is her ultimate attitude and view of men and women?
NOTE: Support your claims, whenever possible, with brief quotes from the text. Remember, you’re building a case here for how Woolf grows and changes over the course of the text.
Make sure that:
—Your thesis statement is in your introductory paragraph.
—You use topic sentences effectively, logically organizing your essay.
—You have unity within and between your paragraphs (use transition words and phrases to
reduce choppiness and heighten logical connectedness of your ideas)
—Your idea draft responds fully to the assignment
—PROOFREAD PROOFREAD PROOFREAD because there is no chance to rewrite this!
Your essay should be 4-5 pages, double-spaced. See me early with any questions.
Actually, there is a audio file, you need to listen, then you can start to write this