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English 1302 - Davis, Caroline: Water by the Spoonful

Searching as Strategic Exploration

Module 23 Research Essay Due

Introduction

Now that you have worked on your research essay, it is time to turn it in.

Your essay should help you meet the following Course Learning Objectives.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of individual and collaborative research processes. (CLO 1)
  • Develop ideas and synthesize primary and secondary sources within focused academic arguments, including one or more research-based essays. (CLO 2)
  • Analyze, interpret, and evaluate a variety of texts for the ethical and logical uses of evidence. (CLO 3)
  • Write in a style that clearly communicates meaning, builds credibility, and inspires belief or action. (CLO 4)
  • Apply the conventions of style manuals for specific academic disciplines (e.g., APA, CMS, MLA, etc.). (CLO 5)

Directions

As we read and learned about the characters in Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes, we learned that plays are rich in character and emotion. In a play, authors and characters dig deeper to connect with their audience and readers. As a reader and audience, it will be your turn to critique and analyze the play. You can critique the development or form, or you can critique the themes and characters. You can look at it psychologically or historically. Any way you look at it, you will research and include outside sources to help your argument. For this research essay, you choose from one of the following prompts:

  1. Charles Isherwood, writing in The New York Times, describes Water by the Spoonful’s theme as involving “the myriad ways in which human lives can intersect, and the potentially great rewards—or irreparable damage—that can result from the unlikely spark of those connections.” Others instead describe the play as exploring the difficulty and importance of forgiving both we and others; the idea “that no one is above reproach—or beyond redemption”; “the true meaning of family” (theatreworks.org); or the “life-affirming message” that “[p]eople instinctively take care of each other” and that “hitting bottom is the start of the trip back up” (Richard Zoglin, in Time). Write an essay defending and developing one of these claims.
  2. Write an essay exploring the water imagery in Hudes’s play. By its end, what various meanings might the phrase “water by the spoonful” accrue? Use outside research to help support your reasoning and argument. 
  3. Water by the Spoonful features a cast of characters who at first seem very different from each other in terms of their personalities, their backgrounds, their situations in life, and their conflicts. Yet over the course of the play, they and we arguably discover just how similar they are. Choose any two characters from the play, perhaps those that initially seem the most different or far removed from each other. Then write a research essay that analyzes two characters and their development over the course of the play. What characterizations (psychological or biographical) emerge as the play progresses? To what extent and how do the characters themselves come to appreciate or acknowledge these elements? What might the play ultimately say or show us through these characters? Use outside sources, criticisms, and/or critiques of the play to help you support your ideas further. 

Grading Criteria

Your essay includes:

Off-campus access

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