Essay: heroes, legends, & villains | English


Module D Essay: Heroes, Legends, & Villains

You have learned about the development of early American values as the nation began to define itself. Now you will examine how those values help define American culture. Write a 700-word minimum essay for one of the following prompts: 

Prompt 1: 

Choose any past or present American legend/urban legend. In your introduction, briefly describe the legend in your own words. Then analyze what value/fear caused the story or figure to obtain its legendary status. Consider what this legend reveals about the US or Americans (what we value, fear, idolize, etc.). 

Prompt 2:

Choose any past or present American heroic figure. In your introduction, briefly describe the hero in your own words. Then analyze what value/fear caused this figure to obtain his/her status as a hero. Consider what this hero reveals about the US or Americans (what we value, fear, idolize, etc.).

Prompt 3:

Choose any past or present American “villain”. In your introduction, briefly describe the hero in your own words. Then analyze what value/fear caused this figure to obtain his/her status as a legendary villain. Consider what this villain reveals about the US or Americans (what we value, fear, idolize, etc.).

Topic Ideas: 

· The vanishing hitchhiker (or Resurrection Mary)

· Alligators in the sewers

· Lizard man

· Paul Bunyan

· Brer Rabbit

· Davy Crockett

· Daniel Boone

· Rambo

· Casey Jones

· Peg Leg Joe

· Wyatt Earp

· King Kong

· Mike Fink

· Jesse James

· Kunta Kinte

· Aunt Jemima

· Johnny Appleseed

· John Henry

· Bonnie and Clyde

· Scarface

· Little Black Sambo

· George Washington and the cherry tree

· Sweet Betsey

· Yankee Doodle

· Vito Corleone

· “Unsinkable” Molly Brown

· Rocky 


· Consider outlining before you begin—this will help you to organize your thoughts before you start writing.


· Avoid getting caught up in summarizing the legend or figure. You’re not writing a summary or a book report. Your thesis should argue what value/fear caused the legend/figure to obtain legendary status. For example, you might say, “Name of figure/story obtained American legendary status because the legend/figure embodies the American ideal or fear of insert value or fear.


· Your essay should be well-organized with the following components: an intro with an argumentative thesis, a body of at least three well developed paragraphs, and a conclusion.


· Your MLA formatting and citation information do not count as part of the essay word count.


· Observe proper MLA formatting. Use Calibri 11 pt. or Times New Roman 12 pt. font, but NOT both. Be consistent.


· Integrate textual evidence (i.e. quotes) in each body paragraph to help prove your point. You must use at least two sources. Feel free to use more if you’d like, but don’t let the sources take over. DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA.


· Include proper MLA citations for your sources. Sample MLA citations can be found in D2L Content under the HELP & HOW TO Module. Remember to have a Works Cited page with proper MLA entries.


· Do not use first or second person pronouns in your essay. Avoid contractions. 

Check the rubric in D2L Content under MODULE D before submitting your completed essay to D2L Assignments as a .docx or .rtf file by the due date listed on your Course Calendar/Assignment Schedule.

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