Week 1 Writing Assignment: Proposal Worksheet

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  1. Select one of the following three articles as the topic: 
    • “Our Blind Spot About Guns”, Nicholas Kristof, p. 177
    • “Representation of Disney Princesses in the Media,” Isabelle Gill, p. 759
    • “Outbreak of the Irrational, Sarah Dzubay,” p. 825

please look at attached.

Week 1 Writing Assignment: Proposal Worksheet

Student Example

“Se Habla Español” by Tanya Maria Barrientos

  • What is the title and author of your selected essay? I selected the reading entitled “Se Habla Español” by Tanya Maria Barrientos
  • What is the topic of the essay? In her essay, Barrientos explores the meaning of what it means to be Latin in the United States. She immigrated to the country when she was three and never learned Spanish. As a result, she has a hard time connecting with her heritage.
  • What is the author’s argument on the topic? The author is arguing that to connect with Latino heritage, she and others feel they should speak Spanish. She also wishes this wasn’t the case.
  • What evidence does the author use to present their point of view? Barrientos presents her own experience going to class, listening to tapes, and studying Spanish. She also draws comparisons to Italian-Americans, Polish-Americans, and others who do not necessarily speak the language of their heritage yet still identify with that culture.
  • Identify one writing strategy (rhetorical mode) the author uses to make their argument? Beyond the obvious narration, to make her point that expecting all Latinos to speak fluent Spanish, she contrasts Italian-Americans and Polish-Americans. Barrientos (2022) stated, “My bilingual friends say I make too much of it. They tell me that my Guatemalan heritage and unmistakable Mayan features are enough to legitimize my membership in the Latin American club. After all, not all Poles speak Polish. Not all Italians speak Italian. And as this nation grows more and more Hispanic, not all Latinos” (p. 717).
  • What is your position on the topic? I believe language does not identify culture. A person can be Irish-American but not speak any Celtic. A person can be African-American without speaking any indigenous African Languages.
  • Do you agree or disagree with author? Why? I agree with the author in that people shouldn’t be expected to speak a language to identify with their culture. I do disagree with her own views of herself for feeling that she has to speak Spanish to identify with the culture.
  • What would you do differently if you were to present this argument? (Describe specific elements) I would present evidence languages do not define culture. For instance, in my city, there is the Bulgarian Heritage Center, but few people there speak Bulgarian. In the Italian Center, few people speak Italian. In other words, I would differ from Barrientos because I would actually conduct some research to show that is the case versus just referring to “bilingual friends” and their opinions as she does.
  • Describe reasons why someone might disagree with the author’s stance? Some people might want to gate keep culture. They might want to say that a person cannot truly understand a culture without understanding the language of it.
  • Consider audience: Who would benefit from reading this? I think many children of Latin-identifying parents would benefit. I had friends growing up who felt they absolutely had to speak Spanish because their parents did. On the other hand, I had Haitian American friends who never learned Haitian Creole; I had Yugoslavian-American friends who never learned Serbian, Croatian, or any of the other languages of the former Yugoslavia.
  • Now compose your thesis statement (main idea) by following this formula: THESIS: Title of Essay____________ Author’s name____________ Insert verb____________ (argues, advocates, shines a light on) Topic_____________ and Author’s position or main point. In her essay entitled “Se Habla Español,” Tanya Maria Barrientos argues that while many Latinos and Latinas feel the need to speak Spanish so as to identify with the culture of their parents, they should not feel this obligation.


Barrientos, T.M. (2022). Se habla español. In R. Bullock, M. Daly Goggin, & F. Weinberg (Eds.) The Norton field guide to writing with readings (6th ed.) (pp. 715-718), WW Norton.


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