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Essay #3 A Response to Stone Butch Blues
To Lean to Write a Clear and Cohesive Response to Literature
To Learn Rhetorical Strategies: Analysis, Synthesis, Argument, Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast
To Learn Critical Thinking Skills
To Learn MLA Documentation Style: Integrating quotations; Works Cited
Stone Butch Blues offers many ways to read the challenges of growing to adulthood. Each of the conflicts
Jess and her friends face speaks to readers differently, and for this reason, I offer you several choices. In a
thesis driven essay of four to six pages, respond to one of the following prompts. You need only the
primary text for this essay, but you may use others if you want to incorporate additional support.
Remember, you can also draw on your own experiences and knowledge to discuss, explain, and analyze
Topic: Choose One
1. Explore Jess’s coming of age through moments of both intentional and unintentional passing in
Stone Butch Blues. Show how these passing moments shape her into the person she ultimately
a. Consider both hir experiences and those of people she encounters.
b. Think about not only who passes, but for whom they are passing.
c. Use textual evidence to show the moments of passing; analyze those moments to prove
how they shape, influence, or change hir.
2. All people are subject to society’s demand for conformity. This, as we discussed in class, has
both positive and negative outcomes. For this essay, trace that demand for conformity by
identifying the social pressures that influence Jess; explain how the social pressure to conform
contributes to her growth, development, and ultimate identity.
a. Consider multiple settings and social groups, for example, home, school, work, bars, and
b. Think about who has power and how and why that power is wielded.
c. Use textual evidence to show the moments of social pressure; analyze those moments to
prove how they shape, influence, or change hir.
3. For this essay, explore instances and methods of resistance to oppressions based on gender
identity development, socioeconomic structures, race, and sex (or combinations of these markers)
in Stone Butch Blues. Discuss how moments of resistance contribute to Jess’s identity
a. Consider Jess’s masculinity, her working-class status, her Jewish heritage, her female
body and expected social role, and her lesbianism (or combinations of these identity
markers) and the moments of prejudice, discrimination, violence, or inhumane treatment
based on them.
b. Think about how Jess resists these oppressions.
c. Use textual evidence to show the moments of oppression; analyze those moments to
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4. Jess interacts with medical personnel in various ways throughout the novel. For this essay,
explore Jess’s experience with doctors, nurses, clinics, hospitals, and psychiatric institutions.
Show how her gender identity influences the treatment she receives (or doesn’t receive); analyze
and explain the effects of her experiences on her social, psychological, and physical development.
a. Consider multiple encounters with health professionals or visits to healthcare facilities.
Think both about her primary care but also how she sees others treated.
b. Think about the authority of medical professionals and how that authority influences
c. Use textual evidence to show the encounters with medical professionals; analyze those
moments to show how Jess internalizes the experiences. Document her responses and
explain her behavior.
Note: You are free to pursue another writing topic. Please, discuss it with me so we can make sure that it
Submission Requirements: Please submit an electronic copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
Format Requirement: MLA-style formatting and citations
Length: Your finished text should be between four and six pages, excluding the Works Cited page.
Research Requirements: none
Works Cited Page
A Works Cited page names all of the sources that were used in an essay or research paper; it credits the
source or sources for the information you present, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize to support your
thesis. A Works Cited page also serves as a reference to the sources that were used so that a reader or
writer can quickly refer to the original text. The Works Cited page for this research project will include
Stone Butch Blues. If you use other sources, including other primary or secondary sources from class,
please list those too.
Expected Student Learning Outcomes
§ Demonstrate outlining and brainstorming abilities
§ Demonstrate an awareness of the time needed to plan, search, and write an essay
§ Demonstrate increased awareness of strategies for organizing ideas and structuring essays
§ Demonstrate an ability to use complex sentence structures
§ Demonstrate an understanding of multiple rhetorical strategies
§ Demonstrate active reading strategies by finding textual evidence
§ Learn to integrate quotations effectively and correctly
Previously Learned Skills Required to Complete this Assignment
ü The ability to summarize sources
ü The ability to use multiple rhetorical strategies: Narration, Description, Exemplification
ü An awareness of plagiarism issues
ü The ability to write grammatically correct, clear sentences.
ü The ability to write a clear and concise thesis.
ü The ability to brainstorm material for an essay.
ü The ability to organize an essay
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Ø As you (re)read Stone Butch Blues, keep in mind the prompts and highlight specific passages,
lines, or scenes that may support your argument.
Ø Write a thesis that helps readers understand both your argument and your reasoning.
Ø Include textual examples that illustrate your points.
Ø Avoid telling the reader that something is “interesting,” or “exciting”; instead create images or
use examples that show it.
Ø Come to my office if you are unsure, confused, or behind.
Traps to Avoid:
Ø Choosing a topic that you do not understand or one not on the list that you have not discussed
Ø Failing to assert a clear and strong argument.
Ø Seeking to present the subject from memory or hearsay.
Ø Failing to support the argument with evidence from appropriate sources.
Ø Citing Wikipedia as a source for your paper.