American essayist and social critic H. L. Mencken (1880–1956) wrote, “The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel.” (Chicago Tribune, 23 May 1926)
In a well-written essay, examine the extent to which Mencken’s observation applies to contemporary society, supporting your position with appropriate evidence from your own reading, experience, and/or observations.
5 paragraphs, introduction 3 body with concrete example, one conclusion
Helpful Guidelines & Reminders:
o **Unlike other essays, this one has a “hard limit”èno more than 750 words. At 750 words, the essay is
over, regardless of how much more you might write. Use your words effectively. Ø Evidence:
o All backing and support for this essay MUST come from your own reading, experience, and/or observations. The use of outside sources (digital or otherwise) and additional research is NOT PERMITTED.
o Make certain that you not only have a conclusion, but that the conclusion provides a larger insight gained
as a result of your argument. Failure to include a conclusion will hurt your development score.
o Make certain to consider the many different arguments and writers that we have studied to this point and
the various manners in which each has developed his or her points. How might you utilize some of the
o How and where might you use anecdotal evidence or narration?
o What might you need to define for your reader to help prove your point?
o Are there alternate or opposing views that you might compare or contrast to your own in order to
strengthen your position?
o How might you exemplify and illustrate the issue in a manner that is clear to the reader?
o Does your position have noteworthy causes, or implications (effects) that help to prove the validity of your
assertion? Ø Organization:
o Transition effectively and creatively. The link between one idea and the next should be clear due to word choices beyond merely using “next,” “first,” “in conclusion.”
Ø Prose Style:
o Stylistic maturity and control means that you select your words, and organize them in your sentences in a
manner that shows a conscious effort to control and convey your message.
o Part of the maturity also means effective variety: what tropes and schemes might be helpful to developing
your points? Use them wisely, and refer to your 1) Style Elements and 2) Basic Syntactic Patterns
handouts, as necessary.
o Avoid the use of “you”
o Of course, punctuate and capitalize effectively, throughout.