For this paper, you are to read the books Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism by Anne Case and Angus Deaton, and Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. In a 5-7 page paper, you are to employ your sociological imaginations and critically analyze the major themes of each book, and you are to compare and contrast those themes with each other, as well as the course material. More specifically, using explicit and concrete examples, you are to identify and expound on at least two separate themes from each book – and at least one theme that the books have in common – and using the intersecting concepts of biography, society, and history, discuss how they play out in American society (and/or have played out throughout American history). While discussing your various themes, be explicit about how they are similar and dissimilar between the two books. Your paper should consist of a summary of each book, as well as a sociological analysis of the various themes presented throughout. Finally, your paper must reference at least TWO topics we discussed in class (you have complete autonomy here, you can choose race, stratification, gender, culture, work, politics, etc.). Explicit thematic examples are required in order to receive full credit here. Papers should be double-spaced with 12-pt Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins. You need to incorporate at lease 3-5 outside sources that are relevant to your topic.
· Demonstrate reading comprehension and writing proficiency at the university level.
· Demonstrate an understanding of, and be able to apply, the sociological imagination.
· Demonstrate your ability to extract and think critically about sociological concepts in the real world.
· Demonstrate your ability to understand, summarize, and analyze a piece of academic literature.
Assignment Grading Rubric
a. Your introduction should introduce your reader to the topic of your paper. In your introduction, you should include the title(s) and author(s) of the book(s) you are analyzing, as well as a thesis statement which clearly articulates the main points of your critical analysis.
b. HINT: Many people find it easier to write the introduction last – after they have written the rest of the paper.
II. Critical Analysis
a. You should pull at least three points/themes from your book(s) to discuss at length.
i. If you were summarizing these book(s) to someone who has never read it, what would you say? These are your themes.
b. If you are looking to receive full credit, you should do more than simply state the themes that you recognized from the book(s) – you have to analyze them using the sociological imagination, and directly connect them to class material.
a. Your conclusion should re-state the main points of your paper, and include your final thoughts about the topic(s) discussed. I want to hear your voice.
IV. Works Cited
a. You need to include references for any thoughts/ideas that are not your own. This includes citations for the book you read, any other reading materials you use in your writing, and even the class lectures themselves. It includes both internal citations and a Works Cited page.
i. Any time you use a direct quotation, you need to include an internal citation with the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number. It looks like this: “This is a direct quotation” (Bell, 2020: 35).
ii. Any time you paraphrase, you need to include an internal citation with the author’s name and year of publication. A citation for a paraphrase would look like this (Bell, 2020). Works cited page should adhere to APA format.
iii. The Purdue OWL is a great resource for citations. It includes information for internal citations and your works cited page, and has multiple examples you can look at. You can access it here: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
b. Failure to properly cite can result in a failing grade on this assignment. PLEASE feel free to come and see me before the paper is due if you have any questions about citations.