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A dystopian novel is one that is set in a near-future post-apocalyptic world whose inhabitants suffer extreme misery and oppression, and which often exaggerates the problems present in the writers own time and place. This essay asks you to examine the dystopia of Octavia E. Butlers Parable of the Sower in comparison to the world that we live in.

As you examine the novel Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler, closely analyze its representation of a real-life social issue that we currently face in our time and place. Compare the issue in the novel with the issue in present-day society, in an essay of 1,200 to 2,000 words. Some examples of social issues include: climate change/environmental issues and their impacts on humans and society, borders/border walls, gender roles, drugs/drug epidemics, race/racism, and many others. (COVID-19 update: I feel as though there is some comparison here between the novel and the current pandemic. I am writing this before the semester starts, so perhaps that connection will come up in class discussion! If you see a connection, that is also a possible essay topic.)

Remember that when conducting a comparison, the comparison should work toward a goal or proving a point. So you might think of your essay as answering this question: What conclusions can you draw about the social issue in the novel by comparing it to the issue in real life? Another way to think about it is this: What is Butler warning readers about in regard to that social issue?

Support your comparison with evidence from the novel, examples from your own personal observations, and at least one credible outside source (book, article, or website).

Format the document according to MLA guidelines (Links to an external site.), including in-text citations (Links to an external site.) and a Works Cited page (Links to an external site.).

Rhetorical Context:
I am not suggesting we are on the verge of a dystopia. (Or in one. I would never!) Just imagine, though, that we are. Picture your audience for this essay as anyone in Generation Z–young people in their late teens to early 20s, like many of you. Gen Z folks are knowledgeable about the social issues the world faces, and are coming into their power as voters, young adults, and college students. Your purposes are to persuade and to inform: persuade your Gen Z audience about the connections between the novel and the world that these young people are becoming decision-makers in, by informing them of the parallels between the world of the novel and the real world of the present.

Criteria    Ratings    Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThesis
Goal: A clear and engaging thesis sentence fully introduces the essays central point.
20.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeFocus
Goal: The essay is focused. In other words, all roads lead back to the thesis statement: each body paragraph clearly supports the thesis statement, the essay is cohesive, and the entire essay works together toward the same goal, which is to support and develop the thesis.
20.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeEvidence & In-text Citation
Goal: Evidence is well-chosen and appropriate for supporting each body paragraphs main idea, and there is enough evidence to offer adequate support. Evidence in the form of quotes/paraphrases is integrated and cited according to MLA guidelines for in-text citation.
30.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeStructure & Organization
Goal: The structure and organization of the essay work to support the delivery of the ideas and development of the thesis. The introduction engages the reader (starting with the title) and provides necessary background to prepare the reader for the thesis. The body paragraphs are unified and focused, and clearly support and develop the thesis. A conclusion helps wrap up the essays discussion, draws the discussion to a close, and ends memorably.
40.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeEditing
Goal: Sentences are clear and engaging with few errors. It appears that the writer made careful word choices, and edited to improve words and sentences, not solely to fix errors. It looks as though the writer has proofread, checking for minor errors like missed capitalization and misspellings.
20.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMLA Formatting
Goal: The essay is formatted according to MLA guidelines, including heading, header, double spacing, one-inch margins, and a centered and capitalized title.
10.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMLA Works Cited
Goal: All sources cited in the essay are included on a Works Cited page, cited according to current MLA standards (MLA 8th edition).
10.0 pts
Total Points: 150.0

dystopium world where 90% of humanity are violent drug addicts
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