Unit 3: Concept Essay



Within the context of this composition course, we have already come into contact with concepts: “shitty first drafts, “autobiographical songs,” “profiles,” and “memoirs.’ These are concepts, because they are a bit abstract and require more than a dictionary definition to truly understand. They have multiple meanings and must be situated in a specific context in order to be effectively explained.

For this paper, you will select one of the concepts listed below:

  • Memory
  • Education
  • Poverty
  • Hope

In this 1,250-word essay, you will be explaining your concept within the context of the spectacle, asking yourself this question:

Within the context of The Glass Castle, what does (insert concept) mean?

You are expected to use The Glass Castle to explain the concept, but you should exercise synthesis to make your own analysis clear. Additionally, this assignment will ask that you use a variety of explanatory strategies to teach readers about your concept.

Note: I will not accept papers which contain the phrase, “According to [insert dictionary name here}, this concept is defined as…” That is a lazy and rhetorically uninteresting statement, and it will not be accepted.

Key Components

  • A Focused Explanation: SMG 119-120, 132, 139, 146, 150; In-Class 5/6 and 5/11
  • A Clear, Organized Layout: SMG 120, 140, 147, 151; consult notes from 4/ 6, 4/8, and 4/11.
  • Appropriate Explanation Strategy: SMG 120-121, 140, 147-148, 151; In-Class 5/6 and 5/11.
  • Smooth Integration of Sources: SMG 121-122, 141, 151-152, consult notes from 4/25; In-Class 5/9


This paper should be no shorter than 1,250 words. It should be submitted on iLearn through the Remembered Event Dropbox, where it will be checked for plagiarism and graded.

Your paper is due at 3:00pm on Monday, May 16th. However, you can turn it in any time before then.

Remember, late work is not accepted for any reason. In addition, failure to turn in any paper will result in an automatic failure of ENG 1A.


  • Length:
    • Minimum length met, 1,250 words, excluding headers
    • Record word count either in the header or at the end of the paper
  • Format
    • Font: 11-12 point font, any serif style
    • Page number on each page, in the header or footer
    • Your header should include:
      • Name
      • Date
    • Title: A creative title, centered and underlined
  • Content
    • Does this paper answer the prompt?
    • Does it meet the standards of a focused and varied explanation?
    • Does it meet the standards of clear, organized layout?
    • Does it integrate sources smoothly?
  • Editing
    • Did you bring a shitty rough draft to class on May 13th?
    • Did you read your paper aloud to check for awkward phrases?
    • Did edit your paragraphs for clarity? Remembering to include exposition, example, and explanation sentence where they belong?
    • Did you incorporate some of your classmates’ suggestions into your rough draft?


Excellent Good Satisfactory Needs Improvement Needs Vast Improvement
A Focused Explanation
A Clear, Organized Layout
Appropriate Explanation Strategy
Smooth Integration of Sources
Grammar/Mechanics/Syntax/MLA Format/Works Cited