An Argument/Analysis Assignment For Book Clubs

In mid-October I took over two Ventura College writing classes. I think a syllabus is a contract between students and faculty so I was cautious about changing it. One I instituted requires the students to read a book and to respond to reading with more depth and complexity. They had an argument essay on the syllabus so I adapted that to this Book Club project I frequently assign. Here’s a link to the books the students could choose from. Because the assignment is a combination group and individual assignment, I require students to complete a process analysis to discuss how their group produced their essay.

During a class earlier in the week, students met with their book club to discuss the book, read over each other’s drafts, and develop a thesis with what I call the 4 Ts: Topic, ‘Tude, Telegraph, Tension.

During the second class this week, students will have two hours of class time to work together in groups to produce a 3-4 page essay which they will turn in with their own papers and drafts about the book as well as a process analysis.

Analysis/Argument ESSAY: Book Club

Argumentation and Analysis of a Text: 750-1000 words; 3-4 pages; work cited
Group essay, individual drafts; final with drafts due W. 11/6 or Th. 11/17

W 11/2 or Th 11/3    READ: Begin reading book club book

M 11/7 or W 11/8       READ: Finish first third to half of book club book

W 11/9 OR Th 11/10     Text Down Draft Due—what’s your argument?
Be 2/3 done with Book Club Book; discuss in class

M 11/14 OR  Tu 11/15     Typed Text Up Draft Due: you’ll have time in class

W 11/16 OR Th 11/17      Text Group Final Due: individual drafts, process analysis
You will have the class time to work on this project together.

In this 3-4 page essay (typed, doubled spaced, titled), you will demonstrate your ability to summarize, analyze, and interpret a topic related to your book club in support of a thesis based argument.  

Find a Topic. What would you like to pursue in more depth? What is intriguing or controversial? What is a question about the text you’d like to explore? OR write a review of the book—do you recommend the book or not? Why or why not?


In your paper, make constant references to the text. Discuss the text extensively, providing, at the minimum, the major points. To support your argument, include numerous short quotations; avoid quoting large sections of text at one time. Cite your sources according to the MLA style format. Your work cited can be on a separate page (per MLA) or at the end of your essay (to save paper).

Your paper’s thesis statement should provide a map for you, the writer, and for the reader plus include the “4 T’s”

*  Provide the title/s and author’s name/s with your topic (your topic with its context)

*  Connect your argument or ideas on the essay or topic (your ‘tude).

*  Have tension—avoid stating the obvious, make arguments matter and readers care

Telegraph the direction of your argument and your supporting points

Your paper should have 2-5 references. References should include the Book Club text plus any other works you use including papers from your group members.

Process Analysis. This brief paper describes the process that you used to write your paper. Please give credit where it is due: who did what in your group?

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