Essay #1 – Humanity Vs. Nature

Here is the topic for your paper:

Does humanity control nature or does nature control humanity?

Your essay should be 4-5 typed, double spaced pages. MLA format is required for this assignment.  You must cite at least 2 reliable sources to support your argument. Remember that for a source to appear in your Works Cited page, it must appear and be cited in your essay.

While   the internet has many good sources, for this essay  you must use the library databases to find your sources. These sources, whether peer-reviewed journal articles, government documents, or newspaper articles, are typically much more reputable than items found in a search on the web. While you must use the internet to access the library's databases, material from these databases is not considered an internet source; it is considered a work from a database, accessed via the web. If you are unsure about how to do this, please make use of  Rasmuson Library's website  and the  Off-Campus Services office.

Take a look at  A Writer's Reference  C-1-3, 3-23. It contains a nice summary of the writing process and has some advice for how you can approach writing assignments in academic classes.

Here are some steps to get you going:

1. Begin with the philosophical question and brainstorm instances that you feel demonstrate the relationship between humans and nature.You may use any brainstorming method that works for you.

- You could make a two column list. On the left list incidents, research, or news items that demonstrate the control humans exert over nature. On the right list incidents, research, or news items that demonstrate they ways in which we are subject to nature despite our own attempts to control it.

- You could use a bubble chart and focus on one side or the other. For example, “ways in which humanity owns nature,' could be the middle bubble, with branches leading to “dams' or “solar panels' or “earthquake proof buildings.'   These are three of the many ways in which humans have exerted control over nature.

- Just as many bubbles could be brainstormed for the opposite answer. For example, with “why man does not own nature' in the middle, my branches could be “ volcanoes' or “erosion of man-made structures' or “dependence on nature.' The next step is to create more branches to help explain each of the bubbles.

- Next, pick ONE of the bubbles, or sub-bubbles, and write your whole paper about that. You might pick “erosion of man-made structures,' but you will still want to get more specific. Think about man-made structures that have shown erosion, and how that erosion shows nature's control. You might choose to discuss the bridge that fell in Minneapolis a few years ago, or a river dam in need of repair. Spend your whole paper discussing that structure and its erosion, and use it to make a metaphorical reference to the essay prompt.

- If you have an immediate sense of which side you're on, you could start with an outline of your arguments. Perhaps you believe that Hurricane Katrina demonstrates that we don't control nature, that no matter what we plan and prepare for we are still subject to nature's power. In an outline you could find several examples of how people planned for storms in New Orleans and explain how those plans went awry in the face of the storm.

- Brainstorming in a way that works for you is what's important. It's not the form you choose but the information you generate. Choose a form that works best for you.

2. Next, find two articles relating to your specific topic by using the  databases available from the UAF Library.  I've provided a link. It's critical you use the databases rather than a Google search. These sources can help you find any unknown   information about an event or place you are using as an example in your paper, and they can provide concurrence on a point you plan to make yourself.

- If you're stuck on using the databases, please use the online help feature or, if you're in town, swing by the library to visit the reference desk.

Please see the chapter R2-b-d, 333 in  A Writer's Reference  for excellent information on reliable and unreliable sources.

3. Now write your draft. Focus specifically on your example and use the introduction and conclusion to address the philosophical issue of whether or not humanity controls nature. Good papers have focus and use specifics to support their main arguments.

- Remember, in your draft you will need to quote textual evidence from your two articles. For specific information on how to integrate information from another source into your writing, see  A Writer's Reference  section MLA-3, 362-369. It is critical that you read this whole section before you begin. Pay close attention to how to use "signal phrases." Every time you use textual evidence from another source, you'll need a signal phrase to cue your reader. Do not leave them out.

4. Have a friend, or better yet a tutor at the  UAF Writing Center, read your draft. If you're in Fairbanks, you can make an appointment and drop in. If you're out of town, you could arrange in advance for a fax tutorial. Please give them a call if you have questions about what they offer to off-campus students.

5. Prepare your Works Cited page. See  A Writer's Reference  section MLA-4, 370-404. Remember that you will have two sources you found on an online database (MLA 396). For sample Works Cited pages, see the ends of the sample research papers (MLA-5b, 412).

6. Turn it in. Please save your file with your last name and Paper 1 in the title. For example, Paper-1-Lastname.doc. I will provide feedback by using the "track changes" function in Word and provide comments at the end.

Please email me if you have questions that arise along the way. Good luck!