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ENGL 100 (Boraz)

ENGL 100 (Boraz)

MLA Style Guide


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Steven Deineh, Librarian

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Using class readings as well as your own research, write a thesis-driven essay in response to one of the following prompts:


In his memoir Born a Crime, Trevor Noah examines the racist structures put in place and maintained by apartheid during his youth. How do you compare racial inequities in the U.S. today to the structures of South Africa during apartheid? Consider racial disparities in social structures such as housing, education, health care, justice, and finance.


In Chapter 18 of Born a Crime, Trevor Noah explores the problem of domestic abuse through his mother’s story. He writes, “It is so easy, from the outside, to put the blame on the woman and say, ‘You just need to leave.’ . . . Where does a woman go in a society where [domestic violence] is the norm?” (272). Research the issue of domestic violence in both South Africa and the U.S. How do the two nations compare? How much (if any) progress has been made since the 1990’s? Your argument should explain to your audience how and why it is difficult for women to escape domestic violence, using Trevor’s mother as an example. 


At many different points throughout Born a Crime, Trevor Noah describes the complications of his racial identity. Write an essay analyzing the role that race played in challenging and facilitating the author's understanding of himself as he grew up. Situate your discussion within the historical framework of apartheid and its aftermath, focusing in particular on the experiences of “colored” and/or “mixed-race” people.


In an expository essay, explain the issue of systemic racism in the U.S. and how it continues to suppress the advancement of people of color. Imagine you are writing to an audience that does not fully understand what is meant by “systemic racism,” and it is your job to illustrate and explain it to your audience. The intent of your essay is to help your audience understand what it is, how it functions, and why it is a societal imperative to address these underlying structures. Be sure to base your essay in well-researched facts about systemic racism and how it functions in areas such as housing, employment, education, health care, criminal justice, and immigration policy. 


Do you have another related topic that you would like to propose? Please feel free to write up a research question of your own and present it to me for approval. It MUST, however, be related to the topics described in options 1-4 (systemic racism, apartheid, Black Lives Matter, racial identity, or domestic abuse). 

The Details:

For any of these options, your essay should be analytical in nature and should be grounded in ideas from our readings and outside research. You are required to use the library databases for your research. Please use reliable, quality sources in your essay. While you may also do a Google search, you must have a MINIMUM of five sources, two of which must be from the library databases. You are welcome to use Born a Crime as one of your sources. “Wiki” sources are not acceptable.

Be sure your essay has an introduction, including a lead-in and a thesis statement. Properly developed support paragraphs will have specific, detailed examples and concrete evidence for the points you are making. Your essay should have a developed conclusion which provides closure for your reader. 

Format: Your essay must be MLA 8th ed. formatted, which means double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12-pt Times New Roman (or similar) font, etc. (Please note: Arial font is NOT acceptable.) Your essay must have a properly-formatted Works Cited page. Please refer to our library’s MLA resource page ( for specifics on how to cite your sources.  Your paper must be a minimum of 5 pages in length. Papers with fewer than five FULL pages will not be accepted. The Works Cited page does NOT count as one of the pages. I encourage you to strive to write a 6-page paper. Please note: three body paragraphs is NOT sufficient for a paper of this length.