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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Sample Student Papers

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Sample English Papers

The Assignment

But, before I share the papers with you, here's the assignment they were all responding to:

Humanities 282W: Writing Assignment Topics for One Day of Life and El Salvador
Here are some general topic ideas for you to look into and to fashion into focused essays driven by theses that take a position on some aspect or aspects of those topics. Under each one of the topics, I've listed some related questions, any one or two of which could provide a direction for a paper on that topic. Don't feel bound to them. They are only suggestions that could be formulated into theses. Bring your own ideas to class on these topics, and we'll see what we can do with them.

PAPER #2: The Culture of One Day of Life

  1. WOMEN and WOMEN'S roles in El Salvador—
    Who and what have women been historically and culturally in El Salvador? Where do their roles come from? Are they traditional roles that have evolved from the Maya culture? Do you see the women's myths that we talked about in relation to Mexico and Mexican culture affecting who these women are and how they are viewed and treated? Do specific challenges exist for El Salvadoran women to overcome?
  2. Examples and Effects of MAYA and MAYAN CULTURE—
    Historically, what are some of those effects and influences on the people of El Salvador? What are the ways of seeing, being, and believing (including the organization and stratification and division of labor of Maya culture) that seem to be still in play in contemporary Salvadoran culture? Do you sense a perspective on the importance of time by Salvadorans, and do you see representations of time from Maya culture impacting on the way Salvadorans see it? Do those aspects of Maya explain at all how Salvadorans approach their work, relate to the ruling structure of Salvador, and live their lives?
  3. Representations of RELIGION in El Salvador—
    Clearly, religion is important in the framework of One Day of Life. How about in Mayan culture? In the same way for Salvadorans? Different? The Catholic Church has always been a force in Latin America, right from the beginning. What was the influence and power of the Catholic Church in Early Salvadoran society, during the colonial period? Did that Influence and power change through time? Did the Catholic Church's role(s) with Salvadoran culture change? How? Why? How do the foundational principles of the Spanish Conquest factor in to the church's role and the way it's viewed? How (and when) does Liberation Theology factor in to the church's roles and the way it's viewed in El Salvador?
  4. Representations of FAMILY in Salvadoran culture—
    As we've discovered, the family is very important in Latin American cultures. But how is the family important in Salvadoran culture? What is the family there? how does it operate? What are the duties and divisions of labor in the Salvadoran family, historically and in One Day of Life? Can you bring your view of "family" and your experience of it in the U.S. into play in order to note similarities and differences of views on and practices of Salvadoran families? Is it possible to describe what is happening to the Salvadoran family, the reasons for what is happening to it, and the effects of current politics on the Salvadoran family? What is the future of the Salvadoran Family?
    What's the history of U.S. relations with Central America? What factors have driven the history of those relations? Have important developments occurred in relation to American policy over the past 40 years? What factors have driven those developments? Particular directors of those policies (Nixon; Carter; Reagan)? Does it seem that some of the policies the U.S. has adopted in El Salvador have run counter to our best principles? Why would the U.S. pursue partnerships and support Salvadoran governments/leaders/parties that do not operate by democratic principles? Does it seem that the U.S. has been directly interfering in Salvadoran affairs? What have been some of the results of that interference, and what are the arguments that would support or not support that interference?