Readings: Illustration in Action STUDENTS WRITE Conforming to Stand Out: A Look

Readings: Illustration in Action
Conforming to Stand Out: A Look at American Beauty
Nick Ruggia
Title: Ruggia identifies his topic and suggests his thesis.
Nick Ruggia, a student at the University of Maryland at College Park, wrote this essay in response to an assignment in which he was asked to examine an American obsession. He chose to write about Americans’ obsession with physical appearance. As you read his illustration essay, notice how he supports his thesis with a variety of examples.
Analyzing the Writer’s Technique
Examples Evaluate the three main examples Ruggia provides. How well do they illustrate his thesis? What other examples could he have used?
Sources Ruggia used four sources in writing the essay. What kinds of sources are they? How does his use of these sources strengthen his essay?
Evidence Besides celebrities and statistics, what other evidence could Ruggia have used to support the topic sentences for his three main examples?
Thinking Critically about Illustration
Emotional Response Do any of Ruggia’s examples or pieces of evidence create an emotional impact? If so, choose several and explain their effects.
Connotation What are the connotations of “bottle blonde bombshell” (para. 3)?
Alternative Viewpoints What other types of sources could Ruggia have consulted to research and discuss alternative viewpoints?
Generalization Is the generalization in the essay’s last sentence well-supported and well-explained in the essay?
Responding to the Essay
Discussion Discuss the meaning and effectiveness of Ruggia’s title.
Journal In your journal, respond to the following question: To what extent do you agree that piercings and tattoos are widely accepted?
Thinking Critically What do you think is the reason for the “disconnect” that Ruggia mentions in paragraph 3? Is the problem that women don’t understand what men want? That men don’t understand what women want? Both? Something else?
Essay Are Americans obsessed with appearances in other ways? Write an essay explaining another American obsession. Use examples to support your thesis.