BASED ON THESE TWO READINGS: Maggie Paul, “Not-So Blissful Ignorance: A Self-Examination” (Upper Class) and Jim Shepard, “Spending the Night with the Poor”

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  • A minimum of 4 pages (meaning 4 pages of your writing, not 3 pages plus a few lines), double-spaced, word-processed, 1 inch margins, Times New Roman, font size 12
  • Works Cited page (does not count toward 4 pages) and in-text citation MLA style


All of the readings in this unit relate to the issue of how people perceive class status, specifically socio-economic class status, either their own class status, that of other people, or both. For example, the first three readings of the semester are all written by students who identify as either Working Class, Middle Class, or Upper Class, and they reflect on their own class status.

In total for this unit, you are reading 12 texts, from 4 different genres (song, poem, non-fiction, and short story).

In this assignment, pick 2 of these texts from different genres, and create an argument that responds to 1 of these questions:

  • How do these texts reflect on socio-economic class status in ways that are fundamentally similar, and why is that significant?


  • How do these texts reflect on socio-economic class status in ways that are fundamentally different, and why is that significant?

The two readings you choose should come from different genres in order to add a more complex layer to your argument. You are welcome to use “I” and to include your own experience, but make sure your paper focuses on your analysis of the two texts. Please do not do any research for this assignment. Since at least one of the texts you choose will be a creative text (a poem, a song, or a short story), make sure you take full advantage of its imagery and symbolism in your analysis. For all of the texts, pay close attention to word choice and tone.

The intended audience for your essay should be people who have already read the assigned texts but are not experts in the material. Consider the students in our class as members of your audience.

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