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THE HIGHLY DIRECTED VERSION – Blurring Boundaries between Fact and Fiction: Assessing the Treatment

Please choose one of the final three prompts from the Ghettoside journals written throughout the course (focusing on Skaggs, Midkiff, or Leovy) as the starting prompt for the final paper. From there, you will examine what stylistic and technical devices Leovy uses in representing the issue discussed and deciding whether the style obscures or illuminates the audience’s view of the subject itself. In addition, you will examine Leovy’s selections regarding the available historical record. What did she emphasize, downplay, or omit? Are these choices ethically justifiable or irresponsible? As you interrogate the text, you’ll narrow your focus to this single issue and how it is handled by Leovy and determine whether her handling is ethical or not and why.

It is likely that you will need to research the background of the area that is Leovy’s focus (historically called South Central Los Angeles, now called South Los Angeles, perhaps soon to be called SOLA). In addition to referencing Leovy, you are required to consult at least five other sources in your research. In consulting these other reports on the same issue, you can achieve some critical distance from your subject. You will then be in a better position than you would otherwise be to gauge the veracity of the account you are analyzing.

In a 5-7 page essay, analyze the representational techniques used by Leovy. Since the stylistic techniques of any representation necessarily distort, or fictionalize, the original subject to some degree, decide whether or not this work nevertheless represents the letter and spirit of its subject faithfully. Overall, do you find the treatment of the subject to be ethical – i.e., fair-minded and accurate in what, in your judgment, are the important points?

In your discussion, please note and articulate if pertinent, the gray area implied in your task. Some works are literally accurate, yet somehow miss the boat on rendering the spirit of the whole. Other works treat the spirit of the subject with superb panache, but gloss over factual details to do so.

THE PATH OF FREEDOM – Insert Your Prompt Here

This will be a 5-7 page paper in which you explore in more detail some aspect of the material we have been studying, so, perhaps something specific to race relations in America. Begin by re-reading the section in the Purdue OWL (under How to MLA in the Course Home module) on how to develop a topic and ask a critical question. This essay will be an analytic, argumentative essay in which you carefully define a limited topic area and explore a variety of sources about that topic. For instance, if you want to stick with one text, you might choose to look carefully at The Homicide Report formulate a critical question about it (i.e. what is this blog’s role in grieving as a spiritual need?), seek out scholarly articles that discuss your topic, and come to your own conclusion about your question. Your paper would then offer your answer as its thesis and provide discussion about the selected entries from The Homicide Report as well as from your research sources to support your thesis idea.

Alternatively, you might want to look at a thematic issue, much like we are when we focus on Leovy’s thesis of shadow justice and its relationship to gangs, disenfranchisement, community silence/insulation and the potential reinforcement of segregation this creates. Again, you would need to formulate a clear critical question that your paper will seek to answer, decide which texts you will use, and read some secondary material that will help you. The secondary material can be specifically about a primary text, such as an article you find on Ghettoside, or it can be about your thematic issue, for instance, an article from a psychology journal on the culture-shock experienced by recent black immigrants to the U.S. or one from Time magazine about gentrification.


  • Your paper must have a clear, focused, and contentious thesis.
  • You need to consult (and cite on a Works Cited page) a minimum of five secondary sources for your essay and you must be very careful to cite any direct or indirect quotation of the material, any paraphrase of it, or any use of its ideas in internal parenthetical citations in the paper. In addition, at least one source from our class must be included in your paper and put to serious work. Do not use this text as window dressing.


5-7 pages (approximately 2,500 words. Follow MLA guidelines.
Include at least one text we have discussed in our course in your paper (Ghettoside) .

In addition to the above, use at least five secondary sources and cite all sources, secondary or not. You may quote from Internet sources and magazines, but at least two of the sources you cite must be scholarly (peer-reviewed books and articles). You must provide an MLA Works Cited page. Note that this is not the same as the Annotated Bibliography, which is due next week. A list of Works Cited includes only the sources that you actually cite in the body of your paper.


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