Write an essay that shows that you understand what cultural norms and values are.
Purpose: To define and give examples of cultural norms and values.
To synthesize information from the source texts, class discussion, and your own life.
To practice moves to make in an introduction.
To practice organizing an essay.
Length: 800 words.
Genre: You must write an essay, but you can choose what type of essay. You should define cultural norms and values, and give examples to illustrate the definitions. You could write a straightforward explanation (This is what norms are, and here are some examples) or you could incorporate your definitions and examples into an essay with your own main point (e.g., As an international student in the USA, American cultural norms are new to me, or, Cultures may have the same values but still vary a lot if the norms associated with the values are different, or…)
Source texts: M. Nair (Dir.). (2006). The Namesake. Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Gibson, Margaret A. (1993). Cultural barriers and the press to Americanize. In H.S. Wiener & C. Bazerman (Eds.), Side by Side: A Multicultural Reader (pp. 65-69). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
You must draw examples from at least two places. You can use both source texts, or one source text and your own life.
Structure: Your essay should have three parts: introduction, body and conclusion. If you are writing a straightforward explanation, make the following moves in the introduction: capture the readers’ interest, introduce your topic by defining cultural norms and values and explaining the connection between them, explain why we should care about norms and values (why it can be important to know about them), give your own perspective as a student from X writing to an American audience, state your main point, and give an overview of the examples that you will discuss in the paper. Then go on to discuss one example in each body paragraph, showing the connection between norm and value in each example. (One norm may be supported by several values.) In the conclusion, review your main idea, and push it a little further to suggest something you want your readers to consider; it could be an application or an implication.
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