What do you think of as a “distinctly American place”? Think of a particular location that represents the culture and imagery of the United States of America. The smaller the space, the easier it will be to present an in-depth portrait. You could choose a specific Waffle House, for example. If you were to write about New York City, you’d be better served by selecting a specific park or intersection than by trying to capture the entire city. If you were to write about an Indian reservation, you could choose a specific landmark or building. ​The subject must be a place that you have been to yourself,​ but it does not have to be a famous or public space. You could write about your grandmother’s kitchen if you view it as “distinctly American.”

You may want to organize your paragraphs by concentrating on one part of the space at a time (as if you were panning with a camera) or one sense at a time (the paragraphs could be divided by sight, sound, smell, touch and taste). You are not limited to five paragraphs. You may have more or fewer, but the essay must have some paragraph organization.

Select concrete and effective details: show, don’t tell. Engage as many senses as you can. This is not a narrative. There is no need to tell a story. Think of transporting your reader to a

place rather than telling your reader a story.

Use no more than two or three sentences of dialogue, if any.

Create a unique title. The title is the doorway to your essay, so make it interesting. “Essay 1”

is not an interesting title.

Before you begin the assignment, read the slideshow called Composing an Essay (linked in

this folder).

The essay should adhere to rules of Standard Edited English. Take special care to avoid

○ sentence fragments

○ comma splices, and

○ mixed verb tenses.