Posted: September 12th, 2022
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Write a letter and think of this initial letter as a platform to state who you are (in character, of course). Your character is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Identify your THREE most important issues and perspectives to discuss with the group (i.e. the development of a capitalist system, democracy, religious tolerance, etc.). Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and make strong statements that will incite responses. All of the intellectuals chosen for this activity were “big” thinkers who came up with original ideas. Make sure those ideas come through in your introduction letter in a strong way! (300 word minimum)
You do not need to go outside your assigned texts for these letters. The readings you have been assigned are completely sufficient for you to complete your task of writing these letters. Plagiarism of outside sources will not be tolerated. You will receive a failing grade for any detected plagiarism.
Grading Rubric—points for this assignment will based on the following:
How well you captured the spirit and ideas of your assigned character. Letters should be written in first person and should always remain in character. Even if you find yourself making statements in character that you disagree with or may find personally offensive—a likely situation given the historical period—know that it is merely part of the exercise. No one is mistaking anything you say in the first two letters as your own opinions.
Your awareness of the historical period. Although not all of the intellectuals on the list were contemporaries, there were some major events and pressures that they shared in common. In other words, it would not be appropriate to use the Great Depression of the 1930s as an example to make a point when your character lived in the 17th century.
How well you adhere to the rules of civility from the time. Remember letter writing was an art that was taken seriously, so make sure to correct any mistakes and avoid taking on an informal tone that one may find in today’s social media.
Your ability to use your knowledge of your assigned character to create original work. Make sure that the first two letters reflect your own combination of words or interpretations of what your writer would say. In other words, do not copy whole passages from the readings into your letters; however, it is acceptable to use certain words or small phrases that are characteristic of the individual’s style of communicating.
The quality of your writing. Be sure to proof-read before submitting your letters. Think about organization, flow, and rhetorical strategies. Points will be deducted for careless writing.
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