The Myrna Loy Patton Corley Critical Thinking and Writing Essay Contest was established by the East Cleveland City Schools and Case Western Reserve University to strengthen and enhance the critical thinking, reading, and writing of The Provost Scholars. This year, all of the Provost Scholars will read and respond to the same book: The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss.
Question Option 1: The two branches of the American suffrage movement—the National American Woman Suffrage Association (let by Carrie Catt) and the National Woman’s Party (led by Alice Paul)—took different approaches towards their mutual goal of winning the vote. Based on your reading, do you think one group was more effective in achieving their goals than the other? Why do these effects matter/for whom do they matter? Use three examples from the book and make sure to appropriately quote or paraphrase the material. Also make sure to explain how those examples support your argument. Remember, an author’s words should not be left to speak for themselves.
Question Option 2: In the United States we are taught to treasure our self-image as a nation built upon participatory democracy, but our history suggests that the reality of who can and should vote is often contested. Even at this moment, voter suppression is a hot topic. Based on your knowledge of current events, do you think the state and/or people in the United States consciously make it harder for some citizens to vote? Is voter suppression a threat to democracy, or should it be excused as the usual game party politicians play? Using The Woman’s Hour as your primary source, identify at least three examples in which Weiss address these questions. Then, discuss how these issues are the same/different now. Make sure to appropriately quote or paraphrase the material. Also make sure to explain how those examples support your argument. Remember, an author’s words should not be left to speak for themselves.
Question Option 3: Voter participation in the United States is well below other democratic nations. Many Americans, like the suffragists and subsequent civil rights workers, fought long and hard to win the right to vote. Many have died defending these ideals. Some democracies impose a fine for not voting. Do you think voting should be a mandatory responsibility of every eligible U.S. citizen? Begin by identifying how Weiss discusses this issue and select at least three examples from the text that you can use to respond to the question. Make sure to frame your own arguments about current voter responsibilities through the conversation about voter responsibility in The Woman’s Hour. Use three examples from the book and make sure to appropriately quote or paraphrase the material. Also make sure to explain how those examples support your argument. Remember, an author’s words should not be left to speak for themselves.
Electronically submit a typed 800-1,000 word essay (Times New Roman, 12 pt. type, 1” margins). A cover page with the Scholar’s (1) full name, (2) date of essay submission, (3) grade level, (4) school name, (5) book title, and (6) question option must be included.
Answer one of the provided essay prompts (above) based on the following book:
Weiss, Elaine (2018). The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote.
November 13–19, 2020: Book Distribution (physical and electronic copies to Scholars, Families & Mentors) - Writing Target Dates will be provided later.
Due Date: Friday, March 26, 2021 at 5:00 PM
2021 Essay Requirements (All Grades)