Objectives: argument; voice
Audience: educated readers
Length: 5-6 pages or more
Sources: For options 1-3, at
least two credible, scholarly sources are expected, not sources we've
read for class. All sources should be cited in a bibliography
at the end of the paper. For options 1-3, in-text citation is expected,
but not for option 4.
Commentary: For every formal
paper, a one-page commentary on the process you went through as
you completed the first draft is required. This commentary is NOT
included in the page length requirement.
What is a
A speculative essay is an essay which uses personal experience, detail, and speculative reasoning to present what the author thinks are truths about the world around her/him. The best example from class is Ullman's "The Museum of Me".
This type of essay aims to speculate about a personal event or
experience of the essay author. The main condition is that it has to be
a certain personal experience on which the author has his/her very own
perception. This experience or even is revealed in the essay in order
to demonstrate its importance for understanding social relations and
the essence of people. It may be said that a speculative essay possesses the
traits of a philosophical analysis of different experiences we face in
our everyday life. This type of essay reveals the creativity of the
writer and his/her ability to change standard perception to a unique
one, to his/her own unique perception of social issues.
There isn't a clear structure to a speculative essay, but it's
likely that you would begin with a compelling story or anecdote to
engage the reader. The middle part of the essay will make some
observations or claims about human psychology or society, using again
vivid personal details to illustrate or explain those
observations/claims. The conclusion may end with a telling observation,
another anecdote/story, a return to the "hook" used in the opening, a
particularly good quote, etc. The style is informal but probably not
conversational--which means using I and contractions ("can't), but not
using excessive slang.