English essay–causes of nawaz’s radicalization

Write an MLA style essay (a causal analysis essay) in which you state what you think caused Nawaz to become a radical, based on the chapters you have been assigned so far and possibly on the podcast. Quote and paraphrase from the text in order to persuade us your thesis (statement of the cause or causes of his radicalization) is reasonable.

While reading and annotating, look for 2 things:

  1. Distortions of the truth/lies, whether this be Nawaz lying or others lying to him.
  2. Causes of his radicalization.  If anything that he describes or that happens to him strikes you as a possible cause of his becoming an Islamist radical, pay attention to it in your notes as you will need to quote from the first part of the book for essay 1 and a pattern of evidence is needed to really make a case in an essay.

To keep in mind:

  1. Think of yourself as a detective as you read. I will collect your Evidence-Interpretation notes or photos of some pages of your book, so make this legible, but also so that you can use your notes to gather evidence and write your paper.  
  2. Nawaz may claim that one thing was the cause, but you might come to believe that he is deluding himself or lying.  I personally don’t see this dynamic operating in this case, but that doesn’t mean I am right about that.  Maybe Nawaz’s story fits my confirmation bias and so I cannot see evidence that contradicts him and my own world-view? If you don’t believe him, however, you will need to convince your readers that there is a good reason to distrust his story.
  3. You can always do additional research, but you do need to use the book itself as well, quoting from it and paraphrasing. I am in favor of using a lot of textual evidence, so if some teachers have told you that you have too many quotes, I may not see it that way.  This is because the text is the evidence. 
  4. You do want to avoid too many long quotes.  Try to keep block style quotes down to one per paper, and keep these no longer than 6 lines if you can help it.  For this particular task, I recommend you paraphrase if your quotes are ending up that long or use ellipsis marks if your quote is that long and leave some details out.
  5. Do explain what the evidence shows and do think critically about this, because it is Nawaz’s story about his own life, and he might have a personal reason for telling the story as he does or a political one. 
  6. Use pre-writing to get your ideas out, but also to try to arrive at a tentative thesis.  If you have more evidence in favor of one cause, maybe that’s the one you want to write about.  You could list all the causes you see and drill down to a thesis that says, “But the most important cause is…”
  7. Think of yourself as a lawyer when writing the paper.  You want to convince your audience that your assessment of the cause of Nawaz’s radicalization is accurate.
  8. The activities we have been doing to work up to this, are designed to help you read more effectively, but also to help you be more organized in your writing, to really know what you are doing when you are writing your essay.  You are persuading us that your view is reasonable.  
  9. The last thing you will do is proofread your paper.
  10. Submit your paper to your peer reviewers on time so that they have time to review it and comment on it and return it to you, and you have time to revise and then proofread.
  11. The last thing you will do is proofread your paper. (I repeated this on purpose). This is important because if you spend too much time making your paragraphs and sentences absolutely perfect and then your peer reviewers tell you that the example you use isn’t the best one or isn’t convincing or that a paragraph doesn’t seem to really belong in your paper, you will have a hard time throwing it out.  Also, proofreading is time consuming and tedious, so we tend to veer back into editing when we proofread.  See advice later for proofreading effectively or see the Important Documents page, which is in last week’s modules (near the end) and also in “pages” at the left of the Canvas page.

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