Using the Ted Talks and reading assigned to this unit (see below), as well as your own personal experience and independent research, write a persuasive essay about happiness with a “provable” thesis. Below is a sampling of research questions that you might explore. Note that your thesis will be the answer to your research question.
Is it possible for a person to achieve lifelong, enduring happiness, and if not, why?
Is it possible for a person to achieve lifelong, enduring happiness, and if so, then how?
Is happiness something that human beings have control over?
Can we synthesize our own happiness?
Is there a difference between “synthetic” happiness and “natural” happiness, and if so, is one superior to the other? (see Gilbert)
Are we responsible for our own personal happiness by maintaining a “positive mental attitude,” as popular psychology suggests, or do issues such as poverty and social inequities play a larger role? (see Ehrenreich) · Can happiness lead to greater physical health, or does greater physical health simply lead to happiness?
Should trying to enable people’s happiness be a goal of a society? If so, what should governments and other institutions do?
What is the role of relationships, financial status, education, health, freedom of expression, career, and/or other factors in a person’s personal happiness (hint: you don’t have to include them all)
You must quote and paraphrase at least one and up to three of the following Ted Talks/Essays in your paper.
Ted Talk by Robert Waldinger, “What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness” · Ted Talk by Michael Norton, “How to Buy Happiness
Ted Talk by Dan Gilbert, “The Surprising Science of Happiness”
Article by Barbara Ehrenreich, “Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness”
In addition, you must use a minimum of ONE, and maximum of TWO outside source that you research on your own. The source must be considered “reliable,” either from a respected newspaper, online magazine, scholarly journal, or professional organization that has expertise in your topic. NO BOOKS! (I’ll explain why in class.)
You may also use personal examples and observations, but the bulk of your essay should be material you glean from the above readings and your research, which you will paraphrase and quote.
Important note: You are required to visit The Writing Center to receive in-person feedback on your Essay #2. You may do this at any point in the writing process: brainstorming, developing a thesis, organizing your essay, reviewing your rough draft or final draft. You should decide at what point you want help, and make your appointment at an appropriate time.
In order to earn a C or above, your essay should include the following:
A minimum of 1,000 words.
Proper APA formatting, including APA in-text citations and References page.
Proper APA in-text citations for all paraphrases and direct quotations from the article.
An introduction that sets up your argument.
Effectively organized paragraphs with strong topic sentences and transitions.
A conclusion that does not merely restate your thesis but that leaves the reader with further ‘food for thought.’ · A References page in correct APA format (which does NOT count towards your page minimum).
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