Develop an original argument about how Delbanco engages with one or more
of the ideas: the role of writing in today’s society, the conflict between imitation and
Read the sections “Preface” and “Imitation” from Nicholas Delbanco’s book Why Writing Matters (2020).
Develop an original argument about how Delbanco engages with one or more of the ideas we’ve explored this
semester: the role of writing in today’s society. Then, write a 1000- to 1200-word essay (approx. 5–6 doublespaced pages) that expresses your argument in clear formal prose. Your essay must include MLA or APA intext citations and a correctly-formatted Works Cited/References page, and will be graded accordingly.
Note that the goal of this assignment is not to evaluate whether the claims of Delbanco’s book are correct,
morally “good,” or even technically effective, but rather to identify how they are constructed and to analyze how
these characteristics influence a reader’s understanding of the issues under discussion. Each section of your
analysis should focus on specific elements of the chapters’ structure (grammar, word choice, sentence and
paragraph organization, etc.), their rhetorical techniques, their writerly “voice,” and the audience(s) to which
You will also locate and cite 1-3 academic secondary sources that will assist you in making your argument.
These can include readings from our course syllabus (e.g., Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Generous Thinking) if
relevant to your own claim. Note: you do not need to discuss both sections of the book. An A-grade essay
could focus on as little as a single page of the text—the important thing is to thoroughly analyze whichever
material you choose, using a combination of direct quotation, paraphrase, and summary as needed.