ENG101 Composition: The Prager Theory

Questions:

In order to successfully respond to the midterm prompt, you will have to complete the following two readings. The first reading, “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” is a work of fiction by Irwin Shaw. The other reading is a nonfiction essay by Dennis Prager called “The Opposite Sex”. Both texts could be considered outdated or old-fashioned, and they might not be looked at positively by today’s standards. Keep a critical eye and consider if you agree or disagree (especially with Prager). You will have a chance to write about your opinion in the conclusion of the essay. 

Both of these texts engage with the theme of human insatiability. As you read, keep in mind what each of the authors are saying about how humans are unable to be satisfied. 

Once you read these pieces, you will see the similarities between them. Keep in mind that both of these texts have more traditional views about men and women, but I encourage you to challenge these ideas should you disagree with them. 

Dennis Prager’s “The Opposite Sex” and Irwin Shaw’s “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” propose views about male and female insatiability. Write an essay that demonstrates how Shaw’s work corresponds with Prager’s theory. Your thesis statement should address how Michael and Frances personify male and female insatiability as mentioned by Prager in “The Opposite Sex.” Use at least four direct citations to support your analysis.

Paragraph 1: Introduction to Insatiability, Prager and Shaw

  • Define insatiability in your own terms. Once you define insatiability, give examples of behaviors or phenomena that show how humans are insatiable. For example, can we be insatiable when it comes to money, food, power etc? 
  • Once you define insatiability, summarize Prager’s argument. Your thesis should address how Michael and Frances from “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” personify male and female insatiability as mentioned by Prager in “The Opposite Sex.”

Paragraph 2: Males

In your second paragraph, you will need to provide two quotes that illustrate how the texts relate to one another about male insatiability. Remember, that you will need one quote from “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” and one quote from “The Opposite Sex”. Both texts have similar views about male insatiability, but this is a recommended structure for the body paragraph:

  • Topic sentence:what does Prager say about male insatiability? In what way does he claim men are insatiable?
  • Support:Use a quote from Prager to show his stance on male 
  • Transition:Move the reader to “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses”. Does Michael (the male in the story) act in a way that corresponds with Prager’s theory?
  • Support: Use a quotefrom Shaw to show how Michael in the story demonstrates Prager’s theory.
  • Follow up: Briefly provide a follow up sentence after the second quote to show the reader how the two quotes connect. 

Paragraph 3: Females

In your third paragraph, you will need to provide two quotes that illustrate how the texts relate to one another…but this time, you are focusing on females. Remember, that you will need one quote from “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” and one quote from “The Opposite Sex”. Both texts have similar views about female insatiability, but this is a recommended structure for the body paragraph:

  • Topic sentence:what does Prager say about female insatiability? In what way does he claim women are insatiable?
  • Support:Use a quote from Prager to show his stance on female 
  • Transition:Move the reader to “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses”. Does Francis (the female in the story) act in a way that corresponds with Prager’s theory?
  • Support: Use a quotefrom Shaw to show how Francis in the story demonstrates Prager’s theory.
  • Follow up: Briefly provide a follow up sentence after the second quote to show the reader how the two quotes connect. 

Paragraph 4: Conclusion

In your concluding section, express your own opinion about the two texts. Does Prager’s perspective represent an antiquated (or outdated) position about gender? Have gender roles changed since he wrote “The Opposite Sex” in 1998? What about Shaw’s piece? Have gender roles and societal expectations changed since 1939? 

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