Essay 1: Expository Essay Does Spiritual Practice Lead to Happiness? Purpose

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English 101 Spring 2017

Dr. Jeffries

Essay 1: Expository Essay

Does Spiritual Practice Lead to Happiness?

Purpose: This initial assignment is designed to encourage you to begin thinking about the writing process, which as we will discuss throughout the semester, includes three important stages: prewriting, drafting, and revision. We will introduce the concept of critical thinking / argumentation and determine the qualities of an effective thesis statement. We will also practice several invention techniques.
Topic: In Ch. 1 of Pursuing Happiness, we will be introduced to a variety of spiritual texts that offer theories about how happiness and spiritual practice are connected. These writings may implicitly or explicitly define happiness and present varied perspectives on how happiness can be achieved. Often, these readings examine happiness in relationship to another concept, goal, or experience. In order to arrive at possible answers, these writers explore the complex relationships between happiness and the good life, happiness and wisdom, happiness and the mind, and happiness and suffering.

Required Texts:

  1. “Simply Happy.” The TED Radio Hour. National Public Radio, 14 Feb. 2014. [Online source:]

  2. Choose ONE of the pairings from Ch. 1 of Pursuing Happiness:

  • Laozi (10-15) and Dalai Lama & Cutler (21-33) (theories of happiness)

  • Buddharakkhita (16-20) and Dalai Lama & Cutler (21-33)(how to achieve and maintain happiness)

  • Dalai Lama & Cutler (21-33) and The Bible (The Gospel of Matthew) (59-63) (how to achieve and maintain happiness – discipline of mind)

  • Dalai Lama & Cutler (21-33) and Ricard (34-42) (relationship between happiness and suffering)

  • Kohler (43-58) and Bhagavad Gita (67-78) (conceptions of happiness)

Writing Task: After carefully listening to the radio program “Simply Happy” from the TED Radio Hour, and reading and reflecting on the texts from Ch. 1 of Pursuing Happiness listed above, choose ONE of the pairings of writers and respond to the following prompt in a 3.5-4 page-thesis driven essay:

How do your selected texts compare to each other? To what extent do their theories of happiness differ from one another and from popular, or mainstream, ways of thinking about happiness today?

Essay Format:

  • Essay must be in MLA format: paper must be typed using 12-point Times New Roman font and double-spaced. The first page of the essay must include the proper heading, a title, and each page must include your last name and page number in the header.

  • Essay must include a properly formatted Works Cited page.

  • Final Essay must be placed in a two-pocket folder with all assigned prewriting and rough drafts.

Due Dates:

2/23 Rough Plan + tentative thesis

3/2 Rough Draft (bring TWO copies for Peer Review)

3/14 Final Draft + all prewriting

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