No margin for error

First Writing Prompt

ENG 1060 Fall 2020

Laurence Gonzales’s article, “No Margin for Error,” discusses the lure and danger of climbing Mt. Washington.  In the article Gonzales states, “Despite all the efforts, from public relations to legal remedies, the number of rescues, substantial injuries, and deaths in the Presidential Range continues to mount.” 

In a well-developed essay, citing specific points from the article, discuss what about Erik Lattey and Monroe Couper (and other doomed hikers) caused them to be so unsuccessful.

Stated another way: In “No Margin for Error” author Laurence Gonzales points out that the staff at the Presidential Range have done everything they can (“from public relations to legal remedies”) to get people to stop getting hurt on the mountain, but they keep getting themselves hurt.  Why is that?

Please do not simply summarize the text.  As always, you must:  

Choose a single point. Do not summarize everything that went wrong.  You need a thesis to hold the paper together, then the various problems will be used to support that point. Don’t list all the problems; look at what caused the problems.  Show how each problem you choose to discuss relates to your thesis. (You don’t need to cover every possible item).

Go through the article thinking about WHY these guys had problems.  Choose one reason (there are many possible reasons).

Prove that point with specific examples from the text. (Don’t just say they did not have warm enough gear; quote the part about how they probably wished they had brought parkas and tents.)

Introduce your evidence—make it clear when it’s you and when it’s your source talking.

Arrange your evidence into single point paragraphs.

Check each paragraph to see if it supports your thesis.  Make sure each paragraph has a topic sentence and sticks to that one topic.  Introduce evidence with signal phrases.  Do not use the author’s first name.  “No Margin for Error” CANNOT be your essay’s title.  If you do not spellcheck or capitalize appropriately, you may not say “I did my best”.

Refer to ‘What I Require in All Essays’.

Step one—read this page a couple times

Step two—brainstorm: list all the things that went wrong

Step three—then chunk them into categories (or highlight with different colors).  Consider what is caused by lack of experience, what is caused by arrogance, what is caused by failing to consider time, etc.  What will your thesis be and what examples will you use to prove it?  Write it down in outline form and submit it to the dropbox.

Step four—write.  Using your outline and ‘What I Require in All Essays’, create a draft.  Have in introduction that talks about the overall cause of the hikers’ downfall (so specifics).  Then each body paragraph should roughly follow the format laid out in the ‘What I Require’ document.  Have a topic sentence, introduce evidence, present evidence (cite), analyze/explain evidence , and wrap to your thesis (the overall cause of the downfall).  .

Step five—revise. Take a break, read it over, then improve your essay.

Step six—edit. Use what you already know and what are learning about grammar and punctuation to improve your essay.

Step seven—proofread.  Very carefully make sure you have not skipped words, repeated yourself, be sure everything make sense, etc.

Submit your draft to the dropbox.

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