WRITING THE ESSAY I: WRITING ABOUT VALUES. In this first-year writing seminar, we will explore fundamental issues of our lives in order to develop key analytic and argumentative skills. We will discuss what is really worth striving for and what makes a good or meaningful life. Topics include questions of priorities, definitions of good and evil, questions of cultural and moral relativity, the nature of love, the challenges of suffering and death, and sociopolitical issues such as minority rights, feminism, food production, and the environment. Texts may include short works by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Plato, Orwell, Woolf, Sartre, June Jordan, Michael Pollan, Al Gore, and several others, as well as Eastern and Western religious texts (such as the Book of Matthew and Buddhist texts), along with poems and newspaper articles. In the course of composing and workshopping essays related to the readings, students will focus on tackling the stages of the writing process, entering a conversation, identifying key value conflicts, anticipating counter-arguments, identifying sources, and engaging the reader. We will work on developing close reading and research skills, logical strategies, rhetorical techniques, and grammatical clarity, along with the effective deployment of summary, quotation, citation, and tone.