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Essay #3 | Analyzing Perspectives on Rioting

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English 1 | Fall 2015




Aside from issues of identity and territory, Smith’s docu-drama also explores the multiple perspectives toward riots and other forms of violent uprising. While many argue that the causes of riots are NOT unclear, these “cyclical eruptions” are often characterized as nothing more than random violence, often stemming from no particular cause. Additionally, there are those such as Martin Luther King Jr. who understand riots as the result of prolonged social injustice, yet also condemns this violent mode of protest.




There are other factors to consider as well – something that Smith’s “War Zone” effectively sheds light on: the human experience of individuals on the street who live through these momentous events and are often caught in the crosshairs.These people are casualties of war. Consider, for example, how two shop owners both lose their livelihoods when their shops are looted and then set ablaze; or how a truck driver on the job nearly lost his life while simply driving through an intersection; or how an innocent woman nearly lost her life and her daughters from a stray bullet, etc. These are members of the unheard who bear the brunt of the message.




Purpose: In a well-supported essay (4-5 pages; not to exceed 6), you will analyze (using a methodology of comparing and contrasting) at least TWO different perspectives on the justifiability (or lack thereof) of riots/rioting. To do this, you will need to consider how these perspectives understand/discuss the concept of rioting, its causes and effects, and ultimately its effectiveness as a tool of social change.




Research Requirement: For this essay you will use Anna D. Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles 1992 along with any of the other texts we’re reading together. Because of time constraints, we have not been able to engage in an exhaustive study of every perspective on rioting. Thus, I ask that you include 1-2 additional sources. In total, your paper should be engaging with at least 4-5 sources (at least 1 outside source + Twilight LA + 2 of our other class reading assignments).


Due: Due dates for the outline, rough draft [**missing peer review workshop will result in a 10% reduction of your final draft grade], revised draft, and final draft are listed on the course schedule.


Required Format: Essays must be typed, 4-5 full pages in length, and follow strict MLA guidelines for formatting the paper: double-spaced, 1” margins on the top, bottom, and sides, and 12 point, Times New Roman font. 


Audience: An academic audience of your peers that has critically studied the texts we have read and discussed in class.


Evaluation Criteria:


  • A clear thesis that describes the perspectives you will analyze and provides an overview of how they differ.

  • Well-organized paragraphs that clearly connect to and support the thesis.

  • Each body paragraph includes a clear topic sentencethat supports the thesis; one topic/idea per paragraph.

  • Each body paragraph includes sufficient and specific examples from our class readings and outside sources.

  • Each body paragraph incudes sufficient discussion of the examples/quotations/paraphrases provided.

  • Includes effective transitions (words/clauses) between different parts of the essay that provide unity.

  • An engaging introduction that provides necessary context. 

  • An insightful conclusion that reiterates the thesis without overt repetition.

  • A creative title that is both informative and unique (not “Essay 3”).

  • Well-edited and proofread sentences in academic discourse that reveal good writing ethos.

  • Essay maintains a consistent voice and reflects a mature, college-level style.

  • Sufficient content (at least 4-5 pages) and proper MLA formatting. 




Final Note: Please see me if you have any questions, and please be sure to use all resources that are available to you, including your fellow classmates during and after the peer review, and the Success Center tutors. This third essay is worth 20% of your overall grade, so give it your best effort.






1.    Find three or four elements from the texts upon which to base your comparison.


2.    Examine possible connections and determine a thesis.


3.    Base your outline around the elements you’ve chosen, remembering to give equal coverage to each side.


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