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ENGL 01A Baker: Understanding the Prompt

College Composition and Reading

Essay Project #3

Born A Crime

Use college-level research (articles from the Merced College Library's databases) to answer the degree to which Born a Crime accurately depict three of the following issues:

  • racial segregation during apartheid in South Africa
  • racial segregation after apartheid in South Africa
  • the position of “colored” people in South Africa
  • the unfair workings of the judicial system in South Africa
  • the unfair workings of the educational system in South Africa
  • the division of society based on language in South Africa
  • lack of help for victims of domestic violence in South Africa

How to Break Down a Prompt

For this assignment, you have to pick three different issues. For this example, I'm reviewing how I might do this for one issue, but I would need to repeat this process for two other issues. 

If I were interested in examining the position of "colored" (also called "coloured" with a u) people in South Africa, here is what I would probably need to find out in order to answer this portion of the prompt.

  • What does "colored" ("coloured") people mean in South Africa?
  • What has the status of "colored" ("coloured") people been historically up through the 1990s?
  • What are some examples from Born a Crime that depict these positions? 
  • How do these examples fit in with what I learned about the status of "colored" ("coloured") people in South Africa? 

I need to research each question and then think of examples from the book that connect to these ideas. My goal is to draw connections and point out differences / similarities between what I have learned about the position of "colored" ("coloured) people in South Africa and the examples that depict these positions in Born a Crime

Essentially, I want to know if what is in the book about the position of "colored"  ("coloured") people is accurate.

Mapping Your Research Ideas

I highly recommend that you either make a list of questions or map our your questions to help you make sense of your research task. 

"Mapping Your Research Ideas" by UCLA Library (2:52) is licensed under CC-BY.