Of all the resources we publish on The Learning Network, perhaps it’s our vast collection of writing prompts that is our most widely used resource for teaching and learning with The Times.
This list of 401 prompts (available here in PDF) is now our third iteration of what originally started as 200 prompts for argumentative writing, and it’s intended as a companion resource to help teachers and students participate in our annual Student Editorial Contest. (In 2017, the dates for entering are March 2 to April 4.)
So scroll through the hundreds of prompts below that touch on every aspect of contemporary life — from social media to sports, politics, gender issues and school — and see which ones most inspire you to take a stand. Each question comes from our daily Student Opinion feature, and each provides links to free Times resources for finding more information. And for even more in-depth student discussions on pressing issues like immigration, guns, climate change and race, please visit our fall 2016 Civil Conversation Challenge.
What’s your favorite question on this list? What questions should we ask, but haven’t yet? Tell us in the comments.
And visit our related list as well: 650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.
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Female Dominance or Male Failure?
James Thurber illustrates the male species' status with respect to, "Courtship Through The Ages" with a humorous and melancholic tone. He emphasizes the lack of success males experience through courtship rituals and the constant rejection we endure. Our determination of courting the female with all our "love displays" may be pointless as it is evident in the repetitive failures of courtship by all male creatures. Thurber shares his problems with courtship and the role which men portray, he explores the relationship between nature and culture, and the demands culture places on men. Thurber's frustration with the female species is obvious and is reflected throughout his essay. The extremities males endure to obtain female attention become overwhelming and incomprehensible to Thurber, consequently conflicting with the myth and construction of the ideal of masculinity.
Thurber's frustrations with women are evident right from the start. He displaces male insubordination to the blueprint of nature and it's "complicated musical comedy."
(Rosengarten and Flick, 340) It's interesting that he attributes nature as a female creator and thus justifying the relationship that "none of the females of any species she created cared very much for the males." (p 340)
Thurber compares the similarities of courtship to the complicated works of Encyclopedia Brittanica. A book which is full of wonders and within lies mysteries of the unknown and unpredictable. In comparison to the Encyclopedia Brittanica the female is alike in many ways, such as its perfect construction and orderly appearance seeming as if they replicate one another like a clone. I believe Thurber views all female species as being similar to one another with respect to their character.
The author also associates courtship as a business, a show business. A world which is chaotic, disorderly and full of confusion much like nature.