How and why is Barbara Ehrenreich’s argument in “Overrated Optimism” right and/or wrong? Exp

Assignment Prompt

How and why is Barbara Ehrenreich’s argument in “Overrated Optimism” right and/or wrong? Explain your response using specific details, ample explanation, and clear reasoning; you must use an additional article from the supplemental readings below to support your position. Use skills and templates from Chapters 1-8 in They Say/I Say to write your essay. Links and citations for the WA 2 essay options are found in the Lesson 6 folder on Bb as well as further down in this document.

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Primary Source: “Overrated Optimism: The Peril of Positive Thinking” by Barbara Ehrenreich (Time article)

Supporting Source: “Popping the Happiness Bubble: The Backlash Against Positive Psychology” by David Van Nuys (Psychology Today article)

Supporting Source: “Is Positive Psychology for Everyone?” by Scott Lilienfeld (Psychology Today article)

*A Note on Drafts*

The first draft you bring to class for peer review and/or submit to Blackboard (Bb) for my review must be complete–it should have an introduction, body paragraph(s), and a conclusion. Your first draft should be the very best that you can accomplish at the time that the draft is due–if you had to turn it in for a grade, you would feel okay (but maybe not great) about doing so.

Instructions: You’ve encountered several readings about the legitimacy of positive psychology as a tool to increase happiness. In this paper, you will examine some of the criticisms of positive psychology and write an essay agreeing or disagreeing with the following article:

· “Overrated Optimism: The Perils of Positive Thinking” by Barbara Ehrenreich

Because it’s essential to be able to effectively incorporate the ideas of others to strengthen your own point of view, you will also be required to use an additional source from the list below to provide support for your ideas.

· “Is Positive Thinking for Everyone?” by Scott Lilienfeld

· “Popping the Happiness Bubble: The Backlash Against Positive Psychology (Part 1)” by David Van Nuys

You must be able to explain and use the research presented in the texts clearly in your own words. You will be evaluated on your ability to present sufficient evidence and clear explanations to support your thesis. You must have an introduction, multiple body paragraphs, and a conclusion as well as draw on at least two readings while using the techniques discussed in Chapters 1-8 of They Say/I Say.

Plagiarism: Summarizing often leads to unintentional plagiarism in beginning writers. You should be meticulous in citing the author’s name and the audio timestamp from the text for all summary, paraphrase, and quotation in this paper. Using the author’s exact words or even sentences structures with minor changes IS NOT summarizing or paraphrasing a text in your own words and style of writing. Using an author’s words or sentence structures without quotation marks—even if you include a citation—is a form of plagiarism.

Here’s an example of a quotation from a source:

“We’re becoming less responsible for our own health and more responsible for everyone else’s” (Balko 467).

This is plagiarism of this same source:

Balko thinks that people are becoming less responsible for their own health (467).

Here’s an example of how to correctly paraphrase the same source:

People’s sense of personal responsibility for their health has diminished over time (Balko 467).

Quotations: You will need to use quotations to provide support. Students should demonstrate that they can use quotations correctly and strategically in this assignment without allowing the quotations to overshadow your argument. Block quotations will not be appropriate for this writing assignment. Remember to use the “sandwich” method or to blend paraphrase with the author’s own words for all quotations. “Dangling quotes” (also called “dropped quotes” – see Chapter 3) that have not been integrated properly are not acceptable in this course and will result in a low score for Support on the ENC 1101 Essay Rubric. Failing to explain the relevance of quotations will result in a low score for Critical Thinking and Support on the Rubric. Review notes taken on Traditional Essay Structure, particularly on IQEA (Introduce, Quote, Explain, Analyze) for assistance with integrating and explaining the relevancy of evidence.

Length: The minimum length for this summary is THREE FULL PAGES, meaning all the way to the last line of the third page. There is no maximum length requirement, so exceeding three pages is not a problem. Any essays submitted that do not meet length requirements will not be accepted for a completion grade for the first draft or a grade on the final draft. The incomplete draft will be quickly marked as a zero and not read. It is the student’s responsibility to reach out to request a re-submission if the student would like to use a token to re-submit the essay. Please see the syllabus to read more about the policies on failure to meet minimum length requirements and the token economy.

Primary Source

This link will take you to a 2009 Time article; this is the main source you need to agree or disagree with for WA2. Please make sure to read the article carefully and use in-text citations when referencing information from it.

Source Citation

Ehrenreich, Barbara. “Overrated Optimism: The Peril of Positive Thinking.” TIME, 10 October 2009,,8599,1929155,00.html#ixzz2xDiYcrLC.

Supplemental Source 1

This link will take you to a 2009 Psychology Today article; this is one of the sources you can use for evidence in agreeing with or disagreeing with the primary source for WA2. Please make sure to read the article carefully and use in-text citations when referencing information from it.

Source Citation

Lilienfeld, Scott. “Is Positive Psychology for Everyone?” Psychology Today, 19 June 2009,

Supplemental Source 2

This link will take you to a 2010 Psychology Today article; this is one of the sources you can use for evidence in agreeing with or disagreeing with the primary source for WA2. Please make sure to read the article carefully and use in-text citations when referencing information from it.

Source Citation

Van Nuys, David. “Popping the Happiness Bubble: The Backlash Against Positive Psychology (Part 1).” Psychology Today, 3 November 2010,

Using the Templates

In this paper, I would like you to use templates from chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 throughout your paper. I hope to see you consciously applying the skills discussed in the chapters by using the templates to shape your ideas.

Double Check before Submitting

· You should use third person point of view for this essay and when appropriate first person. Second person is not appropriate for this assignment.

· You should summarize and agree/disagree with the writer/speaker’s argument or evidence.

· You must use the primary and at least one supplemental essay to support your argument.

· Your Works Cited page should include both Ehrenreich’s article as well as the supplemental article you draw on for support.

· You must introduce the author(s) and essay(s) you’re responding; always introduce the full title of the essay (in quotes with title capitalization) and the full name of the author the first time you reference it and then use just the author’s last name in subsequent references.

· You may not use research to complete this assignment. Do not consult any outside sources or use the internet to support your ideas.

· You must provide a Work Cited page in MLA format (last page of your document, not on the same page as the text of your essay and not a separate file).

· You must provide MLA in-text citations for all quotes, summaries, and paraphrases.

· You must include a title – it doesn’t have to be fancy.

· You need to name the file appropriately, for example WA2_yourlastname

· You must submit the assignment as a Word file (.doc or .docx).

· Your essay should be a minimum of three full pages.

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