empathy paper

ENGL 1101, Spring 2020

Essay 2: Personal Empathy Narrative

OBJECTIVE: Compose a narrative in which you describe, analyze, and/or reflect on your experiences with empathy, and include appropriate and compelling evidence from your life to illustrate your understanding of what empathy means.

You may be creative in your approach to this assignment, but here are two possible ways to help you begin:

1. Focus on one (or possibly two) particularly important empathic moment(s) in your life, where you either showed empathy or someone showed empathy for you, demonstrating how this one event affected the understanding of empathy you possess today.

2. Provide a more complete history of your life as an empathic person, connecting several different instances to your current attitudes and behaviors regarding empathy. If you choose this option, you might pull together various highlights from your past, both positive and negative, and focus on how all those events led you to your understanding of what empathy means today.

No matter which approach you choose, you should be aware of and write for the audience for this essay, myself and your classmates, and then make choices about how to share your experiences in a way that best affects that audience. Since this is a narrative, remember to tell your reader the story of your experiences, setting the scene, describing the “characters” and events, and engaging the audience’s imagination. This should also engage with and reference at least some of the ideas about empathy gained from the readings and in-class materials we watch and read.

Criteria for Evaluation:

This essay will be worth 100 points (10% of the overall grade in this course), with the grade

breakdown as follows:

Clear/Engaging Narrative

In-depth Analysis/Engagement with Readings Logical Organization

First Draft/Participation in Peer Review Revision/Improvement

Reflection Letter


20 pts 25 pts 10 pts 15 pts 20 pts 10 pts 100 pts


This essay should be 2-3 pages in length (if you feel you need more space to adequately get your point across, longer is also fine). It should be typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1-inch margins.

Finally, try to have fun with this essay (it’s allowed and encouraged, I swear). Don’t be afraid to use a personal or idiosyncratic voice and/or humor if it seems appropriate. You have a lot of freedom with tone and style here; don’t be afraid to go out on a limb.

Important Dates:

Hard Copies of First Draft Due Wednesday, March 4th for Peer Review

Final Draft + Reflection Letter Due Monday day March 16th via Blackboard

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