Christina Michaud

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Diverse in style and topics, the essays in this volume of WR reflect the Boston University undergraduate experience and showcase the goals of the Writing Program. As editors, we were privileged to read scores of essays submitted for consideration: the essays you will read here exhibit excellent analytical and argument skills, rigorous research and citation methods, and elegant prose, from the word to the sentence to the paragraph to the essay.

The four prize-winning essays that follow particularly exemplify these qualities; selecting these essays for prizes was both challenging, given the vast field of interesting, high-quality submissions, and also quite straightforward, as each of these essays clearly merits a prize for its own unique strengths.

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents: Yolanda’s Struggle with Identity” by Jiani (Liz) Shen was written for WR 098, one of our courses specifically aimed at multilingual writers. In this essay, Shen skillfully brings together three disparate texts, synthesizing them to argue that globalization prevents the characters in Julia Alvarez’s novel from having a “harmonious” identity, even as it brings them great advantages.

A creative retelling of a classic Chinese poem, “Fallen Sakura: A Retelling of the Ballad of Fa Mulan,” by Helen Luo, is accompanied by an analytical essay that explains Luo’s choices in the creative work. Written for one of the classes in our fairy tales cluster, this piece shows that great argument-driven writing need not be narrowly defined by genre borders.

Reetu (Ria) Varadhan wrote “American Media and the Dream in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me” in WR 100, yet uses a variety of sources (both literary and journalistic) with great ease to build a complex argument about the mainstream media and its flawed depiction of African Americans.

Finally, “Adopted into an Identity Struggle: An Exploration of Themes Presented in Wo Ai Ni Mommy and Somewhere Between” was written by Gayle Tan for WR 150, our research course, and truly shows Tan’s facility with research. The two documentaries about international adoption that this essay analyzes are wonderfully contextualized for readers, and their subtleties are not overlooked.

All the essays in this volume, whether prize winners or not, are worth reading, as much for their insightful content and compelling and original arguments as for their status as exemplars of excellent writing. Whether you are a student or a faculty member, we hope you enjoy this volume and allow the diversity of these texts to speak to you as a reader and as a writer.