Description: Your “Difficulty Essay” will present a personal account of the challenges and processes you
faced while thinking through a particular concept, problem, and/or idea in Michelle Alexander’s The New
Jim Crow. You will practice asking not only “What am I learning?” but “How am I learning?” in order to
confront yourself with the effectiveness (and ineffectiveness) of your approaches. The essay’s
introduction should set-up the context for a specific question that you pose for further investigation and/or
clarification. Then Part I of your analysis will describe the challenges, points of clarification, and/or
conceptual obstacles in detail. Part II of your analysis will describe the steps you took to overcome those
difficulties and challenges—including doing some additional research and offering multiple perspectives
on the concept, problem, and/or idea to clear up your conceptual confusions. The conclusion of your
analysis will describe the results, positive and negative, of these efforts. Note that your page-one
introduction and thesis will present a brief comprehensive overview of all parts of this analysis before
plunging the reader into an in-depth discussion of each one sequentially in the body of the essay.
Ultimately, this assignment focuses on raising awareness of the processes one goes through as readers,
writers, and researchers (metacognitive awareness).