Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Link to Libraries homepage
Link to Libraries homepage
Rutgers University Libraries

Spencer Williams - April 2020: Writing Prompts

"Bloodchild" Assignment Writing Prompts

Octavia Butler’s short story Bloodchild is a disturbing account of alien/human co-habitation and romance. Using “Bloodchild” as your primary text, and two other sources as your secondary texts, answer one of the following questions:

1. Butler has referred to this story as a “love story.” Do you agree? Consider what aspects of this story align with love stories we are familiar with, and the many forms love can take. Where does “Bloodchild” divert from or indulge in the theme of “love”?


2. How does Butler’s story relate to current social issues about race, gender, or class?

Consider the extent to which these question converse with the story’s themes of species interdependence and bodily autonomy.

Secondary sources should include:

- One academic article from a scholarly journal from the Rutger’s library database or JSTOR

- One popular article from a reputable online publication.  (Suggestions: The New Yorker, Harper'sThe Nation, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Jacobin, The New York Times.)

Things to consider:

- What seems to be a main theme of this piece of literature?

- Why is this piece of literature relevant or important in this cultural moment?

- What argument is this piece of literature making and how does it support that argument?

- How does literature function as a powerful tool for understanding political issues?

- What topics of power and privilege found in this work are important for us to understand?

- Who should care about this issue and why?

Your two additional sources should enhance your reading and support your argument. Be sure that your essay includes a thesis statement that directly and specifically responds to the prompt. Organize your paper carefully, making sure that paragraphs are guided by topic sentences, and support your claims with specific textual evidence. Keep in mind: though this is a research paper, you are writing an argumentative, not an informative paper. As in your other essays, your task is to prove a thesis, but this time with the help of one source you identify, in addition to the two I’ve provided.

Your essay must:

· Be 4-6 pages in 12-point font

· Include a Works Cited Page. Your research assignment will not be accepted if sources are not properly cited and if a Works Cited page is not included. Follow MLA format.

· Include an annotated bibliography

· Be double-spaced (but don’t include extra spaces between paragraphs)

· Be composed via Microsoft Word.

· Include the honor pledge

Additional Requirements

Annotated Bibliography: You must find at least 3 sources that you can use to develop and/or support your argument. For each source, you need to include:

· A full citation in MLA format

· A one paragraph summary of the source – Paraphrase the source’s focus and argument.

· A paragraph critiquing the sources and explaining how you plan to use it in service of your argument; How will it be valuable to you and what are its shortcomings and/or blind spots?

· At least two quotes that you’re considering using.


Due April 8/9: Essay Proposal

- This should include the following:

What topic are you exploring in this essay and why did you choose it?

What is your tentative thesis or argument you will be making in this essay?

What kinds of sources will support and deepen your analysis of this text?

Due Monday April 13: Bibliography, Thesis, and Topic Sentences

- Thesis and topic sentences.

Due Friday April 17: Final Paper

- Your final draft should be 4-6 pages long, typed in 1


Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers web sites to: or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback Form.