Assignments for the Online Essays of Waves, Second Edition

Chris BeecherAssignments

Discussion Questions:

  1. In “No Sweet Tooth, Just Trigger Fingers”, author Yasmeen Diego analyzes an advertisement in favor of stricter gun control and identifies the methods this advertisement uses to appeal to their target audience. Have you ever encountered a particularly persuasive commercial, poster ad, or billboard? What kind of appeals did the advertisement utilize and how did it effect you? Did you find yourself wanting to purchase or experience any of the products or services? If so, why?
  2. Utilizing images, filters, and descriptive captions, Peter Messiha uses Instagram (@notabvstander) to archive their personal projection as a writer, and to record the valuable skills learned during their early college career. Do you think that social media can be an effective analytical tool in allowing students to evaluate their own, or their peers, academic growth?
  3. In “The Dark Side of Rap”, Emily Regala discusses the way that late alternative rapper XXXTentacion addresses mental health issues in his music. While mental issues can sometimes be considered a taboo topic, Regala reports that XXXTentacion has been praised by fans for opening up about his own personal battle with depression, particularly from the experience of an African American man. Do you think that it is necessary for an artist or influencer to have lived the experience they are representing? How could lived experience impact the representation of mental illness? What do you think influences perceptions about mental illness?
  4. In Amaya Burch’s essay, “’‘Formation’ to Unite the Nation”, Burch describes how Beyonce Knowles’ music video “Formation” depicts larger issues of racism, poverty, and police brutality that effect that African American community. Can you think of another artist who depicts heavy issues in their music videos? Do you think that they are effective in its portrayal of these dilemmas? Why or why not?

Writing Exercises:

  1. In Susannah Short’s reflection “The College Transition”, Short recounts the difficult transition from living at home with her parents to her new home in the CSUN dorms. Short pays particular attention to the loneliness she experienced during this transition, as well as the growing number of college students who struggle with mental health issues. In a 2-3 page essay, discuss the stigma against mental illness, and suggest some solutions to help encourage effected students to seek help in their community. Why do you think individuals with mental health issues are stigmatized, and how do you think this stigma affects them?
  2. Nicholas Michayluk uses passionate and descriptive language to describe his appreciation for the artistry of ramen. In a 1-2 page reflection, write a creative piece that describes a positive experience you had with a particular dish. Consider the cultural tradition of this particular food, and the importance of how, where, and when it is consumed; what could these things possibly imply?


  • Adulation
  • Appropriation
  • Consumer
  • Contention
  • Custom
  • Didactic
  • Emulate
  • Extrapolate
  • Propaganda
  • Ratification
  • Ritual