Essay #2 – Updating Plato’s Caves
Use these exploratory ideas to formulate your own thesis and develop a thoughtful essay on one of the following:
- Although Plato’s essay was written over 2000 years ago, his metaphors for the cave and shadows are a representation of all people (ALL of us, really) who are misperceiving reality and finding it easier to stay in situations in which we are able to continue to believe illusory reality instead of harsh truths. His metaphor is just as relevant today, it seems. Hopefully the light bulb goes off for you when you think of others that you know who believe illusions that they are unable to detect. Real life caves can be found in almost every sector of society as well as within our own mindsets and beliefs about our world, others, and ourselves. For example, we can see shadow dynamics of false realities in media, religion, government, education, cults, as well as within our own judgements of others and incorrect beliefs about ourselves and our relationships. Brainstorm to find as many modern day examples of cave realities as you can like the one described in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”, recognizing societal caves all the way down to our own personal caves. You may even wish to draw upon some of the same distinctions of reality as seen in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”. You do not have to tie in this reading, but there are definitely links to be found for shadow realities found during the time that MLK, Jr. was writing, as well, which you may draw upon. When you have a strong list of examples of current caves, narrow down that list to either the most poignant three examples or down to one complex cave which can be divided into sub-categories to be explored in different body paragraphs, and write an essay in which you make a case for the existence and perpetuation of Plato’s allegorical cave, these many years later. Your thesis should make the case that Plato’s metaphor is still relevant and applicable in our current world. You will support this thesis by providing at least three well-developed body paragraph in which you make a case for three current manifestations or one complex manifestation of Plato’s cave.
– This essay must be at least 900 words in length, not including the Works Cited Page.
– This essay must be typed double-spaces, have a title, and appropriate, MLA heading the the left-hand corner. Essay Format Guidelines and Tips
– The title must reflect your essay and not the title of the reading.
– Make sure you have a clear, well-developed thesis statement, usually the last sentence of your introductory paragraph.
– Make sure that you have topic sentences at the beginning of each body paragraph which not only convey the topic and purpose of the paragraph, but they also connect clearly to the main ideas within the thesis sentence.
– Use Quotations to support your discussion from Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. Every body paragraph should use at least one quotation from Plato’s text. Use MLA-style parenthetical citations: ex. (Plato 501). Information about in-text citations can be found in your Little Seagull Handbook pg. 119.
– Include a Works Cited page in MLA format. Sample Works Cited Page for Essay #2
– Leave yourself time to explore your topic and complete your essay.
– Mainly use 3rd person for this essay; however, if you have any personal anecdotes to support your main ideas, you main use these stories or examples as a source of secondary support and first person would be acceptable in these instances. Avoid using phrasing such as “I believe” or “I think.”
– No research for this essay. The ideas are coming from your own brainstorming and prewriting. Use only the readings and your own ideas for support.