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ENGL 1301: Can You Feel the Love?

This guide was created for Dr. Brinkman's English 1301: Composition & Rhetoric I, summer 6WI 2023.

Essay 2

In the poem “what love isn’t,” Yrsa Daley-Ward makes a claim that “only songs get it right,” with “it” being love. This essay asks you to select a song and its music video and put it in dialogue with one (or more) of the class readings covered in weeks 1 and 2, to reflect on if your musical selection gets “it.”  Pick any song that deals with love; the lyrics can include bad words, but please consider your audience and don’t pick anything pornographic or too graphic in general. 

The Steps: 
1.    Select an English language love song, a piece with an accompanying music video.
2.    Analyze the lyrics and video, deciphering how the song and video portray, promote, and understand love.
3.    Select one (or more) of the class readings:  “Should We Scoff at the Idea of Love at First Sight;” “Love Is a Joint Project;” “There’s No Such Thing as Everlasting Love.” You may also choose one of the essays from Essay 1’s prompt: “The Science of Love,” “Boys on the Side,” or “Love.” 
4.    Analyze the song and video, reflecting on how and why the song “gets it” (or doesn’t). 
5.    Use the Writing Guide to help you structure your essay. 
6.    Ensure that you include all required elements.


1. MLA formatting
2. The essay must be at least 800 words long.
3. The essay must cite ONE class reading.
4. The essay must provide DIRECT QUOTES from the lyrics.
5. The essay must provide SPECIFIC EXAMPLES from the music video (with a time stamp in the in-text citation).
6. The essay must analyze the song/video, telling the reader what definition/ideas/concepts/narrative the music associates with love.  Answer the question, in this art, what does love mean? (Your thesis should answer this question.) 
7. You MUST cite all outside sources

Automatic Grades:
Too short (750 words or less): 50
Major citation error (missing a WC page or in-text citations): 65
Academic dishonesty (plagiarism, AI etc.): 0


Point Value




  • Heading, header, original title
  • Works Cited page and in-text citations
  • Double-spaced Times New Roman
  • Indented paragraphs
  • No extra spaces



  • Appears at the end of the introduction and beginning of the conclusion
  • Well-developed, laying out the argument of the essay
  • Clear
  • Arguable

Song analysis


  • Song is identified/summarized
  • Author provides properly cited direct quotations from the song
  • Author provides commentary on the quotations, explaining their meaning and purpose
  • Author uses text evidence from the song to support his/her/their point
  • Author introduces quotes from the song properly

Video analysis


  • Author includes specific examples from the music video (with a time stamp)
  • Author provides context/content/relevant information for the video
  • Author uses examples from the video to support his/her/their point
  • Author properly introduces the examples from the video

Use of class reading


  • Author summarizes the class reading (using the 4-part summary)
  • Author provides context/relevant information when he/she/they quotes the reading
  • Author introduces and cites the reading properly
  • Author provides appropriate commentary on the reading
  • Author uses the reading as text evidence to support his/her/their point

Organization and Development


  • Essay has separate introduction and conclusion paragraphs
  • Essay has the required number of paragraphs (see the Writing Guide)
  • Ideas flow logically
  • Transitions between ideas
  • Edited and written in academic English
  • Well-developed paragraphs

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