Proposal-Letter Essay Assignment
For this assignment, you will write a letter proposing your solution to an issue you’ve observed. Chances are you’ve seen something in your day-to-day life that doesn’t meet your expectations (e.g., traffic signals, apartment parking, sidewalks, public transportation, and etc.) and you’ve probably thought of ways to improve the problem. Although the examples listed above are in the public space, you can also write a proposal for an issue in your private space with friends, family, and coworkers (i.e., splitting bills, sharing chores, picking up shifts, planning holiday work shifts). Two important lessons I hope you learn from this assignment are how to advocate for yourself and how to affect change in your daily life.
As explained in The Little Seagull Handbook, proposals are “ideas put forward that offer solutions to some problem. All proposals are arguments: when you propose something, you are trying to persuade others to consider–and hopefully to accept–your solution to the problem” (66).
Write a letter to a decision-maker proposing your solution to X problem. The key question you’ll answer is “What is X problem, and how can it be solved?”
You’re answering the key question for a person/group in a decision-making position–someone who can have an effect on the problem you’ve identified. Keep in mind the kinds of things your audience will understand already and what you’ll need to explain and/or describe in greater detail.
Your goals as a writer include:
A strong thesis statement that appears early.
A precise description of the problem. Offer accurate and fair analysis of your chosen problem. Show that you understand the complexity of your topic. Consider including media (pictures, video, drawings, graphics, audio files) if appropriate for your rhetorical situation.
A clear and compelling solution to the problem. Include clear, thoughtful reasoning; avoid fallacies.
Since this is a letter, you do not have to use MLA format and citations because your audience may find MLA style awkward or confusing. But, you still have to use quotation marks and cite your sources in some way (hyperlinks, footnotes, endnotes, image captions, and etc.).
Format: business letter in block format. Make additional style choices (font, headings, lists, citation format) according to your rhetorical situation. For example, if your letter is long, consider using headings to make it easier to read. ► Refer to Purdue OWL’s “Writing the Basic Business Letter” webpage: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/professional_technical_writing/basic_business_letters/index.html, and the example letter on D2L.
Length: There is no length requirement. Your letter should be of sufficient length to meet your rhetorical situation.