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Project 3: Analyze Your Favorite Quote (4-5 pages)
A quote is when one person’s words are said or written by someone else, usually because those
words are meaningful. Famous quotes typically come from famous people or famous movies,
songs, or television shows. For example, “You complete me” from Jerry Maguire or “I think,
therefore I am” from the philosopher Descartes. But quotes don’t have to be from famous people.
They can come from anyone: grandmothers, best friends, professors, etc. They can be old
proverbs like, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” As humans, we love quotes because they speak
to us on a deep level somehow. They remind us of good times. They teach us lessons. They tell
us something true about life or family or love.
In this assignment, you will analyze a quote that is meaningful to you. Your audience will be
other ASU students who might benefit from knowing this quote too. You will need to:
1) Explain where the quote comes from. Try to answer questions like these:
a. Who said the quote?
b. Where did they say it?
c. Who were they speaking to?
2) Explain the context of the quote. Try to answer questions like these:
a. What was the meaning of the quote when it was said originally?
b. How do you know what the original meaning was?
3) Explain what the quote means to you. Try to answer questions like these:
a. When was the first time you heard the quote?
b. Why do you like it?
c. Do you ever think about this quote if you are sad or upset or happy? Why? What
is an example of when that has happened?
Possible Places to Look for Quotes
Favorite movies, favorite celebrities, favorite songs, favorite tv shows, famous proverbs, famous
Things to Remember
This is your last project in WAC 107, so you will need to use all the skills we have practiced this
semester. That means:
thinking really carefully about what your audience needs
using a “hook” in your introduction
putting the main idea of your essay in the thesis
using transitions to connect your body paragraphs to the thesis and to each other
writing a conclusion that explains what the audience can take away from your essay for
their own lives
including a Works Cited page to show the audience where your quote comes from
Grading Criteria
1) Introduction provides background information needed to explain where the quote comes
2) Introduction has a good “hook” that makes the audience want to keep reading
3) Thesis explains the topic (the quote you are analyzing) and WHY it is a special or
meaningful quote
4) Body paragraphs are divided into two parts: some paragraphs explain the context of the
quote and some paragraphs explain why the quote is meaningful to the author (you)
5) Essay includes transitions that connect each body paragraph to the thesis and to the other
body paragraphs
6) Conclusion summarizes the main idea of the essay and talks to the audience about how
the quote can be meaningful to them
7) Essay is clearly written for other ASU students
8) Essay includes a Works Cited page for the quote and any research the author uses
9) Essay is written in MLA format and is 4-5 pages long
Baohong Zhang
WAC 107
Emily Cooney
No man is an Island
In one of our family gatherings, one of my comic uncles got to sing a song, a
genre that that sounded quite new. Right after the song he stated, ‘Each one of us needs
the other, none can stand alone’, and then it struck me that the he repeated the line ‘no
man is an island’ in the song. He insisted that it was very ironical to be so closely related
to each other yet so far from each other’s help. He continued that most of us lived
isolated lives from the rest, doing our things alone and just seldom called to check on
each other. Further, he explained that maybe some of the family members felt insecure in
seeking each other’s’ help, or where not very sure that they should share their burdens
with the rest. He was so passionate in his explanations that I had the quote running
through my mind over and over.
Later, I searched and found that the song was of reggae genre, sang by Dennis
Brown, and interestingly from an island called Jamaica (Biography.com). Previously, it
had been sung by Tenth Avenue North as a Christian gospel song. After Dennis Brown’s
song, very many versions of songs came up. The numerous productions of the quote in
song, and later a film indicate the important message it communicates.
Probably, Uncle John couldn’t find a better quote to pass his message to the
family members, or else thought that everyone was familiar with the quote as himself.
Uncle John was speaking during a family bonding session, a meeting called purposely
just to have fun as a family, during the 2017 Christmas holiday. The meeting is held at
least annually; during the holiday’s seasons, and Christmas was the best of all. During
such meetings, the seniors took turns in speaking to the rest of us, about four families,
with one or two chances to the juniors to say hello on behalf of the rest.
Uncle John might have appeared to have spoken an obvious topic, that we often
hear from the national level, down to the school teams, but those words were perfect for
the family situation. While addressing the family, he explained how each family sought
autonomy, seldom getting to know how the others are doing. This was also aided by the
fact that each family lived miles from each other, and hardly got together except like once
annually, which is usually for fun. We didn’t share our challenges, or ideas to do
something together, a practice which he rebuked, saying that we can’t survive all by
ourselves, we needed each other’s’ support survive. Obviously, we hadn’t met nay
serious challenge as a family to learn that we needed each other’s support more than the
fun. Maybe still, we were right that no man can have fun alone, happiness is sweeter
when shared, as I often heard classmates say when somebody wanted to be mean with
their small parties.
The quote ‘no man is an island’ has been used quite often in different aspects, as
titles to films, songs and even in book writing. Only a few other quotes have been used as
wide as ‘no man is an island’. It has been used in communities, groups and teams to call
for unity, and support from everyone. It has been used to remind people to share their
problems with others, especially during counseling when somebody feels like they are the
only ones facing such kind of challenges. However, the origin of the quote is traced to a
poem written by John Donne, who existed in the 16th and 17th centuries, born in 1571 and
died in 1631. Through the poem, he intended to spread a Christian message on the
dependency of man on each other, and that in isolation, people cannot do well (Martin).
The community is like a continent, each a piece attached to others, not an isolated island
existing on its own. He loss of or to one man is a loss to all, just as if a part of a continent
is swept away, it’s a loss to the while continent. He hoped that the people could be one,
embracing each other in and out of seasons, as he believed that everyone was important,
and that whatever was happening in someone’s life spread out to everyone else, in one
way of another.
‘No man is an island’ seems a pretty easy quote to understand, that no man stands
alone like an island, but that only gives a shallow meaning. However, going through the
poem gives deeper insights of what Donne intended to pass to the people. Therefore I
have read the entire poem and its analysis the original message that Donne expressed
through that piece of art. The poem expresses that we are connected as one large piece of
a continent, that if we lose any of us, the whole continent loses (PoemHunter). The
additions of that if a man is struck by death it also affects him, and that it doesn’t matter
to whom the bell tolls, because to whoever it tolls, it tolls to everyone. This gives a
reflection of the ancient days when death of a person was announced through tolling of
the church bell, and hence people sent messengers to confirm who has passed on
(Delaney). Donne message was that there wasn’t need to inquire who has died, as it
didn’t affect that one alone, but indeed, the loss was to everyone. Such expressions
illustrate that is not that we have to depend on the other, but also share our tribulations. If
things go wrong to one, the others are affected too (Martin).
The quote might be famous, and may have often heard it, or rather I thought it is
just another cliché, but I grasped it well during our family get together, 2017 Christmas
season. Presentation through a song made it sink well in me, as well as the passion with
which it was delivered. First thought what’s in an island, very beautiful, fine breeze and
home of rare species of both plants and animals. Then came the second part; ‘no man
stands alone’, and the message came out clearly. I like the quote very much, and am sure
in this am not an island, but a piece of a continent all united in liking it. First it’s quite
short and simple, no need to toggle your mind to say it, it often comes out as fast as the
thought. Also, it’s quite easy to understand, once you say it, rarely anyone would ask that
you explain its meaning, especially if you include the second part of it.
The quote does not really have a strong emotional attachment that it can arouse
emotions, or be conjured up when emotions rise. However, I often want to use it as
frequent as there are calls to unity, to empathy and integration. I often remember it when
I feel isolated, or when I have an issue that needs assistance from another person. I often
have to convince myself that they will also seek help sometime from me. When I see
isolated people especially the homeless, and how some people treat them as society
rejects, yet they need help as we all do. The quote makes me feel like we are all beggars
just that we beg differently and for different things. In times of unity call, it makes me
feel part of the whole team, the whole group. One day while having a walk with my
friends we met a beggar, of whom my friends scorned when he asked for help. It struck
me how they couldn’t understand that however different we could be, we really needed
each other. However, I confronted them, some felt sorry, some didn’t care, we assisted
him, though the whole experience was quite moving, especially how many times I
repeated the quote, while arguing with my friends. If only I could sing like my uncle,
maybe it could have moved masses, but I was glad, and I am always when others get the
message as I didn’t. We all need each other, we are never better alone, and we are never
better apart.
Works Cited
Biography.com. Dennis Brown. 02 April 2014.
Delaney, William. “No Man is an Island Analysis.” 2018. enotes. 06 April 2018
Martin, Gary. The meaning and origin of the expression: No man is an Island. 2018.
PoemHunter. No man is an Island-Poem by John Donne. 30 May 2013.

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