engl1301 writing surfwise essay about doc paskowitz family

ESSAY 3: Surfwise

Taking a Position

Here is the prompt that you will respond to:

Did Doc and Juliette Paskowitz fulfill their parental responsibility to educate their children and prepare them for adult life?

You will take a position one way or the other — you must take a yes or no position — and explain clearly your reason for taking this position. The essay will be a minimum of 1400 words in length. You will use one research source, which I have given you, and the essay will contain a Works Cited page at the end. The Works Cited page does not count in the total word count for length.

What the essay must do and contain:

  • AN OPENING PARAGRAPH THAT DOES NOT MENTION OR REFER TO THE FILM OR THE FAMILY IN ANY WAY,and that directly introduces some important issue you will raise in the essay, as we practiced in Essay 2.
  • A thesis statement: a single sentence that states clearly both the position you are taking on the question and your reason for taking that position. Please underline the thesis.
  • A clear objective explanation of who the Paskowitzes are, what choices they made regarding education, and why they made those choices.
  • The research source I gave you, properly incorporated into the essay and cited at the end in proper MLA format on a WORKS CITED page (SEE BELOW, “RESEARCH AND WORKS CITED”).
  • You do not have to cite your references to the film in the text when you refer to it.
  • One specific real-world experience that demonstrates or proves why you hold the position you have taken. This must be something that happened to you, or that you observed or know about personally. It should not come from a research source.
  • A concluding paragraph.


  • You must use the article on Navah Paskowitz that I have provided. It will be used within the text in some relevant way, cited using in-text citations.
  • I will provide an example of the Works Cited page. Please follow it.
  • The Works Cited page will contain the proper citations I have provided for the film Surfwise and for the Navah Paskowitz article.



SURFWISE Essay Structure:

The essay should be a fairly simple structure, following the instructions. Here is what it should look like:

1. Introductory paragraph, following the instructions (1 paragraph).

2. Brief objective description of the Paskowitzes: the film, who they are, and what choice they made about education that is the issue we are discussing. This should not contain anything about your opinion on or position about what they did — just objective description, as we practiced in Essay 2. (Not more than 1 paragraph).

3. Brief objective explanation of why Doc and Juliette made the educational choices for their kids that they made. This also should not contain anything about whether you agree or not — just explanation of why they made the choices. Use what you see and hear, and what you can infer, from the film (Not more than 1 paragraph).

4. Your thesis, giving your position on the question I ask in the instructions, and the reason(s) for that position. Then, discussion and explanation of your position. This section should be where you use and cite the research source (the Navah Paskowitz interview article) and the “personal experience” that I ask for in the instructions (between 2-4 paragraphs).

5. Conclusion paragraph that wraps up the essay. A reader should be able to read the conclusion and understand what the issue was, and what your position was on it (1 paragraph).

6. Works Cited, at the end, containing MLA-format citations for the film and the research source in alphabetical order. Use the citations I provided on Canvas. Do not use any other sources besides the film and the Navah Paskowitz article.


You are looking for an article titled, “Navah Paskowitz-Walther: The Jewish Mother of Surfing’s First Family.” Use the one that appears on a website called Forward.

And watch this film

View here:


This link goes to the complete film Surfwise. While watching the film, focus on the question of education — did the Paskowitzes’ choices about education count as fulfilling their parental responsibilities to educate their kids? Why did they make these choices?