The two readings are required. Your submission will be graded in part according to how carefully and thoughtfully you engage with these challenging articles. They are:
Make sure to include a bibliography citing any outside sources you choose to reference. Incorporating outside research into your writing, although not required, may improve the overall quality of your essay. Your bibliography does not count against your word total.
Entries will be judged on the quality of their writing (style and mechanics), their level of engagement with the topic, and the strength of their reasoning. Essays that make an argument and support it well will out-perform essays that only provide a neutral overview of both sides. Judges will not consider their personal feelings on the topic when evaluating the essays.