October 27, 2009 Archives
A draft of a 2-3 page persuasive essay. Upload to Turnitin.com.
Demonstrate your ability to use some combination of the rhetorical triangle (ethos, pathos, and logos) to support a non-obvious claim -- something that a reasonable person might disagree with.
Recall also the strategy we used in class on Tuesday, in which we tried to move from a paper that simply made an observation ("School lunches are an important part of healthy nutriain") to a paper that begins with a non-controversial claim, but proceeds to use that claim in a controversial way. ("Because school lunches are such an important part of healthy nutrition, all students should purchase their meals from the school cafeteria.")
Remember also to avoid simply making claims about the way things should be, or would be if you were in charge of the world.
- Students should stop bullying each other.
- Prices at the bookstore should be lower.
- People should stop judging each other based on their skin color.
But consider instead, "Teachers who act as if bullying and being bullied are normal parts of growing up, and who decline to get involved when bullying takes place, fail to secure the kind of safe, comfortable learning environment that all children require in order to thrive." This sentence doesn't come right out and TELL the reader "Bullying is bad" -- instead it makes an ethical and logical argument, equating a teacher's acceptance of bullying with a teacher's failure to teach.
Rather than simply stating beliefs and opinions, back up your claims with specific evidence. Avoid "Some people say..." or "It is usually the case that..." It's enough to SHOW me one specific incident you witnessed, and draw appropriate conclusions from that incident. (Just because you saw one person do this one thing does not mean that all people do it, but you can at least share what you observed, on this one occasion, when this one thing happened.)
This class does not require any outside research; you are free to choose a topic that you can support with your own personal experience and common sense. However, if you should choose a paper topic that involves statistics, current events, or other specialized knowledge, please see SF Writer, Chapter 27, MLA documentation, for the proper citation method used in basic composition classes.
See also Chapter 18, "Strategies of Argument."