Table of Contents |Previous |Next

Unit 4 - The Argumentative Essay

 

4.1 Objectives
4.2 Discussion
4.3 Summary and Samples
4.4 Lab
4.5 Exercises



4.1 Objectives

To learn the parts an pieces of The Argumentative Theme. (This is the Apocalypse, the most important lesson in an argumentative writing course.)

As a part of that Objective, you will learn the parts, pieces, and functions of the INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH, the CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH, and the TITLE. (The Body Paragraph is covered, in extensis, in Unit 3.)

You will also learn how to write an effective, easy OUTLINE for the Argumentative Theme.


4.2 Discussion

4.2.1 THE ARGUMENTATIVE THEME

The argumentative theme is the basic form of persuasion, or argument, that we will study. It works for any length paper, including research papers, although the number of paragraphs and subdivisions must be modified. It also may form the basis for an argumentative speech (also called a Speech to Persuade), something you use in college or in life. You may use this form of argument, either formally or informally, to convince others of your position, your thesis.

The M1A1 Argumentative Theme is more effective if it deals with a CONTROVERSIAL, WORTHWHILE, and RESTRICTED topic, and is only as effective as the evidence, logic, and personal analysis that go into it.

Its effectiveness is typically a result of its RESTRICTION; the smaller your focus, the more specific will be your evidence; the more convincing your argument.DO not attempt to wrestle with and subdue the entire elephant. Write only about that small piece of the elephant's ear you can hang onto.



"The best thesis is an affront to somebody, a fly in the facial ointment of all convention."
Sheridan Baker


The PARTS and PIECES of the argumentative theme(of perhaps 5-700 words) would look like:

TITLE


INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH:

Introductory Statements (6-8 sentences)
Thesis
Plan Step

BODY PARAGRAPH(S):

Topic Sentence
Evidence
Analysis
(Restated Topic Sentence-optional)

CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH:

Restated Plan Step
Restated Thesis
Concluding Statements (3-4 sentences)

A research paper might consist of three (or more) sections, with body paragraphs in each section. The ten-year life plan Research Paper (see Exercise 4.5.2, below) contains three required sections: Your education plan, your work/jobs plan, and a lifestyle plan. Each section may have a brief introduction, and, might have a brief conclusion as well.


4.2.2 The Introductory Paragraph

consists of three parts, the Introductory Statement(s), Thesis Statement, and Plan Step. The PLAN STEP is a summary of the TOPIC SENTENCES of your BODY PARAGRAPH.

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENTS
--This may be a specific, attention-getting observation, a quotation, or a very sharp piece of evidence. The Introductory Statements normally name the topic, indicate some restriction or focus, and set the tone of the paper. In a 500-750 word paper, they should usually be 6-8 sentences in length. They should NOT be glittering generalities, one over the world statements that are meaningless and bore the reader. Do not start by stating platitudes about the importance of education to a refugee; tell us about your trip to this country. Concreteness and specificity may as well start in the introductory statements.

THESIS STATEMENT
--The point you are arguing. An Opinion. Restricted, Unified, and Precise. The narrower your thesis, the more specific will be your evidence, the more effective your argument. The thesis statement is, however, more general than your topic sentences, because they support the Thesis.

PLAN STEP--A summary of your topic sentences. The Plan Step has a logical, because-therefore relationship with the Thesis. The Plan Step generally, usually, starts with the words, "I Say this because. . ." otherwise known as ISTB.


Here is a SAMPLE INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH written by a super student. Note how the parts and pieces are clearly identifiable, in part assisted with the use of the words "I say this because," between the THESIS and the PLAN STEP. Note also that the plan step, though two sentences long, implies that there will be three body paragraphs:

TRANSCENDING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES


Their homelands were separated by half the globe. They experienced culturally different backgrounds. Their lifetimes are divided by 1900 years. This is the relationship between Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and the Apostle Paul. These authors have never met, and yet some of their writings parallel each other in most illuminating ways. These ways literally bond us together as a human race. As Jeanne has asked, "What are those threads. . .the pattern for who we are as Americans" ("Tapestry"4c)? Overcoming cultural differences is a common thread in the writings of Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and the Apostle Paul. I say this because although they were both put through trials, they were both motivated by faith and took it upon themselves to be of service to others. Moreover, they both promoted the equality of all people through their writings


4.2.3 The Body Paragraphs

each start with a TOPIC SENTENCE which is an opinion, and which is itself, Restricted, Unified, and Precise (Same criteria as Thesis Statement). The Body Paragraph contains EVIDENCE and an ANALYSIS of that evidence.

EVIDENCE
consists of facts which support the Topic Sentence, and the evidence is ORDERED, normally in either strong-to-strongest, chronological, or a spatial order. The Evidence is supported by your ANALYSIS in which you relate and explain the relationship between the evidence and the Topic Sentence. The criticality of analysis may be seen in a trial in which, from the SAME evidence, the prosecution argues "guilty," and the defense argues "not guilty."

A Body Paragraph may conclude with a RESTATED TOPIC SENTENCE.

THE QUALITIES OF AN EFFECTIVE BODY PARAGRAPH: An effective Body Paragraph is UNIFIED (contains only one controlling idea), ORDERED (see above), COMPLETE (Contains "enuf" evidence to prove the point in the Topic Sentence), and COHERENT (Flows smoothly because of transition words, consistent pronoun referents, and a logical order to the evidence). For a more detailed discussion of The Body Paragraph, see UNIT 3.

A SAMPLE BODY PARAGRAPH
for the sample essay quoted ABOVE about Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and the Apostle Paul, written by a student, is:

Both Jeanne and Paul were confronted by many trials. During WW II, when Jeanne was seven years old, her family was placed in an internment camp in the desert in Manzanar, California. They remained incarcerated there for four years. Her entire family slept in only two small rooms, and were given only two thin army blankets each. Jeanne said, "It was bitter cold when we arrived, and the wind did not abate ("Arrival" l8l-86). She also experienced difficulty in planning a career because of her ethnic heritage ("Tapestry"4c). Similarly, Paul was put through many trials because he was a Christian. For example, he was imprisoned twice, beaten with rods three times, and once even stoned. These are only a few of the hardships Paul faced. Although he suffered, he delighted in his weakness because this made it evident to him that there was a greater power supporting him through all that he did (II Cor. 11:23-25).

Please note four things about this excellent paragraph. First, go back up and look at the relationship between the TOPIC SENTENCE of the Body Paragraph, and the beginning of the PLAN STEP in the Introductory Paragraph. The PLAN STEP promises to argue how they were subjected to trials; the TOPIC SENTENCE delivers on that promise. Second, note that this paragraph is an excellent COMPARISON paragraph which arguews similarities--as opposed to a paragraph which CONTRASTS differences between things. Third, while I discourage students from writing about religion, this paper does not violate that stricture because it stays in a historical context. But finally, and most important, note the CONCRETENESS of the EVIDENCE in the paragraph.



4.2.3.1 Order of Body Paragraphs/Acknowledging the Opposition

In Unit 3.2.5 we looked at the order of evidence in a paragraph and concluded that it could be ordered chronologically, strong to strongest, or spatially. The same is true for paragraphs. You may order them the same way.

Let us suppose however, that you have one paragraph that argues against your thesis. You feel that your argument will have more credibility if you ACKNOWLEDGE the opposite side of the argument. Or, using the success in English example above, let us suppose that your family background was poor preparation for success (Family always moving, English not spoken in home, parents always working, too tired to help with homework), but that your previous education was excellent preparation. Being a good student, you know it is not a good move to ride the fence, and so you decide to add a third paragraph that talks about your excellent attitude. Now you have a thesis that argues that you will be successful, one paragraph that runs counter to the thesis, and two that support it. Introduce the negative first in order to "acknowledge the opposition" (to use Toulmin's terms) and then order the remaining two paragraphs strong-to-stronger.


4.2.3.2 Comparison/Contrast Organization

"If we rightly estimate what we call good and evil, we shall see it lies much in the comparison."
William Blake

First, we must adopt a common terminology, however. If we "compare" objects, we are proving that they are similar. If we "contrast" objects, we are proving that they are dissimilar. Blake was arguing that two seemingly dissimilar concepts are actually similar, and texts often schizophrenically talk about "Comparison and Contrast." In your paper you will normally either compare OR contrast, but not both.

In either event you must decide whether to use the "Subject-by-Subject" organization or "Feature-by-Feature." Let us suppose you are contrasting two tennis shoes: Nike and Reebok. To arrive at your thesis that Nike is the better of the two, you considered 7 different features, threw out the weakest four, and decided to write on the three features of Price, Appearance, and Durability (in that strong-to-strongest order).If you write using the Subject-by-Subject pattern you would write first about Reebok and then Nike, using two body paragraphs. If you wrote using the Feature-by-Feature pattern, you would use three body paragraphs. The first would cover Price, the second Appearance, and the third Durability.


4.2.4 The Concluding Paragraph

starts with a restatement of your PLAN STEP. Here you are restating and summarizing your argument. You do not need to do this verbatim, but do not skimp either. I generally use one sentence per body paragraph here.

Next, you restate the THESIS, and I generally do this verbatim. The entire paper has been spent arguing and supporting this point. No need to change it.

The concluding paragraph ends with CONCLUDING STATEMENTS. These three-four sentences may look back to your Introductory Statements in order to "frame" your paper, may state wider implications, and do provide a graceful exit. This is not the place to be introducing new material, however.

The cardinal sin of body paragraphs is to be too cursory, too brief. Avoid this by including all of the parts and pieces, and by writing effective closing statements.

If you follow the explanation of the body para, you will see that at minimum, it is six sentences in length: One each for each body para, one for the restated thesis, and three sentences of graceful exit/wider implications and/or framing.

The Concluding Paragraph is the last thing the teacher reads before assigning the grade, the last thing the banker reads before deciding on granting the loan, the last thing your reader reads before deciding whether your argument is reliable. Last impressions count!


4.2.5 The Title

Is short, sexy, provocative, and creates an immediate impression. It should entice the reader to want to read your paper, and a working title can help you stay focused during your writing. The title is NOT a summary of your thesis. It may include some mystery. It may use some alliteration. If you are assigned to write a paper about Success in an English Class, the title SHOULD NOT BE "Success." I The title could be "Tom's Triumph" or "Dan's Disaster" or "The Nguyen Dynasty's First Great English Writer." Or "Sex and the Single Writer," or "Overfelt's Finest." Use your imagination in the title. As Gatsby says, "Let your mind romp like the mind of god." Be creative!


4.2.6 OUTLINING The Argumentative Theme:


There are four parts to an Argumentative Theme OUTLINE. They are (1) The Title, (2) The Thesis, (3)Topic Sentences, and (4) Evidence, either listed or as complete sentences. An Outline, then, would look like:

TITLE

THESIS:

TOPIC SENTENCE 1:

EVIDENCE 1A

EVIDENCE 1B

TOPIC SENTENCE 2:

EVIDENCE 2A
EVIDENCE 2B
EVIDENCE 2C


TOPIC SENTENCE 3:

EVIDENCE 3A
EVIDENCE 3B



A COMPLETED OUTLINE would look like this:

OVERFELT's FINEST


THESIS: I will be highly successful in English class.

TOPIC SENTENCE 1: My family background has been intensive preparation for success in English class.

1A: My mother Nancy's PHD in Liberal Studies

1B: Family travel throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa--multicultural exposure

[note:this evidence is merely listed]

TOPIC SENTENCE 2: My excellent education at Overfelt High School left me well prepared for success in this English xx class.

2A: Mrs. Sloan's sophomore Social Studies class exposed me to a host of cultures and ideas.

2C: Craig "the Ace" Stephan's great Honors English Class taught me to construct powerful, well-organized arguments.

2B: My study partners in Junior English class, Tommy Wang and Chi Nguyen, helped me to begin to understand Asian Literature (Cite our discussion of Li Po's poetry).

[note:this evidence appears in complete sentences, and the last example includes the start of analysis to help remind you why you included the evidence.]

As long as you have the required four parts, you may lay out the evidence however works best for you. Also note in the second body paragraph how easy it is to change the ORDER of your evidence. As I was writing this outline, I concluded that Ace Stephan's class was the strongest item of evidence, so I labeled it "2C." DO NOT OUTLINE INTRODUCTORY and CONCLUDING PARAGRAPHS.

Also note that an outline is a living document. As I write this outline I am already seeing new ways to RESTRICT based on the EVIDENCE. If this were my paper, I would start sharpening my evidence and focusing toward a more restricted thesis, e.g.: "I will be highly successful with multicultural aspects of this English class.


4.3 Summary and Samples

The ARGUMENTATIVE THEME may be the most important tool you learn in college. That is why it is your educational apocalypse; that is why the title of this homepage. You can use the Argumentative Theme in many of your college courses, and in much of your life. Like a good movie which has a beginning, a middle, and an end, it contains an Introductory Paragraph, Body Paragraphs, and a Concluding Paragraph. It should start with a great title. The PARTS and PIECES look like this:

TITLE

INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH:

Introductory Statements (6-8 sentences)
Thesis
Plan Step

BODY PARAGRAPH(S):

Topic Sentence
Evidence
Analysis

CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH:

Restated Plan Step
Restated Thesis
Concluding Statements (3-4 sentences)


SAMPLE ARGUMENTATIVE THEME #1: Here is a wonderful argumentative theme written by Anna McW in an EWRT 1A Class. This paper is similar to the outline of "Overfelt's Finest," above. Thank you, Anna

A Successful Escape from New York

Everyone always hears about the horrors of New York and how it can be uncompromising and ruthless. Of course you've also been exposed to New York at its worst if you've seen the movies, RUMBLE IN THE BRONX or ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. However, it's not the hostility or the apathy of New York that I chose to recognize or dwell on. Rather it is in the positive qualities, such as its institutions of academic and cultural excellence, as well as the strength and passion of its ethnic diversity that I chose to reflect on and identify with. How am I able to say this? It was in New York's environment that I grew up, was educated, and acquired a philosophy that has enabled me to be successful in life. I like to think of this as my victory story. A story of "escaping" from what could have resulted in a life of negativity to one of accomplishment and optimism... of being successful at anything I set my mind to, including English 1A. I will be successful in English 1A. I say this because I believe my New York background and my family's strong sense of values have helped mold my thinking and instill in me determination and perseverance. These attributes together with my attendance at two of New York's finest parochial schools have, in turn, provided me with an excellent base, laid the groundwork for future accomplishments, and prepared me to succeed academically.

Yes, I do believe my family background prepared me to be successful in English 1A. However, it wasn't due to my parents' exceptional intelligence nor their academic credentials. Rather it was their belief in the importance of education, and in the encouragement and support they gave me while I was in school. Surprisingly enough however, their education consisted mainly of "hard knocks" as neither parent ever went past the ninth grade. My father , Andrew,was a self-educated machinist and my mother, Beatrice, a housewife. They decided early that their misfortunes would not become their children's, so education was made a priority in my family. Perhaps too, this was the reason both were so adamant about doing homework, studying, getting good grades and attending the "right" school. They believed New York's public education wouldn't give the foundation to be successful later in life, so it was decided that attendance at a parochial school was a "must." As we didn't have much money, I know their decision must have caused great financial hardship, especially since there were five children to were given an opportunity that will be forever remembered. Besides paying for private education, they also set the stage for the attainment of goals. My father applied that ideology to everything, and laid down the law regarding school, homework, and grades. It was my mom who helped us with our spelling and vocabulary lists, listened to our essays, and worked on our school projects. The only subject my father deemed noteworthy of his time was math, and that was because my mom was horrendous at it! Yes, I'll always be thankful for their encouragement and support during my academic years. Not because they did everything perfectly but because they set the stage for me to succeed. [Intentional Fragment]

I also believe my previous education has prepared me to be successful in English 1A. Although some may have mixed feelings about their early childhood educational experiences, I relished the learning opportunities offered me during those formative years. My attendance at two fine parochial schools gave me the scholastic foundation needed to succeed in life. Our Lady of Refuge Elementary school with its summer reading lists and dreaded book reports, impromptu spelling-bees, and Sister Agnes' drills on the grammatical analysis of sentence structure provided me with a strong base on which to build the academic aspects of reading and writing. Although I can still remember the woes of sentence diagramming, I will always be thankful for the structure, no pun intended, this experience gave me. It was here too that my love of reading was born and evolved. It didn't matter whether it was MADAME CURIE's biography, Edgar Allen Poe's THE TELL TALE HEART, or even a Harlequin Romance novel, the result was to excel that has remained with me to this day. Aquinas High picked up where O.L.R. finished. Even though my first experience at Aquinas began with Latin, I welcomed the adventure. It was in this class, after reading the ILIAD and the ODYSSEY, that I learned I could survive Latin and love mythology. Mythology, with its fairy tale stories allowed me to tolerate the tempestuous tirades of a teeny tiny tyrant named Sister William Anna, my Latin teacher. She was a bore and a pain, constantly breathing down my neck, insisting I retranslate the passages of Caesar's battles from Latin into English. But translate I reluctantly did and, while dreaming about mythology, survived two years of Latin. Junior and Senior years found me reading the classics: Shakespeare's OTHELLO, and ROMEO AND JULIET; Hawthorne's the SCARLET LETTER; Orwell's ANIMAL FARM and 1984...to mention a few. These readings, along with their analysis, were required to pass Finals and to graduate. But who was complaining? Not I. Although many years have passed since my attendance at these schools, it was there that I learned the tools to be successful in whatever I chose to do. My determination to succeed and the knowledge I acquired over twenty-five ago have prepared me for events such as attending DeAnza to get my business degree, working for an International Trading Company, and now taking English 1A.

So there you have it in a nutshell. My story of how and why I believe the structure of my family background together with my previous academic and educational background has prepared me to take and succeed in English 1A. Though some may disagree and feel the aforementioned is not sufficient evidence to prove this, I still maintain that I will succeed! Can any of you doubt that what I say is true? Have you no faith even after I've told you that I was born and raised in a place where many dare not venture? Better yet, does anyone of you even dare? Before answering please remember where I come from, and the fact that you never say never to someone from New York because you don't know where the next "Rumble" will be...!


SAMPLE ARGUMENTATIVE THEME #2: Written by Wanda H, it contains excellent parenthetical notes and a wonderful Works Cited, which shows how you can get wonderful; information off of the Internet. The requirement was to write an argument concerning stereotypes. The thesis was almost too unrestricted for my preference, but she was able to successfully argue her thesis because of the quality of her evidence:

Why Aren't There More Female Computer Scientists?

"The demographics of this country are such that the United States will not have enough engineers and scientists unless underrepresented groups increase their participation" (Spertus 1). This is complicated by the fact that the percentage of female computer science students is increasing at a very slow rate and may even be decreasing. Over forty-nine-percent of all professionals in the workforce are female, yet females only comprise about thirty-percent of employed computer scientists (Frenkel 2). Several studies have been done in an effort to determine the cause of this disparity. After all, "There is no reason why women should not make up half the laborforce in computing . . . It's not as if computing involves lifting 125 poundweights" (Frenkel 3). The researchers have concluded that stereotyping playsa definitive role in discouraging women from moving into ComputerScience. While it may seem surprising to discover that stereotyping is still prevalent in the enlightened nineties, it is nevertheless a fact. Professional women in Computer Science often suffer from the ill effects of stereotyping. I SAY THIS BECAUSE Stereotyping against women is first encountered in the common use of sex-biased software. A female's education is also colored by stereotyping which sometimes begins as early as preschool and continues through college. Finally, women also encounter the infamous "glass ceiling" as they climb the corporate ladder.

Women first suffer from the effects of stereotyping as they use sex-biased software. Charles Huff and Joel Cooper did research to find out why the computer "is more alluring to boys than it is to girls." According to their results, when software is designed specifically for girls, designers usually generate learning tools, whereas games are usually generated when software is designed for boys. When designing for the generic "student," games are usually the end result. This research suggests that "Programs written for students are written . . . with boys in mind." Huff and Cooper conclude that "It is not the computer, or even the software, that is at the root of the sex bias in software, but the expectations and stereotypes of the designers of the software" (532). In another study, Sara Kiesler foundthat men also dominated the covers of computer games. Upon examining the covers ofcomputer games 28 men and 4 women were illustrated. On one cover, two women were playing Monopoly with two men, on another, a woman was depictedas a "very fat queen," and on the last cover there appeared a "princess insupplicating position on the floor" (157).

Women are also discriminated against at the college level. Henry Etzkowitz studied students at a leading research university anddiscovered a "sexual separation of scientists" (Frenkel 8). He found that certain areasof science are labeled as male or female disciplines, which leads each gender to avoid certain areas. Computer science theory and particle physicsare pretty much "off limits" to women, whereas some male faculty consider natural language to be better for females. This is because natural languageis closer to the traditional gender roles such as the "expressive role and typing skills in software." In "The Classroom Climate: Chilly for Women?" Bernice R. Sandler made several observations which indicate that both men and women are guilty of stereotyping: females are interrupted more than males; faculty members make eye contact with male students more often than with female students; faculty members are more likely to know and use the names of their male students rather than the names of their female students; and females are often asked fewer or easier questions than males.Sandler writes, "Singly, these behaviors probably have little effect. However, when they occur repeatedly they give a powerful message towomen: they are not as worthwhile as men nor are they expected toparticipate fully in class, in college, or in life at large" (149).

Because of stereotyping, rising above the glass ceiling in corporate America is hard for women. This is due, in part, to the factthat "most of management is male and feels more comfortable dealing with other men"(Drakos). However, female behavior does not receive the same acceptance as does equivalent behavior exhibited by men. Sandler wrote "He is`assertive'; she is `aggressive' or `hostile'. He `lost his cool', implying it was an aberration; she's `emotional' or `menopausal.' Thus, her behavior is devalued, even when it is the same as his" (151). Women are often overlooked for promotions or raises because of this "negative" behavior, whichkeeps them in the lower echelons at large companies. An independent study reported in BUSINESS WEEK said that "while women started out with comparable pay, within 10 years they were 25% behind their male counterparts"(Frenkel 4).

As the research cited above indicated, software is generally developed for a male audience, thus locking in the inequities of the past.This type of stereotyping, coupled with the discrimination women face during their education, sets the stage for male dominance in the field of computerscience and results in lower pay for women in the field. Professional women in Computer Science often suffer from the ill effects of stereotyping.Fortunately discrimination against women has decreased significantlysince the turn of the century. However, as the researchers have shown,stereotyping still plays a detrimental role in software, schooling, and the professional careers of women.

Works Cited

Huff, Charles and Cooper, Joel. "Sex Bias in Educational Software: The Effect of Designer's Stereotypes on the Software They Design."JOURNAL OF APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY 17.6 (1987): 519-532.

Drakos, Nikos. "The Glass Ceiling." Translation initiated byellens@ai.mit.edu. Apr 6, 1994. Online. Internet. 17 Feb 1997.Available WWW:http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/ellens/Gende...star3_2_8.html#SECTION00028.

Etzkowitz, associate professor of Sociology at SUNY Purchase, and visiting scientist, Department of Computer Science, Columbia University.Unpublished.Workshop presentation: "The Power of Paradigms" 1990.

Frenkel, Karen A. "Women and Computing." COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM Nov 1990: full text. Online. Internet. 17 Feb 1997. Available WWW: http://cpsr..org/cpsr/gender/frenkel.cacm.womcomp.

H, Robert W. Peer Editor. Husband to the author of this paper. 19 Feb 1997: 2 hours.

Kiesler, Sara; Sproull, Lee; and Eccles, Jacquelynne. "Pool Halls,Chips,and War Games: Women in the Culture of Computing." PSYCHOLOGY OFWOMEN QUARTERLY 9 (1985): 451-462.

Sandler, Bernice R. "The Classroom Climate: Chilly for Women?"THEACADEMIC HANDBOOK 1988: 146-152.

Spertus, Ellen. "Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?"1991: full text. Online. Internet. 17 Feb 1997. Available WWW:http://snyside.sunnyside.com/cpsr/gender/Spertus_womcs.txt.


4.4 Lab

LAB EXERCISE 4.4.1

UNDERSTANDING THE OUTLINE. Write a brief paragraph explaining why you think I have suggested that you NOT outline the Introductory and Concluding Paragraphs. (Hint: Compare the parts and pieces of these paragraphs, immediately above, with the four-part outline, above.)

LAB EXERCISE 4.4.2

INTRO PARA FOR AN ESSAY ON SUCCESS. Look back at the two body paragraphs in Unit 3 concerning your previous education (Exercise 3.5.1) and family background (Exercise 3.5.2) Write an introductory paragraph for a complete argumentative theme based on the paragraphs you wrote--or would have written--for those exercises. Note: this is an easier exercise if your response to both paragraphs was the same, i.e. if both your previous education and family background did or did not prepare you to be successful In English class. If one were positive and the other were negative, and you were a good student who wanted to argue a unified thesis, and did not want to "ride the fence," what would you have to do to tip the balance? (Hint: See 4.2.3.1, above)


4.5 Exercises

EXERCISE 4.5.1--JOB or EDUCATION


This theme is probably your first full-length theme in this class. Remembering that effective college writing depends on controversiality, worthwhileness, and restriction, and that the key to an effective argument is the EVIDENCE of an argument, select one of the following topics, according to your passions:

A. Define a problem, or recommend a solution to a problem, related to your employment or recent past employment.

B. Define a problem, or recommend a solution to a problem, related to your current or future education.

C. I would entertain an alternate topic ONLY if presented, in writing (typed) by _______________.

The challenge here is first to think widely and actively about whichever of the two topics is of more interest. There is a major restriction challenge implicit in each. Do not attempt to argue both a problem and a solution in the same paper. If you are arguing a solution, define the problem as a given in the introductory paragraph (and elsewhere). The key to success here is a super RUP Thesis supported by 2 or more RUP TS--all of which came from EVIDENCE that you considered and ORGANIZED. Remember the UOCC principles both within body paragraphs and among them. FInally, in this essay, wew will move from the realm of evidence from personal experience to also include evidence from research. You must use_______outside sources in the completion of this requirement. These sources could include books, magazine, personal or email interviews with your boss, coworkers, or educational administrators or other faculty(highly encouraged), or material from the Internet. You will be required to include a Works Cited section at the end of your paper on a separate page, and to use parenthetical notes within the body of your paper.

A typed, Four Part OUTLINE of your argument is due __________________. (The four parts--memorize these-- are title, thesis, TS, and EVIDENCE ). The complete PEC will be due __________________. The final paper will be turned in __________________.

I am looking for exciting, interesting, well--restricted papers with great evidence and incisive thinking. I think finally they should be papers that are worth reading, that really do deal with real-world issues that you feel strongly about. As Gatsby observed, "let your mind romp like the mind of god." And collaborate.



EXERCISE 4.5.2--TEN YEAR LIFE PLAN-RESEARCH PAPER


"Preparing for the Millenium"

Theme Four is YOUR paper, your MAGNUM OPUS for the course. The PEC incl WORKS CITED, is worth 20 points; the paper itself, will be worth 100 points. Typed, double spaced, the paper's minimum length is 6 pages (2000 words) with 7 references, at least one of which will come from your course readings. There is no maximum length.

It is a personal paper that precisely states your detailed GOAL for the year 20__ (Ten years from now!), and ARGUES convincingly how you are going to achieve your goal. The paper will contain three required sections: (Educ=1/2)

The EDUCATION PLAN will argue in detail where and when you are going to obtain such education as is necessary to achieve your goal. Why did you choose which college to transfer to? Where and why will you take your graduate work? Where will financing for this education come from? If you decide to take all of your education in the Bay Area, defend that geographic choice.

The WORK PLAN will argue in detail where you will work during this period and why. Work would probably support educational financing and career development. How will you get those jobs? In that respect, your GOAL will be stronger if you name a specific type and size of company (or a specific company) rather than just a career field.

The LIFESTYLE PLAN will argue in detail how you will live your life and why. Personal inventory, selection of marital status, alternative lifestyles, and responsibilities toward siblings or parents may enter in here. While this section may require less research, it should be precise and thoughtful.

You may include any other sections that you feel you need such as a background section (considering your heredity and environment, a kind of personal asset inventory),real estate or investments, community or religious activities,, service to others, passionate hobbies, sports, etc (or you may wish to include some of these in your LIFESTYLE PLAN.) This is YOUR paper so you have free reign. You may write in the future tense or the past tense--just be consistent and remember that this is argument, NOT FANTASY. Your choices will be tested for the quality of research and rationality within the context of the choice. If you choose mediocrity, you must defend that choice. If you are going to be a Fish Crier that is fine; but how can you BEST prepare yourself to be the BEST fish crier? Get a Life!



EXERCISE 4.5.3--TRASK RELIABILITY


DEFINITION OF RELIABILITY:

"When we are sufficiently convinced of the believability of an argument to believe it, or act upon it, we say it is RELIABLE."

                             West Point Logic Lesson, ca. l972

RELIABILITY DETERMINATION: Haunani Kay Trask, ìFrom a Native Daughterî (Note: Parenthetical notes refer to REREADING AMERICA, 2nd ed. Trask's essay is available from a variety of sources.) The steps for an effective determination of RELIABILITY are in Unit 5 of this homepage.

This formal assignment confirms and expands what we have been discussing re the argumentative theme and our study of evidence and logic. This major paper is 750 words long minimum (equal to three pages double spaced) and will utilize three references, correctly documented according to the MLA standards outlined and exampled in Unit 6 of this homepage.

Repeating what you already have been issued. The SUBJECT is How reliable is Traskís argument that Western historians have ìdeculturedî the Hawaiian peoples, ìWhat better way to take our culture than to remake our image? A rich historical past became small and ignorant in the hands of the westerners. And we suffered a damaged sense of people and culture because of this distortionî (573)?

The key to a successful response will be RESTRICTION. Suggestions for restriction include her discussion of Western historians and

Clearly you can restrict even further within one of these selections; you could for instance just discuss Hawaiian reactions to annexation, or the Great Mahele.

You must use at least three outside sources, including HW (See sections on argumentation, throughout) or WWR (Chapters 3,4,6, or 7 would seem appropriate). You may use the film ACT of WAR with the following cite:

ACT OF WAR. Trask et. al. NaMaka o ka` Aina, 1993

You have a lot of leeway here. The key will be to think small. If you look at the Daws' work for instance, you need analyze only two or three passages--the ones cited by Ms. Trask--not the entire work.


Last Updated: 9/2/09