- Slides: 16
The Argument Essay Introduction for New AP Language Students
Sample Prompts For centuries, prominent thinkers have pondered the relationship between ownership and the development of self (identity), ultimately asking the question, “What does it mean to own something? ” Plato argues that owning objects is detrimental to a person’s character. Aristotle claims that ownership of tangible goods helps to develop moral character. Twentieth-century philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre proposes that ownership extends beyond objects to include intangible things as well. In Sartre’s view, becoming proficient in some skill and knowing something thoroughly means that we “own” it. Think about the differing views of ownership. Then write an essay in which you explain your position on the relationship between ownership and sense of self. Use appropriate evidence from your reading, experience, or observations to support your argument.
Sample Prompts Consider the distinct perspectives expressed in the following statements. If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible. 1943) William Lyon Phelps, American educator, journalist, and professor (1865– I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn’t wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine. 1970) Bertrand Russell, British author, mathematician, and philosopher (1872– In a well-organized essay, take a position on the relationship between certainty and doubt. Support your argument with appropriate evidence and examples.
Sample Prompts American essayist and social critic H. L. Mencken (1880– 1956) wrote, “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe. ” In a well-written essay, examine the extent to which Mencken’s observation applies to contemporary society, supporting your position with appropriate evidence.
Evidence �Historical evidence �Current events �Scientists or discoveries �Philosophical theories �Analogies to scientific principles �Sports figures, political figures �Personal examples �Literature (Hester Prynne, Jay Gatsby, Hawthorne)
Hints Don’t force using evidence from literature. It’s not necessary. Don’t hesitate to use a personal example if it makes argument more convincing. Present both sides of the argument. Confidently defend your position. Think of your audience. (Adults from across the nation)
Homework �Two significant historical events (Not Nazi Germany) �Two historical figures (Not Hitler or Martin Luther King Jr. ) �Two current events �Two sports figure/artist/ or musician �Who is Freud? /Jung? /Skinner? /Carl Rogers? DO NOT USE IMMATURE OR COMMON EXAMPLES unless the prompt lends itself to pop culture references.
Thesis Sentences Although society can be stifling, individuals must dwell within the web of relationships or communities will inevitably break down. Societies depend on each individual to do his part because people need each other to help during a crisis, to maintain a fair democracy, and to maintain order and propriety.
Topic Sentences—Make a Claim Individual members of a community help each other in a times of crisis. Societies are oppressive and often keep individuals from having original thoughts.
The Best Paragraphs Topic Sentence that makes a claim. Example. Explanation of example and how it proved the claim or topic. Another Example. Explanation of second example. Commentary which ties back to thesis sentence.
Let’s Practice Question 3 (Suggested time— 40 minutes. This question counts for one-third of the total essay section score. ) American essayist and social critic H. L. Mencken (1880– 1956) wrote, “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe. ” In a well-written essay, examine the extent to which Mencken’s observation applies to contemporary society, supporting your position with appropriate evidence.
Body Paragraph using literature as evidence It is true there exists drifters who when given the opportunity will take full advantage of the absence of familiarity and responsibility attached to their identity. We read and hear instances practically every week of a “stranger” or “unknown person” who seemed altogether trustworthy and decent but was found out too late to have ulterior motives. A famous, or infamous, example of this is recounted in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, the story of the murder of an entire well-to-do family by a couple of friendly, run-of-the-mill drifters. It is a concept unsettling enough to not shake the minuscule town of Holcomb, Kansas but also the country as a whole. There is something profoundly frightening in the unknown—in it lies the potential for unimaginable harm and irreversible damage to the balance of security. An individual can rob an entire town of its harmony and delicate web of trust, leaving it spiraling into the chaos of uncertainty and fear.
Good use of reasoning from a student Despite that, in today’s society it is easily noticed that a special group of travelers known as tourists, found almost anywhere in the world, will act significantly different to the locale demographic, even to the point of appearing obnoxious. They have no care to take up residence or to hold and uphold a permanent status of high regard that they might at home. Strangers who judge will become nothing more than strangers whose judgments are forgotten, or deemed not-applicable, as human egotism likes to do. Being an independent traveler, an individual without ties to society, can invoke an almost perverse sense of utter freedom and unleash a disregard for all others. Nineteenth century German write Franz Kafka wrote, “You are free and that is why you are lost. ” Being anonymous makes people more willing to do risky things. For example, or many examples really, take the Internet. People are more willing to be outspoken, to make snide remarks, to express what they feel they cannot express to the physical people around them. Many therefore choose to live more in the Blogosphere than in their physical setting. The anonymous mask lets them free themselves from the
How it is scored � 9 -- convincing to an audience of educated adults � 7 – effective � 6 – adequate (good for high school) � 5 – limited or uneven (not enough evidence/argument is not fully developed/ errors in logic) � 4 – inadequate for a person who wants to be exempt from taking a college writing course (not logical, no evidence) GOOD PAPERS RECOGNIZE COMPLEXITY OF THE ISSUE!
Grammar—Indefinite Pronoun �Singular: another, anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, little, much, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, other, somebody, someone, something �Plural: both, few, many, others, several Example: Everyone needs to bring his or her book tomorrow. Example: Each person is responsible for his own actions.
Common Errors �Logic is too narrow. (Discussions about high school life, using common examples, and prejudice weaken argument. ) �Heavy only on evidence (not enough logic/explanations) �Pronoun errors (You? One? Mixing them up. ) �No examples or evidence (Use some capital letters!) �Misreading the prompt (The prompt could date before 1900 s. Remember this is essentially a reading test! Can you read the prompt and understand the question? )