- Slides: 33
The Argument Essay
What is an Argument? �An argument involves the process of establishing a claim and then proving it with the use of logical reasoning, examples, and research. �An argument is NOT literary analysis �Arguments are written to show one’s point of view on a controversial topic
Differences Between Argument and Literary Analysis Argument �Thesis focuses on a �Thesis focuses on piece of literature �All topic sentences focus on a different aspect of the literature �Attempts to explain how and why an author writes his/her literature making a claim about a controversial topic �Topic sentences are reasons for your claim �Literature (and other sources) are used to support your reasoning
Organizing Your Argument �Title �Introduction Thesis statement �Body Paragraphs Topic Sentences Building Main Points Countering the Opposition �Conclusion
Title: Why You Need One �Introduces the topic of discussion to the audience �Generates reader interest in the argument
Creating a Title �Try to grab attention by offering a provocative verbal image previewing words or examples offered in the body or conclusion of the paper asking a question �Avoid titles that are too general or that are boring
Considering Titles Imagine you just wrote a paper offering solutions to the problem of road rage. Which do you consider to be the best title? Road Rage Can’t Drive 55 Road Rage: Curing Our Highway Epidemic
The Introduction �Acquaints the reader with the topic and purpose of the paper �Generates the audience’s interest in the topic �Provides background about topic and context �Offers a plan for the argument �Follow the same steps as you would for a literary analysis introduction
Methods for Constructing an Introduction �personal anecdote (story of something you have experienced) �example-real or hypothetical �question �quotation �shocking statistics �striking image
Thesis Statement �Lets the reader know the main idea of the paper �Answers the question: “What am I trying to prove? ” �Not a fact, but a claim that has to be proven throughout the paper
Thesis Practice Which thesis statement is the most effective for an argument about the need for V-chips in television sets? � Parents, often too busy to watch television shows with their families, can monitor their children’s viewing habits with the aid of the V-chip. � To help parents monitor their children’s viewing habits, the V-chip should be a required feature for television sets sold in the U. S. � This paper will describe a V-chip and examine the uses of the V-chip in American-made television sets.
Body Paragraphs and Topic Sentences �Body paragraphs build upon the claims made in the introductory paragraph(s) �Each topic sentence should state one reason for your side of the argument
Basic Argument Paragraph Structure
Sample argument paragraph using T. I. E. D. �Topic: Should we continue to use a jury system? �Topic sentence: One reason why America should continue to utilize the jury system is because it allows for discussion among many people before reaching a verdict.
Introduce evidence: �While some cases seem to be easy to decide based on evidence, a jury must discuss the case before deciding guilt or innocence, which is important because sometime cases seem to be simple but they really are not. This is the case in Reginald Rose’s play Twelve Angry Men. In this play, a sixteen year old boy is accused of murdering his father, and the large majority of the jury for this trial believe the boy is guilty. However, one juror, Juror #8, understands that the purpose of a jury is to discuss the case.
Evidence: �He says to the others, “We’re talking about someone’s life here. I mean, we can’t decide in five minutes. Suppose we’re wrong? ” (Rose 12). Following this, the jury discusses the case, and over time they realize that the boy they initially thought was guilty most likely did not commit the crime.
Discussion: �Without having a jury to discuss the facts of the case, an innocent person could have been put in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Some people, however, argue that juries get their verdicts wrong, that they either release people who have committed crimes or wrongfully convict those who did not. While this does happen, statistics show that this does not happen often. According to Brian Palmer, a writer for Slate. com, ninety-percent of juries get their verdicts correct. While this is far from perfect, it is still better than any alternative that exists, which is why we need to continue to use the jury system in America.
Body Paragraph Organization �Paragraphs may be ordered in several ways, depending upon the topic and purpose of your argument: General to specific information Most important point to least important point Weakest claim to strongest claim
Offering a Counterargument �The counterargument requires you to think about the reasons why a person might disagree with your point of view �Addressing the claims of the opposition is an important component in building a convincing argument.
Refuting the Counterargument �Once you show the reasons why a person might disagree with you, you need to refute them, or explain why the other side’s reasons are wrong �You always want to make sure your argument is focused on what you believe �By refuting the counterargument, you show that you have considered other people’s views, but you still believe yours is the best
Example using 12 Angry Men – Juries are the best way to decide a person’s guilt or innocence Reasons for your belief: Counterargument – People who think differently �Juries allow for � Juries can have people who discussion before a verdict �There is more of a chance of one person being biased �Both sides of the case have a say in who is on the jury are prejudiced Refute: Since there are 12 people on a jury, one or two prejudiced people can’t make a big difference Lawyers ask questions to try to prevent this from happening � A judge is more educated and can make a wiser decision Any person can make a wise decision – it doesn’t matter the level of education
Placing the Counterargument �Counterarguments may be located at various locations within your body paragraphs. �You may choose to build each of your main points by addressing the opposition. � Example 1: Intro, reason 1 w/counterargument, reason 2 w/ counterargument, reason 3 w/counterargument, conclusion offer a counterargument after you have stated your reasons � Example 2: Intro, reason 1, reason 2, reason 3, counterargument, conclusion
Use of Support in Body Paragraphs �Sources, including literature, can aid you in proving the claims of your argument and disproving the opposition. �You also may write about things you have experienced in your life �However, YOU must first come up with YOUR reasons �Be sure to support the claims made in your topic sentences--make your research and experiences work to prove your argument.
Conclusion �Your conclusion should reemphasize the main points made in your paper. �You may choose to reiterate a call to action or speculate on the future of your topic, when appropriate. �Avoid raising new claims in your conclusion. �Follow the same steps as you would for a literary analysis conclusion
Use of Language �Different writings have different levels of formality Most formal: analysis/research papers Formal, but less so – argument Informal: Creative/Personal writing �In an argument, you may create a more conversational tone by using contractions and the occasional usage of first and second person However, don’t write “I think” or anything similar– it is understood that the argument is your opinion
Draft issue #1: Intro and Conclusion �You should write the intro and conclusion in a similar way as you did for literary analysis – follow the same steps �Intro: Many of you have no engaging opening at all You shouldn’t list all of your reasons in the intro Thesis is the LAST sentence �Conclusion: Many of you have a poor closing to the conclusion that doesn’t speculate about the future or make people think You don’t need to restate every reason in the conclusion – briefly summarize
Draft issue #2: Support �You MUST quote from the novel in every paragraph, including the counterargument paragraph �Also, use real-world and personal examples to illustrate your points further �The novel should support your point of view, not provide it for you �Use it as an example to prove your argument or to help you refute the counterargument
Draft issue #3: Counterargument �The counterargument must be refuted Don’t just give the other side; explain why the other side is weaker �If you don’t have a separate counterargument paragraph, it must be in all three body paragraphs �You need to transition to the counterargument. Using transitions that show contrast can help to do this Examples: � On the other hand, some people may think � While most people believe…. , some do not.
Draft issue #4: Use of the novel �This is still an essay – you must provide context and explanation about the novel as if the reader doesn’t know much about it �Relate EVERYTHING to your argument and make connections between your point and the book �DON’T just throw the book in without transitioning to it first �The word “terrorist” is singular – many of you are using it instead of “terrorists”
Draft issue #5: Language �Don’t be TOO informal – don’t abbreviate and only use first and second person when necessary You should never write “I believe, ” “I think, ” or anything like that You also don’t want to overdo the use of “you” Use first person only when you are telling about something that you personally have experienced
Draft issue #6: Organization �Each body paragraph must begin with a clearly stated reason. You can state, “One reason why …. ” or “Another reason…” in your topic sentences �Each body paragraph should end with you recalling your main point/reason. Make sure you clearly explain how everything you’ve said in the paragraph helps to prove your point
Issue #7: Citing �Cite properly – (Author’s last name page #) Ex. (Cormier 79) �Many of you are not citing your additional sources at all. Any information you use needs to be cited or else you are plagiarizing. I can help you do this on Monday and Tuesday if you don’t know how
Preparing the Final Draft �Final Draft must include the following: Title page Essay Works cited page �Make sure you follow the rules for submitting written work – papers must be double-spaced and have a header with your last name and page numbers �I will not submit your paper to turnitin. You must do it yourself