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ENGL 1213: English Composition II Essay #3: Articulating a Claim or Rogerian Argument Assignment: For the third essay, develop an own original argument about some theme, relying on the literature as evidence to support the argument. Rather than focusing on one reading as you did in the previous assignment, now you will examine differing viewpoints on a single theme. Note: Two options are provided for this assignment. Select the option which best serves your topic and purpose. Option I: Articulating a Claim: In this essay you will be explaining your views in multiple ways: contrasting your belief with others’ ideas, offering authoritative opinions, including documented examples, and always using clear logic. The literary works are introduced as needed, not necessarily in the first paragraph. For example, you might wish to discuss the impracticality of the belief that one should "seize the day" in love. After an introduction that engages the readers’ interest, in your first body paragraph, you would show why some people think this is a good philosophy. Here you could borrow from Andrew Marvell’s "To His Coy Mistress," Aphra Behn’s “The Willing Mistress,” or Christopher Marlowe’s "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." Then in the remaining body paragraphs, you can draw from any number of other works, including poetry, short stories, or essays that support your theory. Murial Stuart’s “In the Orchard” and Sir Walter Raleigh’s “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” are good examples of poems that refute the concept of carpe diem. (All of the poems mentioned here are popular and easily found on the internet.) Addressing conflicting views can strengthen your argument since this demonstrates that you have considered other possibilities before arriving at your beliefs. In the conclusion, you will summarize what should have been learned through your analysis. What do you want readers to take with them? Option II: Rogerian Argument: Often arguments which center on refuting an opponent’s perspective are antagonistic and can cause people to lose their morale and identity, their desire to work together and drive to succeed. Rogerian argument, based on the psychology of Carl Rogers, however, requires one to consider the different stances thoroughly, find common ground, and arrive at a compromise. Address conflicting views fairly, accurately, and empathetically. This approach can strengthen any argument since it demonstrates that one has considered other possibilities before arriving at a belief. In closing, you will summarize what can learned through careful analysis and compromise. For example, if you used the same topic, carpe diem, as listed above, you might find a middle ground between living and loving for the moment and denying sensual gratification for pragmatic and moral reasons. The end result of a Rogerian argument is a solution that is more likely to satisfy all parties. *Be sure to read pages 655-67 of Reading Literature and Writing Arguments. Objectives: To effectively use ethos to build trust in the audience. To effectively use logos to persuade your audience. To think outside of binary oppositions, which often doom a debate to failure. To learn how to use the rhetorical triangle effectively and see how ethos, logos, and pathos interact. To integrate or synthesize the ideas from selected readings. To learn the value and necessity of compromise when approaching complex issues. To write an essay that is thoroughly developed and logically organized. To incorporate in-text citations and develop a Works Cited page. To achieve a tone that is reliable and academic. Requirements: MLA format Length: 4-6 pages, typed, double-spaced (not including Works Cited page) 12-point font (New Times Roman or Arial) 3-5 sources At least one source must come from the text; more may be used. At least one source must come from outside the text; more may be used. An outside source may be an article, essay, book, short story, poem, song, play, or film. Include a minimum of three direct quotations. Option I: Articulating a Claim Organization: I. Introduction Introduce the theme. Explain the relevance of this theme to your audience. The appeal to your audience’s ethos is important in this type of argument. Offer an original thesis statement which expresses your own beliefs. II. Body A Begin with the opposite of what you originally believed about the topic when you first considered it. What do some other people believe about this topic? Remember that there are generally many ways of looking at any topic, so do not oversimplify the opinions which differ from your own. Find literature that exemplifies these attitudes and offer appropriate, documented quotations. Remember to use an author’s full name the first time he or she is introduced. Show an understanding and appreciation of these arguments. Do not resort to attacking others’ opinions, even if they are very different from your own. This section of the paper should be about 1-2 paragraphs. III. Body B Now explain your beliefs about the issue. Focus on several reasons for believing as you do, but limit each paragraph to one solid argument. Be sure to include references to literature and/or other outside sources. If you agree with an author, his or her words can serve as support for your claims. While you obviously support this approach to the topic over the view(s) detailed earlier in the essay, you should always show respect and fairness for anyone affected by this argument. Be aware that not everyone has the same belief system, values, or religion as you. This section of the paper is the bulk of your argument and should be about 3-5 paragraphs. IV. Conclusion Summarize your argument. Give readers advice if appropriate. V. Works Cited page On a separate page, give the necessary bibliographic information of the sources used in the essay. Use MLA format. Double-space and use “hanging” indention. Alphabetize the sources by the authors’ last names. Option II: Rogerian Argument Organization: I. Introduction Introduce the theme. Explain the relevance of this theme to your audience. The appeal to your audience’s ethos is important in this type of argument. Offer an original thesis statement which expresses your own beliefs. II. Body A Begin with the opposite of what you originally believed about the topic when you first considered it. What do some other people believe about this topic? Find literature that exemplifies this attitude and offer appropriate, documented quotations. Remember to use an author’s full name the first time he or she is introduced. Show an understanding and appreciation of this argument. Do not resort to attacking this opinion, even if it is very different from your own. III. Body B Now explain the other side of the issue. This may be your original opinion, if your opinion has changed substantially. Cite literature that supports this attitude. IV. Body C Identify common ground between the two stances. Find a compromise between both attitudes. Provide evidence from additional outside resources to support the compromise. V. Conclusion Summarize your argument. Give readers advice if appropriate. VI. Works Cited page On a separate page, give the necessary bibliographic information of the sources used in the essay. Use MLA format. Double-space and use “hanging” indention. Alphabetize the sources by the authors’ last names. Suggested Readings: You are not limited to the following topics, but these may give you an idea of what might be appropriate for this assignment: Chapter 1: Discuss the role of the parent in teaching a child how to behave. Read Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl” (15-16). Discuss parents’ and children’s responsibility toward each other. Read Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays” (21-22). What constitutes a “good” neighborhood? Look at the image on page 21. Discuss the effects of war and the reasons young people enlist in the military. Read Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce Et Decorum Est” (22-23). Chapter 2: Discuss the value of work. Does it enhance our lives beyond financial security? Or does it suck the life out of us? Read William Wordsworth’s “The World Is Too Much With Us” (556) and Marge Piercy’s “To Be of Use” (56-57). Discuss increasing commercialism. Read Jane Martin’s “Rodeo” (53-55). Chapter 3: Discuss the effects of discrimination, either upon those who are prejudiced or those against whom are discriminated. Read Frank Chin’s “Donald Duk and the White Monsters” (69-73), Dwight Okita’s “In Response to Executive Order 9066” (137), and/or Richard Roderiguez’ “The Chinese in All of Us” (169-75). Show how society forces individuals to lie, either to themselves or others, to fulfill expectations. Read Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby” (65-68), Frank Chin’s “Donald Duk and the White Monsters” (69-73), or Tim O’Brien’s “On the Rainy River” (107-18). When someone commits violent crimes, how much freedom does he forfeit? Whom should we admire and why? Read Etheridge Knight’s ”Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminally Insane” (134-5). Focus on the effects of one’s environment growing up. How does one’s own community enhance or limit one’s opportunities? Read Maile Meloy’s “Ranch Girl” (102-6) and/or Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” (394-400). Chapter 4: Discuss the ethics of hunting. Read James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Slaughter of the Pigeons” (211-17). Define wisdom. Address the assumptions that people make based on economic status and age. Read Eudora Welty’s “A Worth Path” (250-6). What is home? Is it simply a place where one can feel “happy to be alive,” as Lucille Clifton writes in “For deLawd” (262-3)? Discuss the value of the wilderness. Do we need it, even if we never actually go there, as Edward Abbey claims in “The Heat of Noon: Rock and Tree and Cloud” (287-92)? Discuss the virtues of being alone in nature. Read Henry David Thoreau’s “Solitude” (322-7). Chapter 5: In Gracy Paley’s “A Conversation with My Father” (372-76), the narrator writes a story for her father and he criticizes her lack of realism. He views her optimistic ending as naïve and an indication of the younger generation’s inability to see life seriously. Write an essay that shows what the younger and older generations have in common. Use outside sources that illustrate the divide in generational values and work from there. Peter D. Kramer’s “Divorce and National Values” (445-47) as a springboard, explain how American individuality and the inherent compromise in marriage are not at odds with one another. Find outside sources that explain the role of individualism in America and the need for compromise in matrimony. “Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use: For Your Grandmama” (394-400) addresses the role of heritage in family. Write a Rogerian argument that finds common ground between those who say one should become “American” when moving to the United States and those who favor preserving old traditions and lifestyles. In “A Conversation with My Father,” the narrator writes a story for her father and he criticizes her lack of realism. He views her optimistic ending as naïve and an indication of the younger generation’s inability to see life seriously. Write an essay that shows what the younger and older generations have in common. Use outside sources that illustrate the divide in generational values and work from there. Define family. How does this definition family change with divorce or death of a parent? On Tidy Endings (425-442). Focus on marriage. What should be the rights of a widow or widower? Read Harvey Fierstein’s On Tidy Endings (425-442). Chapter 6: Define education and discuss its purpose. Who is responsible for education? Read “The Lesson” (465-70) by Toni Bambara, “Cathedral” (471-81) by Raymond Carver, and “Theme for English B” (559-60) by Langston Hughes. Do people actually gain insight in an instant, as happens in Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” (471-81)? Address the duties of a soldier. How much of oneself must be put aside to serve in the military? Read Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” (512-524). Discuss finding balance between individual privacy and community. Read Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” (556-7). Discuss the rights of animals and the need for eating meat. Read Tom Regan’s “Religion and Animal Rights” (633-43).
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