Unit Five Essay – Argument
This Essay is a streamlined form of the main essay normally assigned in Unit Four. You must write the essay in three separate parts, each one labeled according to the headings below; it’s not enough to write in separate paragraphs. Each section must be labeled and complete. Length: 900-1200 words and written in MLA format, complete with in-text citations and a works cited page.
Part One – They Say
Begin your essay by briefly explaining the issue you have chosen to write about. Then summarize the position of one writer you at least partially disagree with. Chose this writer carefully, avoiding blogs, dot.com commercial sites, talk radio hosts, and opinion writers who have no deep or professional knowledge of the issue. Follow all the relevant information in Chapters One, Two, and Three in the textbook. There you’ll find everything you need to know to write a good summary. Leave your own view of the issue entirely out of this section of your essay. Be objective in Part One. Fairly and accurately present the view of your source—with no bias of your own. Of course you want to summarize a view that you will later at least partially disagree with—and one that is therefore relevant to the argument you’re writing about. This is discussed at length in Chapter Two in the textbook. This section will be shorter than Part Two.
Part Two – I Say
In this section of your essay, show why your Part One source’s view is incorrect, limited in its usefulness, and/or not the best solution to the problem central to the issue. For instance, if your “they say” source’s view is not logically valid—or based on questionable information or assumptions, point that out. In other words, to lead into your own “I Say” (claim, thesis, argument, assertion, position or simply your “point”) you must first analyze and evaluate the argument you are responding to. Therefore, in this section, the goal is to be subjective. When you finish analyzing your source, present your own view of the issue—your “I Say.” Support your view with good reasons and solid evidence: facts, statistics, specific examples, and if possible the “testimony” of any writers who support your position. Chapters Four and Five in the textbook are the relevant chapters for this section of your essay. Somewhere in this section of your essay include a naysayer who might disagree with some aspect of your argument–from your main claim itself. to one of your reasons–all the way down to a small piece of evidence. Just show you can recognize and deal effectively with a naysayer.
Part Three – So What?
This section of your essay may be shorter than the first two, but it’s important to the success of your paper. Chapter Seven in the textbook, “So What, Who Cares,” explains why this section is crucial to an argument essay—and yet is rarely taught in English classes. Be creative in this section, and show you have mastered the concept of voice here and throughout your essay.
IMPORTANT: In at least one section of your essay, include at least one visual. It can be a photograph, a graph or table or any other visual that makes a rhetorical contribution to your paper. If you use a text from a source, reference that source in your “Works Cited.”
The Grading Criteria for this essay will be added to Unit Four in a few days. In general, you’ll be graded on how well you write each section and how closely you follow the key concepts of argument as laid out in the textbook–and on how well you make the rhetorical moves you learned in Unit Three. As in the first half of the semester, clear, concise, and correct writing is essential. Errors in your final draft can significantly impact your grade.