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© Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Chapter 12: Responding to Persuasive Writing From this.

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Presentation on theme: "© Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Chapter 12: Responding to Persuasive Writing From this."— Presentation transcript:

1 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Chapter 12: Responding to Persuasive Writing From this chapter, you’ll learn 1. how the author’s reliance on fact or opinion reveals the author’s purpose. 2. how to tell the difference between informative and persuasive writing. 3. how tone relates to purpose. 4. how to evaluate an author’s reasoning.

2 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Determining Purpose by Looking at Facts and Opinions Recognizing the balance between fact and opinion in a piece of writing can help you determine an author’s purpose. However, that means you need to clearly understand the difference between fact and option. Which of the following statements, then, is a fact and which one is an opinion? 1. On August 17, 1896, forty-four-year-old Bridget Driscoll became the first woman to be killed by a car; the car was traveling four miles per hour and the impact proved fatal. 2. The traffic death of forty-four-year-old Bridget Driscoll in August of 1896 was the first sign that the auto, hailed as an industrial triumph, was to become a weapon of mass destruction.

3 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Comparing Facts and Opinions Statement 1 is a fact because it can be verified, or proven true, by any of the following sources: records, witness statements, reference books, and photos. Statement 2 is an opinion because not everyone in the world would see that first traffic accident as a sign of the auto’s destructive power. That’s a personal interpretation, or understanding, of how that incident might be viewed. Ask other people if they agree, and the answers will vary from person to person. Facts, however, do not vary with their source.

4 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Factual statements are likely to use dates, numbers, and statistics. “Mixed marital artist Cain Velasquez was born in 1982.” are not affected by the person who reports them. identify and describe events in language that has little or no emotional effect on the listener or reader. “In July of 2013, two miniature horses were attacked and killed by fire ants.” don’t make predictions, express value judgments, or offer interpretations. can be verified, or checked, for accuracy. aren’t subject to change unless previously unavailable information or new technology arrives on the scene.

5 Quick Check: Is this a fact? People keep saying how smart it is to use your phone as a wallet, but they forget to mention that if you do, you are a lot more likely to find your credit card hacked and your bank account emptied. © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization.

6 What about this statement? Is it a fact? In the last six years, over ten million bee hives have been destroyed due to a disease of unknown origin, called colony collapse disorder. © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. © Ulrich Flemming

7 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Opinion statements often use language meant to pack an emotional punch. “When the British migrated to Australia, what they inflicted on the native population was nothing short of cruel and bloody genocide.” reflect a personal interpretation or point of view. “Based on my experience of going through the court system, justice is not just blind, she’s also dumb.” are likely to make value judgments, e.g., “Jimmy Carter was a better president than most people think.” frequently predict future events, e.g. “We are going to regret our failure to address the problem of homelessness.” interpret events, e.g., “No matter how hard he tried, Tupac Shakur could not escape his violent past.” cannot be checked for accuracy. “Snakes make great pets.”

8 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Quick Check: From Fact to Opinion The following statement is a fact: “In 2008 Beyoncé Knowles played the blues singer Etta James.”Etta James How might you change it into an opinion?

9 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Quick Check: From Fact to Opinion Here’s one possibility: “Beyoncé Knowles rose to the occasion when she played blues legend Etta James in the movie Cadillac Records.” Rephrased in this way, the statement now offers a value judgment. Beyoncé excelled in playing the part of blues singer Etta James, whom the author considers a “legend.”

10 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Quick Check: From Opinion to Fact The following statement is an opinion: “Lance Armstrong is a disgrace to the world of sports, and he should return all of the sponsorship money he was paid by the U.S. Postal Service during the time when his sponsors considered him a hero.” Can you transform that opinion into a statement of fact?

11 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. From Opinions to Facts Here’s one possibility: “In January of 2013, cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted on television that he had used performance- enhancing drugs to win in national and international bicycle races. As a result of that admission, the United States Postal Service, which sponsored him, has gone to court in order to make Armstrong return money given to him during its sponsorship.” Now the statement excludes any interpretation, prediction, or value judgment. Everything stated can be verified in some way.

12 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. A Few Words for the Wise Heavily factual texts with few or no opinions are most likely to have an informative purpose, meaning the author is not trying to persuade you to share his or her point of view. Rather, he or she is trying to tell you what you need to know about a specific topic or issue. But, the writer’s selection of facts is important too. Sometimes writers only include those facts that support their position, leaving out those that don’t. Reading two different sources on the same topic is a good way to decide whether or not a writer has stacked the deck in his or her favor. You may discover that even facts, when selected to promote an opinion, can hide a persuasive purpose. © Ulrich Flemming

13 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. The better you are at telling the difference between fact and opinion, the better you will be at determining the author’s primary purpose.

14 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Relying more heavily on facts, informative writing makes no attempt to convince readers to share a specific opinion or take a specific action. describes or explains the ideas of others without evaluating them. “John Dewey’s theory of education was based on the belief that children learn by doing.” suggests that the opinions expressed belong to people other than the author. “According to science writer Gina Kolata, ‘The Hawthorne Effect,’ much written about in psychology and business texts, is based on very little sound evidence.”

15 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Relying more heavily on facts, informative writing expresses both sides of an argument with equal effectiveness. is likely to appear in reference works, textbooks, reports, and newspaper articles not appearing on the editorial page. uses language that is unlikely to stir an emotional response in readers. unlikely to make heavy use of imagery. makes few references to the writer’s personal experience and doesn’t address the audience.

16 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Heavy on opinion, persuasive writing attempts to convince readers to share or at least consider a specific point of view. “If he cares at all about preserving the environment, the president cannot approve the building of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.” often announces that something should be understood, done, or evaluated in a certain way. “We need to promote Internet literacy in our schools” expresses competing points of view while pointing out that one opinion or perspective is better than another. “While it’s hard to deny that Bradley Manning, the soldier who released thousands of government documents to WikiLeaks, made a terrible mistake, it’s equally hard to approve the treatment he received while initially in detention at Guantanamo prison.”

17 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Heavy on opinion, persuasive writing explicitly or implicitly reveals the author’s bias, or personal leanings. “As the mother of a daughter, I object to anyone promoting Miley Cyrus as a role model for young girls.” usually employs emotionally charged language. “Any individual despicable enough to abuse children, the elderly, or pets deserves a long, harsh jail sentence that will make anyone who considers doing the same thing think twice before harming the helpless.”

18 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Persuasive writing appears in editorials, reviews, books that are not reference works—such as encyclopedias and dictionaries—and web sites promoting a theory or person. makes use of strong imagery designed to sway emotions. “Muzzle the trumpets, still the drums. The market for reason is slipping fast. The currency of ignorance and demagoguery * is daily gathering strength.” often includes personal pronouns that refer to the author and/or the audience. “We cannot allow the teaching of literature to be abandoned in favor of only those courses related to job training.” *demagoguery: the use of speech to appeal to prejudice and uncontrolled emotion.

19 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. What’s the purpose of this paragraph? At 11:30 p.m. on December 6, 1982, Charles Brooks, the first convicted murderer to be executed through lethal injection lay down on a hospital gurney. His body was secured by five leather straps, and at 11:35 medical technicians inserted two intravenous needles, one in each arm. A saline solution began flowing into Brooks’s bloodstream. That harmless solution was quickly followed by a mix of three chemicals, all of them fatal to the human body. Brooks died within ten to thirty seconds from an overdose of barbiturates. The other two drugs, which caused a fatal muscle paralysis and cardiac arrest, were a form of insurance. If the lethal dose of barbiturates didn’t kill Brooks, one or both of the other drugs would ensure his death.

20 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. And what’s the author’s purpose here? The highly-regarded sleep researcher Robert Stickgold has solved the mystery of rapid-eye movement, or REM, sleep, which has long been a puzzle. REM has been a mystery because the brain waves recorded by electroencephalographs during this stage of the sleep cycle suggest a highly active state of mind, similar to the state of being awake. Stickgold, however, has solved the mystery, and his research shows that during REM, new learning is analyzed, categorized, and stored in memory. In other words, it’s during REM sleep that memory consolidation takes place. While Stickgold’s theory still has its critics, the majority of those engaged in sleep research believe he has figured out why brain activity during REM sleep is so intense: It’s because the sleeping brain is busy working on consolidating the news of the day.

21 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Just So You Know It’s important to mention that in classes where you read, say, poetry or short stories, you are encountering texts that don’t really fit into either of the categories described here or in your text. Poets, playwrights, and novelists want to make you participate in the world more intensely. They aren’t necessarily concerned with conveying factual information or persuading you to share an opinion. © Ulrich Flemming

22 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. The more aware you are of a writer’s purpose, the more attuned you will be to writers who have let personal prejudices creep into textbooks, newspaper accounts of events, and reference works, where you would expect to get information without persuasion.

23 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. For instance, to convince you that the global warming is a reality, not a myth, a writer might start an essay with a straightforward list of facts about changes in temperature, sea level, plant, and animal life. That information is there mainly to introduce the writer’s point, which is persuasive: “We must begin to reduce energy consumption or the damage to Earth and its inhabitants will only grow worse.” In this case, the primary purpose is persuasive, and the informative writing just paves the way for the author’s efforts to convince. © Ulrich Flemming A Word to the Wise: The two purposes, to inform or to persuade, can intermingle, but one is almost always primary, or more important, than the other.

24 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. When thinking about the primary purpose, keep in mind that 1. the purpose sometimes changes as the reading develops. 2.a persuasive piece of writing can open with a purely informative introduction but then move steadily in the direction of persuasion. 3. if informative writing turns persuasive, the author’s overall intent is usually persuasion, not a balance of the two. 4.it’s far less likely for a writer to open with a persuasive passage and then become strictly informative. 5.when it comes to identifying the primary purpose, how the author ends up is more important than how he or she begins.

25 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. The Link Between Tone and Purpose A heavy emphasis on facts along with a cool, neutral tone are a dead giveaway to an informative purpose. Similarly revealing are the use of a passionate tone to express personal opinions. The two together— passion and opinion--are marks of a persuasive purpose. Recognizing a writer’s tone is particularly important to critical reading.

26 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Defining Tone Like the tone of a person’s voice, tone, or voice, in writing refers to the attitude, emotion, or feeling about the subject matter that a writer conveys to the reader. Although non- fiction writers often become identified with a particular tone, they can shift the tone or voice of their writing to suit the context or subject matter. Here are just a few of many possibilities: furious sympathetic neutral comical bullying solemn curious cautious mistrustful confident

27 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. How Writers Choose a Tone Writers choose a tone based on their personal feelings about a subject. purpose, i.e., informative or persuasive. context, e.g., for a reference book or a weekly magazine, a newspaper front page, or an inside editorial. personal preference: some writers consciously vary their tones; others are more comfortable assuming a consistent comic or a serious tone. their audience’s age, interest, and experience.

28 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. The factors that go into choosing or assuming a tone can vary with the context, or circumstances. A writer who pens a letter protesting a bad book review may not bother to control her angry tone. However, if she is assigned to write an entry for, say, a dictionary of global culture, her tone will be more controlled and neutral. The purpose and context produce the change in tone. A Word to the Wise © Ulrich Flemming

29 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. How Does a Writer Create a Tone? All of the following can play a role in making readers hear a feeling or an attitude in the writer’s words: word choice imagery sentence and paragraph length grammar, i.e., formal or conversational references to the audience or self selection of details

30 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. What tone do you hear in the following snippet from Calvin Trillin’s collection of food essays called “Alice, Let’s Eat.” “If a research team systematically interviewed serious shellfish eaters about their most memorable shellfish experience, I suspect that the unifying theme would be messiness. Ask anyone who truly loves shellfish about the best he ever had, and the answer tends to be a story ending with the table being hosed down after the meal or mountains of shells being shoveled into trash bins. It is apparent to serious shellfish eaters that in the great evolutionary scheme of things, crustaceans developed shells to protect them from knives and forks.”

31 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. What tone do you hear in the following excerpt from Trillin’s memoir about the loss of his wife, Alice, who died in 2001? “…she would have been right in saying that the people whose exposure to her had been through my stories didn't know her. Still, in the weeks after she died I was touched by their letters. They may not have known her, but they knew how I felt about her. It surprised me that they had managed to divine that from reading stories that were essentially sitcoms. Even after I'd taken in most episodes of The Honeymooners… it had never occurred to me to ponder the feelings Ralph Kramden must have had for Alice Kramden. Yet I got a lot of letters like the one from a young woman in New York who wrote that she sometimes looked at her boyfriend and thought, “But will he love me like Calvin loves Alice?”

32 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Just so you Know Good writers are conscious of how they sound on the page: The Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz, for instance, has said somewhat regretfully “…my personality tends to be blunt, straightforward, outspoken. My written personality is nowhere near as dynamic.” Writer Anna Quindlen has suggested that speech therapy for stuttering may have helped her find her voice as a writer, “I don’t know whether I developed the written voice and then imitated it, once I had speech therapy, or vice versa. But in any case, I know that I have a distinctive voice on the page, and that it’s intimately related to my actual voice.” © Ulrich Flemming

33 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Readers need to pay attention to tone because it helps reveal the writer’s purpose. it becomes easier for them to recognize the effect of tone on their response to the author’s ideas. it offers a solid clue to the writer’s degree of bias, i.e., the more emotional the tone, the greater the bias. it will make them better readers, more aware of the many different ingredients that go into an effective piece of writing.

34 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. The Role of Bias in Informative and Persuasive Writing The more passionate the tone the more likely it is that the author harbors a bias for or against the subject or issue under discussion. In persuasive writing, bias is to be expected. bias is only bad if the writer goes overboard and insults or won’t even acknowledge an opposing point of view. In informative writing, authorial bias is supposed to be almost completely eliminated. bias often sneaks its way into the author’s explanation.

35 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. What’s the author’s purpose and can you detect a bias? What’s a Mining Hall of Fame without Miners? The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, first opened in 1988, cries out to be included in any discussion of how history can be distorted. The Mining Museum doesn’t say much about those who have done the actual mining in the United States; the luminaries* it does showcase are mainly white Anglo-Saxon Protestant men, most of them mine owners, executives, or engineers rather than, god forbid, actual miners, who risked their life to dig metals from the earth. In reality, mining has been one of America’s most multicultural occupations with, among others, Italians mining granite in Vermont, Finns digging for copper in Michigan, and Chinese Americans panning for gold in the West, but you’d never know that from visiting the National Mining Hall of Fame. * luminaries: famous people, stars

36 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. What’s the author’s purpose and can you detect a bias? The signs for a persuasive purpose and a strong bias are certainly there: 1.Some of the language packs an emotional punch, for instance, the mining museum is an example of history being “distorted,” or misrepresented. 2.This opinion, for that’s what it is, is not attributed to someone else. The author takes full responsibility for it. 3.The tone with its sarcasm—“rather than, god forbid, actual miners”— makes it clear that the author has strong feelings on the subject. So, yes, there is a bias. 4.The selection of detail highlights the contrast between what’s displayed in the museum as the history of mining and the reality of mining across the country. 5.Above all, there’s no hint of an opposing point of view.

37 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. The Experienced Reader’s Response to Bias Once you know the purpose and can detect a strong bias, the key question is this, Is the writer’s bias so strong readers need to learn a good deal more before sharing the opinion expressed?

38 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Although no state historical marker tells us about her, visitors who step inside Bellevue elementary school in Richmond, Virginia can learn about Elizabeth Van Lew, the woman Donald E. Markle, author of Spies and Spymasters of the Civil War, called “one of the great female spies of all time.” Born in 1818, Van Lew had been introduced to the fight against slavery when, as a child, her family sent her to a Quaker school in Philadelphia. When the American Civil War began in 1860, Van Lew had no doubts about which side she was on and she was determined to do everything she could to further the Union cause of abolition. To that end, she developed a spy ring consisting of about a dozen wealthy citizens who shared her Unionist sympathies. Setting up a series of check points on route to Union headquarters at Hampton Roads, Virginia, Van Lew sent messages to General Grant’s forces. Like that other tactical genius, Sojourner Truth, who freed countless slaves by guiding them through the underground railroad, Van Lew knew how to cover her tracks: She let her hair grow wild and took to mumbling to herself when she was out in public, so that those who might have suspected her of siding with the enemy considered her crazy rather than dangerous. Van Lew’s actions in service to the Union were never discovered. After the war ended, she managed to get her war records from the federal government so no one could know the extent of her activities. But somehow her neighbors found out, and Van Lew was shunned by most of the community for the rest of her life What about this next passage drawn from an encyclopedia of famous spies? What’s the author’s purpose and can you detect a bias?

39 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization What about this passage? Can you identify the purpose and do you detect a bias? At least where laundry is concerned, going green is causing friction between those who favor hanging laundry on a clothesline to save both energy and money and those who feel the sight of someone else’s “unmentionables” blowing in the wind is distasteful. Some states are already taking sides. Florida, Utah, Maine, Vermont, Colorado, and Hawaii have passed laws restricting housing associations from creating legislation or rules that might stop a person from pegging clothes to a clothes line. The legislation in other states, however, doesn’t help people like Kevin Firth of Pennsylvania. Firth, who lives in a condominium, was fined $100 for hanging his laundry outside. And Firth is not alone, so much so that a group called “Product Laundry List” has formed around one core issue—the right to hang laundry out-of-doors. Members of the group are determined to fight the housing associations they think are denying them a basic American right. Carl Weiner, a lawyer for a number of homeowners associations, says that the “no-laundry outside” attitude of his clients may change in time as people become more aware of how much energy clothes dryers consume: Dryers account for about 6 percent of residential electricity use. But for now, their attitude is “Keep your unmentionables in your own home. We do not want to see them.”

40 Bias and Shaky Support Go Hand in Hand The more biased the author, the more likely you are to detect common errors in reasoning like the following: 1.Hasty Generalization: The author offers a broad generalization that covers a large number of people and tries to prove it with one example, “Education in the United States is in a sorry state. My neighbor’s son graduated from high school, and he didn’t know that Ecuador was in Central America. He thought it was in Africa.” 2.Irrelevant Evidence: The author provides a reason or example that doesn’t support the opinion expressed. “It’s a terrible mistake to allow women into combat. Look what happened when women were first admitted into West Point. Over half of them quit.” © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization.

41 More Careless Logic 3. Circular Reasoning: The writer or speaker supports a point of view by repeating that point of view in different language. “In ten years, e-books will have driven print books out of the market. Print and paper books won’t be able to withstand the challenge of e-books; they will be gone in a decade.” 4. Offering False Alternatives: The writer insists that there is no other choice but the two described (often insisting that one is better than the other.) “College students need to adapt to reading on digital devices or take courses that don’t require reading.” © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization.

42 More Careless Logic 5. Careless Comparisons: The writer tries to prove a point by saying one topic, event, or experience is similar to or very like another; usually the differences are more critical than the similarity. “Everyone is criticizing my uncle for marrying a woman, who is thirty years younger than he is, but my uncle and his wife are just like Romeo and Juliet, and look what happened to them when people tried to keep them apart from one another.” © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization.

43 Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. You’ve previewed the major concepts and skills introduced in Chapter 12. Take this quick quiz to test your mastery of those skills and concepts, and you are ready to read the chapter. © Ulrich Flemming

44 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. 1. What’s the primary purpose of the following reading? Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was born in Denison, Texas in He was the first professional soldier elected to office since Ulysses S. Grant and the first president to preside over 50 states. Eisenhower’s public image was that of a conservative thinker, who believed deeply in the rights of the states to govern themselves. But the real “Ike” was a good deal more devious and less conservative than the public knew. People were profoundly shocked when Eisenhower called in the national guard to protect black students trying to enter an all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Conservatives didn’t interfere with states rights. Eisenhower, however, was never a true conservative. As he himself expressed it in a 1951 letter kept secret for years, he had always had “liberal sympathies.” He just kept them hidden. Finishing Up: More on Purpose, Tone, and Bias

45 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Although the paragraph initially seems to serve an informative purpose, the primary pattern is persuasive because 1.the author directly expresses a personal opinion, e.g., Ike was not what he seemed. 2.some of the language is emotionally charged, e.g., uses the word “devious.” 3.no opposing point of view is expressed. 4.the opinion expressed is the author’s; it’s not attributed to someone else. Finishing Up: More on Purpose, Tone, and Bias

46 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing 2. How would you label the following sentences, fact or opinion? a. Dwight D. (Ike) Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was born in Denison, Texas in b. He was the first professional soldier elected to office since Ulysses S. Grant and the first president to preside over 50 states.

47 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing 3. How would you label these two statements, fact or opinion? a. Eisenhower, however, was never a true conservative. b. As he himself expressed it in a 1951 letter he kept hidden for years, he had always had “liberal sympathies.”

48 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing 4. What tone do you hear in the following passage from Jessica Valenti’s blog “Feministing”? Is her tone a.enthusiastic? b. critical? c. astonished? d. horrified?

49 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing “As I grew up and began identifying myself as a feminist, there were plenty of issues that continued to make me question marriage: the father “giving” the bride away, women taking their husband’s last name, the white dress, the vows promising to “obey” the groom. And that only covers the wedding. Once you get married, women are still implicitly expected to do the majority of the housework and take care of any future children. I remember reading one study that said that even couples who had been living together for years in equitable* bliss ended up with a more “traditional” division of household labor if they got married—as though signing that piece of paper somehow skewed their sense of fair play.” *equitable: equal

50 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing 5. Does the author of the following reading express a bias in favor of or against the prime minister of Russia? Russian politician Vladimir Putin is a mysterious figure. He has been accused of many things, among them ordering the murder of journalists who oppose him. But is the fear and mistrust of Putin deserved or merited? It’s hard to say. Putin is most frequently accused of tearing up the Russian constitution and destroying civil rights. Yet if that is true, how does one explain that Putin won two presidential elections, 2000 and 2004, with impressive margins? And despite descriptions to the contrary, Putin has a light side. He’s a music lover, with a passion for Russian folk songs. Plus he can carry a tune. He’s even been known to turn up at hip hop events, claiming that hip hop promotes a “healthy life style.”

51 Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing 6. If an author argues that dogs make better pets than cats because dogs are just nicer than cats, that author is using what kind of reasoning? a.circular b.irrelevant c.hasty © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization.

52 Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing 7. If an author says single payer health care, with the government picking up most of the bills for medical treatment has failed in Canada and cites as proof his Canadian neighbor’s experience with having surgery in that country, you should tell him that his generalization is _____________. © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization.

53 Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing 8. If a writer tells you that the country’s infrastructure* is in great condition and argues that opinion by saying, the infrastructure in South Africa is infinitely worse, you should recognize that her reason is a. hasty. b. irrelevant. c. circular. * infrastructure: roads, bridges, water treatment plants, dams, etc. i.e. those things that make a country livable and allow for transportation and movement. © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization.

54 Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing 9. If an author argues that people suffering from anxiety must be allowed to bring their pets into public places or else we risk driving those with anxiety disorders into developing more serious mental problems, you should know immediately that the author is using a. an irrelevant reason. b. a circular argument. c. a false alternative. © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization.

55 Finishing Up: Responding to Persuasive Writing 10. If a writer tells you that students need to have the last word on the content of a class because they are like paying customers in a store whose needs and desires come first, you should immediately recognize that this is a.a circular argument. b.a hasty generalization. c.a careless comparison. © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization.

56 Brain Teaser Challenge © Ulrich Flemming

57 © Laraine Flemming. All rights reserved. No distribution allowed without express authorization. The Greek philosopher Aristotle said that “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” How might a writer, with the intention to persuade, make practical use of that information? Do you think Aristotle is correct? Whether your answer is yes or no, please explain it as persuasively as possible. Brain Teaser Challenge


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