2 What is an Argumentative Paper? According to OWL at Purdue, argumentative writing is “a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic, collect, generate, and evaluate evidence, and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner.”Convince the reader that you are right
3 Argumentative Essays are NOT: An absolute truthA revelation or brand new insightThe last wordBad-tempered complainingAn exercise in pure logicA chance to prove that you’re smarter than everyone elseYou make arguments all the time—Think back to your journal prompt.Shake the fallacy of the absolute and exclusive truthShake the fallacy of the final word
4 Elements of an Argumentative Essay Introduction:Attention-getterBackground InformationThesis StatementSupporting Paragraphs (3 or more)Topic SentenceExplanationEvidential Support/ QuoteTransition SentencesCounterargument ParagraphAcknowledge the “other side” and refuteReassert ThesisConclusionRe-state Thesis StatementAnswer “so what?”
5 INTRODUCTION Get your reader’s attention Introduce your topic Mention the title and author of the workGive a specific THESIS STATEMENT, telling the reader exactly WHAT you will discuss in the upcoming body paragraphs
6 Hook/Attention-Getters DON’T begin by telling us what your paper is going to be aboutDO think of an interesting and creative way to begin discussionTry not to be cliché
7 BAD: The witch trials in The Crucible empower previously powerless women. SO-SO: Webster’s Dictionary defines power as “the capacity to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.”BEST: Power is a difficult concept to understand for it is multi-faceted in nature. Yet it is easy to identify when that power is seen in previously powerless persons.
8 Power is a difficult concept to understand for it is multi- faceted in nature. Yet it is easy to identify when that power is seen in previously powerless persons. So it is in Arthur Miller’s drama, The Crucible. Previously powerless individuals are empowered through the witch trials. The growth of power made possible through the witch trials is evidenced in the lives of Abigail Williams, Mary Warren, and Tituba.Attention-GetterTitle & author mentionedTransition SentenceThesis Statement
9 Thesis Statements Are clear, concise, and defined Ask: What is the author saying? How does he develop that idea in the text?Begin the structure of your argumentOrganize your main claimsConsistently return to your thesis paper when writing your supporting paragraphsEverything included should relate back to the thesis
10 What is the author saying What is the author saying?: Witch trials empowered previously powerless individualsHow does the author show it? There are three examples of witch trials giving power to previously powerless: Abigail, Mary Warren, and Tituba***Thesis statements may be long, and that is okay—As long as the information is necessary***
11 The Salem witch trials show how one event or movement can cause for previously powerless individuals such as, Tituba, Mary Warren, and Abigail Williams to be empowered forces in their society.Think of your thesis statement as an outline for your body paragraphs (in ascending order of importance)Body Paragraph 1: TitubaBody Paragraph 2: Mary WarrenBody Paragraph 3: Abigail Williams
12 SUPPORTING PARAGRAPHS Don’t merely summarize the action—Use evidence to support your claimsHow do you decide what to quote?Quotes with information in new and interesting waysNo need to quote the obvious or boringFind quotes that support your thesis statement
13 Punctuating QuotesPut quotation marks before and after the DIRECT quote (that means word for word)In parenthesis, put the author’s name (only the first quote) SPACE page number: (Miller 1128) All other times: (1128).The punctuating period goes LAST: “Blah blah blah witchcraft” (1128).
14 ExplanationsNo quote can stand alone. It is your job to weave the quotes into your argument.Explain the quotes before and after you use themIf you can’t relate your quotes back to your thesis in your explanation, DON’T USE THEMYour explanation isn’t a summary. It explains HOW the quote relates to your thesis
15 Topic SentenceA topic sentence indicates the MAIN IDEA of the paragraph. If you are discussing Abigail Williams in your paragraph, mention her in the topic sentenceAbigail Williams drastically changes from the lowliness of a female servant, to a powerful accuser in the court system of Salem.BAD=This paragraph will…Abigail accused many people in townAbigail is powerful.
16 Format for each body paragraph: Topic SentenceExplanationDocumented QuoteTransition
17 Paraphrasing Putting something into your own words It is okay to paraphrase, especially when there is a dialogue exchange and you want to explain to get to one important quoteParaphrasing still counts as textual evidence or support
18 Body ParagraphAbigail Williams drastically changes from the lowliness of a female servant, to a powerful accuser in the court system of Salem. Abigail’s accusations of witchcraft begin to stand as absolutes. In response to John Proctor questioning the validity of Abigail’s testimony against Elizabeth Proctor, Cheever states, “Tis hard proof! […] I tell you true, Proctor” (Miller 1133). It is in Cheever’s response that Abigail’s true power is evidenced. Her voice is no longer lowly and insignificant in Salem, but rather a reckoning voice that brings with it rallied and unquestioned allegiance from other officials and townspeople. Abigail is not the only female servant to gain empowerment through the witch trials, for the same transformation is seen in Mary Warren.Topic SentenceExplanationDocumented QuoteExplanationTransition Sentence
19 Counterargument Paragraph Acknowledge the opposing viewRefute the opposing argumentReassert Thesis StatementScholars may argue that Abigail, Tituba, and Mary Warren are not made powerful through the witch trials, but rather through their manipulation of others. This argument, while valid, leaves out the vital engine that these girls use to create such manipulations: that engine is the witch trials. Therefore, the witch trials themselves are what make the manipulations successful, and ultimately powerful.Opposing ViewRefutationReasserted Thesis
20 CONCLUSION Re-state the thesis, but not word for word Take the idea one step further to come to a conclusion about theme, character, etcHave a clincher statement. End on a powerful confident noteHint: Good clinchers are often short:It is through powerless Abigail, Mary, and Tituba transforming into powerful forces that Arthur Miller is able to raise an even deeper question: that of power itself. For it is not through individual self that these girls were empowered but rather through the reactions of others to their claims. Miller has thus crafted a grave warning to all of his readers: Do not let this happen again. Question everything. Know what is at the heart of personal actions and reactions. Power is powerless without support.Re-state ThesisTake idea furtherClincher Statement
21 Tone Formal Avoid slang, dude No contractions : DO NOT USE “DON’T” Avoid words with little meaning: really, a lot, just, kind of, maybe, I think, I mean, like, well, stuff, thingsNever sound unsure: Be confident! Back up your ideas!
22 Final Thoughts Five Paragraphs: Introduction with thesis3 body paragraphs with quotes and explanationsCounterargument paragraph acknowledging opposing viewsConclusion re-stating thesis and ending with a clincher statement3rd person: no “I”, “we”, “us” or “you”MLA formatMust contain at least 3 correctly documented quotationsPaper submitted to me and turnitin.com on October 16th
23 Don’t repeat yourself. Please do not say the same thing three times just because you don’t know what else to say. It gets annoying to read the same repeated thing over and over again. Repeating things is not good. Don’t repeat things. I got it the first time, you don’t need to repeat it. Instead, explain your ideas.Don’t wander from your thesis!
24 Remember: You are a scholar You are adding to the academic world Write like a scholar would—like you have valuable ideas, because you do