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Argumentative Writing

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1 Argumentative Writing

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 truth A revelation or brand new insight The last word Bad-tempered complaining An exercise in pure logic A chance to prove that you’re smarter than everyone else You make arguments all the time—Think back to your journal prompt. Shake the fallacy of the absolute and exclusive truth Shake the fallacy of the final word

4 Elements of an Argumentative Essay
Introduction: Attention-getter Background Information Thesis Statement Supporting Paragraphs (3 or more) Topic Sentence Explanation Evidential Support/ Quote Transition Sentences Counterargument Paragraph Acknowledge the “other side” and refute Reassert Thesis Conclusion Re-state Thesis Statement Answer “so what?”

5 INTRODUCTION Get your reader’s attention Introduce your topic
Mention the title and author of the work Give 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 about DO think of an interesting and creative way to begin discussion Try 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-Getter Title & author mentioned Transition Sentence Thesis 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 argument Organize your main claims Consistently return to your thesis paper when writing your supporting paragraphs Everything included should relate back to the thesis

10 What is the author saying
What is the author saying?: Witch trials empowered previously powerless individuals How 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: Tituba Body Paragraph 2: Mary Warren Body Paragraph 3: Abigail Williams

Don’t merely summarize the action—Use evidence to support your claims How do you decide what to quote? Quotes with information in new and interesting ways No need to quote the obvious or boring Find quotes that support your thesis statement

13 Punctuating Quotes Put 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 Explanations No quote can stand alone. It is your job to weave the quotes into your argument. Explain the quotes before and after you use them If you can’t relate your quotes back to your thesis in your explanation, DON’T USE THEM Your explanation isn’t a summary. It explains HOW the quote relates to your thesis

15 Topic Sentence A topic sentence indicates the MAIN IDEA of the paragraph. If you are discussing Abigail Williams in your paragraph, mention her in the topic sentence Abigail 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 town Abigail is powerful.

16 Format for each body paragraph:
Topic Sentence Explanation Documented Quote Transition

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 quote Paraphrasing still counts as textual evidence or support

18 Body Paragraph Abigail 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 Sentence Explanation Documented Quote Explanation Transition Sentence

19 Counterargument Paragraph
Acknowledge the opposing view Refute the opposing argument Reassert Thesis Statement Scholars 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 View Refutation Reasserted 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, etc Have a clincher statement. End on a powerful confident note Hint: 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 Thesis Take idea further Clincher 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, things Never sound unsure: Be confident! Back up your ideas!

22 Final Thoughts Five Paragraphs:
Introduction with thesis 3 body paragraphs with quotes and explanations Counterargument paragraph acknowledging opposing views Conclusion re-stating thesis and ending with a clincher statement 3rd person: no “I”, “we”, “us” or “you” MLA format Must contain at least 3 correctly documented quotations Paper submitted to me and 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

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