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From: Crafting the Expository Argument Dr. Michael Degen.

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1 From: Crafting the Expository Argument Dr. Michael Degen

2 The basic formula: Topic + Debatable Option When you have to determine one yourself, ask the following questions: o What is the theme of the story/poem? o Character: do they change during the story? Function? A foil? o Plot: What is the conflict? What type of story/poem/play is it? o Setting: what is the setting? It’s importance? Multiple settings? How can it be applied to theme or character? o Style: How does the author use literary devices to express tone or theme? What is the tone? Are there motifs; what is the significance of it? o Symbol: What are they? Their role? It’s function? o Allusions: What are they? Purpose? o Point of View: How does the point of view affect the story? o Use Aristotle’s topics: Definition (a character/symbol/series of actions is____), Comparison, or consequence Page 110-111 Thesis Statement

3 When responding to an essay prompt o Make sure that you understand the prompt. Underlined key phrases. o Make sure that your thesis statement addresses the key points of the prompt. o If it gives you a broader prompt, refer back to the basic questions for developing a thesis Evaluate your statement o Can the writer identify the topic of the thesis statement? o Can the writer identify the opinion? Or does the statement merely identify something in the text? Thesis Statement Continue


5 One-idea paragraph: clear topic sentence. “Elaborates or develops a single aspect of the thesis statement” (Degen, 49) Subordinate paragraph: topic sentence connects to a preceding paragraph. “This paragraph is an extension of the idea introduced in the previous paragraph because one plank of the thesis statement may need to be proven by more than one paragraph” (49). Glue paragraph: short paragraph that acts as a transition between main ideas or topics. Three types of paragraphs

6 Topic Sentence: Organization method + aspect of the thesis statement. Elaboration: further elaboration of an idea o Direct quotes o Blended quotes and commentary o Additional explanation of ideas o Discussion of contemporary or literary comparison Coherence: use of word glue or logic glue that shows the reader why one sentence follows another and the organization of evidence to support the topic sentence. Sentence variety Sophisticated vocabulary, vivid verbs, and concrete nouns. Page 50 Qualities of the One-idea and Subordinate paragraph

7 Step 1: Create your thesis statement based on the writing prompt Step 2: Create your topic sentence based on the thesis statement Step 3: Gather evidence: Needs to include specific details from the text. It must prove and support the topic sentence. o Answer the following questions when searching for evidence  Where does the evidence occur in the plot or poem?  What actions of a character support the topic? When do these actions occur? Why do they occur?  What does a character say that supports the topic? When does the character say it? Why is it said?  What is revealed by the narrator that provides supporting evidence? Creating your paragraph

8 Step 4: Organize the Evidence o Chronology: Time o Place o Idea  Analogy  Cause and effect  Definition  Comparison  Classification o Step 5: Write your paragraph

9 Degen, Michael. Crafting Expository Argument: Practical Approaches to The Writing Process for Students and Teachers. Dallas: Telemachos, 2004. 49-116. Print. Works Cited

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