engaging with written arguments 2

Final Paper – Engaging With Written Arguments

one page

Your final papers are due by Tuesday, 12/17, 3:00 p.m. You have the option to finish them before that; you can hand them to me during our last class or drop them into my mailbox at any time by the due date. My mailbox is in the Department Office, Storm Hall West, 141. If you find yourselves on the campus after the Department Office closes (4:30 p.m.), you can slide your papers under the door of my office (S. H. 120 C); although, I much prefer the mailbox to the floor. I will not accept late work.

This assignment will have you engage in a dialogue with another text. You will, thus, explore your voice as a writer. Read “Generation Wired” by Emily Listfield and choose one claim that the author is making = an opinions that she is expressing about issues that you are familiar with and have your own understanding of.If you do not have some opinions and prior knowledge about the points you choose fordiscussion, you cannot engage in such a response; all you can do is ponder over what the author is saying and choose to trust her or not – that’s NOT what this exercise is about.

Write a four-step response to one of her claims that you will find inspiring.

Here are the steps you need to follow for your response, and notice that the example provided below does not have numbers or bullets; it is a compact text (you can have more than one paragraph).

Step 1.Indicate, in two ways, the initial-claim that you are responding to; your reader wants to understand what exactly you are talking about, what point you are referring to and engaging with.

a) First, use your own words to explain that point. (Use at least one “that” sentence.)

b) Second, provide a quotation to prove that the author made that point, said those things, indeed.

You may to explain this initial-claim in more detail even indicate how it is supported if you feel that it is needed. It will be your choice based on the circumstances.

Step 2.Express your a) total agreement, b) total disagreement, or c) partial agreement/disagreement to reveal your position as well as signal the direction of your response.Express this in one independent sentence.

Step 3. Remember that step 1 and 2 are meant to pave the way for you to express your own opinion about the same issue. Your response is not a statement that says, “I agree, “ or “I disagree.” Rather, it is a full independent claim of your own, written in your own words, and expressing your own ideas. You are reclaiming the issue as your own with it; therefore, the response-claim constitutes your thesis statement for the short argument (at least one well-developed paragraph) that you are supposed to construct in defense of your position.

Step 4.Defend your response-claim: introduce and elaborate upon the supports [your reason(s) and evidence] necessary to justify your response-claim.You can use the word “because” only at this step to hook your reason(s) to your claim statement (step 3).

This defense (step 4) of your assertion expressing your position on the same issue (step 3) is supposed to be the bulk of the response = this writing assignment. Do this in at least one well-developed paragraph. Ponder over what facts, explanations, examples, comparisons, statistics, etc. would help prove your point.

Typically a response-claim is designed to a) contradict the initial-claim, b) further defend the initial-claim, or c) complete the initial-claim. The implicit conclusion should be that your response-claims, with their supports, have effectively refuted, reinforced, or supplemented the initial claims in meaningful ways.

Here’s an example of such a response written by a student. (B) (Notice that there is little evidence in step 4. However, all the steps are there, and the student ends very well with a conclusion!

In her article, “The Function of Vampires,” Mary Y. Hallab claims that our fascination with vampires is due to the fact that we are fearful of death and subconsciously we admire and want to emulate vampires because they have “escaped” death. She says, ” we are in love with vampires and hope that this love for their victory over death will make us victorious in such a fight too.” I agree with her to some extent. I believe that our strong interest in vampires stems not only from their immortality, but also from the fact that the contemporary media/literature portrays vampires as sexy superheroes.Today, such publications as the “Twilight” series and the TV series “True Blood” portray vampires are very attractive creatures with amazing abilities.In “Twilight,” for example, vampires seek to protect humans; one even falls in love with a human. Therefore, to some extent, our fascination comes only in part from the fact that vampires are immortal; we, in fact, buy the whole package not only immortality, but also sex-appeal and Superman abilities. (For an A, develop your position and provide some evidence.)

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