Write an argument on whether the civil rights movement, which began in the 1960s, has achieved its goals. Read Langston Hughes Democracy and Theme for English B and Claude McKays Outcast.
English 1213: English Composition II
Articulating a Claim
Assignment: The complex structure of an argument can be regarded as a pattern of development, which is used to support a particular type of claim. In preparing to write an argumentative essay, writers must be sure to address all the issues raised by the particular rhetorical situation and the type of claim involved. An aid to identifying the issues surrounding a claim of fact, value, or policy is the use of stock issues. These stock issues can help a writer to meet the burden of proof for each type of argumentative claim. These claims are the statements that the reader is asked to accept for which the writer will provide reasons; there are three basic types of claims:
Claims of fact involve description. They concern matters that in theory can be described and verified by independent sources, but are frequently disputed among experts.
Claims of value involve judgment. A judgment represents an appraisal or evaluation, which can be either absolute or comparative. Ethics are a key example of values.
Claims of policy involve action. They are assertions about what should be done, and they are frequently characteristic of deliberative bodies.
For this essay develop an original argument about some theme or issue and incorporate appropriate literature as evidence to support the argument.
5-7 pages, typed, double-spaced in addition to a Works Cited page
12-point font, Times New Roman
Use at least five sources, three of which can be the option readings.
Decide on the purpose of your argument. In other words, what do you hope to accomplish by writing your argument? Obviously you want to convince your reader of something, as argument is a method of persuasion. But what specific action do you want your reader to eventually do? Develop a claim based on a disputable fact, a value in question, or a policy under consideration.
Gather information about your topic/situation/issue. This is an important step in forming your claim (or thesis statement). You will need to know all the particulars of your topic. What are the historical or current antecedents of your topic? What are the causes and effects of the situation? Who are the major supporters of the various sides of the issue? Who are the experts? How has the situation developed? What are the predictions of its development?
Develop a central claim. A thesis statement in a written argument is called a claim, which makes an assertion, whether it is about disputable facts, the worth of something, or the way something is/is not done.
Add qualifiers to make your claim flexible and moderate. Qualified claims are easier to defend because they are not stated in absolute terms. For example: Media violence should be tempered because it tends to generate aggression in children. By using the word tends, the writer avoids the absolute of saying media violence always generates aggression. It is not provable that it generates aggression in every case.
Define abstract terms. You, as the writer, have a responsibility to define terms that are abstract and, therefore, potentially ambiguous. For example: Aggression in children refers to any forceful action intended to dominate another, any unprovoked attack, whether physical or verbal on another as well as any hostile or injurious behavior toward another. This might include a child forcefully removing a toy from another child, attacking another child with inappropriate racial or sexual insults, or physically assaulting another child.
Gather the support for your claim. Support makes up the grounds for the argument and is sometimes called a minor claim, evidence or data. Support can be made up of self-evident facts, literary examples, statistics, personal experiences, analogy, inference, comparison/contrast, and classification.
Weigh the reliability of your support. No matter the form of your support, you need to determine how reliable it is. Support must be accurate, relevant and representative. In addition, it must be adequate for your purposes. Accurate support is true and taken from trustworthy sources, quoted exactly and presented without distortions. Relevant support pertains to the argument and is taken from sources with authority on the subject, relates directly to the claim, and is current.
Connect your support to your claim by outlining the warrants or assumptions of your argument. A warrant is an assumption or premise about the topic that demonstrates why the support you offer for the claim should be accepted. Warrants can be simple statements of reason or complex lines of reasoning. Sometimes a warrant needs to be explained or illustrated or even defended.
Option 1: A Claim of Value:
Argue whether or not the pursuit of a middle-class lifestyle results in a meaningful life. Read Wallace Stevens Disillusionment at Ten OClock, T.S.Eliots The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Edwin Arlington Robinsons Richard Cory, and Emily Dickinsons Much madness is divinest sense. All readings can be found in their entirety online.
OR write an argument about the benefits or drawbacks of spending time in solitude. Read Henry David Thoreaus Solitude, William Wordsworths The World Is Too Much With Us, Emily Dickinsons The Soul Selects Her Own Society, and Edgar Allen Poes Alone. All readings can be found online.
Option 2: A Claim of Policy:
Make an argument for when, if ever, war is needed. Read excerpts from Tim OBriens The Things They Carried, William Blakes London, and Barry Yeomans Brothers Forever. All readings can be found in their entirety online.
OR make an argument as to whether or not the federal government should have programs to reduce poverty. Read Lucille Cliftons For de Lawd, Robert Haydens Those Winter Sundays, and Sherman Alexies The Reservation Cab Driver. All readings can be found in their entirety online.
Option 3: A Claim of Fact:
Write an argument on whether the civil rights movement, which began in the 1960s, has achieved its goals. Read Langston Hughes Democracy and Theme for English B and Claude McKays Outcast. All readings can be found online.
OR argue the case for or against environmental protection. Read Edward Abbeys Eco-Defense found on page 336 of the textbook (found in chapter 7) and Environmentalism as Religion Run Amok by Michael Crichton which can be found online.