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Argumentative Essay: You will write a 1200-1500-word argument analysis essay based on a central argument or claim from one, two at most, of our assigned readings. No direct quotations; the focus should be on explaining the author’s ideas in your own words in order to set up your own analysis. Paraphrasing still requires citation. Additionally, you are required to use two (2) outside sources (peer reviewed articles), which must also be properly cited. Your writing should be formal in the sense of consisting of well-formed paragraphs organized in a clear way. However, you should feel free to make use of the first-person in describing your own analysis (e.g. “As I will show…”; “On the interpretation I have offered…”).
I recommend that you use the following outline to help you structure your essay. There is no need for a long introduction or conclusion. You can simply start by stating succinctly what specific topic you’ll be addressing, and your conclusion can simply be the end of the analysis you offer under roman numeral IV.
- Claim/Argument from Text:Select a specific claim or argument from one of our readings and explain its meaning in your own words. If you can interpret the author as giving an argument for that claim (either implicitly or explicitly), explain that argument in your own words. If the author gives no apparent argument, just explain your interpretation of the claim and either present your own argument in favor of it, or just proceed to the next step.
- Objection to Initial Claim / Argument:Present a challenge to the original claim or argument. If you interpreted the author as providing an argument, make sure to address the specifics of that argument (e.g. Is one of the premises false or doubtful? Do the premises fail to support the conclusion?). Either way, be sure to offer your own argument for why your reader should doubt the original claim or argument. You donâ€™t have to necessarily disagree with the author, but you have to imagine what an objector would say to the author. Your goal here is to have a dialogue with the author using peer reviewed articles to integrate in the discussion. Imagine you are at lunch with all of the authors of the essays you found (researched peer reviewed articles from the library) and the author from the textbook that you want to write about is there too. What would each person be saying at lunch? They would be asserting their beliefs with evidence all on the same topic. And then you have to assert your own claim that has not yet been stated by the author or peer reviewed authors. So, you are posing something original. The arguments you should be equally weighted. Do not omit views that disagree with your position.
III. Response to Objection: Now present a response to the raised objection, explaining how the original author (or someone else sympathetic to his or her claim) might respond to the objection that you’ve raised.
- Your Own Assessment:Finally, you should conclude with your own assessment of the original argument or claim in light of the objection and response you have presented. There is no wrong answer here, but the key is to support whatever you say in a way that is responsive to the arguments you’ve considered in your essay. Do you think the response to the objection was successful or not? If so, is there some further objection that cause us to reject the original claim or argument? Is there some other reason to believe the original claim, even if the initial argument doesn’t succeed? Is there some specific unresolved issue that makes it hard to decide whether we should accept the original claim or argument?