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Argumentative Writing An argumentative writing takes the act of persuasion further by not only attempting to convince the reader of the importance of an assertion, but by providing reasons why the particular assertion is better than others. In his Rhetoric, Aristotle discussed the features of persuasive writing, as well as language and style. Before drafting an argumentative writing, first complete a detailed outline, following the traditional organization as seen in the outline format, below. See the handouts in your Grammar and Composition packet on Argumentative Writing and the Sample Persuasive Outline for more information. In Classical Argumentation, the first step is Invention, the process of coming up with good ideas. Aristotle subdivided the art of inventing arguments into ethos, pathos & logos. Good persuasive writing includes some of each of these elements. Ethos is the establishment of good character. Pathos is the appeal to emotion. Logos is the use of reason, establishing an argument. The Position Statement, Argumentative Proposition, or Thesis Statement will present the idea. The traditional disposition or organization of an argumentative paper or speech is as follows: · Introduction ­ establishes argument, and clarifies the importance of the issue. Includes a Lead (Attention-Grabber) · Statement of Case ­tells the story behind the argument, offering background information (also called Explanation of Argument). (establishes ethos or good character) · Proposition Statement ­ carefully states central proposition, as a thesis statement · Refutation ­ refutes opposition arguments, exposing faulty reasoning; anticipates readers' concerns, exposes biases, offers at least one counter-argument for each error in reasoning · Confirmation ­ develops case, using examples, facts, statistics (support), in one to three paragraphs (offers logos or reasoned support) · Digression ­ offers appealing anecdotes or description (appeal to pathos or emotion) · Conclusion ­ finishes with strong conviction; reviews main points, suggests call to action Paragraph Order: In writing, the number of paragraphs for each area may vary. The first three points may form one or two paragraphs. The Refutation may be one or two paragraphs. The Confirmation may be one, two, or three paragraphs. The order also may change. The Refutation may come after the Confirmation. Compare the traditional disposition to the Sample Persuasive (Argumentative) Outline in your Grammar and Composition packet which follows, reproduced here:


Sample Persuasive (Argumentative) Outline Title Thesis Statement I. Introduction A. Lead (material to get the reader's attention) 1. 2. B. Statement of the Case (the problem or situation) 1. 2. C. Proposition Statement - thesis II. Refutation A. 1st Idea that is incorrect B. Counter-argument C. 2nd Idea that is incorrect D. Counter-argument E. 3rd Idea that is incorrect F. Counter-argument III. Confirmation, one example A. Explanation B. Quote C. Summary IV. Confirmation, second example A. Explanation B. Quote C. Summary V. Confirmation, third example A. Explanation B. Quote C. Summary VI. Digression A. Appealing anecdote B. Example C. Summary VII. Conclusion A. Restatement of thesis B. Importance (implications of argument) C. So what - Clincher


The Other Side: The Refutation states the other side. Your opinion on this question will be more strongly and persuasively stated if you also understand and express the other side. Consider the following excerpt from a recognized text on academic writing, They Say, I Say: ". . .the underlying structure of effective academic writing - and of responsible public discourse - resides not just in stating our own ideas, but in listening closely to others around us, summarizing their views in a way that they will recognize, and responding with our own ideas in kind. Broadly speaking, academic writing is argumentative writing, and we believe that to argue well you need to do more than assert your own ideas. You need to enter a conversation, using what others say (or might say) as a launching pad or sounding board for your own ideas" (3). As a writer, you need to do more than just logically state your views. You need to also enter into the conversation with the other point of view, expressing the "they say" side of the story. For example, notice the following "Letter from Birmingham Jail" by Martin Luther King, Jr., consisting almost entirely of his response to clergymen who disagreed with his civil rights actions. The letter is written as a structure of summary and response; King first summarizes and then responds to their criticisms. Here is a typical passage: "You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations" (5). King uses quotes from his critics to provide the background for what he has to say. Over and over he uses the opposition as a basis to prove his points, in "they say, but I say" manner. Rather than "playing it safe" and "sticking to his points," he doesn't mind provoking controversy, challenging accepted ways of thinking, and expressing lively ideas. Templates, or patterns of response, may help you lay out ideas. Furthermore, argumentative writing may also be essentially agreement, rather than disagreement. · "She argues __________, and one can readily agree that ___________________. · "Her argument that _________________ is supported by _________________. Notice the following templates: · In recent discussions of ____________, a controversial issue has been whether ______________. On the one hand, some argue that _________________. From this perspective, _____________. On the other hand, however, others argue that __________. In the words of one of this view's main proponents, "_________." According to this view, ______________. In sum, then, the issue is whether ____________ or ______________. · It is clear that ______________. Though it may be conceded that _______________, the point remains that _______________. For example, ___________________. Although some might object that ______________, the author makes it clear that ______________. The issue is important because _____________. By entering into a conversation about the topic at hand, we recognize that there is not one or two possible points of view, but in fact many possible attitudes. You as a writer become a critical, intellectual thinker who participates in debates and conversations about ideas in a active way. Consider the quote below by the philosopher Kenneth Burke, in which he likens the world of intellectual exchange to a never-ending conversation at a party: You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. . . . You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him;


another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you. . . The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress. Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Forms. An argumentative writing may not fit neatly into a five paragraph essay. That is fine. You may have five, six, seven, or even more paragraphs. Follow the outline. Try the templates, changing them to fit your needs. Provide plenty of examples.

Sample Argumentative Outline for Uncle Tom's Cabin

By Emily Goe, Fall 2007 ­ modified by Mrs. O'Connor Template language is highlighted in red; transitions to show what the two opinions are in the Refutation and clarify points throughout are important. This sample uses sentences rather than phrases; use sentences for your outline as well.

A Passionate Appeal for Liberty and Equality: Uncle Tom's Cabin (Title) "Uncle Tom's Cabin was an important novel in history because it defied major stereotypes at the time: feminism, prejudice against blacks, and morality." (Thesis Statement) I. Introduction A. Lead 1. The day I read Uncle Tom's Cabin was the day I saw America in a new light: a light full of racism, anti-feminism, and power-thirsty individuals. 2. A quote from either Thoreau or Emerson B. Statement of the Case 1. Stowe's novel showed the corruption of slave owners and the tenderness of Christianity and religion. 2. Stowe proved a point by writing such a powerful novel under her own name at such a time. C. Proposition Statement ­ Thesis. Uncle Tom's Cabin was an important novel in history because it defied major stereotypes at the time: feminism, prejudice against blacks, and morality. II. Refutation A. Although some people may say that Stowe used religious extremes, and no decent Christian person is ever truly that devoted or saintly . . . . B. . . . in reality Tom was noted for his saintliness, and although perhaps not typical, it is possible and not altogether unthinkable that a slave could put complete faith and trust in God. C. It is true that some people may believe Stowe portrayed the south unfairly and exaggerated plight of the slaves. For example . . . . D. Yet the fact of the matter is, Stowe exemplified the good and bad qualities of slave owners in the south, and while some people may say they were both extremes of character, there were more than several slave owners who did act in the manner she describes. E. Although some people may argue that there are laws protecting slaves against being beaten . . . . F. . . . it is certainly true that if those laws are not being enforced then no one will take them seriously or abide by the. It's not enough that the rules exist, they have to be acted upon by all states.


III. Confirmation, one example A. It is certainly true that Stowe builds strong female characters not only in her novel, but in the audience. Because her book is so powerful, her audience is intrigued by the author, and that author was a woman. B. Mrs. Shelby is a good example of a strong female character because she has opinionated views on political matters, such as slavery, as spoken in this quote, "But I tell you solemnly, and before God, that I will keep trace of you, and bring you back as soon as I can command the money; and, till then, trust in God! (Stowe 91). C. All of the lead female roles in Uncle Tom's Cabin exemplify what a woman should stand for and how they should react, whether it be through their husbands' power or through their own strength. IV. Confirmation, second example A. Furthermore, it is clear that Stowe's novel depicts the way violence only leads to more violence; in this case, mistreatment of slaves will only lead to more mistreatment of slaves and others. B. For example, Sam and Quimbo, two most likely abused slaves, treat their fellow race with as much despise and brutality as the slaveholders do: "Wal, boys, the best way is to give him the flogging to do, till he gets over his notions. Break him in!" (Stowe 329). This quote is said by Legree to Sam and Quimbo referring to the beating of Tom. C. Uncle Tom's Cabin shows the audience an example of this vicious cycle that is slavery. V. Confirmation, third example A. Undoubtedly, it is important that Stowe shows the corrupt morality of various white slaveholders and how that corruption affects slaves and their rights, while some slaves have very high morals regarding others. B. An example is George's morals, as he describes in this quote: " `Eliza,' said George, `people that have friends, and houses, and lands, and money, and all those things, can't love as we do, who have nothing but each other'" (Stowe 177). George puts an uplifting and meaningful blanket over his misfortunes and thrusts what is truly important to him above material things that some stereotypical white people believe is important. C. Stowe depicts how some people who have nothing materialistic have higher morals than those "respectable people." VI. Digression A. Upon close examination, it can be seen that Stowe combines a positive view of the importance of women, an attitude of trust of blacks rather than prejudice, and a high moral standard in many scenes, such as that in the Quaker settlement when Rachel Halliday takes in Eliza and her little boy. B. In this scene, after a pleasant welcome and good food, Eliza sleeps. To her great pleasure her husband George shows up to join them. The next day Rachel bustles about to prepare them breakfast. "The next morning was a cheerful one at the Quaker house. . . . Rachel moved gently and quietly about, making biscuits, cutting up chicken, and diffusing a sort of sunny radiance over the whole proceeding generally. . . . It was the first time that ever George had sat down


on equal terms at any white man's table . . . . This indeed was a home . . . ." (Stowe 130 ­131). C. Scenes such as this are plentiful in Uncle Tom's Cabin, demonstrating the positive view Stowe promotes of the importance of women, trust towards blacks, and high moral standards. VII. Conclusion A. A careful consideration of this classic work will conclude that feminism, the importance of good treatment of blacks, and morality are all depicted in Stowe's novel. B. These themes were all greatly influenced in history by the truthfulness and passion in Uncle Tom's Cabin. C. If a novel could have so much influence, could a novel today change our whole world, as it did in Stowe's times?



Argumentative Writing

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