Essay Assignment

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Lambert, GWRIT 103
Spring 2009

Paper 2: A Classical Argument

The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate your understanding of a classical argument and basic rhetorical choices we’ve studied by writing a classical argument that takes a position on an issue. As with your rhetorical analysis, you’ll want to convey a sense of exigency, a need for your argument that goes beyond that of just fulfilling an assignment.

In addition to the in-class exercise you completed for finding a topic, here are some strategies from The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing for choosing a subject:

  1. Begin by considering the various communities to which you belong. Communities can include sports, family, neighborhood, workplace, online networks, classes, dormitories, religious or social groups, campus, hometown, state, region, nation, the world, and so forth. (Note the varied communities represented in the arguments by Ross and Chavez, and how they constructed arguments from an issue relevant to a specific community.)
  1. Make a list of contested issues within these communities. You might also find it helpful to browse the table of contents in Discovering Popular Culture. What subjects interest you in this book and what communities are involved? Ask yourself questions like: What do members disagree about? What causes these disagreements? What misperceptions about this group are held by “outsiders”? What values are in conflict? What decisions must be made? What problems must be solved? How is this community in conflict with other communities?
  1. Then, choose several (3-4) issues to critically consider through these questions: What is my position on the issue and why? What are the alternative points of view? Why do people disagree? Do they disagree about the facts of the issue or about underlying values? What is at stake? To argue my position, what further research will I need to do (399-400)

Other things to know

You’re going to turn in a final, polished 4.5-5 page paper. You should also choose the citation style that is most appropriate for your audience. See the New Century Handbook (NCH) for these citation styles.

Paper due in class on Thursday, April 2.

Meeting with me

You’ll need to make an appointment to talk to me about your argument for approximately twenty minutes. Use the consultation checklist to prepare for our meeting. I have cancelled classes and office hours during the week of March 16-20 and reserved those days for consultations. Please understand that I cannot schedule more than one consultation per student at this time.

I’ll distribute the sign up sheet for these consultations on Thursday, March 5. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to sign up for a consultation by coming to my office. The sign up sheet will be posted on my office door. I strongly encourage students not to wait until after Spring Break to sign up.




Ramage, John, John Bean, and June Johnson. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing. 5th ed.

Pearson Longman: New York, 2009.


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