Essay Assignment

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GWRTC 103: Fall 2011
Elisabeth Whitehead

Major Essay 3: Narrative Advocacy

I see things with my own eyes, just as if they were the first eyes
that ever saw, and then I set about to tell, as best I can, just what I see. 
--Edna St. Vincent Millay

For your final paper, develop an argument built on the foundation of personal narrative on an issue of concern to you.

Narrative arguments make it possible for a writer to illustrate a point by appealing to her or his audience, invoking their experience, and creating a sense of identification with the controversy at hand.  Key to creating an effective narrative argument is establishing credibility (your audience must believe you and trust your presentation) and establishing representativeness (the audience needs to understand that your narrative reflects a larger problem beyond the scope of its events).

Choose a subject that is tightly focused in order to make your research task simpler.  You will want to keep your work balanced rhetorically by accompanying the emotional appeal of your story with strong credibility and with logical evidence (both anecdotal and researched) to support your claims.

Think in terms of an experience that made you realize that something was wrong or that something needed to be changed, and from which you gained essential knowledge about yourself and about the workings of the world around you.  Tell a story that allows you to establish your position on the controversy and provide support for your claims.  A well-told story often engages in vivid description.  Create presence in your details.  The reader should really feel that they too, by reading your account, are there beside you, and can hear, see, smell, and touch those surroundings.  Clean and vivid details can help set scene and tone.  Therefore, be specific, descriptive, and engaging.

Successful papers will provide a rhetorically balanced narrative argument and will be clearly and engagingly written.  You should conduct enough research to provide relevant, external support for your position. Your paper should include at least five sources (books, magazines, journals, newspapers, interviews, films, and/or texts from the academic databases). One of your five sources can be from a website.  Make sure you analyze your sources carefully for their credibility before incorporating their information into your paper. If you choose to use more than five sources, you can use additional website sources.

Using MLA style, incorporate in-text parenthetical citations and include a works cited page.  Papers should be 5 pages long.  In your folders include: final paper with grading rubric, two drafts with your changes marked, workshop materials, outline, brainstorming, a copy of your sources with your markings. Your final grade for the paper will be reduced one step for each element that is missing.  The Green Point system will be in place for this assignment.


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