GWRIT 103 Paper #3 prompt – That Which is Unspeakable Jefferson
Due: April 4 in class, a 4-5 page paper formatted as shown on your syllabus that uses a springboard source, works though a strong thesis, and employs sources found through JMU databases to argue for some understanding of a specific free speech issue.
1. Find a relatively recent print argument (perhaps an editorial or commentary or report) that expresses an opinion on a freedom of speech issue that you’re interested in, whether in the education, public, political, or international arenas. Keep in mind that the article you select should be argumentative—it should take a stance and at least attempt to defend it—and it shouldn’t be by some wacko. This article will serve as your springboard into argument, and I highly recommend that you DISAGREE with it, or with some aspect of it. Try to find an article whose issue or style of engaging the issue makes you see red. OUTRAGE is a good place to start (though not a place to stay in). As you look for this “springboard source” and for other sources which will either inform or help you to make your argument, remember that there are literally hundreds of articles out there: take some time, look around, follow the trails that names or references suggest to find more interesting, pertinent, original, or useful sources.
2. Offer your argument in response to your “springboard source.” Set your argument up by identifying the context (what is the situation into which your source throws its two cents, and what is the question at issue). Identify the principle claim of your source and then announce your stance clearly and strongly.
If you think about it, this is exactly how many of the letters to the editor in newspapers and magazines are formatted. Here are two sample letters, from page E3 of the “Forum” section in the February 19, 2006 Sacramento Bee:
- Rashid Ahmad, Elk Grove
Wrong choice on cartoons
This questionable news publishing business, i.e. The Bee, need
Newspapers - actual newspapers - should present this world's
- Garr Ooley, Citrus Heights
3. You must have a properly formatted strong thesis either in or attached to your paper. In other words, you can certainly decide that the “A+B because A+C” form (to be discussed this week) does not sound nice as part of your paper (this often happens when we try to jam complex ideas into single sentences), but your love of beauty does not relieve you from composing and submitting the sentence.
4. In the body of your paper, show how and why your readers should understand the issue as you do.
5. You must use proper documentation and you must use (introduce, engage, analyze, and cite) at least three sources. At least two of these sources must be sources you find through JMU databases (i.e.: not from online “.com” sources). Include a Works Cited page as a last page of your paper.