Directions: We generated some argumentative thesis statements in class. Here are some more ideas.
Your assignment is to write an argumentative essay. The thesis must propose one side on a topic of controversy. Stay focused on your thesis.
Include the following:
1. An introduction that includes an attention-getting device and your thesis
2. body paragraphs that include a topic sentence, cited evidence from the text, and a DETAILED WARRANT (your arguments based upon the evidence).
3. A conclusion.
4. Your essay should be double-spaced.
5. Length: it should be as long as it takes to properly support your thesis and refute major cons from your opponents. This is usually at least three typed, double spaced pages.
BIGGEST TIP: Write carefully. DEFEND YOUR THESIS and ARGUE in EXTREME detail. Defend the thesis in each body paragraph. This is the key to success in persuasive essay writing. Do everything you can to PROVE that your THESIS is correct. Remember that eliminating the con can help you to achieve this (At least one con elimination is also a required). Con eliminations enhance the persuasive tone of the essay. Use your book to provide evidence. DIRECTLY CITED TEXTUAL EVIDENCE IS A REQUIREMENT; it should be used in each body paragraph.
Argumentative Essay Prompts:
1. Okonkwo’s death at the end of Things Fall Apart is unrealistic. Defend or refute. Also be sure to eliminate a con or two.
Another version: The ending of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is unrealistic.
Another: The ending of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is ruined by its abrupt and implausible ending.
2. Achebe delays the central conflict until the book is well over one half over. This weakens/strengthens Achebe’s novel. Defend or refute.
3. What contributes most to the downfall of Okonkwo? Identify this in your thesis and argue in detail. Please provide textual evidence. Also be sure to eliminate a con or two.
4. Achebe paints in shades of grey. This novel does not portray the opposing forces involved as simply good vs. evil, etc. Achebe’s conscious effort to avoid this archetypal (light v. dark., good v. evil) pitfall is the great strength of the novel.
This one can be argumentative if you get more specific on WHY the statement is true or false and present cons for negation.
Tip: consider being more specific with “great strength.”
6. Develop and support your own argumentative thesis. Remember that it must be a topic of controversy. Also be sure to eliminate a con or two.
7. Things Fall Apart is a great novel (canonical).
8. Things Fall Apart is an overrated/bad/etc novel (not canonical).
9. What contributes most to “things falling apart” in Umuofia? Identify this in your thesis and argue in great detail why this is the main cause of the fall. Include evidence in the form of citations and argue in great detail. Also be sure to eliminate a con or two.
10. What is the purpose of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart? Why did he write it? Defend your choice. Only take on this challenging topic if you have discovered some cons that you can eliminate in addition to the defense of your thesis.
11. Who/what is Achebe criticizing in Things Fall Apart? Identify the target of criticism in your thesis and argue why it is the primary target for this author’s criticism. Explain, provide evidence through the use of citations, and argue in great detail. Also be sure to eliminate a con or two.
12. Achebe was asked in one interview: “How do you respond to critics reading Okonkwo as a hero in terms of Aristotle’s concept of tragedy?”
Achebe replied: “No. I don’t think I was responding to that particular format. This is not, of course, to say that there is no relationship between these. If we are to believe what we are hearing these days the Greeks did not drop from the sky. They evolved in a certain place which was very close to Africa … I think a lot of what Aristotle says makes sense” (Rowell 97).
Read the description of Western tragedy and the tragic hero below, based on Aristotle’s definition, then consider these questions: Does the protagonist Okonkwo adhere to the conventions of Western tragedy and the tragic hero? YES or NO?
Description of Classical “TRAGIC HERO” or “FALLEN PERON”
Tragedy may be defined as dramatic narrative in which serious and important actions turn out disastrously for the protagonist or tragic hero. The classical Western tragic hero is the main character of great importance to his state or culture and is conventionally of noble birth and high social station, the ruler or an important leader in his society. The moral health of the state is identified with, and dependent on, that of its ruler, and so the tragic hero’s story is also that of his state. Such heroes are mixed characters, neither thoroughly good or thoroughly evil, yet “better” or “greater” than the rest of us are in the sense that they are of higher than ordinary moral worth and social significance. The plot of tragedy traces the tragic fall of the hero, when a disastrous change of fortune, or reversal, catapults him/her from the heights of happiness to the depths of misery. This fall usually comes as a consequence of a tragic flaw in the hero’s character and/or an error of judgment, although the fall may also be a product of the hero’s pre-ordained destiny or fate. The gods may have prophesized this fall, and the hero’s tragic flaw, sometimes in the form of a ruling passion (classically, hubris or overweening pride and self-confidence), may cause the hero to disregard divine law and/or try in vain to escape his fate. The tragic hero is supposed to move us to pity, because, since he is not an evil man, his misfortune is more than he deserves; but his story may also move us to fear or terror, because we recognize similar possibilities/flaws in our own fallible natures
Aristotle’s definition of tragic hero condensed: A person of great renown who falls because of an error in judgment or their own mistake, and not because of their own evil/evil intent.
THESIS (major claim). May include a qualifier.
II. Body Paragraph
1. Claim (Topic sentence/topic argument/reason why thesis is correct)
2. Data (evidence- textual and/or secondary)
3. Warrant and Backing (link/argument/connection to the thesis)
-elimination of the con (response to the rebuttal/reservation)
-logos- appeal to audiences’ sense of logic
-pathos- appeal to audiences emotions
-ethos- your image as a writer- credibility, ethics, etc.
-Elimination of the con: present an opponent’s argument and refute it WITH EVIDENCE and counter argumentation of your own. Design it like this:
1. Opponents will claim X
2. X is wrong/erroneous/illogical, etc.
3. Provide evidence that demonstrates this and defend your counter argument in detail (this essentially is another warrant that is designed to attack the opponent’s primary claim).
Be sure to connect/link to the thesis itself directly in each body paragraph. Once you have provided enough credible evidence, you have established your credibility. Now USE the evidence> DEFEND your claims aggressively and passionately.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed.
PLEASE DON’T PLAGIARIZE