Argumentative essay

English 113A
Mrs. Mary Shannon
Spring 2016
Progression III: Taking a Stand


This last progression of the semester will include an argument proposal, a dialog exercise, and an argument essay. I have listed five issues that you may choose from. They all are found in a section of the New York Times called “Room For Debate.” These are the links for the five issues. CHOOSE ONLY ONE, but look over as many as interest you. You may only use these essays for Progression III. No other sources will be acceptable.

Is It Fair To Rate Professors Online?

Should It Be Illegal To Declaw Your Cat?

Should Drug Addicts Be Forced Into Treatment?

Should Transgender Students Be Allowed to Choose Which High School Locker Room They Use?

Should the Government Provide Free Birth Control on Demand?

You will notice that these websites have several writers’ opinions covering various opinions and perspectives on the issue. Each issue has two or more perspectives. You only need to include two of these, but be sure to look at all of them. One of the most important parts of your essay is the inclusion of the strongest voice that disagrees with you.

You should use the sources to support your ideas, not replace them. You should have an understanding of the basic concepts of formal argument structure. You will be expected to follow MLA documentation, to edit and proofread carefully, and to revise several drafts.

EXERCISE 1: Argument Proposal

DUE: Monday March 14 or Wednesday March 16 in CONFERENCE

• Your proposal is a typed, brief summary of what each of the other writers is saying, and a solid idea of what you want to say. It should have a clear thesis statement. It should be one page, typed and double spaced. Include two or three quotes from your sources, both in favor of your position and against it.
EXERCISE 2: Dialog

DUE: Wednesday April 11

• For this exercise, imagine a dialog between two or more authors from the issue you have chosen and yourself. You are sitting together, discussing your issue, and you are doing your best to understand all sides of the issue. When writing this dialog, give each side equal development and avoid oversimplifying anyone’s claim, even the side with which you disagree.

• This dialog should be no more than two, double-spaced pages. Ordinarily a dialog does not call for MLA documentation, but since it is important that your readers know the source of your ideas, use citations.

DUE: Draft: Wednesday April 13—Bring 2 copies to workshop
Final: Monday April 18

• Write an essay taking a stand on the ONE issue you have chosen from the five Room For Debate site, making sure to consider all sides. Use at least three sources to support not only your stand, but also the best points of those who oppose your stand.

• Structure your essay carefully starting with a clear introduction and thesis statement, a background of the issue, points that support your position, a consideration of the opposition, a rebuttal to the opposition, and a strong conclusion.

• Your essay should be four typed, double-spaced pages and use MLA documentation with a Works Cited page (page 5). Edit thoroughly and proofread carefully.

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