Assignment: For this assignment, you are to write an analysis of a written argument on a source essay that you select. Choose your topic by Thursday, February 7, and submit it to me for approval. I recommend that you choose a short op-ed argument to analyze. Good places to find short arguments include op-ed columns in newspapers, either print or online as sites such as dailyoped.com. The purpose of this assignment is not necessarily to explain your opinion about the topic but only to analyze the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the author’s argument. In your essay, discuss the author’s persona, purpose, thesis, method, and reasoning and how effective you think these elements of the essay are in persuading the audience. Consult the handout on Blackboard that analyzes “Smokers Get a Raw Deal” for an example of what to write about in an analysis of an argument.
Audience and Language: You are writing to a general academic audience that includes your teacher and peers, so you should assume a consistently formal style. Avoid first and second person point of view unless absolutely necessary. You can disagree (or agree) with the author’s stand on a topic and still consider the author’s argument to be sound (or unsound); therefore, explaining your opinion about the issue is not necessary.
Length and Sources: Depending on the essay you choose to analyze, the final draft should be anywhere between three and five double-spaced pages long. Use MLA Style documentation, as explained and illustrated in Lester, to cite all outside sources in your essay. Failure to properly cite outside sources will result in a lower grade for this assignment.
Format: Mastering the appropriate format is important. Writing Research Papers has numerous examples of standard MLA Style format, the standard for this class. Please do not include a title page, and make your title the same size and style of the rest of your text. Also, your essay should have an original title that reflects your analysis. Do not simply parrot the source’s title. While it’s a good idea to imitate the sample essays, please write your own analysis in your own style.
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