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  • 1. Essay #1 Assignment Sheet: Explaining an Argument From Chapter 5 of the St. Martin’s Guide to WritingYour Goal…Write an essay about opposing positions on an issue that interests you and that youwant to learn more about. When you have reached a good understanding of thedebate on the issue, explain it to your readers. Presenting opposing positions issomething we actually do quite often. For example, have you ever been trying todecide whether to see a movie and one friend had positive things to say whileanother had negative things to say? Sharing those two views with others whentrying to decide whether or not to see the movie in question is a small example ofwhat you will be doing for this first essay. This essay asks you to discuss differentsides of an issue without taking a stance yourself. Consider carefully what youraudience already knows about the debate and try to interest them in it. Your goal isto explain the debate in an unbiased way – to report on it – while taking care not toexpress your own position on the issue of the debate, should you have one.Topic Choices…You have two choices for topics on this essay:Topic 1:Topic 2:What You Need to Do:Ø Determine an appropriate audience (we’ll discuss how in class).Ø Have an introductory paragraph that explains the issue and the two articlesbeingused.Ø Include a thesis statement that lets your readers know what the essay willcover.Ø Cover only one point in each body paragraph.Ø Conclude with a paragraph that wraps up your discussion of these two articles.Ø Have in-text citations and a works cited page.Ø Save each draft of your paper separately to ensure that you have a record ofyour revisions.Organization…Obviously, you must organize your essay well if you want your reader to take itseriously. Consider the following structure for your own paper:I. Introductiona. Give some context/background for the controversy.b. Draw your readers in somehow.c. Introduce both authors.
  • 2. d. Summarize each author’s main position.e. End with your thesis statement that forecasts the main issues/topics youwill cover in your essay.II. Body of the essaya. In each body paragraph, you should address one and only one topic.b. You should have 3-5 comparisons in the body paragraphs.c. You can mix and match the comparison strategy that you use.III. Your conclusiona. Summarize the main points of agreement and disagreement.b. Relate the ending back to the beginning.c. Give your readers something to think about.Potential Stumbling Blocks:Be very careful not to emphasize one point of view or article more than the other.Your goal is to be as objective as possible. Your reader should have no idea whatyour opinion on this topic is. You will want to discuss any similarities anddifferences contained in both articles. Also, this essay is not an evaluation. Withthat in mind, you will want to avoid discussing the merits or detriments of thewriting, of what’s discussed by each author, and of the news sources. Again,objectivity is the goal.Due Dates:2 Articles Selected: Friday 8/28 (electronic) w/ peer feedbackRough Draft: Wednesday 9/2 (paper) with Peer ReviewFinal Draft: Monday 9/14 (paper)