DR JAMIL’S EGL 1100 DIRECTIONS FOR THE FIRST ESSAY:
DEFINITION OR EVALUATION ARGUMENT
PROMPTS FOR DEFINITION ARGUMENT
PROMPTS FOR EVALUATION ARGUMENT
Please highlight the prompt question of your choice and attach it to your essay or copy and paste it before or after your essay.
This essay is either a definition argument or an evaluation argument. Choose one question either from the definition prompts or from the evaluation prompts. Read all the questions before you make your choice. A clear and precise answer to the question of your choice is the way to come up with your thesis statement. For a definition argument your focus is on defining the topic that is in your prompt question. For an evaluation argument your focus is on evaluating (judging, assessing the worth of) your main topic. You may discuss as many narrative essays (those we discuss in class) as you find relevant, and you must use at least one scholarly source as research material. Follow the latest MLA guidelines for format and citation of sources. You must provide in-text citations and, at the end of your essay, a “Works Cited” page. Use 12-point Times New Roman or 11-point Calibri font. Double space the lines. I encourage you to develop an interdisciplinary approach. Make use of historical, psychological, philosophical, sociological, and anthropological sources relevantly and thoughtfully. In the body of your essay, you will explain why you made your definition or your evaluation argument.
Always keep in mind that you need to preserve unity and coherence in your essay. Write complete and coherent sentences. And try to show a sense of transition. I encourage you to use quotations, but don’t quote or paraphrase without a reason. Explicate your quotations. All your sub points should be connected with your main point. Every quotation you cite should be relevant to your main point, and hence should be in support of the sub point for which you are using it. Avoid using clichés and words that are vague. Because your aim is to be clear and concise, you have to choose your words well. Be economic with your words but not miserly! Your essay should show your ability to think. When you write keep in mind that you are sharpening your ability to analyze. Do not pass off someone else’s words or ideas as your own. Always acknowledge your source(s). Be sure to provide in-text citation and also a “Works Cited” page for all your sources at the end.
In the introduction you should introduce the subject matter and work your way from the motivator to the thesis statement. Be sure to mention the author’s name and the title of the text in the motivator, which is the first part of your introduction. Try to begin your motivator in an interesting way so that your reader is motivated into reading your essay. The first part of the motivator is the broadest part of your essay because you introduce the broad subject first. Your prompt question contains your topic. Then you narrow down the scope so that you can lead your reader to your limited subject. After this you are ready to state a main point (main claim) about your limited subject. This specific point about a specific topic is the thesis statement. The thesis statement is not a question but rather an answer to a significant question. It is a precise point about a limited subject-matter. Hence it should not be a “fact” that is in your text, nor should it be a claim mentioned by somebody else (a secondary source, a character, or narrator). A precise answer to your prompt question is your thesis statement. You arrive at your claim (argument) by way of the author’s suggestions. Your causal or process argument must grow out of a thorough reading of the text and should not be a distortion of the “facts”. Provide the thesis statement by the end of the introduction. Remember that the thesis statement shows significance by answering the “so what” question. If your main point does not answer the “so what” question, it is not a complete thesis statement.
The body of the essay follows the introduction. All the paragraphs here are called central paragraphs. As the introduction is the “claim” part of your essay, so the body is the “support” part of the essay. Here you explain your main point through sub points and supporting evidence (specific support). In short, you show what you tell in the thesis statement. The number of your paragraphs here will depend on the number of sub points you provide to back up your main point. Each of the paragraphs in the body of the essay should explain only one sub point (sub claim) and provide specific support – examples, where you make use of the “facts” of the text(s)– for that sub point. You may also make use of statements by authorities or statistics -different kinds of secondary sources- as part of your specific support. Acknowledge your secondary sources and use them relevantly. As each sub point is a part of the main point, it should be clearly connected with the main point. Begin each of these paragraphs with a topic sentence, and then provide the specific support. A topic sentence sums up a sub point. In other words, it provides the point of the paragraph. Develop your sub points logically. Don’t jump from one point to another (or even one sentence to another). Make your sub points flow logically from one to another. That is, don’t move from one point to another without having adequately developed that point, and try for a smooth transition. You should organize your discussion to show a logical growth of thought.
The last paragraph is the conclusion. In your conclusion you can throw in a clincher. If that doesn’t come, don’t worry. You can summarize your main point and sub points, but don’t repeat the exact words of your introduction. Try to say something that may develop from your main point but don’t say something unconnected or contradictory to what you have established in your essay. You don’t even need to summarize your main point unless you are writing a relatively long essay. Say all you have to say, show all you have to show in connection with your main point in the body of the essay, and the conclusion takes care of itself. So don’t fret over a perfect conclusion.
Identify the kind of claim (argument) you have chosen and mention it before the title of your essay.
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