Date of publication: 2017-08-27 10:47
6 The reader does not know much about what the old man in this story looks like except that he has one blind eye. 7 In the second paragraph of "The Tell-Tale Heart," Poe establishes the man's obsession with that blind eye when he writes: "He had the eye of the vulture--a pale blue eye, with a film over it." 8 This "vulture eye" is evoked over and over again in the story until the reader becomes as obsessed with it as does the man. 9 His use of the vivid, concrete word "vulture" establishes a specific image in the mind of the reader that is inescapable.
Readers get bored with the five-paragraph essay because after the blank, blank, and blank "thesis" (which is really a statement, not an argument), there's no point in reading. They just gave away the ending.
Hi Jeannie, thanks for posting. An easy way to get some samples is to check out my journalism students' blog on Chicago Now: "Whatchoo Got to Say?" If you type in Hancock in the search box of the ChicagoNow home page, you'll get to it. Some of the pieces are narrative some are news stories. However, some good examples of argumentative essays are on Affirmative Action and homeless hotspots. I hope this helps.
Yes, Chris. It's an argument--a rudimentary one. There is really no point in anyone reading the rest of your essay because you just gave away the whole thing. Also, the logic here is off. It's quite easy to measure if someone is taller, and faster, and stronger. That becomes a statement of fact, not one that can be debated. My intention here is to get teachers and students to think of thesis statements in more sophisticated ways.
Aristotle's form, however, is not a one-size-fits-all approach. This form doesn't work for science lab reports. For that, we should follow the example of the science tradition. Lab reports are not argumentative.
Thanks for commenting, Nicole. Part 7 after the intro is background: what's the context that will help the audience understand the significance of the argument? What does the audience need to be reminded of?
In competitions such as history fairs, students cannot compete with the rudimentary three-part argument. When I started a Writing Center at a selective-enrollment high school a couple of jobs ago, the history teacher came to me and said she needed something to help students succeed. Over and over, she was getting arguments with blank, blank, and blank.
I think you have answered your own question by example: a well-written, persuasive comment. I'd say that about the rest of the comments as well--thanks people!
I would like to see a writing endorsement available. We have all kinds of other endorsements, but we need one in writing. This will push more people to see writing as a complex field instead of something we just do on paper in 96 minutes--or less.
First Supporting Paragraph
Any format can create uninteresting and ineffective essays. At each step of the writing process we have to ask our students if we're involving the reader in some way. Why begin an expository essay with a boring "My parents brought me to this country when I was five years old" when one could engage the reader's interest with a tantalizing "I was too to understand what was hapenning, but my grandmother's tears told me that my life was about to change forever."
I agree, Kristi. As we teach our students to read, write, and think, we need to also teach them (and remind ourselves) how to listen. Thanks for posting.
For decades, too many high-school teachers have been instilling persuasive writing skills by teaching students the five-paragraph essay. You know it: