Margaret Drabble Conformity Essay Topics

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Argument Clinic


Two Kinds of Prompts

  • The persuasive prompt on the AP exam in Language and Composition may ask you to DEFEND, REFUTE, or QUALIFY a claim.
  • Sometimes the prompt will ask you to CRITIQUE and ANALYZE an argument for validity. This prompt is rarer than the first.

Sample "Defend/Refute/Qualify prompt from a released AP exam:

 

Complete Assignment in PDF format

 

In 2001 The American Scholar published an excerpt from a talk given by English author Margaret Drabble. In her talk, Drabble claimed that "Our desire to conform is greater than our respect for objective facts." Using appropriate evidence from your reading, observation, and/or experience, write a carefully-reasoned essay defending, challenging, or qualifying Drabble's assertion about conformity.

 

The "Chunks" of a DRQ essay:

 

Chunk 1: The Claim

  • For prompts that ask a specific question, get down to business and advance your claim (thesis) in the first paragraph. Answer the question.

OR

  • For prompts that offer a claim for evaluation, paraphrase the claim, then state your intention to defend, refute, or qualify it.

 

Chunk 2: The Data

  • Develop your position with supporting data from your reading, observation, and experience.
  • Employ the appropriate methods of argumentation to make your case. USE GASCAP. See http://publicspeaking.elonfischer.com/Home/argument-curriculum/gascap
    • GASCAP is an acronym that refers to six different ways to make an argument using Toulmin's idea of grounds (data), claim, and warrant.
      • G: Argument by generalization
        A: Argument by analogy
        S: Argument by sign
        C: Argument by cause
        A: Argument by authority
        P: Argument by principle

 

Chunk 3: Advertise and justify your warrants.

  • What assumptions form the basis of your position?
  • Are you appealing to authority, emotion, tradition, reason? 

Learn about substantive, motivational, and authoritative warrants.  (You'll need Power Point.)

 

 

Argument analysis template for this prompt as a Google doc:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcnqcv64_125gfnf5kcr 

 



SAMPLES OF ARGUMENT CRITIQUE

 

The Main Sections or "Chunks" of an essay that evaluates an argument using Toulmin's model:

  • A precise, brief paraphrase of the claim and the writer's intention to defend, refute, or qualify it.
  • An analysis of the key data that support the argument.
  • The writer's evaluation of that data.
  • An analysis and evaluation of the warrants that form the basis of the argument.
  • The writer's defense or critique of those warrants.
  • A conclusion that visualizes the benefits or dangers of supporting the claim.
  • Sample essay which has all of the chunks: Anita D.doc (The essay is a bit pollyanna. It is just a model.)
  • Here is Yvonna"s refutation.


TOOLS

 

Toulmin's Model of argument analysis: http://owlet.letu.edu/contenthtml/research/toulmin.html

 

Another good page: http://changingminds.org/disciplines/argument/making_argument/toulmin.htm

 

Warrants defined as APPEALS to ethos, logos, or pathos:

http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Persuasive%20Appeals/Persuasive%20Appeals.htm

 

Advice on developing an argument from an AP reader: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/features/8495.html


Fallacious Reasoning and Faulty Warrants

http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html



 

A controversial argument: "Science vs. Religion: Some Tough Questions" by Chet Raymo

 

  • What is Raymo's claim?

  • What evidence does he offer to support the claim?

  • What warrants, both implicit and explicit, form the foundation of the argument?

 

Prompt:

Defend, refute, or qualify Raymo's argument by analyzing and evaluating the data and warrants that support his claim.

 

OR

 

Critique and analyze Raymo's argument for validity.

 

Toulmin analysis "write to think" template for this prompt

 

 



The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing: 

http://nutsandbolts.washcoll.edu/nb-home.html


 

 

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