Margaret Drabble Conformity Essay Topics

... ---- TEENS AND THE INTERNET: Disturbing "Camgirl" Sites Deserve a Closer Look By HARRY A. VALETK ---- Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003 A growing number of teens in the U.S. and U.K., some as young as 14 years old, are getting into the habit of asking for handouts online. Known as "camgirls" and "camboys," teens are posting webcam photos of themselves in skimpy outfits on personal websites, linking them to wish lists on shopping sites like Amazon, and then asking admirers for gifts. Typically, gifts include popular teen items like CDs, DVDs, and stereos. But, some entrepreneurial teens give special admirers access to "members only" sections that offer more provocative shots in return for more expensive gifts. Surprisingly, this spectacle in teen self-exploitation has gone largely unnoticed among parents and policymakers. And, as more youngsters become seasoned Internet users, the concern is that these sites will become even more popular. According to a 2002 Commerce Department study, teens as a group are now using the Internet in record numbers. Specifically, the study found that 75 percent of teens between 14 and 17 years old, and 65 percent of teens between 10 and 13 years old, regularly use the Internet. Given the potential for harm, however, the virtual "camgirl" universe is something that we should examine more closely. Camgirl Sites Are Dangerous For teens, the danger of camgirl sites is that they...

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.


  • 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
    • 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: 




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.



Toulmin's Model of argument analysis:


Another good page:


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


Advice on developing an argument from an AP reader:

Fallacious Reasoning and Faulty Warrants


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?



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




Critique and analyze Raymo's argument for validity.


Toulmin analysis "write to think" template for this prompt



The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing:




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