Major Argument Essay

Major Argument Essay
You are going to begin a major essay that responds to a longer work of nonfiction. For this essay, you will read a work of nonfiction that interests you. While reading this book, you will take
notes responding to the arguments made by the author. You will analyze purpose and thesis, and
you will respond to the argument with additional evidence. Using additional sources, you will
agree with, disagree with, or qualify the argument your author makes. This is an argument, NOT
an analysis. Your final product will be a 6-8 page essay in which you will make your own argument based on
the argument, or an argument, of the book you have chosen. This may be more difficult for a
narrative such as The Perfect Storm, but you may also find a more interesting angle because of
the difficulty. Purpose: To learn all you can about and through the independent process of research and
scholarship in a library and then make the strongest case possible for an argument based on the
book you have chosen. Audience: Let’s assume a college-age audience who has read the same book you have and is
reading your essay for a thoughtful commentary on one of the arguments it contains. The Details: -A 6-8 page essay in which you introduce your thesis on the topic your book addresses
and then make your case in an informative, persuasive way. -You will use your book as the primary source and then 6-10 secondary sources from the
research you’ve done. -The emphasis in this paper will still be on the primary source; the secondary sources will
be used to support, broaden, deepen, suggest alternative interpretations, or provide a
context for a point. -You can quote, paraphrase, or summarize, but you must, of course, CITE your sources
for any thinking that is not your own. This is why you take careful notes. -Plagiarism is a big deal. Colleges have strict standards about this, and so should you. Do
not plagiarize. -While your audience has read the book, it is still important to build a context around
your argument, reminding your reader of key parts of the book in order that he or she can
judge the validity or your thesis. -Your voice should be formal, in third person, and with no contractions, casual references, or slang.
I have listed nonfiction books below, but you are welcome to find a book you would enjoy more. Think about what type of paper you are writing when selecting a book as well. The Perfect Storm, by Sebastian Junger
The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer
Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
Hiroshima, by John Hersey
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard
Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
The Progress Paradox, by Gregg Easterbrook
The Geography of Nowhere, by James Howard Kunstler
Up From Slavery, by Booker T. Washington
Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller
Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott

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