Native Son –

Research-Supported Interpretive-Persuasive Essay


In our reading this semester, we have examined some of the argumentation strategies with which other writers construct persuasive arguments. For this assignment, you will construct a persuasive argument of your own. Writing arguments often requires credible evidence for its support from recognized authorities. In this assignment, you will practice research skills, create a reasoned argument, and support your argument with information from outside sources.


Task: Choose one of the options listed at the end of this document and compose an analytical, research-supported argument of significance. Regardless of which topic that you choose, your essay must clearly establish your viewpoint and use multiple points to support your argument.

Ancillary Files: As part of your completion of the larger writing assignment, you will also be writing a prospectus for your essay and formally sharing with classmates your research.

Technical Requirements:
Sources: Use a minimum of five (5) credible sources, of at least three different types, to help support your argument. At least one (1) of your five sources must be academic. An important source note: If you are writing about a story (a novel, a tv show, etc.), that story itself is your essay’s subject and therefore cannot count as one of your minimum sources. The research sources are to help you to support your claims about the story (claims which would need quotes from the story whether or not you bring in outside sources for support).
Works Cited: An annotated Works Cited page is required.
Length: 2,000-2,500 words  (excluding the Works Cited and/or any images), typed and double-spaced (approximately 10-12) pages
Format: Modern Language Association (MLA)


Submission Draft Due: Sunday, 22 November
Submit the essay through Canvas, as a file upload, from Assignments > Essay Three, by its due date. This webpage explains how to upload an assignment to Canvas.
Grading Rubric: These are the elements of structure by which I will be evaluating your essays. For examples of thesis statements and of body paragraphs, see the Writing Resources pages inside of our Canvas course.

Research Points

Compose an argumentative paper that uses research to support its argument.
Develop a claim about your subject and support this claim, and your explanation of reasoning, with research.
This paper is not to be a regurgitation of the available research (easily accomplishable by copy-and-paste but contributing nothing to your development of your claim).
Use reliable, credible sources.
Prioritize sites with .edu domains (instead of .com or even .org or .gov domains).
Use research journals with the word academic or university in the title.
Do not use Wikipedia,, Spark Notes, or other such websites as sources.
Do not use encyclopedias and dictionaries as sources.
Apply the CRAAP test.
Annotate your Works Cited. An annotated Works Cited is useful in two ways. 
It allows you to keep track of your research. Second,
It allows you to demonstrate the depth of your research.
Follow MLA guidelines,
for your page format,
for your in-paragraph source citations, and
for your Works Cited. (No, the Works Cited does not count toward the essays minimum number of pages.) 

Options for Writing

Choose one of the topic options listed here. Compose an analytical, research-supported argument of significance, drawing on interpretation and persuasion. Note that the sub-topics are examples of how the topic options can be narrowed and focused. You are welcome to choose one of these examples or to work in another way with one of the topic options.

Examine a significant issue that Fahrenheit 451 explores, choosing one of the writing options from Essay 2.
Write an argument-driven essay about the effects of sport on participants. Examples include but are not limited to the following:
How would you answer Mark Edmunsons question Do sports build character or damage it? What kind(s) of character does exposure to sports develop? For what reasons?
Should children participate in sports, whether individual or team? Why?
Many private high schools require students to participate in a sport. Do you agree or disagree with this policy, and why?
How have professional sports been impacted by the use of performance enhancing drugs?
Is a sports team beneficial to a citys economy? How many sports teams in one city are beneficial?
Do professional sports teams rivalries help or hurt their communities?
Choose a social technological device or applicationsmartphones, laptops, tablets, i-Pods, Facebook, etc.and compose an argument about its use. Suggestions include but are not limited to the following:
Write about how a particular device or application is (or is not) changing how people relate to one anotherand why.
Write about why you would, or would not, let your sixteen-year-old use social media.
Should a teenager (under eighteen) use social media? Why or why not?
Do you agree or disagree with Steven Pinkers refutation of the claim that changing technologies are lessening our abilities as thinkers? Do you feel that our changing technologies are helping or harming our intellect? For what reasons?
Compose an argument of significance about health (physical, mental, or emotional health). Note: This argument may include evaluation and recommendation as part of its persuasive thesis claims support. Suggestions include but are not limited to the following:
Write about junk food taxes. Should such taxes be levied? Against what kind(s) of food and/or beverages? At what percentages?
Write about contributing factors and strategies for treating depression. For example, what links exist between perfectionism and depression in women? In men? What strategies can perfectionists employ?
Or, what are techniques for treating depression without prescription medications?
What are effective strategies for identifying suicide risks and for preventing suicide?
Write an argument relating to education. Suggestions include but are not limited to the following:
Write about grade inflation. U.S. students receive more As than do their counterparts in many European countries. For what reasons are so many As given to American students? What are short-term and long-term problems with grade inflation? What should be done to address these causes and consequences?
Compose an argument in favor of an arts-inclusive education (fine art, music, drama, dance, or literature). What advantages result from arts education? For example, how does arts education strengthen empathy, creative thinking, self-confidence, etc.?
Working from Bettelheim’s and Hunter’s views on fairytale characters, and choosing a character in a particular fiction story that you know well (a particular work of literature, tv series, movie, etc.), write an essay arguing reasons for or against the suitability of this character as a role model. For whom should s/he function or not function as a role model (adolescents, adolescent boys, single mothers, students, etc.)? For what reasons? (Note: Hunters book is available through the colleges library).
Suggestions include but are not limited to the following:
The young bride in The Robber Bride-Groom
Jane Rizzoli in Rizzoli and Isles
Frankie Rizzoli in Rizzoli and Isles
Lorelai or Rory Gilmore in The Gilmore Girls
Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dr. Who in one particular iteration of the series Dr. Who (for example, the Tenth Doctor)
Write about the values that a particular fiction story (novel, movie or television show), consciously or unconsciously, expresses. Consider this story, however entertaining it is, as creative argument. Its picture of human nature reflects its creator(s)’ own understanding. In what ways does it work to shape our attitudes and perceptions about some aspect of life? Or our behaviors?
In preparation to write, consider these with regard to the story.
o    What assumptions (about love, about childhood, about career progression,…) does it fulfill or challenge?
o    What insights into human psychology does it give us?
o    What behaviors, or behavioral standards, does it endorse?
o    What values underpin it?
o    Similarly, what is its vision of right and wrong? What morals does it, consciously or unconsciously, present?
o    In what ways is it uplifting and life-affirming? Through what means does it suggest that our improvement or redeemability can be achieved? Or, in what ways is its vision pessimistic? For what reasons does it suggest that we are, in Mark Twain’s phrase, “the damned human race”? In other words, what contributes to the storys expression of its point of view (positive, optimistic, cynical, pessimistic,…) on human nature? Or, what contributes to the storys expression of a positive, life-affirming point of view, or to a cynical point of view in which humans are irredeemably flawed?
Examples include but are not limited to the following:
Address what the novel Twilight reveals about cultural thoughts about romance or male-female relations.
What does the movie The Full Monty suggest about relationships between genders?
What does the television show The Addams Family suggest about domestic relationships (parent-child, spousal, etc.)?
Analyze the way that a specific children’s book  (fiction) uses rhetorical devices and language to teach children about morals and values while at the same time appealing to the inquisitive nature of a child and his/her imagination. Think about children’s literature as something that shapes attitudes and perceptions about life and about what it means to be “normal.” Make an analytical argument about how a single piece of children’s literature shapes or molds children’s collective values, and creates a certain perception of the world, all while appealing to their sense of curiosity and imagination.
Write an essay arguing reasons for or against the inclusion of a particular work of fiction or poetry in a literature or a composition class…



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