Victoria East High School

Skip to main content
Classes

English 2 (Period 3)

Instructor
CHRISTOPHER ELVEN
Department
ELAR

Course Description

This course will continue to refine a student's skills in the use of the English language. This will be accomplished through both reading and writing exercises, with a special focus on Argumentative/Persuasive writing and analysis. 

Upcoming Assignments See all

Could not find any upcoming assignments due.

See all posted assignments for this class.

Recent Posts

"Clean Hair or Clean Air" Assignment

 
Complete the analyzation of the article "Clean Hair or Clean Air"
Due Monday, Sep 9.
 
Instructions:
  • Left-hand side of the article: Two pieces of information for EACH section.
  1. The Topic of that section - "Palm Oil Production," "Foods with Palm Oil," etc.
  2. A brief summary of the POINT of that section - "Palm Oil Production is bad for the environment," "Many different foods have palm oil in them," etc.
  • Right-hand side of the article: Two pieces of information for each section.
  1. Details on the topic from the Left-hand side - "25,000 square miles of rainforest burned down," "Destroys habitat for many animals," etc
  2. What the author is doing, rhetorically, with this section of the article - "He is establishing ethos by mentioning his environmental journalism background," "The author appeals to the readers moral sense by mentioning different animals that are killed by palm oil production," etc"
    • This is the hardest part of this assignment. It requires a full sentence, and NEEDS to say what the author is DOING. This means that it must have a VERB: shows, builds, reveals, establishes, appeals, etc.
 

Notes about Effective Body Paragraph

Creating an effective body paragraph is one of the most important skills that you can master. Creating a thesis is very important, but is also very easy, at its core.
 
The body paragraph, however, is where the bulk of your piece's work is done.
Here are the important parts of an effective body paragraph.
  • Topic Sentence – As indicated, this sentence should announce the topic of this particular paragraph. Nothing more. Nothing less.
  • Concrete Detail – The evidence that you’re going to use to help prove your topic sentence. This could be a fact, a story, or a logical argument. Quotes from a text (such as “Unwind”) would go here.
  • Commentary – Links your Concrete Detail to your Topic Sentence. It should be specific to the information that is mentioned in your Concrete Detail. If you bring up a fact about squirrel migration in your Concrete Detail, you need to explain, specifically, how THAT fact relates to the Topic Sentence. This is often the longest single part of your paragraph.
  • Connection – You need to connect this topic to your thesis. That’s what this sentence is for.
Sample paragraph:
 
[Topic] Team success is just more fun. [Concrete Detail] When I was younger, I won a Regional Spelling Bee. I also was a part of a winning Pony-League baseball team. The wins as part the baseball team were a lot more fun. [Commentary] This is because when I won the Spelling Bee, I didn’t really have anyone to share my happiness with. I only had my defeated opponents to talk to. When I succeeded as part of a team, I immediately had 13 friends with me to talk to, to swap stories with, to have fun with, to celebrate with. [Connection] So succeeding as part of a team allows your happiness to be shared, rather than forcing you to be isolated by your success.
 
You can see that each part of the paragraph is related to every other part. Each supports the other. Keep this in mind.

Types of Evidence

  • There are a lot of different ways that you can make an argument. There are the Rhetorical Appeals (ethos, pathos, logos), which help determine what tack you are going to take to convince someone.
  • There are also different types of evidence. Evidence is what you use to help prove your argument. Evidence differs from the appeals in that the appeals determine HOW you're going to convince them, but evidence is WHAT you're going to convince them with. 
  • Evidence also falls into three main types, just like the Appeals:
    1. Empirical - Using facts, figures, and other observable or measurable information. If you are providing information on how many people in the US are left-handed, that's empirical information. If you're describing how an ice-cream sundae looks, that's empirical information. Empirical evidence is often considered very reliable, because any piece of empirical evidence should be verifiable by more than one person with little, or no, difference in what is being observed.
    2. Logical - Using established information to make a good, educated guess. If you observe someone buying dog food, then it would be considered logical to assume that they have a dog. One of the oldest logical proofs in the world is a simple math proof: If A=B, and B=C, then it is logical to say that A=C. Logical evidence can be very powerful, as it can create a chain of ideas that can seem very hard to break. 
    3. Anecdotal - Using the experiences of individuals to make an argument. If you are making an argument that dogs should always be kept on a leash when outdoors, then you might tell a story of a dog that bit you as you were walking by a fenced-in yard that the dog was able to get out of. This is an anecdotal argument. In some ways, it is both the weakest and most powerful of arguments. It can be weak because there is often no way to verify personal stories. It can be very strong, however, because we naturally wish to identify with those around us. 
  • Any of these types of evidence can be used to support any of the Appeals. You can use facts to support an emotional argument. You can use a personal story to support an argument based on logos. You can use logical evidence to support an ethics-based argument. Each piece of evidence that you present fits one of these types, but each type can fit into any appeal.

Rhetorical Appeals/Triangle

  • Rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, has been around since the Dawn of Man, and probably even before that. However, the systematic study of rhetoric is a far more recent idea, dating back about 2,400 years ago, to Aristotle.
  • He developed the idea of the Rhetorical Appeals, or Rhetorical Triangle. He posited that any argument can fall into one or more of the following categories:
    1. Ethos - A moral or ethical argument. What this REALLY means is that someone establishing ethos is trying to convince you that they know best simply because they are who they are. This may be because they are credible (know what they're talking about, like a doctor, or former football player who is now an announcer), believable (because they have a track record of believable statements, or just "seem" as if they are telling the truth), likable (you want to agree because they're the "cool" kid, or popular, etc), some other trait, or any combination thereof. While there are definitely some commonly accepted ideas of what is moral and ethical, there is no set of moral and ethical ideals that are accepted by absolutely everyone, and so it is up to us to determine what those ideals should be. Those establishing ethos are trying to say that you should accept their set of ethical and moral ideals as the best.
    2. Pathos - An argument based on emotions. What this REALLY means is that someone establishing pathos will try to make you feel a certain way in order to convince (or manipulate) you into acting a certain way. If a commercial makes you sad, they're usually trying to get you to act in a way that won't make you sad anymore. I.e. sad music playing over pictures of sad puppies in sad shelters. They want you to go do something that makes these sad puppies not so sad: Adopt. If a commercial makes you happy, they are often trying to make you act in a way that will continue that happiness. I.e. Happy commercials for Six Flags: They want you to go to Six Flags, so that you can be happy, too. Use of pathos can be very powerful, because so often our emotions override the logical parts of our brains.
    3. Logos - An argument based on intellect. What this REALLY means is that someone establishing logos will try to convince you using facts and logic. If someone tells you that the effects of smoking kills 60% of those that smoke 4 cigarettes or more a day, then they are using an argument based on logos. A) 60% die if smoking more than 4 cigarettes a day. B) You smoke more than 4 cigarettes, so it is likely that you will die, too. It relies on you making the leap that if A, then B. This is a fact-based AND a logical argument.
  • While an argument can fall into any one of these categories, any argument is stronger the more that it relies on more than one appeal. As an example, the idea that those that smoke 4 cigarettes a day or more are far more likely to die from the direct results of smoking is both a logical argument, as well as an emotional one. It uses most people's fear of death to make a point, as well as logic to help you understand the danger that you're in in the first place.