Characteristics



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CHARACTERISTICS

• sensuous experience including direct or indirect reliance on sight, sound , smell, touch, taste

• use of figures of speech (*see explanation) images and appropriate adverbs and adjectives

• use of organizational pattern that includes chronological, spatial, or order of importance

• a consistent mood or tone

• a variety of sentence structure relevant to the topic and tone of the essay

• based upon a single person, object, event, experience, or concept

• topic or thesis may be revealed in the effective conclusion, yet there is clear evidence of structure with

beginning, middle, and end
Good writers use a variety of figures of speech to help the reader share their experiences. While the use if figures of speech, along with carefully chosen adverbs and adjectives will enhance a description, overuses can also distract a reader. Clarity is key to good writing.
Figures of Speech

Simile- comparison of two unlike objects using "like" or "as"

He looks like a snake.

She is as tall as a tree.



Metaphor- comparison of two unlike objects not using "like" or "as"

He is a hunk.

She is a peach.

Hyperbole- extreme exaggeration or overstatement

All the other teachers let us out of class early.

I have repeated this a million times.

Onomatopoeia- a word that sounds like its meaning

The buzz of the saw scared me.

The bowl fell with a crash

Personification- giving human characteristics to inanimate objects

The tree lifted its leafy arms.

The wind cried to the evening sky.

Alliteration- the repetition of consonant sounds

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

I will blast the beastly buzzard.



Assonance- the repetition of vowels sounds

See me leave by the sea.



Irony- use of words to express opposite of intended meaning (verbal irony)

Really, Grandma. You look great in a miniskirt!


PREWRITING

• Choose a topic

• Narrow topic to a single person, event, experience, or concept

• Determine your purpose

-This will help you later with your tone and voice

- You should always want to give the reader a complete sensory experience,

but will your style be romantic, technical, humorous, touching, harsh?

- Match your style to your topic and use the appropriate language

• Select the appropriate details that you will include

• Determine if you will convey details spatially, chronologically or in order of importance



Here is an example of description by Heidi Everett from Leo: Literacy Education Online

http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/descriptive.html

Billy Ray's Pawn Shop and Lawn Mower Repair looked like a burial ground for county auction rejects. The blazing, red, diesel fuel tanks beamed in front of the station, looking like cheap lipstick against the pallid, wrinkled texture of parking lot sand. The yard, not much larger than the end zone at General G. Patton High School on the north end town, was framed with a rusted metallic hedge of lawn mowers, banana seat bicycles, and corroded oil drums. It wasn't a calico frame of rusted parts, but rather an orchestra of unwanted machinery that Billy Ray had arranged into sections. The yellow-tanked mowers rested silently at the right of the diesel fuel. Once red, now faded orange, mowers stood at attention to the left. The oil barrels, jaded and pierced with holes, bellared like chimes when the wind was right. The bikes rested sporadically throughout the lot. In the middle of it was the office, a faded, steel roof supported by cheap to-by-fours and zebra paneling. Billy Ray was at home, usually five blocks east of town on Kennel Road.


Here is a description by Mitch Albom from Tuesdays with Morrie.

…I had my first encounter with death. My favorite uncle, my mother's brother, the man who taught me music, taught me to drive, teased me about girls, thrown me a football--that one adult whom I targeted as a child and said, "That's who I want to be when I grow up"--died of pancreatic cancer at the age of forty-four. He was a short, handsome man with a thick mustache, and I was with him for the last year of his life, living in an apartment just below his. I watched his strong body wither, then bloat, saw him suffer, night after night, doubled over at the dinner table, pressing on his stomach, his eyes shut, his mouth contorted in pain. "Ahhh, God," he would moan. "Ahhh, Jesus!" The rest of us--my aunt, his two young sons, me--stood there, silently, cleaning the plates, averting our eyes.


Here is a description by Lemony Snickett from A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

Sunny, the youngest of the Baudelaire children, liked to bite things. She was an infant, and very small for her age, scarcely larger than a boot. What she lacked in size, however, she made up for with the size and sharpness of her four teeth. Sunny was at an age where one mostly speaks in a series of unintelligible shrieks. Except when she used the few actual words in her vocabulary like "bottle," "mommy," and "bite," most people had trouble understanding what it was Sunny was saying. For instance, this morning she was saying "Gack!" over and over, which probably meant, "Look at the mysterious figure emerging from the fog!"


Figures of Speech:

Simile

• Billy Ray's Pawn Shop and Lawn Mower Repair looked like a burial ground for county auction rejects.

• The blazing, red, diesel fuel tanks beamed in front of the station, looking like cheap lipstick against the

pallid, wrinkled texture of parking lot sand.

• The oil barrels, jaded and pierced with holes, bellared like chimes when the wind was right.

Metaphor

• . It wasn't a calico frame of rusted parts, but rather an orchestra of unwanted machinery that Billy Ray

had arranged into sections.

• The yard, not much larger than the end zone at General G. Patton High School on the north end town,

was framed with a rusted metallic hedge of lawn mowers, banana seat bicycles, and corroded oil drums.

Personification

• Once red, now faded orange, mowers stood at attention to the left.



Humorous Irony

• For instance, this morning she was saying "Gack!" over and over, which probably meant, "Look at the

mysterious figure emerging from the fog!"
Showing not telling

Instead of saying "It was agonizing and embarrassing watching my uncle's pain," it says: The rest of us--my aunt, his two young sons, me--stood there, silently, cleaning the plates, averting our eyes.
Senses other than sight

" Ahhh, God," he would moan."

Sunny was at an age where one mostly speaks in a series of unintelligible shrieks.


Interesting adverbs and adjectives

cheap lipstick against the pallid, wrinkled texture of parking lot sand watched his strong body wither

a rusted metallic hedge of lawn mowers a series of unintelligible shrieks

Narrative
CHARACTERISTICS

• tells a single, particular story

• may use theme rather than topic or thesis sentence

• uses descriptive language with sensory details to convey writer's experience

• a consistent mood or tone

• variety of sentence structure relevant to the topic and tone of essay

• may contain dialogue (*see below)

• shows rather than tells

• structure with distinct beginning, middle, and end

• usually written in past tense


A narrative often contains dialogue between the writer and another person important to the story. Although most readers clearly recognize how dialogue moves from one speaker to the next, it is important as a writer to punctuate dialogue correctly. This helps to clarify a conversation.

IMPORTANT: For purposes of this course, the focus is on personal narrative, memoir or anecdote using first person "I." However, a narrative may also be a story written in third person referring to an experience of other people.


Punctuating dialogue
Start a new line and indent a tab each time there is a new speaker.

"What is your problem?" he asked.

"I don't have a problem," she answered, although it was clear from the expression on her face that she was lying. Looking down, she kicked the dirt, moving pebbles in tiny explosions.

"Whatever you say."


Use quotation marks to indicate what is being said and not to identify the speaker.

"I don't ever want to see him again, " she cried.
Put end punctuation inside the quotation marks.

"Do you think I should go too?" he asked.

He asked, "Do you think I should go too?"
Use a comma to divide that quote from the speaker unless the quote is a question or exclamation.

"I just don't know what to do," she sighed.

"What are you going to do?" she asked.

"Get out of here!" she screamed.

He observed, "That's a pretty sizable mouth you've got."
If the quote is divided by the identification of the speaker, use commas.

"I don't think, " he warned, "that you should go."


Use periods if there is a complete sentence quote, followed by identification of the speaker, followed by another quote by the same speaker. Do NOT indent again if the same speaker continues.

"I have something very important to tell you," he whispered. "I hope you will give me your full attention because I don't think I will be able to say this again. Do you understand?"

"Yes, I'm listening."
PREWRITING

• Choose a personal story limited to a single incident

• Determine your purpose

-This will help you later with your tone and voice

- You should always give the reader a complete sensory experience, but with your style

be romantic, technical, humorous, touching, harsh?

- Match your style to your topic and use appropriate language

• Select the appropriate details that you will include

• Decide on a specific beginning, middle, and end to your story

Here is a short narrative by Sherman Alexie from Indian Education.

Randy, the new Indian kid from the white town of Springdale, got into a fight an hour after he first walked into the reservation school.

Stevie Flett called him out, called him a squawman, called him a pussy, and called him a punk.

Randy and Stevie, and the rest of the Indian boys, walked out on the playground.

"Throw the first punch," Stevie said as they squared off.

"No," Randy said.

"Throw the first punch," Stevie said again.

"No," Randy said again.

"Throw the first punch!" Stevie said for the third time, and Randy reared back and pitched a knuckle fastball that broke Stevie's nose.

We all stood there in silence, in awe.

There was Randy, my soon-to-be first and best friend, who always taught me the most valuable lesson about living in the white world. Always throw the first punch.
This narrative is by Robert Fulghum from All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.

Notice how he shifts verb tense for a particular effect and even uses some sentence fragments, but remember, he has learned the original rules of grammar and as a famous and well-paid writer can bend them.)
Giants, Wizards, and Dwarfs was the game to play.

Being left in charge of about eighty children seven to ten years old, while their parents were off doing parenty things, I mustered my troops in the church social hall and explained the game. It's a large scale version of Rock, Paper, and Scissors, and involves some intellectual decision making, but the real purpose of the game is to make a lot of noise and run around chasing people until nobody knows which side you are one or who won.

Organizing a roomful of wired-up gradeschoolers into two teams, explaining the rudiments of the game, achieving consensus on group identity--all this is no mean accomplishment, but we did it with a right good will and were ready to go.

The excitement of the chase had reached a critical mass. I yelled out: "You have to decide now which you are--a GIANT, a WIZARD, or a DWARF!"

While groups huddled in frenzied, whispered consultation, a tug came at my pants leg. A small child stands there looking up, and asks in a small, concerned voice, " Where do the Mermaids stand?"

Where do the Mermaids stand?

A long pause. A very long pause.

"Where do the Mermaids stand? says I.

"Yes. You see, I am a Mermaid.."

"There are no such things as Mermaids."

"Oh, yes. I am one."

She did not relate to being a Giant, Wizard, or Dwarf. She knew her category: Mermaid. And was not about to leave the game and go over against the wall where a loser would stand. She intended to participate, wherever Mermaids fit into the scheme of things without giving up dignity or identity. She took it for granted that there was a place for Mermaids and I would know just where.

Well, where DO the Mermaids stand? All the "Mermaids"--all those who are different, who do not fit the norm and who do not accept the available boxes and pigeonholes?

Answer that question and you can build a school, a nation, or a world on it.

What was my answer at that moment? Every once in a while I say the right thing.

"The Mermaid stands right here by the King of the Sea!" says I. (Yes, right here by the King's Fool, I thought to myself.)

So we stood there hand in hand, reviewing the troops of Wizards and Giants and Dwarfs as they roiled by in wild disarray.

It is not true, by the way, that Mermaids do not exist. I know at least one personally. I have held her hand.


Short anecdotes can be narratives that really strengthen a point being made in an essay. This one came from one of those pass along e-mails.

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.



Definition
CHARACTERISTICS

• identifies term to be defined

• identifies class to which the term belongs

• identifies difference between this term and others in same class

• uses terminology suitable for audience

• may define term by telling what it is not

• uses examples and description for explanation

• usually includes both denotative and connotative definitions (* see below)


Denotation

Denotation is a dictionary-type definition.



gang- a group of people acting or going around together

club- a group of people joined together for a special purpose

While the denotative definitions for both of these terms are similar, the connotation is not.


Connotation

Connotation is what is suggested in addition to the literal meaning. Connotation has "attitude" or "tone."



gang- a group engaged in some improper, unlawful, or criminal activity

club- a socially accepted group

A student would certainly receive a different reaction from his or her parents when stating he was a member of a gang as opposed to being a member of a club even though the denotative definitions are similar.


Context (the situation, structure, or audience for which the term is used) will have a huge impact on how a term is perceived.
PREWRITING

• Choose a term

• Put the term in its class or context

• Consider how this term is different from others in the same class

• Develop a denotative definition as a springboard for your example

• List situations where the connotations of the term might best show your perception of this term

• Use description or possibly short narrative to elaborate on the connotation of this term

• Make sure your tone matches your attitude towards this term and how you want to covey this

to your audience (technical, ironic, academic)
Here is a paragraph that summarizes the definition presented in a longer definition essay on TV Addiction by Marie Winn.
Who is addicted to TV? According to Marie Winn, author of The plug-in Drug: Television, Children, and the Family, TV addicts are similar to drug or alcohol addicts: The y seek a more pleasurable experience that they can get from normal life; they depend on the source of this pleasure; and their lives are damaged by their dependency. TV addicts, says Winn, use TV to screen out the real world of feelings, worries, demands. They watch compulsively--four, five, even six hours on a workday. And they reject (usually passively, sometimes actively) interaction with family or friends, diverting or productive work at hobbies or chores, and chances for change and growth.
Here is a definition on how to write an extended definition from The Bedford Reader. (Kennedy, Kennedy, Aaron)

Writing an extended definition, you are like a mapmaker charting a territory, taking in some of what lies within the boundaries and ignoring what lies outside. The boundaries, of course, may be wide, and for this reason, the writing of an extended definition sometimes tempts a writer to sweep across a continent airily and to soar off into abstract clouds. Like any other method of expository writing, though, definition will work only for the writer who remembers the world of senses and supports every generalization with concrete evidence.

There may be no finer illustration of the perils of definition than the scene, in Charles Dickens's novel Hard Times, of the grim schoolroom of a teacher named Gradgrind, who insists on facts but who completely ignores living realities. When a girl whose father is a horse trainer is unable to define a horse, Gradgrind blames her for not knowing what a horse is; and he praises the definition of a horse provided by a pet pupil: Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth, namely twenty-four grinders, four eye-teeth, and twelve incisive. Sheds coat in the spring; in marshy countries, sheds hoofs, too. Hoofs hard, but requiring to be shod with iron. Age known by marks in mouth." To anyone who didn't already know what a horse is, this list facts would prove of little help. In writing an extended definition, never lose sight of the reality you are attempting to bound, even if its frontiers are as inclusive as those of psychological burnout or human rights. Give your reader examples, narrate an illustrative story, bring in specific description--in whatever method you use, keep coming down to earth. Without your eyes on the world, you will define no reality. You might define animal husbandry till the cows come home and never make clear what it means.
When a student, Susan Iessi, was a freshman at State University of New York at New York Paltz she wrote this statement to define the mission of hall government for her dorm. (The Bedford Reader)

Hall Government consists of students who volunteer to provide the residents of their dormitory with social and emotional support. Hall Government creates opportunities for residents to meet other residents and build a network of friends through structured discussions, social events, and educational programs. It also mediates in situations such as conflicts between students and teachers or between roommates. The members of Hall government believe that their support will encourage residents to provide support for each other as well, building a community in which students may learn and thrive during their college years.

Each dormitory's Hall Government functions independently. The groups have no formal relationship with the campus-wide elected student government but are sponsored and funded by the Residence Hall Student Association.

Comparison and Contrast
CHARACTERISTICS

• suitable subject for comparison or contrast that shows similarities and/or differences

• a topic or thesis statement that establishes general comparison or contrast

• organization that is clearly developed either by whole-by-whole, part-to-part, or

likenesses-differences (*see below)

• details which clarify similarities or differences

• choose specific characteristics of likenesses and/or differences upon which you will

base your discussion

• probably either the likenesses or the differences of your topic will be more significant than the other, so

you may be able to cover the least significant within the thesis paragraph and devote the rest

of your paper to elaborating upon the other
Structures for Comparison and Contrast Papers
WHOLE-BY-WHOLE- The writer will discuss all elements of one subtopic before writing on the other.
A sample outline for a whole-by-whole essay may be:
I. Thesis paragraph

A. Thesis Statement

B. Identification of topics compared and contrasted

II. First Topic

A. Discussion with elaboration of first characteristic

B. Discussion with elaboration of second characteristic

C. Discussion with elaboration of third characteristic

III. Second Topic

A. Discussion with elaboration of first characteristic

B. Discussion with elaboration of second characteristic

C. Discussion with elaboration of third characteristic

IV. Conclusion

A. Significant observation extracted from C & C discussion

B. Tie ideas together without repeating points already made in paper


PART-TO-PART The writer will choose significant characteristics for discussion and explore them

using each of the topics without sounding like a ping-pong match.


A sample outline for a part-to-part essay may be:
I. Thesis paragraph

A. Thesis Statement

B. Identification of topics compared and contrasted

II. First significant characteristics

A. Discussion with elaboration on Topic A

B. Discussion with elaboration on Topic B

III. Second significant characteristics

A. Discussion with elaboration on Topic A

B. Discussion with elaboration on Topic B

IV. Third significant characteristics

A. Discussion with elaboration on Topic A

B. Discussion with elaboration on Topic B

IV. Conclusion

A. Significant observation extracted from C & C discussion

B. Tie ideas together without repeating points already made in paper

LIKENESSES-DIFFERENCES- The writer will discuss the likenesses and then differences of two

subjects.
A sample outline for a likenesses-differences essay may be:

I. Thesis paragraph

A. Thesis Statement

B. Identification of topics compared and contrasted

II. Likenesses

A. Discussion with elaboration of first characteristic

1. Topic A

2. Topic B

B. Discussion with elaboration of second characteristic

1. Topic A

2. Topic B

C. Discussion with elaboration of third characteristic

1. Topic A

2. Topic B

III. Differences

A. Discussion with elaboration of first characteristic

1. Topic A

2. Topic B

B. Discussion with elaboration of second characteristic

1. Topic A

2. Topic B

C. Discussion with elaboration of third characteristic

1. Topic A

2. Topic B

IV. Conclusion

A. Significant observation extracted from discussion

B. Tie ideas together without repeating points already made in paper
PREWRITING

• Select suitable subjects

• Determine the purpose of the paper: to explain subjects or evaluate them

• Determine most interesting or significant discussion- similarities or differences

• Choose significant points of similarities or differences for discussion

• Choose best organizing structure for your paper

• Check essay to make sure discussion is balanced: both subject get equal time

• Make two columns, one for each subject and list similarities and differences


Suzanne Britt is an essayist who is known for comparing and contrasting people in unexpected ways as she praised the positive attributes of "fat" people in "That Lean and Hungry Look." In this essay she uses humor and irony to characterize "Neat People vs. Sloppy People."

I've finally figured out the difference between neat people and sloppy people. The distinction is, as always, moral. Neat people are lazier and meaner than sloppy people.

Sloppy people, you see, are not really sloppy. Their sloppiness is merely the unfortunate consequence of their extreme moral rectitude. Sloppy people carry in their mind's eye a heavenly vision, a precise plan, that is so stupendous, so perfect, it can't be achieved in the world or the next.

Sloppy people live in Never-Never Land. Someday is their métier. [profession] Someday they are planning to alphabetize all their books and set up home catalogs. Someday they will go through their wardrobes and mark certain items for tentative mending and certain items for passing on to relatives of similar shape and size. Someday sloppy people will make family scrapbooks into which they will put newspaper clippings, postcards, locks of hair, and the dried corsage from their senior prom. Someday they will file everything in the surface of their desks, including the cash receipts from coffee purchases at the snack shop. Someday they will sit down and read al the back issues of The New Yorker.

For all these noble reasons and more, sloppy people never get neat. They aim too high and wide. They save everything, planning someday to file, order, and straighten out the world. But while these ambitious plans take cleaner and clearer shape in their heads, the books spill from the shelves onto the floor, the clothes pile up in the hamper and closet, the family mementos accumulate in every drawer, the surface of the desk is buried under mounds of paper, and the unread magazines threaten to reach the ceiling.

Sloppy people can't bear to part with anything. They give loving attention to every detail. When sloppy people say they're going to tackle the surface of a desk, they really mean it. Not a paper will go unturned; not a rubber band will go unboxed. Four hours or two weeks into the excavation, the desk looks exactly the same, primarily because the sloppy person is meticulously creating new piles of papers with new headings and scrupulously stopping to read all the old book catalogs before he throws them away. A neat person would just bulldoze the desk.

Neat people are bums and clods at heart. They have cavalier attitudes toward possessions, including family heirlooms. Everything is just another dust-catcher to them. If anything collects dust, it's got to go and that's that. Neat people will toy with the idea of throwing the children out of the house just to cut down on the clutter.

Neat people don't care about process. They like results. What they want to do is get the whole thing over with so they can sit down and watch the rasslin' on TV. Neat people operate on two unvarying principles: Never handle any item twice, and throw everything away.

The only thing messy in a neat person's house is the trash can. The minute something comes to a neat person's hand, he will look at it, try to decide if it has immediate use and, finding none, throw it in the trash.

Neat people are especially vicious with mail. They never go through their mail unless they are standing directly over a trash can. If the trash can is beside the mailbox, even better. All ads, catalogs, pleas for charitable contributions, church bulletins, and money-saving coupons go straight into the trash can without being opened. All letters from home, postcards from Europe, bills, and paychecks are opened, immediately responded to, then dropped in the trash can. Neat people keep their receipts only for tax purposes. That's it. No sentimental salvaging of birthday cards or the last letter a dying relative ever wrote. Into the trash it goes.

Neat people place neatness above everything, even economics. They are incredibly wasteful. Neat people throw away several toys every time they walk through the den. I knew a neat person once who threw away a perfectly good dish drainer because it had mold on it. The drainer was too much trouble to wash. And neat people sell their furniture when they move. They will sell a La-Z-Boy recliner while you are reclining in it.

Neat people are no good to borrow from. Neat people buy everything in expensive little portions. They get their flour and sugar in two-pound bags. They wouldn't consider clipping a coupon, saving a leftover, reusing plastic non-dairy whipped cream containers, or rinsing off tin foil and draping it over the unmoldy dish drainer. You can never borrow a neat person's newspaper to see what's playing at the movies. Neat people have the paper all waded up and in the trash by 7:05 AM.

Neat people cut a clean swath through the organic as well as the inorganic world. People, animals. and things are all one to them. They are so insensitive. After they've finished with the pantry, the medicine cabinet, and the attic, they throw out the red geranium (too many leaves), sell the dog (too many fleas), and send the children off to boarding school (too many scuff-marks on the hardwood floors).


Expository Essay
CHARACTERISTICS

• any kind of essay that explains

• may contain elements of description, narrative, definition, comparison and contrast

• is often a response to a prompt

• begins with a thesis that is supported with examples that are well-elaborated

• shows rather than tells


POSSIBLE EXPOSITORY PROMPTS
Choose a job and explain why you would not like to have that job.
Choose an item and explain how that item describes something about you.
Everyone has jobs or chores. Before you begin writing, think about why you do one of your jobs or chores. Now explain why you do one of your jobs or chores.
Explain why you might choose to spend a day with a particular person.
Explain what you enjoy most about being a teenager.
Explain why a particular course in school might be useful in the future.
Explain why you admire a particular person.
Explain why someone you know should be regarded a leader.

Explain why voting is an important act of citizenship.


Explain how an important invention has changed history.
Explain how people one comes to admire don't always at first seem likable.
At some point in life most people overcome great difficulties.
Explain how heroes are often just ordinary people who do extraordinary acts.
Explain how certain machines do have personalities.
Explain how embarrassing moments can teach much.

MAKING A CLUSTER IMPORTANT INVENTIONS


Good for me






















LIST/OUTLINE
Topic- Cell Phones
I. GENERAL II. PERSONAL

A. Good for public A. Good for me

1. Communication 1. Communication

a. Can immediately find someone a. Friends

b. Appointments b. Parents

c. Information

2. Safety 2. Safety

a. Get directions if lost a. Narrative about my

b. Reporting a car accident car accident

b. Contact with Mom

PREWRITING

- Make sure you understand the prompt clearly

- Identify your topic

- Using a list, web, or cluster write down one or two words that are general or person examples of

your topic

- Choose two or more examples about your topic to discuss in your topic

- Think of a general scenario that would help elaborate one of your general points or examples

- Think of a personal anecdote that would serve as an elaboration of one of your points or examples

- Find a theme, metaphor, or quote that is relevant to your topic to use in your intro and conclusion


Here is an essay based upon the cluster and list/outline examples:
My mother is always telling me stories about how her family had one black telephone centrally located in the hallway that led to all areas of the house. The three foot cord and her father's two minute time limit would not allow for extended or private conversation. I suppose she wants me to feel the proper gratitude for the miraculous invention of the cell phone.

In stating my case to my parents as to why I absolutely needed a cell phone, I turned to the examples that surrounded me. Husbands in grocery stores were asking their wives about the items they forgot. Mothers were calling babysitters to check on their children. Students were calling for library hours. (right!) Pet owners were double-checking on when to pick up Fido from his grooming. Pizza delivery guys were getting house directions. Appointments were made and changed. Businessman and women were making deals. Clearly, I observed, cell phones drive the world.

In stores, in cars, in schools, everyone was communicating with someone and my world was shrinking in what I felt was a good way. Of course, I told my parents that cell phones were good for us to keep in touch or if I needed them in an emergency, which I assured them would never happen. Upon receiving my cell phone, the world opened up as fast as my thumb could move.

Cell phones are a wonderful, life-saving invention, and I say that with the voice of experience. When a person rear-ended me in my car (yes, she was talking on her cell phone), she called the police and I called my parents. Physically, I was fine. I can't say the same for my car. Hearing my mom's voice immediately calmed me down and she must have flown to the accident, because her hug was only what seemed to be minutes away. I learned two things about a cell phone that day. When it comes to communication and a feeling of safety, there is nothing better. When it comes to driving, that kind of communication impedes safety, and there is nothing worse.

I love my cell phone. It affords me the freedom to communicate with others in a way my mother could never have imagined as a teenager, and even though her immediate access to my whereabouts feels like a three foot cord, I am very grateful to be able to contact her when I need her.

Persuasion Essay
CHARACTERISTICS

• deals with a topic upon which the writer has a definite opinion

• the writer's opinion is the thesis of the paper

• may anticipate and refute opposing arguments

• presents supporting details in the form of plausible evidence: facts, figures, examples, expert opinions

• uses logical reasoning, emotional or psychological appeals

• may use personal experiences for support

• elaborates on point of support using extended discussion of general or personal examples

• uses appropriate transition between ideas other than "first", "second", "finally", or "in conclusion"

• uses a conclusion that is a call for action rather than a restatement of the paper


IMPORTANT POINTS OF PERSUASION

• Know your audience and write appropriately for that audience

• Don't sit on the fence. Although you may anticipate what an opponent would argue, pick a side

and stay with it.

Don't make up facts and statistics as your support. This lessens credibility.

• Make share your support is relevant, accurate, and reasonable.

• If possible, add a personal anecdote relevant to your topic. Everyone likes a good story and the

personal touch adds voice and passion to your argument.

• Make sure your paper is clearly organized to lead your reader easily through your argument.

• If possible, tie your opening and conclusion together with the same idea, image, or metaphor

to add continuity to your paper.
POSSIBLE PERSUASIVE PROMPTS

• Students responded to a prompt that directed them to convince the reader to accept their opinion about whether or not it would be helpful for students to have free time during the school day.


• The Grade 10 persuasive prompt (topic) directed students to persuade community leaders whether to set a weekend curfew
• The principal of your school has been asked to discuss with a parent group the effect watching TV has on students' grades. Think about the effect watching TV has on your grades and your friends' grades

Now write to convince your principal to accept your point of view on the effect watching TV has on grades.


• Students responded to a topic that required them to convince the principal to accept their opinion on whether the length of class periods should be changed.
• Students responded to a topic that required them to convince the school board to accept their choice of a new school holiday.
•Students were asked to convince the school board about whether students who have failing grades should be allowed to participate in school clubs or sports.
• Persuade your teachers to stop giving you so much work.

• Persuade the school board to pay for your class to go to Disney World or Bush Gardens every year.

* Someone in My Family Deserves an Award

* Media Violence has a Negative Effect

* Lengthening the School Day
• Since schools have seen a rise in gang violence, stealing, and discipline problems, many schools and school districts are considering requiring students to wear uniforms. Think about how you would feel if you were required to wear a school uniform. Are there benefits or drawbacks to requiring students to wear school uniforms?

Now write an essay in which you persuade the reader that school uniforms should or should not be required. Defend your position with specific reasons supported by several detailed examples.


• Many schools require all students to perform some type of community service such as working in nursing homes or hospital.Think about how you would feel if you were required to perform a community service.

Now write an essay in which you persuade the reader that students should or should not be required to perform community service. Defend your position with several detailed reasons. Develop those reasons with supporting examples.


• Imagine that your school district has proposed saving money by eliminating extracurricular sports (football, basketball and baseball) from the high school program. Think about the possible effects of cutting sports from the school program. Decide whether you are for or against this proposal. Now write an essay in which you persuade the reader why this is or is not a good idea. Defend your position with specific reasons supported by several detailed examples.
• In some countries, students are responsible for the basic daily cleaning of their school buildings. Fifteen minutes are set aside each day for all students to sweep, dust, and clean their classrooms and corridors. Think about how you would feel if students were responsible for cleaning your school. Do you agree or disagree that American schools should adopt this policy? Now, write an essay in which you persuade the reader why this is or is not a good idea. Defend your position with specific reasons supported by several detailed examples.
• A school board is considering keeping school in session all year. Instead of a long summer vacation, there will be many shorter breaks throughout the year. Think about the effects of a twelve-month school year. Do you agree or disagree that schools should be in session all year? Now, write an essay in which you persuade the reader why this is or is not a good idea. Defend your position with specific reasons supported by several detailed examples.
1. [School Uniforms] Write a persuasive essay stating whether or not the students at your school should be required to wear uniforms to school. Give at least three reasons to support your position. Remember, you must argue in such a convincing manner that others will agree with you.
2. [Locker Searches/Personal Searches] The principal at your school has instituted random locker and backpack/bookbag searches to check for guns, knives, and other weapons. Anyone caught with these weapons will be immediately suspended. The principal argues that the random searches will not only guard against illegal weapons at school but will also will help students feel safer. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper stating your position and supporting it with three convincing reasons.
3. [Censorship] Write a persuasive essay stating whether certain television programs that are considered to be unsuitable should be censored for children under 16 in your community. Give at least three reasons to support your position.
4. [Censorship] Your local public library has come under criticism for allowing patrons under the age of 18 to check out books considered unacceptable. The books are either explicit, describe graphic violence, or use questionable language. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your position and supporting it with three convincing reasons.
5. [Too Much Homework] Some of the parents at your school have started a campaign to limit the homework that teachers can assign to students. Teachers at your school have argued that the homework is necessary. What is your position? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your position and supporting it with three convincing arguments.
6. [Field Trips] In order to save money, your principal is thinking about canceling all field trips for the remainder of the year! Write a letter to your principal persuading him or her to allow students to continue attending field trips. Give at least three reasons to support your position.
7. [Online Schools] The state department of education has provided funding for an experimental online school. All the classes will take place on the Internet, using email, online chat, and the world wide web. The students taking classes at this new online school will never meet each other face-to-face. They will only interact online with each other and with their teachers. The state is hoping this program will provide fairer educational access to students in outlying, rural areas. Opponents of the program argue that because of their lack of interaction with other students in a traditional classroom, the students who attend this online school will not develop the social skills that should be a component of their education. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your position on this issue and supporting it with three convincing reasons.
8. [Computers in the Classroom] As part of a new technology initiative, your local school district is increasing the number of computers in every school. The district plan provides for two computers in every classroom. Teachers at your school are lobbying instead to place all the computers together, creating two computer-based classrooms so that all students in a class can work at the computers together, rather than only one or two students at a time. The district is worried about the additional cost of creating and maintaining these special classrooms and is concerned about how access to the classrooms can be provided fairly and efficiently. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your point of view and supporting it with three convincing reasons.
9. [Bilingual Education] As part of a proposed educational initiative in your state, local school districts are responsible for providing required courses in both English language and Spanish language in order to increase the success of their programs. Because your state has a large population of Spanish speakers, the state education department believes that teaching these students in their first language will help them learn better and more quickly. Because of the limited budget, however, the local school board is concerned that they may not be able to provide the additional teachers or training needed for this program. They fear that they will lose state funding and accreditation even though 90% of the district's students pass their achievement tests on the first try. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your point of view and supporting it with three convincing reasons.
10. [Grade Scale Change] One of the biology teachers at your school has decided to change from a ten-point grade scale (100 to 90 is an A, 89 to 80 is a B, etc.) to a seven-point grade scale (100 to 93 is an A, 92 to 85 is a B, etc.). The teacher is trying to encourage students to put more effort into their classes by raising the requirements. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your position and supporting it with convincing reasons.
11. [New Highway Exit] The state has created a plan to add a second highway exit to help shoppers access a busy shopping mall. The only problem is that the new exit will move the access road 500 yards closer to a near-by elementary school. Teachers and parents at the school complain that moving the road closer will increase noise at the school and provide unnecessary distractions. The state planners have included privacy fences to help cut down on the problems, but the protesters are unsatisfied. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your position and supporting it with convincing reasons.
12. [Litter] A litter problem has developed on your school's campus. Students are throwing trash on the ground, leaving empty soda cans and bottles outside on benches, and dropping napkins and other trash on the cafeteria floor rather than carrying them to the trashcan. Your principal has asked students to take more care, but the litter problem persists. The principal has reacted by canceling all after-school activities until the problem is taken care of. What is your position on this issue? Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper stating your position and supporting it with convincing reasons.
13. [75 Hours Community Service] Write a persuasive essay telling whether you feel students should be required to complete 75 hours of community service as part of their graduation requirements. Give at least three reasons to support your position. The way in which you present your argument could decide whether you will be required to do 75 hours of community service before you graduate from high school.
14. [Curfew] The mayor of your city is trying to decide if a 7:00p.m. curfew for children under the age of 16 is needed. What do you think? Write a persuasive essay to the mayor [Mr. Thomas Menino] to convince him to enact or not to enact, the curfew. Give at least three reasons to support your position.
15. [Moving] Your family is getting ready to move to a new home and your parents have given you two choices: in a neighborhood outside a city or on a farm in the country. Where would you like to live? Write a letter to your family persuading them to live either outside the city or on a farm. Give at least three reasons to support your choice.
16. [Extended School Day] Write a persuasive essay stating whether the school day should be lengthened by two hours so that all students can get help with homework. Give at least two reasons to support your position. Remember you must argue in such a convincing manner that others will agree with you.

17. [Helmets] Write a persuasive essay stating whether children under the age of 16 should be required to wear helmets while biking, scooting, skateboarding, rollerblading, and skiing. Give at least two reasons to support your position. Remember, you must argue in such a convincing manner that others will agree with you. The outcome of the state legislature's vote on helmets could be decided by your essay.


• Should society have the right to prohibit drug use? Why or why not? Write a multi-paragraph essay in which you develop two reasons in support of your thesis or claim.
•Is an individual ever justified in breaking the law? Is it ever morally imperative to break the law? Discuss your views on these questions with reference to specific examples in support of your argument.
• Discuss whether or not public libraries offering Internet access should be obligated to use software blocking access to "undesirable" material.
PREWRITING

• If your topic is a prompt, read it carefully to make sure you have a clear understanding.

• Decide your view or side of the topic.

• List general and personal points that would support your view.

• If you have facts or statistics readily available, list those too.

• List several arguments that would be presented by opposition against your points and decide

how your point could be made stronger through elaboration

• Think of a personal anecdote (narrative) that might strengthen your argument

• Using a web, cluster, list or outline, organize your ideas in the order you wish to present them
Not everyone writes in the same style, but a particular point of view may still be presented effectively in several ways. Example prompt: Your school has decided to change the dress code to require uniforms. Write a letter to persuade the school board to make the change or keep the policy.
Dear Members of the School Board,
I know that the time to return to school is soon approaching when my mother takes me shopping for school clothes. It is a yearly ritual in our family and one that I would miss. However, this is not the only reason that I am against the adoption of a school uniform.

Often students feel that what they wear is an extension of their individual personality. A “cookie cutter” approach to clothing inhibits students from creative expression and does not reflect the real world for which school is supposed to prepare them. Even in schools where school uniforms are required, students still alter their appearances through the use of accessories such as socks, belts, jewelry, or by adjusting the uniforms themselves.

Although I have never attended a school that has required wearing a uniform, I feel that the freedom to wear the clothing I choose has helped to make me relaxed and comfortable in my school surroundings. I do not consider myself to be a “slave to fashion,” but I sometimes enjoy dressing to express my mood or in some cases, to adapt to the varying temperatures of the rooms in my school. This year there have been problems with our air conditioning system and the ability to dressing in layers has allowed me to be comfortable in rooms that are either stifling or freezing. A uniform would not allow me the versatility of clothing need in order to be comfortable and concentrate on what is really important in class.

Adopting a school uniform is not the answer to solving problems associated with educating students and I would like to see the school spend its time and effort on more pressing problems. As for myself, I cannot spend any more time on this issue. I have to go shopping with my mom.


Sincerely,

Student A

Dear Members of the School Board,
Students should be judged by how they work in school, not by how they look. Uniforms actually allow students to stand out as individuals regardless of what they wear. It is for this reason I support the adoption of a school uniform.

Often students feel that what they wear is an extension of their individual personality. The truth is while many feel that “Clothes make the man” (or woman), when it comes to what is truly important in being a successful student, it isn’t clothes that “make the grade,” it’s the individual. Private schools are generally accepted as places where strong discipline is practiced and most require school uniforms. Students who are not wasting time drawing attention to themselves by the clothes they wear can spend it better through appropriate school behavior.

I believe that a change to a required uniform will bring about a change in student behavior. Like using a costume for a character in a play, the students will “act” like better students. As a serious student, changing to a uniform may not make any differences in my behavior, but I think it could make a difference in some of my peers. I know that when a girl in one of my classes this year wore a skintight dress, not only were the students distracted, but I think my teacher was as well. A uniform would make sure that the focus of class is only on figures relating to lessons, not students.

Adopting a school uniform will not create uniformity in students, nor will it stifle their individuality. Those who have the desire to learn and the will to succeed will always stand out from the crowd.

Sincerely,

Student B


Here is an argument from The Bedford Reader about television news.
Television news has a serious failing: It's show business. Unlike a newspaper, its every image has to entertain the average beer drinker. To score high ratings and win advertisers, the visual medium favors the spectacular: riots, tornados, air crashes. Now that satellite transmission invites live coverage, newscasters go for the fast-breaking story at the expense of thoughtful analysis. "The more you can get data out instantly," says media critic Jeff Greenfield, "the more you can rely on instant data to define the news." TV zooms in on people who make the news, but, to avoid boredom, won't let them argue or explain. (How can they in speeches limited to fifteen seconds?) In 1966, as American missiles bombed military sites in Iraq, President Clinton held a press conference to explain his action. His lengthy remarks were clipped to twenty seconds on one news broadcast, and then an anchorwoman digested the opposition to a single line: "Republicans tonight were critical of the president's actions." During the 2000 presidential election, both candidates sometimes deliberately packaged bad news so it could not be distilled to a sound bite on the evening news--thus would not make the evening news at all. Americans who rely on television for their news (two-thirds, according to recent polls) exist on a starvation diet.



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