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Free Response #3: Argument

Argument Essay: Evidence

8 min readoctober 30, 2020

stephanie-kirk

Stephanie Kirk


AP English Language ✍🏽

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REHUGO:

We aren’t sure where it started, but many teachers use REHUGO to help students find evidence on the Argument FRQ.  This acronym provides a quick check that can help you build logical evidence that supports your claim.
  • R - Reading - Something you have read, fiction or nonfiction, that connects the given topic.
  • E - Entertainment - A movie or song with dialogue or lyrics that present related ideas.
  • H - History - An event, document, speech, or person from history that aligns with the given topic.
  • U - Universal Truths - A common maxim or socially-accepted quote people tend to accept as truth.
  • G - Government - A national or international current event or governmental situation related to the topic.
  • O - Observations - Any cultural, technical, or societal trend that relates to the topic.

Suggested Guided Questions for the Argument FRQ

Now that you have a better understanding of the Argument FRQ’s expectations and scoring, let’s visit a sample prompt and add a few guided questions that you can use to help plan your own writings.
In his book Talking to Strangers (2019), Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell (born 1963) writes: “To assume the best about another is the trait that has created modern society. Those occasions when our trusting nature gets violated are tragic. But the alternative—to abandon trust as a defense against predation and deception—is worse.”
Write an essay that argues your position on the importance of trust in modern society.

Guided Question 1: What does the prompt say? 📝

  • Why do I do this? Understanding the concept or idea presented by the prompt is vital to planning a response that thoroughly addresses the prompt and stays on topic throughout.  This is where you are going to BAT the PROMPT.
  • What does it look like?  Break down the prompt to identify what the given assertion is saying to decide what your position on the given topic will be.
    • Background: Gladwell asserts that society should trust each other in order to continue to be productive. Assuming the best about each other presents a better outcome than assuming the worst about each other.
    • Advice: The new stable prompt wording does not give much advice, but you should revisit advice you learned in class or from us as Fiveable -- things like using Toulmin to plan your response and planning modes of development that help progress your reasoning.
    • Task: Write an essay giving your position about the importance of trust. Specifically, is Gladwell right or wrong? And why?
    Rhetorical Situation: When writing for AP Lang, it is important to consider the rhetorical situation and write in a manner that demonstrates an understanding of all elements of that situation. 
    • Context - the historical, social, and cultural movements in the time of the text
    • Occasion - special circumstances, atmosphere, attitudes, and events surrounding the creation of the text
      • Exigence - the urgency that leads to an action
    • Purpose - the goal the speaker wants to achieve and the desired audience movement
    • Speaker - the person or group who creates a text
      • Persona - the “mask” shown to his/her audience
    • Audience - listener, viewer, or reader of a text
      • Think: The goal is to present the information in a way the audience will understand (diction/syntax). May have a primary audience, but a secondary or unintended audience may be created if the text ends up on social media, etc.
https://i.ibb.co/jzPqSvS/Screen-Shot-2020-03-08-at-2-55-36-PM.png

Resources:

Image Courtesy of Dana Anderson, Writing Unleashed

Guided Question 2: What do I think? 💡

  • Why do I do this?  Taking a moment to brainstorm ideas can help organize thoughts and build an outline that you can revisit if you lose your train of thought in the stress of timed writing.  
  • What does it look like?  This might just be stream-of-consciousness in your head, cloud diagrams, or even bulleted notes on the side of your prompt, but it needs to end with a clear position statement you can use for your thesis statement. For example:
  • Trust is important. It does suck to get betrayed though but having a positive outlook creates positive results. Thinking the worst makes people act negatively because they project in a way that leads toward the worst response. ⬇️
    • Thesis Statement: Although some people believe humanity seems self-interested, a trusting nature enables individuals to focus on the positive and treat others with the respect that foster positive interrelationships.

Guided Question 3: What evidence can I use? 🤔

  • Why do I do this?  Revisit REHUGO and use Toulmin to plan your body paragraphs based on the thesis statement you came to when brainstorming ideas.
  • Modes of Development: When writing, it is helpful to arrange the overall essay and its parts in a way that aligns with the purpose.  Consider these basic modes and how you might use them in writing an argumentative essay.
    • Cause and Effect attempt to follow the chain of events and establish causation. The description brings imagery and details into a text so that it set up the tone and ensures the reader can follow the mood.
    • Classification allows the speaker to categorize things in a way that guides the reader to follow the line of reasoning.
    • Comparison, looking at the similarities and differences, helps to analyze the intricate details of a given topic.  Because this describes differing elements, it may be structured by the element or by the characteristic.
    • Definition works to explain what something is or is not. By defining the subject being discussed, the speaker is able to control the thinking about that subject.  Because this helps to clarify the topic, it is generally used in the introductory section of argumentation.
    • Exemplification is used when explaining the topic or situation by giving examples to help lead the audience to the desired conclusion.
    • Narration tells a story or gives an anecdote to help illustrate the point.
    • Process Analysis serves to explain the process by which something is done.
  • What does it look like?  I always use a version of the T-chart because one side is my evidence and the other side helps me consider multiple perspectives.  You may not have an idea in all areas, and you may have multiple ideas in one area. Try to time yourself so that you get plenty of strong evidence without wasting too much time.

Supports 🏗️

Thoughts 💭

~ R - Trust in Society by Cook points out that we only realize the importance of trust when there’s a breakdown.
~ R - Essay “Importance of Trust” from class said that trust is not easy but it is what builds the foundation of a relationship and drives all actions between sides.
~ E -  The 2011 movie Trust shows that too much trust can get you hurt or killed.
~ E - The media has so much bias it can’t be trusted… 
~ H - Revolutionary War - trusted founding fathers and God’s position resulting in breaking free from Britain
~ U - Trust - People should be trusted until proven otherwise
~ G - A criminal escaped in our town and was on the loose; we trusted police to do their job rather than resort to vigilante justice
~ G - Trust the president will have our best interests at heart -- most appear to have done that
~ O - App-based dating - relies on trusting the person you meet online before meeting in person
> relationships between couples
> trust in contractual agreements? Moral obligation for trust?
> Counter?
> Relied on trust and won with not much else to go ob
> Ex, Parents, Teachers, Siblings 
> Trust helped keep us safe; job was well done when we were out of the way
> Obvious exceptions; System of impeachment 
PRO TIP: What if you have more evidence for the other side? Well, you haven’t started writing just yet, so it isn’t too late to go back and revise the thesis statement. Sometimes this happens in looking for evidence, and that’s perfectly okay.  In fact, many times students will say they wrote an essay using evidence that went completely against what they felt in their head or heart just because they couldn’t put a logical argument on paper without getting too emotional. Know your audience, and build your argument.

Resources:

Guided Question 4: How should I effectively organize my response? 📈

  • Why do I do this?  This step helps to outline the response so that your ideas are organized before you start writing.  The general advice is to follow the structure of Classical Argumentation, but there is no rule saying that must be done to score well on the rubric. 💯
  • What does it look like?  One way of doing this would be to mark numbers by ideas tracked and written in the brainstorm, but some do take a moment to build an outline with topic sentences. 
  • Modes of Development: When writing, it is helpful to arrange the overall essay and its parts in a way that aligns with the purpose.  Consider these basic modes and how you might use them in writing an argumentative essay.
    • Cause and Effect attempt to follow the chain of events and establish causation. The description brings imagery and details into a text so that it set up the tone and ensures the reader can follow the mood.
    • Classification allows the speaker to categorize things in a way that guides the reader to follow the line of reasoning.
    • Comparison, looking at the similarities and differences, helps to analyze the intricate details of a given topic.  Because this describes differing elements, it may be structured by the element or by the characteristic.
    • Definition works to explain what something is or is not. By defining the subject being discussed, the speaker is able to control the thinking about that subject.  Because this helps to clarify the topic, it is generally used in the introductory section of argumentation.
    • Exemplification is used when explaining the topic or situation by giving examples to help lead the audience to the desired conclusion.
    • Narration tells a story or gives an anecdote to help illustrate the point.
    • Process Analysis serves to explain the process by which something is done.
  • Start by creating Toulmin Position Statements that can be used for topic sentences and then move into a writing plan. Here’s a sample for this prompt:

Sample Outline:

  1. Intro - Summarize idea, define trust
    1. Revised Thesis: Although some people believe trust must be earned, maintaining a trusting nature is important because it enables society to focus on positivity and create positive interrelationships that lead to positive outcomes. 
  2. At the most basic level, trust is important because the human experience has taught us that the foundation of a relationship is trust.
    1. Universal truth
    2. Observation
  3. Indeed historical perspective can give more credible evidence as to why trust is vital to society.
    1. History
    2. Government
  4. Certainly, there have been times where trust resulted in less-than-desirable situations.
    1. Entertainment - refute
    2. Entertainment - refute
  5. Conclude: When considering the value of trust in society, it is clear that the benefits of granting trust far outweigh the consequences of withholding it.

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