Paper 3

Paper #3: Persuasive Essay

For this paper, I want you to select a film that you think the class should watch. You must pitch your idea to the class in a 3-5 minute presentation. You must then present your persuasive argument to me, in an essay of 3-5 pages. This semester we have talked about argument as conversation and negotiation with your reader. In this assignment, you will use this "conversation" to try to persuade your listeners and readers to accept your claim (and to vote for your film).

Part I: Claim, Due Wednesday 10/31

Your claim will take a fairly basic form. You should build your argument around the following statement:

Our class should watch _________________( because . . .)

There are several criteria you will want to keep in mind when selecting, and arguing for, your film. These are the same criteria you will want to keep in mind when it’s your turn to vote for the film our class will watch. Things to consider and discuss include the film’s length (try to use a film of 120 minutes, or less, or we will have to change our viewing date), availability, content, entertainment value, relevance to our theme, and our existing knowledge of the movie’s subject. If the movie you want us to watch is 3 hours long, you will need to acknowledge and respond to possible criticisms. In other words, you must be prepared to tell us why we should sit through a 3-hour movie. Most importantly, the movie you select should relate to our theme of biography and autobiography, since our fourth and final paper will focus on this aspect of the film we choose. What life does it present? Can we talk productively about this presentation? Will you and your classmates be able to write a paper on this film and its presentation of a biographical or autobiographical subject?

On Wednesday 10/31, you will hand in your claim, along with a brief paragraph about how you might go about defending this claim.

Part II: Persuasive Presentation, Due Monday 11/5, Wednesday 11/7, or Friday 11/9

In a presentation of 3-5 minutes, you need to pitch your film to the rest of the class. Your presentation should use the parts of argument to defend your claim. The goal of this argument is to persuade the class to vote for your film. Warrants may be particularly important here. (For example, if you argue that we should watch a movie because it’s only one hour long, you may need to explain why you’ve assumed that shorter is better.) You may show a brief clip from your film during your presentation. (Clips should be no longer than 1 minute; the film must be on video cassette.) At the end of each presentation, your classmates will be allowed to ask you questions. This will force you to acknowledge and respond to their concerns. You can use this question and answer session to improve your argument before you write your paper.

Part III: Paper #3, Due Monday 11/12

Finally, you will articulate this argument in a paper of 3-5 pages. In your paper, you should use evidence from the film itself. You may consult other sources for additional evidence, but this is not necessary. When you hand in your paper, it should be accompanied by a completed Argument Outline worksheet. You should fill out this worksheet before you begin writing (it will also be useful for your persuasive presentation, and will be "due" in class on Friday 11/2), so that it can guide you as you compose your essay.