Letter as Argument

7.1.11 Study: Explore Essay Writing: Argument 
  
 Date: ____________

Letter as Argument

This study sheet will help you to write a rough draft of the writing assignment that you will revise later on. Answer the following questions as you work through your study to build a strong and successful essay.

Your Assignment

Write a letter to Edward Abbey that explains why one of his arguments in “The Damnation of a Canyon” is unconvincing. 

You will . . .

  • Use pathos, ethos, or logos to grab Abbey’s attention
  • Explain one ineffective use of rhetoric in his essay
  • Show how he can fix the problem
  • Encourage him to revise his work

Use the questions below for brainstorming and organizing your ideas.1. Which piece of Abbey’s rhetoric will you discuss in your letter? Name just one argument or fallacy that you want to criticize and help him correct.

2. Why isn’t this part of Abbey’s essay likely to convince his audience?

3. What could he do to fix it?

4. Brainstorm how to grab Abbey’s attention at the beginning. Try to come up with at least one possibility for each logical strategy.

5. Which attention grabber would most likely make Edward Abbey stop and listen? Why?

6. Write an introduction using your best attention-grabbing opening and the claim provided on the assignment sheet.

7. Write a paragraph explaining that Abbey’s words are ineffective for reaching his audience. Be sure to quote or paraphrase one specific example from his essay as you develop your paragraph.

8. Write a paragraph developing a suggestion for improving the work. Be sure to include an example, explain how it uses rhetoric, and tell Abbey why it is a better choice.

9. Write a conclusion that restates your main idea and encourages Abbey to put your ideas to use.

10. Combine your answers from questions 6 through 9 into a complete letter. Add detail if any paragraphs seem too short and insert transitions to make your ideas flow smoothly.

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