To Kill a Mockingbird Argumentative Essay

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1 To Kill a Mockingbird Argumentative Essay You are to write an argumentative essay in which you convince the reader of your explanation to the following question: 1. Which character shows the most courage in the novel? This essay will be worked on in school. YOU MUST TYPE YOUR FIRST AND FINAL DRAFTS OF YOUR ESSAY HERE AT SCHOOL YOU MAY NOT TYPE THEM AT HOME! Again, ALL WORK must be done here in school unless your teacher tells you otherwise. Points to remember: Be organized: Introductory paragraph: follow a broad to specific format; include the title of the book and author; present a clear thesis statement 3 body paragraphs: this is where you convince the reader of your stance; use at least 1 quote to support each paragraph Conclusion: restate thesis; tie main points to thesis Grammar and spelling will be evaluated Use 12 pt Times New Roman font and double space, please Write the body paragraphs in present tense Include a creative and relevant title Do not use the pronouns I, we, me, myself, us, you, yours, or your (unless these words are used in quotes that you are taking directly from To Kill a Mockingbird) Include a Works Cited page Your final draft and first typed draft are stapled ON TOP OF your rough draft, which will be written in this packet Due Dates: Body Paragraph #1 Body Paragraph #2 Body Paragraph #3 Introductory Paragraph Concluding Paragraph First Typed Draft Final Draft

2 Your completed essay should follow this format: I. Introduction Begin with a broad topic related to your thesis. Make statements with which your reader will agree. Move slowly and smoothly to your thesis. Lead your reader to your clear Thesis Statement. Make sure thesis includes the title and author of the book. II. Body paragraph #1 Topic sentence Introduce evidence Quote to support this (with citations) Analysis of your example and quote (tie to your thesis) Transitional sentence to next form of evidence (next body paragraph) III. Body paragraph #2 Topic sentence Introduce evidence Quote to support this (with citations) Analysis of your example and quote (tie to your thesis) Transitional sentence to next form of evidence (next body paragraph) IV. Body paragraph #3 Topic sentence Introduce evidence Quote to support this (with citations) Analysis of your example and quote (tie to your thesis) Concluding sentence V. Conclusion Restate thesis Connect your main points back to your thesis by suggesting results or by tying to the broad topic in your introduction Solid concluding sentence that leaves reader thinking about what you said

3 Step 1: Write your thesis A thesis is a sentence that defines the purpose of your essay. This sentence should serve as a roadmap to your paper that outlines the points you will make. The thesis should be included in your introduction. It is not, however, the first sentence of your paper. Your thesis belongs at the end of your introduction paragraph. This will help the reader to understand the points you will make in your essay. Here are some tips on writing a strong thesis: 1. Make a strong statement. Do not sound wishy washy. 2. Do not start your thesis with I believe, I think, In my opinion, etc. If you wrote it, we know it s your opinion. You don t need to tell us that. 3. Clear wording is essential. If your thesis is awkwardly worded or unclear, the rest of the essay doesn t even matter! 4. Stay away from phrases like This essay will show you or In this essay you will learn. Example Thesis: Courage, responsibility, and open mindedness are characteristics that make Calpurnia an easily likeable character. Write your thesis here (you may refer to your outline!):

4 Step 2: Write your topic sentences. This sentence serves as an introduction to your paragraph s main idea. If it is not clear, your reader will struggle to understand your point. Your topic sentences should also include transitional words or phrases. A great list of transitions can be found at this website, and there are some listed below as well: Example Transitions: in the (first, second,)place to begin with initially to start with first of all at first secondly similarly in a like manner likewise what is more moreover furthermore in addition (to this) additionally further by the same token in the same way alternatively in contrast on the other hand conversely on the other hand to conclude (with) as a final point finally Here is an example of a strong topic sentence for body paragraph #2 (includes a transitional phrase, which is underlined): In addition to being courageous, Calpurnia is a responsible caregiver for both Jem and Scout. Now, write your topic sentences using a transitional word or phrase in each one (refer to your outline!). Underline your transition: Topic Sentence #1 (Body Paragraph #1): Topic Sentence #2 (Body Paragraph #2): Topic Sentence #3 (Body Paragraph #3):

5 Step 3: Write your body paragraphs using TIQA *Each body paragraph must contain these elements! Topic sentence Introduce example: Assume your reader is familiar with the plot and very briefly identify the reason the character either has the most courage or is likable/unlikable. Quote: provide the quote that supports the reason given above. Analyze: explain/analyze how this particular example and its supporting quote supports your thesis. This is the most important portion of the paragraph and should therefore be the most lengthy at least 3 to five sentences! Example Body Paragraph: (Topic Sentence): To begin with, Calpurnia illustrates the meaning of courage several times throughout the novel. (Introduce Example): One of the most courageous acts that Calpurnia takes is defending Scout and Jem s presence at First Purchase Church. (Quote): When she and the children arrive, Lula, a member of the all black congregation, inquires in a threatening manner, I wants to know why you bringin white chillun to nigger church (Lee 119). Calpurnia holds her ground and confidently responds, They s my comp ny (Lee 119). Lula continues to carry on, and Calpurnia sternly threatens Lula s advance on the children when she says, Stop right there, nigger (Lee 119). (Analyze): It is evident that Lula is a strong willed woman who knows how to upset people and push them around. Calpurnia, however, does not let Lula s intimidating ways get the best of her. She calmly and firmly asserts the children s right to attend church with her, despite the possibility that Lula s threats could have turned dangerous. Calpurnia s courageous character is shown clearly in her ability to stand up for herself and defend two white children. Draft Body Paragraph #1 FOLLOW TIQA

6 Draft Body Paragraph #2 FOLLOW TIQA

7 Draft Body Paragraph #3 FOLLOW TIQA

8 Step 4: Write your Introductory Paragraph Your introductory paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay. There are three major components in every successful introduction. The first is an attention getter. You want to grab your reader's attention with a scenario, interesting fact, statistic, or quotation. Secondly, you must present all of the necessary information for the reader to understand the paper. You want to inform your reader the purpose of your essay. You will finish the introduction paragraph with the argument for the paper the thesis. Follow ANT: Attention Getter: First sentence or first few sentences should be an attention getter. There are multiple ways to make up an attention getter: relevant quote from an outside source relevant quote from the story a broad topic that is related to your thesis a brief, relevant story or scenario that relates to paper topic *After your attention getter you should seamlessly flow or transition into the next section (connect the two pieces of information): Necessary information: This is information that will help to bring the reader up to speed on any details that are necessary to understand the essay. Author's full name Title of the novel Brief plot summary Thesis: The last sentence of your introduction should be your thesis. Example Introductory Paragraph: (Attention Getter): People read fiction for a variety of reasons. Some enjoy the quiet, simple pleasure of turning pages and getting lost in an intricate plot. Others read for the excitement of a twist ending or a good adventure. And many people keep reading fiction because they become attached to the characters of their favorite authors. Over time, writers have churned out millions of books that include characters people have come to love and admire for their honorable personalities. (Necessary Information): Like many books written over the centuries, Harper Lee s classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, contains a cast of admirable characters who demonstrate a variety of likable qualities. Calpurnia, the African American caregiver of Scout and Jem, illustrates many honorable traits that any reader would appreciate. (Thesis): Courage, responsibility, and open mindedness are characteristics that make Calpurnia an easily likeable character.

9 Draft Introductory Paragraph FOLLOW ANT

10 Step 5: Write your Conclusion Your conclusion should not merely be a summary. Your conclusion should show the importance of the analysis that you have been making in the paper. Your conclusion must be a full paragraph, 1 or 2 sentences is not enough to wrap up an entire essay! A successful conclusion: provides a warning draws a comparison to similar situations or provokes a vivid image A successful conclusion does not: introduce new arguments, evidence, or details (related to To Kill a Mockingbird) apologize for doing a poor job of presenting the material Formula for an effective conclusion: 1. Restate Restate your thesis using DIFFERENT words. Do not simply restate your thesis word for word. When you restate it, it can be more than one sentence. 2. Connect Connect the analysis of your body paragraphs back to the information you mentioned in your attention grabber of your introduction OR connect your analysis to a broad or well known topic that is similar to what you analyzed in your essay. 3. Close Provide a clincher, or memorable closing statement/question that leaves the reader thinking about what you wrote. Restatement of thesis Connect Closing sentence, leaves reader thinking One can readily argue many reasons for Calpurnia s likeability as a character in the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Her courage, responsibility, and open mindedness in particular teach humankind important lessons about the kinds of traits one should value and strive to live life with. Harper Lee s novel is no doubt one of those belief shaping pieces of literature whose admirable characters leave a lasting impression upon people living out the journey of becoming better human beings. Draft Concluding Paragraph RESTATE, CONNECT, CLOSE

11

12 Citing the Book: Correct format for a quote that is NOT dialogue: "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived" (Lee 100). Correct format for a quote that IS dialogue: It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do (Lee 112). -If what you are quoting ends with a period in the book, you place your period after the parenthesis. -If what you are quoting ends with punctuation other than a period (?! ) you include this punctuation where it is seen AND you place a period after your parenthesis The final page of your essay will be the Works Cited page. Below is the EXACT information you will place on this page. The title of the page is simply, Works Cited, NOT Bibliography. Works Cited Title at the top of the page. Notice that it is centered and it is not italicized, bolded, or underlined. No quotation marks are around it, either! Lee, H arper. T o K i l l a M o c k i n g b i r d. New Y o r k C i t y : W a r n e r B o o k s, P r i n t. Lines beyond the first line are indented. The first line is NOT indented!

13 Score ELA Argumentation Text-based Writing Rubric (Score points within each domain include most of the characteristics below.) Purpose, Focus, and Evidence and Conventions of Organization Elaboration Standard English (4-point Rubric) (4-point Rubric) (2-point Rubric begins at score point 2) 4 The response is fully sustained and consistently focused within the purpose, audience, and task; and it has a clear and effective organizational structure creating coherence and completeness. The response includes most of the following: Clearly stated and strongly maintained claim with little or no loosely related material Clearly addressed alternate or opposing claims* Skillful use of a variety of transitional strategies to clarify the relationships between and among ideas Logical progression of ideas from beginning to end with a satisfying introduction and conclusion Established and maintained appropriate style and objective tone The response provides thorough, convincing, and credible support/evidence for the writer s claim that includes the effective use of sources, facts, and details. The response includes most of the following: Smoothly integrated, thorough, and relevant evidence, including precise references to sources Effective use of a variety of elaborative techniques to support the claim, demonstrating an understanding of the topic and text Clear and effective expression of ideas, using precise language 3 The response is adequately sustained and generally focused within the purpose, audience, and task; and it has evident organizational structure with a sense of completeness. The response includes most of the following: Clear and maintained claim, though some loosely related material may be present Alternate or opposing claims included but may not be completely addressed* Adequate use of transitional strategies with some variety to clarify the relationships between and among ideas Adequate progression of ideas from beginning to end with a sufficient introduction and conclusion Appropriate style and objective tone established 2 The response is somewhat sustained within the purpose, audience, and task but may include loosely related or extraneous material; and it may have an inconsistent organizational structure. The response may include the following: Focused on a claim but insufficiently sustained or unclear May not sufficiently address alternate or Academic and domain specific vocabulary clearly appropriate for the audience and purpose Various sentence structures creating language facility The response provides adequate support/evidence for the writer s claim that includes the use of sources, facts, and details. The response includes most of the following: Generally integrated and relevant evidence from sources, though references may be general or imprecise Adequate use of some elaborative techniques Adequate expression of ideas, employing a mix of precise and general language Domain specific vocabulary generally appropriate for the audience and purpose Some variation in sentence structure The response provides uneven, cursory support/evidence for the writer s claim that includes partial use of sources, facts, and details. The response may include the following: The response demonstrates an adequate command of basic conventions. The response may include the following: Some minor errors in usage but no patterns of errors Adequate use of punctuation, capitalization, sentence

14 opposing claims* Inconsistent use of transitional strategies with little variety Uneven progression of ideas from beginning to end with an inadequate introduction or conclusion Weakly integrated evidence from sources and erratic or irrelevant references Repetitive or ineffective use of elaborative techniques formation, and spelling Imprecise or simplistic expression of ideas Some use of inappropriate domainspecific vocabulary 1 The response is related to the topic but may demonstrate little or no awareness of the purpose, audience, and task; and it may have little or no discernible organizational structure. The response may include the following: Absent, confusing, or ambiguous claim Missing alternate or opposing claims* Few or no transitional strategies Frequent extraneous ideas impeding understanding Too brief to demonstrate knowledge of focus or organization Most sentences limited to simple constructions The response provides minimal support/evidence for the writer s claim, including little if any use of sources, facts, and details. The response may include the following: Minimal, absent, erroneous, or irrelevant evidence from the source material The response demonstrates a partial command of basic conventions. The response may include the following: Various errors in usage Inconsistent use of correct punctuation, capitalization, sentence formation, and spelling Expression of ideas that is vague, unclear, or confusing Limited and often inappropriate language or domain specific vocabulary 0 Sentences limited to simple constructions vocabulary Sentences limited to simple constructions The response demonstrates a lack of command of conventions, with frequent and severe errors often obscuring meaning.

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