DUE DATE: 6/6/11, online (Turnitin) and in class

Task: Write a persuasive essay that defends a position on a topic of your choice.  In your essay, be sure to use at least two of the three basic appeals—to logic (logos), emotion (pathos), or character (ethos).  When you are finished, print a copy of your essay and complete the required annotation/reflection work.  Note:  The packet included below (under “Resource Packet”) contains the full prompt, along with outlines and guidelines; it should be used first and foremost as you write this essay.


  • 5-10 paragraphs (more is fine; less is unlikely to be effective)
  • Introduction and conclusion
  • Clear position statement or thesis
  • Usage of at least two of the main appeals (logos, ethos, and pathos)
  • Supporting evidence and detail
  • Inclusion of the counterargument

Resource Packet

Click here to load a document that contains the following:

  1. Prompt & Essay Outline
  2. Required Annotation & Reflection Work
  3. Notes on Rhetoric & Persuasion
  4. Blank SOAPSTONE Outline with Tone Words

You might also reload and review this preliminary document; it connects your work on Animal Farm and “A Modest Proposal” to the persuasive essay.

Grammatical Requirement

You must vary your syntax through the explicit use of

  1. one or more (1+) compound sentences;
  2. one or more (1+) complex sentences;
  3. one or more (1+) compound-complex sentences; and
  4. one or more (1+) sentences that use a semicolon to juxtapose two ideas.

Use the following resources as necessary to help construct these sentences:

Note that these sentence-writing requirements were originally part of the research paper due today; they were commuted to this paper to allow you to vary your style more, style being a central component of persuasion.

If you would like to read a few humorous examples of persuasive writing, use the links below.  Remember that yours should follow the general requirements above; if you read any of the following essays, you should look for rhetorical appeals only, because emulating the tongue-in-cheek style may be more difficult than you think.


Click here to load the most recent version of your final calendar:

All adjustments and updates have been noted in blue.  The full list follows:

  • From 5/16 through 5/20, you will use examples of persuasive speeches in Animal Farm to inform your own initial brainstorming for a persuasive essay
  • You will focus your notes in class and your online augmentation for Animal Farm on a series of speeches selected for you
  • Your quiz on Wilson Daily Prep vocabulary will be moved from Friday the 20th to Monday the 23rd
  • This 70-question, multiple-choice, Scantron-based quiz will also include 15 questions on rhetoric and narrative elements in Animal Farm
  • The second half of the period on Monday will be spent reading our feedback on your collaborative satires
  • For the rest of the week, any research papers submitted will earn bonus credit: +100 on Tuesday, +75 on Wednesday, +50 on Thursday, +25 on Friday
  • Note that you may not submit a paper twice
  • Your final research papers are due online before 7:50 AM on May 31
  • You will now have two days for the in-class Task 4 essay on your final exam: June 9 and June 10

The full final exam schedule, including opportunities for extended time and make-up locations, will be posted on the right menus of this site.  You can also view it by clicking here:

The study of rhetoric is the study of language, especially as it is used to argue and persuade.  For the next three days, you will adversarially deconstruct examples of diegetic rhetoric in Animal FarmDiegetic refers, in this case, to any writing or speeches created by characters in Animal Farm in order to persuade other characters to

  1. adjust their moods or feelings;
  2. change their mindsets or beliefs; or
  3. take a particular action.

To prepare for these three days of analysis in class, you should have isolated the key speeches and writing in the novel.  In your compendium, and for each example of persuasion, you should have the following:

  1. SOAPSTONE thumbnail:
  1. Subject
  2. Occasion: immediate and general
  3. Audience and Speaker: relationship, history, expectations of each other
  4. Purpose (see three goals above)
  • Central claim
    1. Backing or evidence for claim
  • Rhetorical appeals:
    1. To logos (logic)
    2. To ethos (character and authority)
    3. To pathos (emotions)
  • Other persuasive techniques:
    1. Particular tone(s)
    2. Rhetorical questions
    3. Imagery
    4. Connotative diction

    You are hoping to emulate these strategies in your own persuasive speeches, which we will begin toward the end of this week.  For the adversarial component of this study, you can use the comments section of this post to analyze any of the following speeches according to any of the above requirements.  Responding to a peer, either to elaborate or to refine his or her ideas, will earn you twice as many points as posting your own ideas.

    Start with Old Major’s speech, which is reprinted below.

    Continue Reading »

    Go back and read this post, which introduces the concept of online adversarial augmentation. It offers you the opportunity to increase your adversarial scores—not a new concept, but one updated beyond the handwritten or typed requirement of the original guidelines.  You were given time in the library lab, in the classroom, and at home, plus a day of specific instruction that reviewed how to post comments.

    Here are the results of our first online-augmented adversarial, from 4/25 through 5/1:

    The brief notes cover the obvious: points lost for packing up early or refusing to participate; failure to utilize online (or offline) augmentation; and so on.  Here are the results of our second online-augmented adversarial, from 5/2 through 5/8:

    The general notes cover your participation, or they point out success with a particular lesson; there are no notes about online augmentation, however, because there was no online augmentation.  And that ought to trouble you as much as it troubles your teachers.

    You are in the midst of a final month that depends largely on your ability to use the resources in front of you.  You have all the time you need; you have all the documents you need; you have all the access to your teachers that you need.  If you work hard and steadily, you will do very well.  If you don’t work hard or steadily, you may not do well at all.  That none of you took advantage of this last online adversarial, even when given a day in the computer lab to get started, underscores the necessity of resource management.  You must track your progress and participation without access to the scores and without being forced, on penalty of a zero, to do work.

    This extends far beyond any remaining adversarial discussions—and with your copy of our final calendar, you know when they’re coming—but let’s revisit the original guidelines for augmenting a scored discussion:

    Augmenting Point Totals
    In order to encourage students to continue these discussions after the bell dismisses the class, the adversarial format allows for augmentation of point totals:

    1. Any student who wishes to earn additional points after an adversarial lesson has ended—whether or not the student spoke—can do so by submitting an additional writing assignment.
    2. Based on the insightfulness, specificity, and effort evident in the submission, this work may earn additional points toward the daily point total.
    3. The submission must specifically reference in-class discussion, which can be done in a variety of ways:

    a. By answering a question in new or greater detail
    b. By elaborating on a classmate’s specific comment
    c. By explicating passages not mentioned in class
    d. By expanding on an essential question of the unit
    e. Etc. —there are many ways to earn more points

    As always, you should speak to me or send me an email if you need clarification.  Remember, there are no traps or trapdoors here; the way forward is clear, but it requires you to start walking.

    Two quick items:

    1. Click here to load the resource page for your research papers, which are due on May 31. You may also use the tab at the top of this blog.
    2. Click below to load the final, itemized calendar for this school year.  This document contains all due dates, lesson plans, and expectations for the rest of Q4.

    Q4 Regents English Calendar: All Assignments | You may also click the image to load a copy of this calendar.

    For this contrasting example of Romantic poetry, focus on William Blake’s

    1. definition of experience;
    2. use of symbolism;
    3. use of rhetorical questions;
    4. lack of declarative statements;
    5. connotative diction, especially adjectives (“dread,” “deadly,” “fearful”) and verbs (“burnt,” “twist,” “clasp”); or
    6. imagery, especially of blacksmithing or fire.

    You can also offer analysis for either of the following, more complicated ideas, which will garner more points:

    1. In the last four lines, the first four are repeated with one change: the verb shifts from “could frame” in line 4 to “dare frame” in line 24.  What is the effect of that change, i.e., what meaning does Blake create in that last line by using dare instead of could?
    2. Compare the syntax of first complete sentence in “The Lamb” to the syntax of the first complete sentence in “The Tyger.”  Match up each letter and compare the parts of the sentence: the direct address of the animal (a); the subject (b); the verb or predicate (c); and the direct object (d).  Note the increase in complexity in “The Tyger,” and discuss why Blake made that sentence more complex: 

    Songs of Innocence: (a) [Little Lamb,] (b) [who] (c) [made] (d) [thee?]

    Songs of Experience: (a) [Tyger! Tyger! burning bright / In the forests of the night,] (b) [What immortal hand or eye] (c) [Could frame] (d) [thy fearful symmetry?]

    In answering any question, mention specific lines or quote specific phrases to earn more points.  You should continue to analyze this poem as it contrasts with “The Lamb,” juxtaposing the two in order to analyze their deeper meaning.

    The Tyger

    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
    In what distant deeps or skies
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand dare seize the fire?
    And what shoulder, & what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?
    What the hammer? what the chain?
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
    When the stars threw down their spears,
    And water’d heaven with their tears,
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
    Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

    William Blake (1794*)

    *Note the correct date.  An incorrect date of 1789 (the date for Songs of Innocence) was used on your handout.

    For this example of Romantic poetry, focus on William Blake’s

    1. definition of innocence;
    2. use of symbolism;
    3. use of rhetorical questions;
    4. simplicity and repetition;
    5. variation of pronouns (thou, I, we, he, etc.); or
    6. imagery.

    Mention specific lines or quote specific phrases, and you will earn more points.  You may compare this poem to “The Tyger,” too, in the comments section.

    The Lamb

    Little Lamb, who made thee?
    Dost thou know who made thee?
    Gave thee life, & bid thee feed
    By the stream & o’er the mead;
    Gave thee clothing of delight,
    Softest clothing, wooly, bright;
    Gave thee such a tender voice,
    Making all the vales rejoice?
    Little Lamb, who made thee?
    Dost thou know who made thee?
    Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee,
    Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee,
    He is called by thy name,
    For he calls himself a Lamb.
    He is meek, & he is mild;
    He became a little child.
    I a child, & thou a lamb,
    We are called by his name.
    Little Lamb, God bless thee!
    Little Lamb, God bless thee!

    William Blake (1789)