We make sense of complex readings by connecting them to our interests and current conditions in a way that has the potential to help us to derive meaning from the readings and reality while honing our critical thinking skills in a personally relevant manner. Persuasive writing requires us to take a position and defend it with a specific audience in mind while simultaneously understanding and addressing the main potential objections to the claim.
As we read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance,” it behooves us to consider current issues in our society in order to apply his concepts and test our understanding of his philosophy and approach.
In the introduction: Offer a strong hook to set the tone for your essay. As background, select and describe an issue (in politics, culture, education, art, etc). addressed in a minimum of two current (within the past six months) articles in newspapers, magazines, or social media. As additional background, describe a key message from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance.” Next, craft a thesis that answers the question: What would Emerson think? Why?
In your body paragraphs, as you develop a minimum of three topic sentences, use a minimum of three quotes from “Self-Reliance” to explain your position. Also, specifically refer to the other two texts related to the current issue.
Address a counter argument: As an example, if your thesis is that Emerson would celebrate the issue as an example of non-conformity in action, explain how some might interpret it as conformity. Make sure you turn back to your thesis after the brief concession…
Finally, conclude by returning to the hook you began with and wrapping up the package by summing up key points and linking to larger ideas or calling us to action. Do not repeat any points from earlier in the essay.
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