Short Assignment 1: The Power of Persuasion
“What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?” – Audre Lorde, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”
Audre Lorde argues that writing has the power to free us from social silence. By choosing to share our narratives rather than hiding them, even when those narratives are difficult or controversial, we can create change in the world. In this assignment, you will address an issue that you feel is hidden, misrepresented, or otherwise silenced in your life and/or in our culture.
In 2-3 pages, you should do two things: explain to your reader why or how this issue is silenced, and convince your reader that this issue deserves to be known, understood, and otherwise brought to our attention. This issue can be relevant specifically to your life and identity, or it can be important to you beyond your immediate experience. However, I would like you to make clear to your reader why this issue matters to you on a personal level, whether that reason has to do with aspects of your identity and background or with your ideas and beliefs. The goal of your paper is to persuade your reader to care about this issue.
To persuade your reader, you should utilize at least one of the rhetorical three rhetorical appeals we’ve discussed: ethos (appealing to credibility), logos (appealing to logic), and pathos (appealing to emotion). For example, you might use ethos by showing the reader why your opinion on this issue is valid and trustworthy, logos by explaining to your reader why it makes more sense to see an issue one way than another, and pathos by sharing a personal experience that helps your reader to understand how this issue affects a real person or group of people.
While you are welcome to address any issue that matters to you, I encourage you to discuss issues that have some social importance. Examples of socially important issues include:
- Race and Racism
- Ethnicity or Nationality
- Gender and Sexuality
- Class or Economic Inequality
- Body Politics (body image, ability/disability, etc.)
- Environmental Issues (i.e. climate change, pollution, extinction, etc.)
Writer’s Memo: After you write your paper, you should write a brief reflection—half a page to a page long—discussing your approach to this assignment. How did you choose the issue you focused on? Which rhetorical appeal or appeals did you utilize to persuade your audience, and why? Did you find it easy or difficult to produce a convincing argument? This reflection should be informal; consider it as a letter or journal entry where you can think through your own writing process.
- 2 to 3* double-spaced pages for Short Assignment; ½ page to 1 page double-spaced for Writer’s Memo
- 12 point font
- Times New Roman
- 1 inch margins
- Page numbers
- Uploaded to Canvas as Word Document or PDF
*Note: Your paper must be at least two complete pages.
Course Outcomes Addressed:
Outcome 1: To demonstrate an awareness of the strategies that writers use in different writing contexts.
- 1 The writer employs style, tone, and conventions appropriate to the demands of a particular genre and situation.
- 2 The writing has a clear understanding of its audience, and various aspects of the writing address and are strategically pitched to that audience
- 3 The writer is able to demonstrate the ability to write for different audiences and contexts, both within and outside the university classroom
- 4 The writer articulates and assesses the effects of his or her writing choices.
There are two assignment structure you can pick one to use, or you can use your own (issue The Portrayal of women in Hollywood films is an example to show these two structure)
Paper Structure 1 – Traditional Structure; Issue: The Portrayal of Women in Hollywood Films
Paragraph 1 – Introduce the issue of women primarily being shown as thin, white, able-bodied, and beautiful in Hollywood films, and explain how, why, and where these portrayals exist.
Paragraph 2 – Give one or two examples of how this issue silences and erases women who do not fit this stereotype. Use a personal example.
Paragraph 3 – Describe the negative effects this issue has on women around the world.
Paragraph 4 — Use a personal example to make the reader care about these negative effects.
Paragraph 5 – Conclude by telling the reader how I think these portrayals should be changed or expanded to better represent women of all shapes, sizes, races, backgrounds, etc.
Paper Structure 2 – Unconventional Structure; Issue: The Portrayal of Women in Hollywood Films
Paragraph 1 – Personal example of an experience I had (or an experience people close to me have had) with films that portray stereotypically thin, white, able-bodied, and conventionally beautiful women
Paragraph 2 – Analysis of why the example from P. 1 is an example of a social issue that needs to be addressed. Why is this issue a problem? Focusing on thinness and conventional beauty.
Paragraph 3 – Continuing with analysis from paragraph 2, but focusing on the issue of women being portrayed as white and able-bodied.
Paragraph 4 – Larger analysis of how this issue exists all over Hollywood; if these are the only women being portrayed, who gets left out? Why is it not okay for so many women to go unrepresented? And why is representation in film important?
Paragraph 5 – Present some possible changes that could be made to address this issue, and to expand representation of different women.
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