Persuasive Letter: Emerson & Thoreau

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Information about Persuasive Letter: Emerson & Thoreau
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Published on November 6, 2008

Author: SWVega

Source: authorstream.com

Writing a Persuasive LetterSpeaking for Emerson and Thoreau : Fall 2008 D. Vega, South Western High School Writing a Persuasive LetterSpeaking for Emerson and Thoreau American Literature 2 Mr. Vega Prompt : Fall 2008 D. Vega, South Western High School Prompt You are a student of Emerson and Thoreau living in today’s society. You hear a classmate say, “I hope to find my country in the right; however, I will stand by her, right or wrong.” Respond to this classmate in a persuasive letter. Sample Introduction : Fall 2008 D. Vega, South Western High School Sample Introduction Dear Seymore, I admire your candor and eloquence when you present ideas in English class. However, when you pledged unconditional support for our country regardless of its policies, I was greatly disappointed. Have you learned nothing from Emerson and Thoreau? These great American scholars teach us to be independent thinkers and active citizens and would find your complacency dangerous to the advancement of a true democracy. Start Positive! Introduce issue and authors State the key points of your argument Body Paragraph 1: Explaining Emerson : Fall 2008 D. Vega, South Western High School Body Paragraph 1: Explaining Emerson In “Self-Reliance,” Emerson urges us to be independent, conscientious thinkers. He writes, “the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude” (2). In other words, great men and women are not swayed by the majority’s opinion, nor do they pretend to agree with the majority in order to “fit in.” True citizens state their opinions and challenge the status quo without fear, shame, or embarrassment. Most importantly, they understand that great leadership is sometimes a lonely endeavor. Topic Sentence Direct quote is set up and cited Significance (main idea) of the quote is explained through commentary Note: Commentary is twice the length of the direct quote (2:1 ratio!) Body Paragraph 2: Supporting Emerson : Fall 2008 D. Vega, South Western High School Body Paragraph 2: Supporting Emerson TS: Many great Americans have heeded Emerson’s advice. Ex: Take Rosa Parks, who alone became a catalyst for the anti-segregationist movement in the South. Commentary: ONE African American individual who went against the social current in Montgomery, Alabama Refused to surrender her bus seat to a white patron Arrested for breaking segregationist law Fueled the Civil Rights Movement, leading to boycott of all buses in Montgomery Forced Montgomery bus transit company nearly to bankruptcy Changed the segregation laws on buses This paragraph will illustrate Emerson’s idea through real world connections, historical accounts, or current events. Writing Plan Body Paragraph 3: Explaining Thoreau : Fall 2008 D. Vega, South Western High School Body Paragraph 3: Explaining Thoreau Thoreau, too, urges Americans to resist passive citizenship in his timeless treatise, “Of Civil Disobedience.” Thoreau writes, “quote-quote-quote-quote-quote” (#). Commentary on what quote means. Remember that commentary should be two - three times more substantive than the quote. Like the first body paragraph about Emerson, this paragraph will explain one of Thoreau’s teachings. Remember to set up and cite the direct quote. Remember to explain the meaning of the quote via commentary. Body Paragraph 4: Supporting Thoreau : Fall 2008 D. Vega, South Western High School Body Paragraph 4: Supporting Thoreau TS: The topic sentence should connect Thoreau’s teaching to a real world event. EX: The real world event should be specific and significant. Make sure it relates directly to the direct quote in the previous paragraph. SUPPORT: Remember to brainstorm as many ideas as possible about this one real world event. Avoid stating the obvious. Opt for discussing the significance of the event and how it changed the world. Stay on topic! Sample CONCLUSION : Fall 2008 D. Vega, South Western High School Sample CONCLUSION As great as it is, America has its flaws and moments of ill decision. Emerson and Thoreau remind us that we the citizens of America must let our country know when it is unjust, unfair, and clearly wrong in its policies. Standing beside her unconditionally only weakens our democracy. Therefore, I enjoin you to be like Rosa Parks and exercise that independent spirit you have demonstrated so many times in English class. State the problem Summarization of Emerson & Thoreau’s argument Emphasizes point The closing calls Seymore to action in a positive manner

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