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Major Goals: Identify an author’s argument, claim, project, assumptions, and evi

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Major Goals: Identify an author’s argument, claim, project, assumptions, and evidence. Analyze and evaluate the extent to which evidence and reasoning support the argument.
Prompt
MLK once claimed, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” In the summer of 1963, Civil Rights leaders and union advocates descended upon Washington D.C. in support of Civil Rights legislation proposed months earlier by the Kennedy administration. This August 28th marks the 58th anniversary of King’s “I have a dream speech” and many of King’s moral and political aspirations have been realized to some degree, yet not all have come to fruition. Examine King’s call to action and identify all elements of the rhetorical situation. Identify his primary argument and supporting sub-claims. Analyze and evaluate the extent to which those claims are supported by evidence, reasoning and emotional appeals by deconstructing the complexity of King’s rhetoric. Explain to your reader, a college level student who is unfamiliar with the topic (but really me, the professor, obvs), what assumptions King makes about his audience when supporting his claims with evidence, reasoning and emotional appeals. Crucially, explain why this rhetorical appeal is still relevant today. LENGTH, 1500 WORDS (About 5 pages), MLA structure, College level writing.
Rubric
Most Importantly: You are analyzing King’s argument, not agreeing/disagreeing.
Essay Structure Expectations:
Value: 10 points
The Introductory Paragraph will introduce the rhetorical situation, highlight the significance of the topic, and succinctly provide a statement of the essay’s purpose (an examination of King’s Purpose, Claims, and Persuasive techniques such as evidence, reasoning and emotional appeals). Following the Precis format covered in class will assist in this introduction, but the exact precis format is not necessary.
Value: 60 points
Body Paragraphs will analyze supporting claims of King’s larger argument and how King advances those claims. Citing direct quotes from King’s rhetoric, analyze the extent to which those claims are supported by evidence, reasoning and emotional appeals by deconstructing the complexity of King’s rhetoric. Describe the assumptions King makes about his audience when he supports claims with evidence, reasoning and emotional appeals. How do King’s rhetorical moves support a larger call(s) to action? These analysis paragraphs are the most important component of this essay.
Clear Topic Sentences for each paragraph will tell the reader which sub-claims the paragraph examines and how that sub-claim is supported (i.e., evidence, reasoning and appeals to emotions).
Organizing the body paragraphs according to sub-claims is recommended, but you could structure the essay by examining King’s supporting strategies and how they are used to support various sub-claims.
Ethos, Logos and Pathos may be used as a guide to analyze how each quote from King functions as a persuasive appeal through Evidence, Reasoning and Emotion. For instance, you could identify a piece of evidence as a logical example and how that reasoning works to convince the audience based on assumptions of how the audience would react.
Paragraph Length should be approximately half a page. At least shorter than a page and longer than a quarter of a page. Concepts that must be expressed in more than one paragraph should be divided between multiple paragraphs using fitting transitions.
Research is not necessary for this essay. Your goal is to identify what claims you see in King’s rhetoric and explain how you see those claims advanced through evidence, reasoning or emotional appeal. I want to see the ideas YOU have observed by studying this speech and discussing it in class, not what you can find online. If you would like to include historical or cultural context which you learned from an outside source, use the citation guides below and include that source in your work cited. Applying anything I’ve said in class is also fair game.
Quote Length is important to composing a succinct analysis, so don’t cite large paragraphs of text from King’s speech in your analysis. Typically, the quote that you are analyzing won’t be much longer than a single line or even a few words. Instead of citing a paragraph, try abbreviating/summarizing the statement and then quoting the specific language that you find significant. For example, King associates the slave’s experience with being in hell by describing them as “…seared in the flames of withering injustice” (2).
In-Text Citation is something to get used to in college life. For this essay, you are only working with one text which is divided by paragraphs instead of pages. For each quote, cite that paragraph number at the end of the sentence. “Example” (4).
Assumptions can be difficult to determine when we look at older texts, but they are important for understanding why the author applied their strategies. Try to put yourself in 1963 and how the audience is hearing King’s words. Go under the assumption that every argument in crafted with a particular audience in mind. Assesses how King makes assumptions when applying his evidence, reasoning and emotional appeals.
Analysis is a tool of deconstruction used to explain the elements and structure of something. If you are analyzing the word choice as a tool for imagery, explain what the audience is led to imagine and why. Think of the significance of a comparison. How might the audience take a story personally. How does the tone of the text force a response? Ask yourself why King chose to include this language. How it works to persuade the audience. The deeper you dive, the better your analysis.
Value: 10 points
The Closing Paragraph will be more that a review of you preciously stated analysis points. Yes, briefly review your major points but go on to explain why you think this argument was successful. Additionally, King’s rhetorical appeal is still relevant today in 2021, 58 years after it was spoken, so what issues addressed by King do you see as unresolved? How might a speaker compose such an argument differently today given the social changes and audience expectations?
Value: Discretionary
Page Length and Word Count will be 1300 to 1500 words. Not counting other attached materials, Work Cited, you should have about five pages.
MLA Format is standard procedure for the Arts department, so 12 point font, standard page boarders and page number in the top right corner of the page with your last name.
Academic Writing should reflect revisions and editing, so fewer errors the better. Likewise, your word choice should be respectful of the material and as accurate as possible. If you are worried about your writing, this is an introduction to writing class, so I have reasonable expectations. If you are concerned, please see me in office hours and we can review your work.
Work Cited pages let the audience know where you’ve gotten your sources. This work cited page will be the 6th page of your essay. In the future, you’ll be required to compose your own work cited entries; however, you only need to cite King’s speech for this essay and that citation is listed below. No other outside information is expected for this essay; however, it is always necessary to quote information taken from an outside source. So, create those citations as necessary. See EasyBib.com and the Owl.Perdue.edu websites for citation references.
King, Martin L., Jr. “I Have a Dream.” Speech. Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D. C. 28
Aug. 1963. American Rhetoric. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.

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