"The Writing on the Wall"
Persuasion and Satire
(trimester three: week three through twelve)
Instructor: Jaimie Crawford
|This unit studies rhetoric and persuasion, first with the subject matter of modern British poetry and nonfiction, and second, with the subject matter of British satire. Students will first be asked to take part in an analysis of vehicle: studying a poem and an essay on the same theme, they will debate orally with classmates and also by persuasive exposition which vehicle is more effective in addressing the common theme. The second half of the unit addresses the genre of satire. Students will analyze the satires of Swift, Pope, Orwell, and Huxley as well as writing one of their own.|
Everything you write is persuasive--it is written by you and therefore expressive of your opinion. Every writer's purpose is in altering his/her reader's beliefs or opinions. But some essays have the specific purpose of persuading the reader of one side of a particular argument rather than just explicating or comparing literature, or defining or classifying something.
There are several different ways to argue your point. You can appeal to a person's logic, emotions, or sense of ethics or justice. In Greek these appeals are called logos, pathos, and ethos, respectively.
You can also reason deductively. For instance,
all men are pigs
Elmer is a man =Elmer is a pig
(the above eg. is a syllogism)
Or, you can reason inductively and give the conclusion first, then general evidence that supports it.
There are a few major types of persuasion:
SATIRE is appeal to emotion (pathos) -aims at our sense of ridiculous with irony
ELOQUENCE is appeal to emotion or ethos (ethics/reputation of author) usually with heroic purpose Whether in your own writing or in others', watch out for logic fallicies. Here are some rules to help:
1. evidence/ premises must be true and relevant and complete
2. conclusions derived must bewithout fallacy
Here are some valid forms of EVIDENCE:
1. common knowledge
2. specific examples or anecdotes
3. statistical data
4. analogy -good for clarification NOT for proof
Also, when writing your satires and persuasive essays:
KEEP IN MIND:
1. Your Audience-who are you persuading?
2. Appeals to Reason and Emotion-these
use different types of evidence. Reason uses statistics & research.
3. Your Point of View and your audience's
4. Presuppositions- they underlie arguments-eg. a person's faith/bias.
Purpose: To compare (rhetorically and subjectively) an essay and a poem which SHARE A THEME. Ultimately, your presentation should be aimed at comprehensively addressing the following question: which vehicle (poem or essay) most persuasively addresses the given theme?
Choice of Authors: Please choose at least one British author from the Romantic, Victorian, or Modern Period (see the list below *). You may use one author of a poem and essay or two different authors (the second author can be American or other); just make sure to pick a poem and essay expressing a similar theme.
*BRITISH AUTHORS (In order to make sure a selection of authors are covered from each period; authors will be designated on a first-come, first-serve basis)
Recommended Essays: Any works from RFW or Writing Prose ; I have many other books of essays-just ask to see them.
Topic Example: Virginia Woolf's Shakespeare's Sister (my personal favorite in Norton- p. 2311) and Gray's Elegy (Norton). Both pieces discuss untapped potential; as Woolf puts it genius is not born in labouring, uneducated, servile people.
Project Details: You should provide TWO written assignments:
1) One typed outline/study sheet including:
2) One persuasive essay arguing WHY either the poem or essay is more effective. Be sure to list and argue the opposing points; use textual citation and at least one critical source for both the essay and the poem.
WARNING: The most difficult part of this assignment will probably be your selection of topic. Themes are not derived at first glance.
2: GULLIVER BOOK FIVE, Write Your Own Satire
Compose Gulliver Comes To Pine Crest: Book Five. You should write in first person as Gulliver; remember, you are writing a satire. What would Gulliver think? You may choose to use an metaphor you like for describing the school--remember a satire is both exaggerated and veiled.
FIRST BOOK: Satire of Government and Military
SUMMARY OF BOOK ONE: Swift points out the triviality of the English government
**Please point out as many examples of satire as you can during the film. Use the above list as a guide. At the end of the film, you will be asked to turn in a summary of the satire in book two, three, and four.