Here's what you already know from the first unit: you're aware of several issues concerning language and literacy (as well as which of those issues interest you personally), you know how to analyze language to see what it reveals about an audience, you can analyze the effectiveness of a written argument, and you can identify and analyze the approaches of several different authors and yourself to a common issue. Since the starting point for a good argument is what you already know, you're in good shape. You know a lot!
The next step is to take that knowledge to a place it hasn't been yet: the real world of real authors arguing about real ideas with real audiences. That's where the Arguing Essay comes in. In the course of writing this essay, you'll start with what you already know how to do: you'll inquire into an issue and see what approaches and points of view there are among the authors who address that issue. The difference is that you won't stop there. You'll actually go beyond simply identifying those points-of-view by evaluating them to see which point-of-view is best according to the writing standards you already know, as well as your own ideas about the issue. Then, you'll use those ideas to generate and articulate your own approach to the issue and argue for that approach to the same group of writers you used to find out about the issue in the first place. Essentially, you'll listen to a conversation on an issue, identify the key players and points of view in the conversation, and then join the conversation yourself. Along the way, you'll learn valuable research and documentation skills, you'll learn how to generate a clear and focused claim about an issue, and you'll learn how to shape an argument based on your claim and the needs of your particular audience.
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