Parts of an Argument

Share your Personal Experience

Consider that the closer you are to an issue the more credible is your authority to speak. Personal experience, from work or travel, for instance, provides your audience with an insider's point of view. A well-told personal story in the introduction demonstrates how the author's interest in an issue emerged and quite often provides an extraordinarily compelling reason to hear an argument out. Here are a couple of examples:

Example One:

As an aide in a nursing home for four years, I was constantly amazed at how little attention the children of elderly patients paid to their aging parents. Over and over again, it became obvious that the home was simply a place to "drop off the folks" so that their concern could be limited to paying the bills. As one woman told me when I called to inform her that her mother really needed a visit soon, "I pay you to take care of her. If I had time on my hands, she wouldn't be there." When did caring become simply a matter of writing a check? What are our obligations to the elderly in this society and how might we better care for them?

Example Two:

With a continuing growth of the elderly population, patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) present an extremely difficult problem for the future. How do we treat these individuals with medical costs increasing every year? How will we allocate funds for those whose families cannot afford to pay? The questions are relentless, but I have decided to explore the realm of treatment. . . . After observing the lifestyles of these individuals, I feel I have greater insight to the trauma they face versus an individual who has not witnessed their everyday activities. Based on my direct experience with late-stage AD patients and their families, I feel active euthanasia should be an available choice, via a highly scrutinized selection system, to allow AD patients, as well as family members, to end their suffering, to eliminate the "playing God" factor by hastening the inevitable, and to end an existence which faces a severely reduced quality of life.
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