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English 1302 – _________



Title your Modified Research/Argumentative Essay

Write an Argumentative essay of at least five fully typed pages (double spaced). Formulate a thesis statement that targets a debatable topic or prompt in fiction, poetry, film, drama, or a combination of these genres by an author. Develop an Outline to reflect the direction and structure of your paper before using it to develop an Argumentative Essay (Remember, Argumentative writing includes a counterargument and a rebuttal). I highly recommend that you use one of your older essays or assignments for this portfolio essay.

Estimated Time: 2 to 3 hours.

Sample Prompts:

Alternative prompts are listed below. Please choose one of these prompts only if you are not able to generate a unique topic. Examples include, but are not limited to:

Analyze the actions of any major characters in Hamlet, applying two tests which any ethical action must pass: (1) The Golden Rule and (2) universality (Would the person taking the action want all persons to act the same way in a similar situation?).

Appraise the values of at least one character in The Metamorphosis. Was this character(s) justified in his or her treatment or reaction to Gregor Samsa’s condition? Defend your reasoning.

Was Gregor Samsa to blame for his own fate?

Which characters in the movie showed ethical/moral growth? What were the causes of this change? Which character showed the most growth? Defend your position.

Analyze the actions of any major character in the movie applying two tests which any ethical action must pass: (1) The Golden Rule and (2) universality (Would the person taking the action want all persons to act the same way in a similar situation?).

Did characters in this drama or short story make decisions that involved a choice between conflicting values, including conflicts between ethical values and non-ethical values? (Values can include: acting in an ethical manner, getting rich, having a happy family life, buying a new car, being popular, wearing the right clothing, fitting in, having an enjoyable experience, having children; building a satisfying career; having a good marriage; eating well; traveling; having a good reputation; being healthy, etc. These “values” are not listed in any particular order.)

As always, the answer to the question–your thesis–should be defended with at least two or three points.

Evaluation criteria follow:

Decision Making: Student states a position on the issue based on at least two or three points and offers an opposing view and counterargument supported with primary and secondary database sources.

Position: Specific position is imaginative, taking into account the complexities of an issue. (This means that you have written a sophisticated thesis.) Limits of position are acknowledged. Others’ points of view are synthesized within position (Basically, these two things are the discussion of the opposing view and rebuttal.)

Evidence: Student includes a Works Cited page that lists at least five sources. Two of these sources must come from the library database. The body of the essay includes a total of at least five citations.

Evaluation of Sources: Student uses reasonable judgment to determine the value and relevance of the source/critical essay. Information is taken from source(s) with enough interpretation/evaluation to develop a comprehensive analysis or synthesis. Viewpoints of experts are questioned thoroughly.

Critical Thinking: Student must draw conclusions based on gathered evidence. This includes the demonstration of an insightful conclusion.

Conclusions and related outcomes: (Other terms might be “implications and consequences”) Conclusions and related outcomes are logical and reflect student’s informed evaluation and ability to place evidence and perspectives discussed in priority order.

Genre and Disciplinary Conventions: Properly format and organize the essay in MLA style.

Control of Syntax and Mechanics: Use graceful language that skillfully communicates meaning to readers with clarity and fluency, making almost no errors.

The essay should demonstrate the following ENGL 1302 outcomes:

College level spelling and punctuation skills

MLA format for margins, header, personal information, paragraph indention, double spacing

In-text citations

Works Cited page

Clearly stated thesis statement

Topic sentences that flows from thesis statement

Sentence variety

No egregious grammar mistakes


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