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Paper #5: Argumentative Essay

To successfully complete this assignment you should read chapters eighteen through twenty-two, particularly those regarding arguments in your text.  A good argumentative essay will have a thesis with the potential to be argued either way.  The skill of your writing will be showcased when you find the rights sets of persuasive proofs to sway your readers from the point in opposition to yours.  The paper will surround a claim of value concerning the novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (or another Potter novel, a Dresden novel, or a Fading Lands novel).  A potential thesis might argue and support that Harry Potter is not really good for kids--or that it is. 


For this paper, you will likely want to do some research on Harry Potter (or one of the other texts).  There are several texts that take oppositional points on the text, like Richard Abanes's
Harry Potter and the Bible: The Menace Behind the Magick or Connie Neal's What's a Christian to Do with Harry Potter.  There are also sources available through the library, including videotaped lectures by Connie Neal and/or Sallee Beneke.  'You may want to do some research online or to see what issues--literary, social, or political--have relevance to the Harry Potter novel and world, keeping in mind that the most credible sources are academic journals which can be accessed through the library's databases with your student ID.  Likewise, arguments or claims made in reference to Harry Potter may apply to Harry Dresden or Ellysetta Baristani.

You may use a given topic or create your own arguable claim of value to form your thesis. If you create your own, please e-mail me with your thesis for approval.  As with your last paper, please narrow your topic enough to be addressed in four to five pages.  

For this paper I expect and require you to quote from the novel to make or support your points, and to cite them in accordance with MLA style. Again, the suggestions in the revision flow charts from the text will likely help your essay's quality.  Likewise, you may again have your essay read by a reader in the Writing Center on campus, but if you do so, make sure you bring in a copy of this assignment sheet with your draft and remember that the lab requires a 48 hour turn around time, so plan ahead.  Having your paper at the lab is not a valid excuse for attempting to turn it in late.  

The main difficulties you may have in this paper will be in narrowing your focus enough and in presenting your claims logically and persuasively while refuting the opposing views.  Straying to emotional appeals while disregarding rational arguments or adding irrelevant information may also cause you some difficulty. 

Format: This essay should be double-spaced, laser-printed, carefully edited and proofread, and stapled before you turn it in. You should have a heading with your name, my name, the course title and section number, and date on it. You must give the paper number and the title a line of their own, and your last name and the page number should appear at the top right of each page, after your first page. This paper should be four to five pages in length with one-inch margins, not including the Work or Works Cited page.  In addition to quoting from a Potter novel, I also expect to see at least three secondary sources being used, as well.

Potential topics:

Harry Potter is/is not a hero on an epic quest.

The Harry Potter series is pro-/anti-Christian.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is/is not a literary work of art.

The Harry Dresden novels are more compatible with Christian religious philosophy than the Harry Potter novels.

The Fading Lands novels are compatible with Christian philosophy.

Harry Potter and the assignments based upon it in this class have increased your knowledge or appreciation of a particular IVCC general education goal.

Note: In each of these, you need to define the criteria to be used to judge the argument.  For example, you'd need to define what an epic hero is before you determine whether Harry is one.

Your rough draft is due at the beginning of class for peer review the class meeting before its due date.


Note:  For this paper, I want to see at least three quotations from your primary source and at least three quotations from three secondary sources, as well, as a minimum.