Module III Lecture and Assignment
WRITING LITERARY ARGUMENTS
Most of the essays we write about literature are expository— that is, we write to give information to readers. For example, you might examine the interaction of two characters in a play. Other essays you write may be literary arguments that is, you take a position on a debatable topic and attempt to change readers’ minds about it. The more persuasive your argumentative essay, the more likely readers will be to concede your points and grant your conclusion.
When you write a literary argument, you follow the same process you do when you write any essay about a literary topic. However, because the purpose of an argument is to convince readers, you need to use some additional strategies to present your ideas.
For example, “A Modest Proposal” begins with an account of the impoverished state of many in Ireland. The writer expresses sympathy and the need for a solution. This proposal hopefully will decrease the number of abortions performed by poor mothers. The writer calculates the number of infants born in Ireland and asks what should be done with them. He points out that they are unfit for any employment, being even too young to steal. Neither will merchants buy or sell children. Therefore, it seems like a good idea that the people of Ireland simply eat the infants when they reach the age of one year.
He lists six reasons why it should be adopted:
First, it will decrease the number of dangerous Catholics.
Second, it will give the poor some property.
Third, it will increase the nation’s overall wealth, since people will not have to pay for the upkeep of the children.
Fourth, the mothers will be free of the burden of bringing up children.
Fifth, the new food will be welcomed in taverns and culinary circles.
Sixth, it will enhance the institution of marriage as women take better care of their infants so that they may be sold, and men will take better care of their wives so that their wives can make more babies to sell.
No doubt “A Modest Proposal” is accurately called one of the most effective satires in the English language.
Read “A Modest Proposal” in Module III and write a minimum of two page literary argument essay on whether you support Swift’s proposal or you disagree. Whichever side you take, try to give us enough reasons from the proposal itself. If you need more ideas about the proposal, there are a number of analysis done by other people, but you should give the sources to avoid plagiarism.
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