Breaking out parts of an argument

I’m studying for my English class and need an explanation.

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Breaking out parts of an argument
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Please respond to the questions below about “The Coddling of the American Mind” which you annotated last week. Remember, you can use your annotations and/or your Annotation Worksheet to help you answer these questions.

The Writer or Speaker (his/her voice or persona)

  • How does the author present himself or herself?
  • Is the author familiar with the subject? How can you tell?
  • How does the author show good judgment or a broad perspective?
  • Is the author reasonable? How can you tell?
  • How does the author treat those who disagree? • How does the authors value others’ welfare?
  • How does the author treat the reader?
  • Does the author use stereotypes or show prejudice?
  • Where is this published? What does that say about this work? •
  • What did you expect to see what was not on the page? How does the author distract your attention from this?

The Audience

  • What are the characteristics of the audience? How can you tell? Consider: *Race, age, sex, physical characteristics, habits *Economic or educational level *Religious or educational level *Ethnicity, citizenship, location
  • Is the reader/audience encouraged to have an emotional response to this writing? How can you tell?
  • How should the audience use information about opposing views?
  • Is the reader encouraged to examine or question the opposition’s motives?
  • What reader needs, values, or beliefs are presented here? How can you tell?
  • Is there a pattern to word choice or word order? Is the language simple or complex? Are terms defined?
  • What is the style of this work? How is this style created? Does the style of this piece resemble that of other works?
  • Consider imagery, coherence, emphasis, repetition, rhythm, analogy, metaphor, simile.

The Message (i.e. the text)

  • How is this work organized? What are the cues to this organization? Does the organization work?
  • What claims are made? Are these claims strong, obvious?
  • What evidence is used to support the claims?


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