Another element of rhetoric is the organization of a piece, what classical rhetoricians called “arrangement.” Whether you’re analyzing a text or writing your own, consider how the essay and its individual paragraphs or sections are arranged. Is the text organized in the best possible way in order to achieve its purpose? An essay always has a beginning, middle and end: an introduction, developmental paragraphs of the body, and conclusion. But HOW a writer structures the argument within that framework depends upon his intended purpose and effect. In the following sections, we’ll look at a formal classical model of arrangement; then we’ll examine rhetorical patterns of development.
The Classical Model Five-part structure:
Introduction – draw the reader into your web by piquing his interest, challenging him, etc… Establish ETHOS here.
Narration – provides factual information & background material on the subject at hand; begins developmental paragraphs or establishes why the subject is a problem that needs addressing; level of detail you use will depend on the audience’s knowledge of the subject; use PATHOS here to evoke an emotional response about the importance of the issue being discussed
Confirmation – includes development or proof needed to make your case; this is the nuts & bolts of your essay, containing the most specific and concrete detail; use LOGOS here
Refutation – addresses the counterargument; this is a bridge between your proof and conclusion; should be the paragraph before your conclusion; use LOGOS here; if counterarguments are already known by your audience, you may want to address them before presenting your own argument
Conclusion – usually one paragraph, but can be multiple; brings essay to a satisfying close; appeal to PATHOS here; remind the reader of the ETHOS mentioned earlier; should answer the question, “So what???”. End with words your audience is likely to remember.
Not By Math Alone
By Sandra Day O'Connor and Roy Romer
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Fierce global competition prompted President Bush to use the State of the Union address to call for better math and science education, where there's evidence that many schools are falling short.
We should be equally troubled by another shortcoming in American schools: Most young people today simply do not have an adequate understanding of how our government and political system work, and they are thus not well prepared to participate as citizens.
This country has long exemplified democratic practice to the rest of the world. With the attention we are paying to advancing democracy abroad, we ought not neglect it at home.
Two-thirds of 12th-graders scored below "proficient" on the last national civics assessment in 1998, and only 9 percent could list two ways a democracy benefits from citizen participation. Yes, young people remain highly patriotic, and many volunteer in their communities. But most are largely disconnected from current events and issues.
A healthy democracy depends on the participation of citizens, and that participation is learned behavior; it doesn't just happen. As the 2003 report "The Civic Mission of Schools" noted: "Individuals do not automatically become free and responsible citizens, but must be educated for citizenship." That means civic learning -- educating students for democracy -- needs to be on par with other academic subjects.
This is not a new idea. Our first public schools saw education for citizenship as a core part of their mission. Eighty years ago, John Dewey said, "Democracy needs to be reborn in every generation and education is its midwife."
But in recent years, civic learning has been pushed aside. Until the 1960s, three courses in civics and government were common in American high schools, and two of them ("civics" and "problems of democracy") explored the role of citizens and encouraged students to discuss current issues. Today those courses are very rare.
What remains is a course on "American government" that usually spends little time on how people can -- and why they should -- participate. The effect of reduced civic learning on civic life is not theoretical. Research shows that the better people understand our history and system of government, the more likely they are to vote and participate in the civic life.
We need more and better classes to impart the knowledge of government, history, law and current events that students need to understand and participate in a democratic republic. And we also know that much effective civic learning takes place beyond the classroom -- in extracurricular activity, service work that is connected to class work, and other ways students experience civic life.
Preserving our democracy should be reason enough to promote civic learning. But there are other benefits. Understanding society and how we relate to each other fosters the attitudes essential for success in college, work and communities; it enhances student learning in other subjects.
Economic and technological competitiveness is essential, and America's economy and technology have flourished because of the rule of law and the "assets" of a free and open society. Democracy has been good for business and for economic well-being. By the same token, failing to hone the civic tools of democracy will have economic consequences.
Bill Gates -- a top business and technology leader -- argues strongly that schools have to prepare students not only for college and career but for citizenship as well.
None of this is to diminish the importance of improving math and science education. This latest push, as well as the earlier emphasis on literacy, deserves support. It should also be the occasion for a broader commitment, and that means restoring education for democracy to its central place in school.
We need more students proficient in math, science and engineering. We also need them to be prepared for their role as citizens. Only then can self-government work. Only then will we not only be more competitive but also remain the beacon of liberty in a tumultuous world.
Sandra Day O'Connor retired as an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Roy Romer, a former governor of Colorado, is superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. They are co-chairs of the national advisory council of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
Patterns of Development
Another way to consider arrangement is according to purpose. Is the writer’s purpose to compare & contrast, to narrate an event, to define a term? Each of these purposes suggests a method of organization, or arrangement. These patterns of development include a range of logical ways to organize an entire text or, more likely, individual paragraphs or sections. These are the major patterns of development.
This refers to telling a story or recounting a series of events. It can be based on personal experience or on knowledge gained from reading or observation. Chronology usually governs narration, which includes concrete detail, a point of view, and sometimes such elements as dialogue. Narration is not simply crafting an appealing story; it is crafting a story that supports your thesis.
Writers often use narration as a way to enter into their topics.
Here Rebecca Walker tells a story about her son to lead into her explanation of why she put together the anthology Putting Down the Gun.
The idea for this book was born one night after a grueling conversation with my then 11-year-old son. He had come home from his progressive middle school unnaturally quiet and withdrawn, shrugging off my questions of concern with uncharacteristic irritability. Where was the sunny, chatty boy I dropped off that morning? What had befallen him in the perilous halls of middle school? I backed off but kept a close eye on him, watching for clues.
After a big bowl of his favorite pasta, he sat on a sofa in my study and read his science textbook as I wrote at my desk. We both enjoyed this simple yet profound togetherness, the two of us focused on our own projects yet palpably connected. As we worked under the soft glow of paper lanterns, with the heat on high and our little dog snoring at his feet, my son began to relax. I could feel a shift as he began to remember, deep in his body, that he was home, that he was safe, that he didn’t have to brace to protect himself from the expectations of the outside world. Description
This is close to narration because both include specific details. Unlike narration, however, description emphasizes the senses by painting a picture of how something looks, sounds, smells, tastes, or feels. Description is often used to establish a mood or atmosphere. Rarely is an entire essay description; that would be overkill. Clear and vivid description can make your writing more persuasive, though. By asking readers to see what you see and feel what you feel, you make it easy for them to empathize with you, your subject, or your argument.
In this example from “Serving in Florida,” Barbara Ehrenreich describes her coworkers:
I make friends, over time, with the other "girls" who work my shift: Nita, the tattooed twenty-something who taunts us by going around saying brightly, "Have we started making money yet?" Ellen, whose teenage son cooks on the graveyard shift and who once managed a restaurant in Massachusetts but won't try out for management here because she prefers being a "common worker" and not "ordering people around." Easy-going fiftyish Lucy, with the raucous laugh, who limps toward the end of the shift because of something that has gone wrong with her leg, the exact nature of which cannot be determined without health insurance. We talk about the usual girl things - men, children, and the sinister allure of Jerry's chocolate peanut-butter cream pie - though no one, I notice, ever brings up anything potentially expensive, like shopping or movies.
What is Ehrenreich’s primary purpose?
Narration and description often work hand in hand, as in the following paragraph from “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell. The author narrates the death throes of the elephant in such dense and vivid detail that we mourn the loss and realize that something extraordinary has died, and the narrator (Orwell), like all of us, is diminished by that passing – which is the point Orwell wants us to understand.
When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick – one never does when a shot goes home – but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd. In that instant, in too short a time, one would have thought, even for the bullet to get there, a mysterious, terrible change had come over the elephant. He neither stirred nor fell, but every line of his body had altered. He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old, as though the frightful impact of the bullet had paralysed him without knocking him down. At last, after what seemed a long time – it might have been five seconds, I dare say – he sagged flabbily to his knees. His mouth slobbered. An enormous senility seemed to have settled upon him. One could have imagined him thousands of years old. I fired again into the same spot. At the second shot he did not collapse but climbed with desperate slowness to his feet and stood weakly upright, with legs sagging and head drooping. I fired a third time. That was the shot that did for him. You could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs. But in falling he seemed for a moment to rise, for as his hind legs collapsed beneath him he seemed to tower upward like a huge rock toppling, his trunk reaching skyward like a tree. He trumpeted, for the first and only time. And then down he came, his belly towards me, with a crash that seemed to shake the ground even where I lay.
What are some examples of Orwell’s emotionally-charged language?
What are his descriptive details?
Process Analysis Process analysis explains how something works, how to do something, or how something was done. We use process analysis when we explain how to bake bread or set up an Excel spreadsheet, how to improve a difficult situation or assemble a treadmill.
Many self-help books are essentially process analysis
The key to using process analysis successfully is clarity – explain a subject clearly and logically, and use transitions to sequence your major steps, stages or phases
In the essay “Transsexual Frogs,” Elizabeth Royte uses process analysis to explain the research of Tyrone Hayes, a biologist at UC Berkeley, investigating theimpact of the pesticide atrazine.
The next summer Hayes loaded a refrigerated 18-wheel truck with 500 half-gallon buckets and headed east, followed by his students. He parked near an Indiana farm, a Wyoming river, and a Utah pond, filled his buckets with 18,000 pounds of water, and headed back to Berkeley. He thawed the frozen water, poured it into hundreds of individual tanks, and dropped in thousands of leopard-frog eggs collected en route. To find out if frogs in the wild showed hermaphroditism, Hayes dissected juveniles from numerous sites. To see if frogs were vulnerable as adults, and if the effects were reversible, he exposed them to atrazine at different stages of their development. Here Royte explains how something was done (which is the actual physical journey Hayes took when he “headed into the field”) – he traveled from CA to IN, WY, UT and back to CA.
Identify all the verbs he uses to convey the processd:
Providing a series of examples – facts, specific cases, or instances – turns a general idea into a concrete one; this makes your argument both clearer and more persuasive to a reader. A writer might use one extended example or a series of related ones to illustrate a point.
Aristotle taught that examples are a type of logical proof called induction – a series of specific examples that leads to a general conclusion.
If, for example, you believe hip-hop culture has gone mainstream, you may cite a series of examples that leads to that conclusion.
In the following paragraph from I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read, Francine Prose establishes the wide and, she believes, indiscriminate range of readings assigned in high school classes by giving many examples of those her own sons have read:
Exposition #1: A Suggestion to Mr. Richards
AP Language & Composition
Your task: As academic leaders of WMHS, you should take an active role in improving our building. Writing a letter using masterful rhetoric is your greatest asset right now.
Think of something you’d like to see changed or improved at WMHS. This should be something realistic and reasonable.
Don’t just make a suggestion; offer a plan of action – a realistic way to implement your idea.
Assumptions you can make about your audience:
Using the classical model of arrangement, pitch your idea to Mr. Richards.
Rough draft due:
Process Analysis This explains how something works, how to do something, or how something was done. We use process analysis when we explain how to bake bread or set up an Excel spreadsheet, how to improve a difficult situation or assemble a treadmill. Many self-help books are essentially process analysis. The key to successful process analysis is clarity; it’s important to explain a subject clearly and logically, with transitions that mark the sequence of major steps, stages, or phases of the process.
In the essay “Transsexual Frogs,” Elizabeth Royte uses process analysis to explain the research of Tyrone Hayes, a biologist at the University of California at Berkeley investigating the impact of the pesticide atrazine.
The next summer Hayes loaded a refrigerated 18-wheel truck with 500 half-gallon buckets and headed east, followed by his students. He parked near an Indiana farm, a Wyoming river, and a Utah pond, filled his buckets with 18,000 pounds of water, and headed back to Berkeley. He thawed the frozen water, poured it into hundreds of individual tanks, and dropped in thousands of leopard-frog eggs collected en route. To find out if frogs in the wild showed hermaphroditism, Hayes dissected juveniles from numerous sites. To see if frogs were vulnerable as adults, and if the effects were reversible, he exposed them to atrazine at different stages of their development. Verbs often become the most important words in process analysis writings. List all the verbs Royte uses in this excerpt:
Providing a series of examples – facts, specific cases, or instances – turns a general idea into a concrete one; this makes your argument both clearer and more persuasive to a reader. You may choose to use one extended example or a seeries of related ones to illustrate a point. This is nothing new to you – how many times have you tried to explain something by saying, “Let me give you an example”?
Aristotle taught us examples are a type of logical proof called induction – a series of specific examples leading to a general conclusion. If you believe, for example, hip-hop culture has gone mainstream, you might cite a series of examples that leads to your conclusion. For example, you could discuss hip-hoop music in chain-store advertising, the language of hip-hop gaining widespread acceptance, and entertainers from many different backgrounds integrating elements of hip-hop into their music.
In the following paragraph from “I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read,” Francine Prose establishes the wide and, she believes, indiscriminate range of readings assigned in high school classes by giving many examples of those her own sons have read:
My own two songs, now twenty-one and seventeen, have read (in public and private schools) Shakespeare, Hawthorne, an Melville. But they’ve also slogged repeatedly through the manipulative melodramas of Alice Walker and Maya Angelou, through sentimental middlebrow favorites (To Kill a Mockingbird and A Separate Peace), the weaker novels of John Steinbeck, the fantasies of Ray Bradbury. My older son spent the first several weeks of sophomore English discussing the class’s summer assignment, Ordinary People, a weeper and former bestseller by Judith Guest abou t a “dysfunctional” family recovering from a teenage son’s suicide.