Claims and Audience
Learning Goal: I’m working on a writing question and need a sample draft to help me learn.
Zombies Killed My Friends … Or Maybe It Was Aliens
Understanding Claims, Persuasion, and Audience and Why They are Best Friends Forever
One of the most overlooked aspects of Persuasive Argumentative Academic Writing is recognizing the relationship between Claims and Audiences. To briefly review these two definitions:
Claims = Your opinions or statements on your argumentative topic. Claims are not questions, they are statements. How do you feel about your topic? How do you support it? Do you agree with something? Do you disagree with something? In their simplest form, Claims follow a clear pattern:
1 – This is what I think (The Claim)
2 – This is why I think it. This is my support for what I think. In other words, this is why I made the Claims I made and why I feel they are valid.
Audience = Who are you addressing in your writing? There are many different audiences, and each is unique. As a simple example, think about your own life and how you talk to people. If you have children, do you speak to your children in the same way you speak to your boss? How about your parents? Or your friends? It is safe to say that the answer is no, you speak to different audiences in different ways. Writing is no different. You need to understand your audience in order to focus on Claims to Persuade that specific Audience.
Not all essays need to be serious. Your topic can be complete nonsense. The point is that regardless of topic the same rules of Claims, Persuasion, and Audience exist. This essay assignment will demonstrate that fact.
Essay Specifics Step by Step:
1 – The Scenario (The Essay Topic): It is the end of the world. Well, the world still exists, but it’s really messed up. In this scenario, one of two things has happened: either a Zombie Apocalypse or an Alien Invasion. CHOOSE ONE OF THESE SCENARIOS (your choice, whichever you prefer). In either case, civilization is done. Almost everyone is dead (Yes, I know that’s sad, but it’s the end of the world, so it can’t all be rainbows and butterflies. On a positive note, all this is made up so it doesn’t really matter, everything is fine). You have survived the initial end of the world’s unpleasantness, and you are the only person you know who has survived. In other words, you are all alone. Now you must find a safe place to live. Where will you go to try to continue to survive the Zombie Apocalypse or the Alien Invasion? You can go anywhere you want. The infrastructure of mostly intact, the only problem is that the world is now filled with zombies or aliens, and regardless of which you choose, both do not like people and will attempt to end your life on sight … they are very unhelpful like that.
2 – Some basic rules for the new world: If you choose zombies, they are the slow-moving stupid type, but they are everywhere in mass quantities and tend to be a bit bitey (no, that’s not a real word) whenever they see you. They never stop and they never sleep. Where would you go to stay safe? If you choose aliens, they are super smart and possess advanced technology. They are not as numerous as zombies and are not everywhere, but they will hunt you down and use some kind of cool weapon technology to turn you into dust or something. The aliens are not stupid; they are highly trained and very well-armed. They work in teams/groups and have a military-like structure. Where would you go to stay safe from the aliens? In either scenario, infrastructure is intact, but the entire electrical grid is destroyed and no longer functional.
3 – Decide where you would like to go in an attempt to survive long term. Think about all the things you would need to survive in this place of your choosing. This is a simple concept but is actually fairly complicated once you start to think about it. Consider all the resources you would need to survive for the rest of your life. Remember, you will need to support your choice of survival location (your Claim), with valid supporting details. In other words, why is your choice the best choice you can make?
4 – But folks, it gets a little more complicated. On your way to your survival destination, you meet a group of five people who are together as a group. They are as follows:
1 – Doctor (General Surgeon)
2 – Farmer
3 – Mechanic
4 – United States Army Ranger
5 – Scientist (Chemist)
You really really really want this group of people to go with you to your survival location. You just met your Audience for your essay. How are you going to convince your audience to go with you? Remember, you need to focus your claims to this specific audience and effectively utilize the modes of persuasion (ethos, logos, pathos). In other words, think about things from the perspective of your audience. After all, you don’t need to convince yourself of where you’re going; you already made that decision. How do you convince your audience to go with you?
5 – You will be graded on two factors:
1 – Basic Writing Skills (sentence structure, avoiding sentence fragments, correct punctuation and spelling, etc.).
2 – How you develop and support your claims for your specific audience. In other words, how did you attempt to convince your audience (the group of five people) to go with you? Did you make specific claims and details for each of the five members that effectively utilize multiple modes of persuasion (good) or did you just make general claims that have nothing to do with your audience (bad). Think about it this way: trying to convince a doctor to go with you is going be a little different than trying to convince a farmer to do the same thing. Yes, both claims will have similarities, but really good claims will be specific to each person in your audience. Your essay should have a clear combination of general claims for the entire group AND specific claims for each member of the group.
6 – Your essay should be a minimum of three double-spaced pages. More is okay, but less is not. Write as much as you think necessary to fully support your claims but make it three double-spaced pages at a minimum. In all honesty, unless you are super concise with your writing your essay will most likely be longer than three pages but must be three pages at a minimum. This does not imply that you must write more than three pages. If you can make all your claims and support in three pages and do it well, you are all good to go.
7 – With all that said, don’t overthink this scenario too much. Obviously, we are just having fun with a crazy topic, but it can be a lot to think about. We could go into major details about zombies and aliens but that misses the point and makes things far too complicated. Keep things simple and focus on choosing a survival location and convincing your audience to go with you. If you think of some specific detail that you feel you need to know, well, you decide and make it up to help support your essay. For example: How long have the zombies or aliens been on earth? I don’t know; you tell me. What do the aliens want? I don’t know. Does it matter what they want? Again, if you feel it is important, you decide what they want.
MY OPINION: I want to make a story about a zombie apocalypse. Names to used also on the story: Stephanie(main character), Eddie(best friend), Leo(really cool good friend), Juan(the younger brother).
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