Essay #1: The Trial of Mary BarnettImagine that after the conclusion of the Mary Barnett trial, the public is in an uproar: a large majority of the population disagrees with the verdict you arrived at. Consequently, you are approached by the press for aninterview and given an opportunity to explain how you arrived at your verdict. In a short, informal argumentative essay(4 or more pages), defend your verdict in the trial for an audience that disagrees strongly with you. Your argumentative essayshould be done individually and provide the specific reasoning and supporting evidence that your group (during “jury duty”)might have discussed only superficially. Your goal is to convince your readers that your point of view on the trial is correct andthat apathy and other points of view are wrong. This is best done with a variety of appeals (logos, ethos, pathos), use of logic models (deductive, inductive, Toulmin), counterargument, and references to evidence from the case to support your points.Remember that the majority of the population disagrees with you; this means that they are your primary audience, so whendiscussing opposing points of view, be sure to remain fair and objective: don’t alienate your readers.Key Features:1. An introduction that appeals to your reader and clearly but briefly describes the trial, provides any necessary backgroundinformation, and identifies any biases you might have. This section should be no more than a page long.2. A thesis statement that presents your overall claim about the trial (this will likely be the last sentence of your introduction).3. A description of the criteria (reasons / beliefs) that you are using as the basis of your verdict. Be sure to explain or defendyour criteria if necessary.4. A clear explanation for how you arrived at your verdict.5. Adequate, specific evidence from the trial, class discussion, or your own deliberation to support your verdict. This caninclude detailed description, facts, examples, testimony, or statistics.6. A consideration and rebuttal of at least one alternative view – this will make your evaluation more balanced.7. Appropriate organization and paragraphing, including use of clear topic sentences. The paragraphs should bewell-developed, in a logical order and use transitions to show links between ideas.8. A conclusion that provides closure to the essay and considers the implications of the argument.9. Consistent, correct use of MLA style (check heading, margins, title, line spacing, page numbering, parenthetical note(s), and Works Cited page (if included).10. Observance of the conventions of standard written English.Essay #1 (Mock Trial) OutlineHere is a generic outline for how you might present your essay. Be sure to consider your responses to the trial and consideryour audience, your purpose, and the appropriate tone before you begin to write.Sample Outline:I. IntroductionGive background or perhaps an illustrative example to show the significance of the subject or the nature of the controversy. Get your readers’ attention, provide necessary background information, and indicate what your position is and why you hold it. Consider stating the conclusion of your argument here as the thesis of your essay.II. Presentation of your argument (multiple paragraphs)Throughout the body of your essay you should build your case one point at a time, perhaps devoting one paragraph to thedefense of each of your premises, or setting forth your evidence in separate, meaningful categories. Using deductivereasoning,you should directly address the three criteria needed to convict someone of second degree murder: intent, making a conscious decision, and being aware of the consequences of his or her actions.III. Summary of Opposing Point(s) of ViewBriefly and objectively summarize the point(s) of view held by your opponents. Remember that the majority of your readersalso hold this opinion, so be fair and neutral in your summary of the opposing arguments. Acknowledge valid points, even ifthey contradict your verdict.IV. RefutationProvide a refutation of the opposing view(s) to make your reader aware that you have considered but rejected it (them) forgood reasons. Explain those reasons, showing that the arguments that support an opposing point of view are illogical, unfair,untrue, or not the best way to view the situation. This refutation may be placed last, just before your conclusion, or eveninterspersed at effective locations throughout the essay. You just choose the best location.V. ConclusionAfter all your evidence has been presented and/or your premises defended, pull your whole argument together in the lastparagraph by showing how the evidence you have presented provides sufficient grounds for accepting your conclusion.However, avoid mere summary. You may wish to address the “bigger picture” issues that the case brings up, such as thebystander effect, the need to raise awareness about postpartum depression, the need to protect children’s rights, and so on.You may also add here some conventional device to finish your essay, such as a call to action, a new example, a reference tothe example with which you began (now seen in a new light) etc.
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