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Classical Oration as an Essay structure

These are notes taken from the book "The office of Assertion; An Art of Rhetoric for the Academic Essay by Scott F. Crider

cindy clendenen

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of Classical Oration as an Essay structure

Notes on "Office of Assertion"... Classical oration for academic writing: a structure
Structure of the introduction
"Funnel in" - begin with general subject, limit focus, state thesis

Example: "
1) "Leadership requires patience, practical wisdom, and courage. (general subject and also defines the term "leadership" in the way that you want it defined to support your paper. This uses a definition from you pre-writing.) (Syllogism structure: Leadership is A - has all 3 of these things in it)
2) Of the three, practical wisdom is the most important, and - as we see in Book 1 of Homer's Iliad - that is an attribute that Agamemnon lacks. (limits the focus of the writing to book 1 of the iliad and Agamemnon). (Syllogism structure: Agamamnon is not A - doesn't meet all 3 criterion for leadership)
3) Agamemnon is not a good leader because he is rash in his judgements. (this whole 3 sentences really make up your thesis, but the main idea, stated here is that Agamemenon is not a good leader.) (Syllogism structure) Agamemnon is therefore B - not a good leader.
"An outline is crucial for 2 reasons: First it indicates that the writer knows the shape of the proof, second, it pleases the reader." ... "An outline tells the reader explicitly what the essay will do. Imagine that one wants to argue that Agamemnon is not a good leader. ... The proof might consist of two parts: in the first, the writer defines a good leader; In the second, he or she argues that Agamemnon does not meet that standard. An outline in such an essay might look like this, "Let us define good leadership, then examine Agamemnon's poor leadership." It might look like this: "What is a good leader? Is Agamemnon a good leader? " It might look like this: There are two parts to my case - a definition of the good leader, and an examination of Agamemnon's leadership. The two proofs (arguments - definition of leadership & examination of Agamemnon as a leader) then follow *in the order you mention them, and the body's shape, as a consequence, is..." set.
Tail biting snake technique - "in it the writer retrieves some element of the introduction - an idea, image, or piece of narrative or text - and repeats and varies it." ..."Imagine composing an essay about achilleus's pride. You might open and close with his memorable recalcitrant line, "He will not persuade me" (9.345)
Taken from "The Office of Assertion: An art of Rhetoric for the Academic Essay by Scott F. Crider
Pre writing
Read the PROMPT.
Make a list of all of the questions it asks, and write down your answers
Define important terms (what is leadership, what is government etc... terms are persuasive and support a point.)
Write a thesis
Use a syllogism to write the thesis
A or B
Not B
Then A
Write the outline of your paper to match these points
1) introduction
2) statement of circumstances
3) outline (of the paper, where it is going)
4) proof
5) refutation
6) conclusion

Structure of statement of cirucumstances
Narrate the central events, define terms (if you didn't do that in the intro)... ONLY narrate those things important to your case, so that you are not simply "retelling" the story.
This part actually agues what you state in our outline in the order in which you state it there. In this case: Paragraph 1: What is a good leader. Paragraph 2: Why is Agamemnon not a good leader.
"Arguments presuppose counter-arguments. ... the rhetor must not only develop his or her own argument but must also imagine and refute counter arguments if he or she is to be persuasive. " In this case, argue that in cases where Agamemnon appears to be a good leader his is really not, because...
Or in our sample introduction, the writer set up a refutation of the counter argument in his definition of "leadership"... Sure Agamemnon has some of the qualities of a good leader, but he does not posses them all, therefore he cannot be a good leader.
Techniques for transitions within paragraphs
1) Repeat important terms
: "If leadership is defined as... then it is clear that...
2) unambiguous pronoun references
: Agamemnon is not a good leader. If HE were a good leader..."
3) Number your points:
First, Agamemnon is not a good leader because...
4) Join clauses with conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs
, making better sentences. "Agamemnon is not a good leader
he is courageous, he is also rash.
Numbers 1 and 4 are also good techniques for transitions BETWEEN paragraphs
Revision questions: Invention (general ideas
1) Does the essay address the assignment.
2) Is the essay's focus sharp enough, given the assignment's expectations?
3) What is the thesis? Is it small enough or large enough for the expected size of the paper?
4) Are it's ideas developed enough? Is it's logic strong? (ideas clearly related to the text)

Revision questions: organization
1) Strong introduction? Does it provide an outline of the proofs and the thesis?
2) Is the body strong? Do the proofs cohere? (make sense, relate to your thesis, happen in the order of your outline?
3) Is the conclusion strong?
4) are the paragraphs unified and coherent?
5) Are the transitions between parts, paragraphs, and sentences strong?
Revision of style
1) Is the diction appropriate (academic language, not "street" language), concise, vivid?
2) Is the grammar correct?
3) Is the punctuation correct?
4) Are the sentences varied in length and pattern? Are there any strong metaphors?
5) Is the essay formatted by the appropriate standards?
This is one of several possible constructions out of this book.

Invention (ideas)
1) Assignment (did you do what was assigned.
2) Do you have a clear focus or point?
3) Do you develop your idea, have sound logic.
4) Do you have evidence to support your idea.
1) Introduction
2) Body
3) Conclusion
4) Paragraphing
5) Transitions
1) Diction (academic not "street" language.
2) Grammar
3) Punctuation
4) Variation (of sentence structure and using metaphor)
5) Mechanics/Citations
Grading criterion for academic essays
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