breaking out parts of an argument

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?