Enter the Conversation

Esssay One Prompt

Overview: After reading and pondering on the letters from Baldwin and Davis, choose one of the letters and prepare to break down the argument. Your main points should relate to the claims made in the letter. Consider two or three claims for an essay of this size and choose based on ones you have a strong opinion.

Purpose: This assignment is explore the arguments in the two letters, decide on one, and them spend some time “in conversation with the main points” made by the author and how your beliefs and ideas fit

into them and to rhetorically analyze the evidence the author of your choose uses.

  • Consider how this assignment matters to the world outside of our learning community.
  • What do you think might be gained from interaction with these letters and their messages?
  • Why do you feel more progress has not been made?
  • Do you feel progress has been made? 


  • First two or three paragraphs will analyzie the argument, rhetorically
    • What claims are used to support the argument
    • What types of evidence is used to support the claims and the thesis
      • Use Ethos/Pathos/Logos Handout
  • Last two paragraphs will be where you enter the conversation a
    • Add your voice to the argument using two outside sources to support your points.
      • Outside sources are poplular and not academic

Task Breakdown (see Canvas for due dates)

  1. Read and choose one of the letters to explore
  2. Consider two or three claims (main points )the author makes Analyze the evidence used and take a stand
  3. Use textual eivdence from the letter and the outside sources to support your take on the claims
  1. Use two outside sources (popular – academic not necessary for this paper)
  2. Brainstorm
  3. Outside Source Discussion Board
  4. Outline and work cited
  5. Introduction and two body paragraphs of draft for review
  6. Final Draft  
  7. Some ideas and main arguments found in the letter you may choose to work with.
  8. Relate the claims made in the letter to our current aspect of society and include your opinions into the conversation:

Consider in Baldwin’s Letter:

  • American Triumph
    • A Nation’s Health
    • Will of the People
    • Intended Fate
    • Victims of the System
    • Any others that stand out to you or are of interest to you

                        Consider in Davis’ Letter:

  • Human Rights
  • Democracy vs Capitalism
  • Unjust Laws
  • “Collective Welfare and Survival of a People”
  • Political Prisoner
  • Legal Apparatus
  • Prison Complex
  • Any others that stand out or are of interest to you



10%     Introduction and Conclusion

10%     Grammar, Punctuation

10%     Clear Thesis and Topic Sentences

10%     MLA (in text and work cited)

10%     Transitions between topics and sources

50%     Paragraph Organization and Clarity of Argument

Outline/Essay Structure

Introduction Paragraph

  • Background about the letter and the author
  • Fully Introduce the letter and the author
  • The author’s thesis and main points you plan to discuss
  • Thesis (Your thesis – what you will do/argue in the paper

Body Paragraphs 1-2 (The Rhetorical Analysis Paragraphs

  • Topic Sentence (One of the claims the author uses to support their thesis
  • Context about the main claim
  • Quote that supports the claim
  • Identify the rhetorical strategy used in the evidence
  • How and Why and What makes this evidence effective to the audience
  • Transition to new claim
    • No opinion in the rhetorical paragraphs


Body Paragraphs 3-4

  • Topic Sentence (Take a stand on one of the claims you will explore (can be the same ones you analyzed)
  • Quote from the letter to support the claim you are weighing in on
  • Clearly discuss how and why this evidence supports the stand you are taking ‘
  • Transition to outside evidence
  • Clearly discuss how and why this evidence supports the stand you are taking ‘
  • Transition to new claim
    • This is the paragraph where your opinion is necessary

Conclusion Paragraph (see Conclusion Handout for ideas)