B. Writing Assignment: An Argument about a Literary Work The purpose of this assignment is to discover an issue, make a claim, and write about your interpretation of a story. Edgar Allen Poe is well known for exploring the issues of guilt and punishment in his fiction. Poe’s story presents these issues in a particularly complex way. In order to determine exactly what claim Poe is making about these issues, undertake the following steps:

1. When you have finished reading the story, freewrite for five minutes to capture your original thoughts and reactions.

2. As a class, discuss answers to the following questions:

a. What is this story about? What issues are raised by this story?

b. What is the perspective of the narrator in this story? What makes it difficult to identify with this perspective?

c. Write a claim made by this story; then help list a few of these claims on the board. Which of these claims could be supported with evidence from the text? Which would you like to write about? Write your claim. Read with the class some of these claims.

3. Answer the next four questions to plan your paper.

a. What evidence from the text can you use to support your claim (examples, quotations, etc.)? Underline it.

b. What warrants are implicit in your argument? Will they be acceptable to the person who reads your paper, or should you provide backing?

c. Would your paper be more convincing if you included a rebuttal? What would it be?

d. Will your claim be more acceptable if you qualify it? How would you do that?

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