Evaluative Arguments

An evaluative argument is another form of a definition argument. The difference is, the evaluative argument is based upon the writer’s choice of criteria. Read our text’s discussion of the evaluative argument on page 156.

Sunset

Essentially, the writer is creating an argumentative structure that says “A” is “[qualitative judgment such as good, bad, helpful, necessary, etc]” due to certain criteria.

The criteria, or conditions are whatever it takes for you to prove your qualitative judgment. For example, in a movie review, the film will be judged on the criteria of quality, believability, cinematic achievement, and artistic value.

The writer–or really, the critic–will compare what the film has accomplished with various standards of evaluation such as the criteria above.

Read this movie review, then answer the following questions in the “comment” block:

1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie?

2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters?

3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic?

4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality?

5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable?

In the last unit, we worked on similes as a way to create meaning. This week, we work on the metaphor as yet another way to create a visual image for the text we’re writing.

The simplest way to understand the concept of metaphor is to think of it as a way to create a word picture by making an analogy. In other words, what is the experience like?

Play that experience out for readers with an example. Here are some sentences for you to test out the concept:

  1. Blue paint spilled on the road like___________________________.
  2. Canceled checks in the abandoned subway car seemed___________________________.
  3. A spider under the rug is like___________________________.
  4. Graffiti on the abandoned building like___________________________.
  5. Nothing was the same, now that it was___________________________.
  6. The dice rolled out of the cup toward Veronicalike___________________________.
  7. A child in _________________ is like a _______________ in_____________________.
  8. _________________is like muscles stretched taut over bone.
  9. The fog plumed through gunshot holes in the car windows like ___________________________.
  10. She held her life in her own hands as if it were___________________________.
  11. Lacey poured coffee down her throat as if ___________________________.
  12. If I should wake before I die,___________________________.
  13. The security guard walks the lobby as if___________________________.
  14. The library books left in the rain like___________________________.
  15. Music in the hallway like___________________________.

If you can use these sentences to create a visual–you are using metaphor to impart meaning.

Try your hand at theses, then email them to me at: mannoc@erau.edu

1. The Objective Argument: Using the guidelines in your text (see page 156), develop your own objective Evaluation Argument. The first step is to make a claim, and you may use any of the examples on page 174.

Consider what criteria are relevant to the evaluation of your topic. Use at least two cited sources for your objective essay. Create a new blog entry titled “Evaluation Argument” and post it to your blog. First draft due Saturday, 17 April. Final draft, Monday 19 April.

2. The Subjective Essay:

Choose one of the writing prompts below the instructions. Use at least 3 metaphors in order to transfer a visual image to readers.

Standard essay requirements:

Length: 500 words minimum, 750 maximum.

At least two cited sources for the objective essay.

Writing Prompts for your Subjective Essay:

1. [Lightbulb Moment] Think of an experience when you realized that you suddenly understood an idea, a skill, or a concept you had been struggling with — it might be something related to a class that you took or a specific athletic skill you were trying to perfect. For instance, you might think about trying to understand how to identify iambic pentameter in a poem or how to complete a Taylor Series problem in your Calculus class.  Or you might consider trying to perfect your free throws and suddenly understanding how your follow-through was affecting your success.  Write a narrative that tells the story of your movement toward understanding. How did you finally come to understand?  What changed your perceptions and gave you a new understanding?  Your paper should help readers understand how you felt to struggle with the idea or skill and then to understand.

2. [Childhood Event] Choose a vivid time from your childhood — You might think of the first time that you rode a school bus, of a time when you went to the principal’s office, the first A you earned on a test or paper, earning money to buy something that you really wanted, and so on.  Narrate the events related to the childhood memory that you’ve chosen so that your readers will understand why the event was important and memorable.

3. The Good and the Bad]  Think about an event in your life that seemed bad but turned out to be good.  Maybe you got injured and while you were waiting for your broken leg to heal, you learned how to use a computer.  What makes the event change from bad to good may be something that you learned as a result, something that you did differently as a result, or something that happened that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise.  Tell the story of the event that you experienced and help your readers understand how an event that seemed negative turned out to have valuable consequences.

4. [Being a Teacher]  Teaching someone else how to do something can be rewarding.  Think of a skill that you’ve taught someone else how to do. Perhaps you taught someone else how to swim, showed someone how to bake a souffle, or helped someone learn how to study more effectively.  Think about the events that made up the process of teaching the skill, and narrate the story for your readers.

5. [Changing Places]  Every place has things that change — sometimes as the result of economics, sometimes because different people are involved, and sometimes for no clear reason that you know about.  Think of a change to a place that you know well.  Perhaps the local grocery store you grew up with as Smith and Bros. Grocery was bought out by a regional chain like Food Lion or Winn Dixie.  Maybe the First National Bank of Smithburg suddenly becomes NationsBank.  Perhaps the change was more personal — an older sibling moves out of the house and your family changes the room to a guest room or an office.  Think of a specific change and narrate the events that occurred.  Readers should know the details of the change, and they should know how you feel about the changes that occurred.

6. [Personal Rituals]  Describe a personal ritual that you, your friends, or your family have.  Think about the personal steps that you always go through when you prepare for an exam.  Do you sit at a desk, spread books and notes across your bed, or use the kitchen table?  Do you have to have something to drink…soda, water, jolt?  There are numerous things that we do for which we create our own personal rituals.  Choose one event — studying for a test, writing a paper, dressing and warming up before a game, or preparing and having a special family meal.  Narrate the events that take place when you complete your ritual so that your readers understand the steps that the ritual includes and why you complete them.

7. [Standing Up]  Choose a time when you did something that took a lot of nerve, a time when you didn’t follow the crowd or a time when you stood up for your beliefs.  Perhaps your friends were urging you to do something that you were uncomfortable with and you chose not to cave into peer pressure.  Maybe you took a stance on a political issue that was important in your community, or you might have  Whatever you choose, think about the details of the event and write a story that tells about what happened. Your narrative should show your readers why you decided to make a stand or try something that took nerve, give specifics on the events, and share how you felt after the event.

Citations

You can do citations in-text by putting your source in a hyperlink.

First, when in the edit mode for your blog, highlight the reference that requires citation and click the “link” icon.

Second, paste in your link in the window with an already highlighted “http://” prefix.

Third,  click on the “Target” drop-down box and select “open target in a new window.” This will keep readers from being moved from your blog address.

Finally, click “Insert.” You will need to add your source to the “Works Cited” list after your essay, but this hyperlink method will be acceptable for an in-text reference.

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Guest Exercises:

Click here for an in-class exercise in composition.

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17 comments so far

  1. kolinski on

    Date Night Review James Kolinski

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie? Steve Carell and Tina Fey play a nice, unassuming couple in “Date Night,” and that’s one of the reasons the movie works so well. The movie is believable.

    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters? We’re halfway prepared for a low-key romantic comedy when all hell breaks loose. They pretend to be an absent couple in order to grab a reservation at a trendy restaurant, and two hit men assume they are that couple and topple them into a screwball comedy. Yet all the time Phil and Claire seem like the kind of people who don’t belong in a screwball comedy. That’s why it’s funny. They’re bewildered. These characters are also somewhat believable. Plots like this have a way of spinning over the top with insane manic behavior. It’s as if the characters are desperately signaling, Look at us! Aren’t we hilarious? But the audience has to bring hilarity to you. It can’t be assumed

    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic? it’s like the Scorsese masterpiece “After Hours

    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? against all odds, it is involving. Each crazy step in the bizarre plot made a certain sense because it followed from what went before A movie like “Date Night” encourages Hollywood comedy to occasionally dial down, and realize that comedy emerges from characters and situations and can’t be manufactured from manic stunts and overkill. What is the key quality? If you don’t start out liking the Fosters and hoping they have a really nice date night, not much else is going to work.

    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable? The critic’s review is believable on how it is written. He compared it to other movies, how a comedy should be written and the movie is down to earth. I saw the movie on Sunday and I like it also.

  2. David Amann on

    David Amann

    English 123

    Chris Manno

    12 April 2010

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie? That movie is believable.

    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters? That they are a normal overworked couple from New Jersey strangely enough they still love each other.

    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic? The mob scene.

    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality? He finds it funny because it just works. Just straight up bizarre.

    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable? He review is somewhat believable, if he says it is good it really is bad and if he says it sucks I like it.

  3. atcgoddess on

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie?
    The element of realism and the dialed down approach to comedy noting that good comedy emerges from characters and situations rather than manufactured manic stunts and overkill.
    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters?
    Even as comedians they play the roles of real people as close as possible through looks, age, fitness levels without over-exaggerating unexpected skills…..very believable.
    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic?
    An unassuming couple that gets mistaken for a different couple is caught in a whirlwind of impossible situations.
    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality?
    The key elements are in his opinion that the movie is believable and involving.
    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable?
    His review is believable because he takes two well known comedians and makes the seem like normal people not striving for over-the-top comedic entertainment but just that is achieved through impossible and outrageous circumstances.

  4. Sitchler on

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie?
    The critic states that the director stuck to things he was better at and not involving too much CGI. Also having comedians make the movie funny without giving the perception that their trying to be funny.

    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters?
    He stated that their job in a comedy is to behave with as much realism as possible and let the impossibilities whirl around them. The Tripplehorns (James Franco and Mila Kunis), two mob-employed cops (Jimmi Simpson and Common), a mob boss (Ray Liotta) and a muscular security expert (Mark Wahlberg) who never wears a shirt. These characters he states as being somewhat believable.

    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic?
    It is like the Scorsese masterpiece “After Hours.”

    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality?
    That both actors are natural comic performers, who know that a comedians job must never seem to know that it’s funny and their job in a comedy is to behave with as much realism as possible and let the impossibilities whirl around them.

    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable?
    He creates a picture in your head and references other movies that I’ve seen and enjoyed. He’s also a well credited critic with a nice history behind him.

  5. hernaj25 on

    Tammie Pate

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie? Steve Carell and Tina Fey play a nice, unassuming couple in “Date Night,” and that’s one of the reasons the movie works so well.

    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters? Their Phil and Claire Foster are a normal, overworked, sincere, good-natured New Jersey couple whose lives have become routine. But they love one another, and all they really want is to hire a babysitter and enjoy a nice night out on the town.

    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic? it’s like the Scorsese masterpiece “After Hours.” The director is Shawn Levy, who committed the two “Night at the Museum”

    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality? All of this is a way of saying that “Date Night” is funny because, against all odds, it is involving. Each crazy step in the bizarre plot made a certain sense because it followed from what went before; it’s like the Scorsese masterpiece “After Hours.” The director is Shawn Levy, who committed the two “Night at the Museum” movies, and here shows that he is much more successful when he stays far away from CGI. Remember that he also made the entertaining “Cheaper by the Dozen,” with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt as a hard-pressed married couple.

    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable? A movie like “Date Night” encourages Hollywood comedy to occasionally dial down, and realize that comedy emerges from characters and situations and can’t be manufactured from manic stunts and overkill. If you don’t start out liking the Fosters and hoping they have a really nice date night, not much else is going to work.

  6. khans6 on

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie?
    Both, Steve Carell and Tina Fey play a nice, unassuming couple in “Date Night,” and that’s one of the reasons the movie works so well.

    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters?
    Their Phil and Claire Foster are a normal, overworked, sincere, good-natured New Jersey couple whose lives have become routine. But they love one another, and all they really want is to hire a babysitter and enjoy a nice night out on the town.

    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic?
    It’s like the Scorsese masterpiece “After Hours.
    The director is Shawn Levy, who committed the two “Night at the Museum.”

    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality?
    That both actors are natural comic performers, who know that a comedians job must never seem to know that it’s funny and their job in a comedy is to behave with as much realism as possible and let the impossibilities whirl around them.

    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable?
    A movie like “Date Night” encourages Hollywood comedy to occasionally dial down, and realize that comedy emerges from characters and situations and can’t be manufactured from manic stunts and overkill.
    If you don’t start out liking the Fosters and hoping they have a really nice date night, not much else is going to work.

  7. lummus45 on

    1. Because the actors/actresses play unassuming roles. Also, each step followed what had happened in the previous step.

    2. Its believable because they are normal people, and the way the actors perform makes us believe this.

    3. It extends from each bizarre event is a following of the previous event.

    4. Its funny because it is believeable and not overdone with stunts and CGI.

    5. Its believeable because he presents his critique as the movie being believable.
    Brett Lummus

  8. moulderh on

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie? Their ability to be believable.

    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters? “But they know, as great comic actors like Cary Grant and Jack Lemmon knew, that their job in a comedy is to behave with as much realism as possible and let the impossibilities whirl around them. To begin with, Carell and Fey look like they might be a pleasant married couple. Attractive, but not improbably so. Young, but not that young. Fit, but they don’t reveal unexpected skills. And frightened when they need to be”.

    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic?
    “Carell and Fey are both natural comic performers, who know (as Second City teaches) that a comedian must never seem to know that it’s funny”.
    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality?Yet all the time Phil and Claire seem like the kind of people who don’t belong in a screwball comedy. That’s why it’s funny. They’re bewildered.
    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable?
    He keeps trying to explain why the movie is so funny, compairing them to other comedians prior to them.

  9. bowlingp on

    Patrick Bowling

    1. Steve Carell and Tina Fey play a nice, unassuming couple in “Date Night,” and that’s one of the reasons the movie works so well.

    2. Carell and Fey are both natural comic performers, who know (as Second City teaches) that a comedian must never seem to know that it’s funny. They play Phil and Claire as nearly as possible like plausible people trapped by this nightmare misunderstanding.

    3. Each crazy step in the bizarre plot made a certain sense because it followed from what went before; it’s like the Scorsese masterpiece “After Hours.” The director is Shawn Levy, who committed the two “Night at the Museum” movies, and here shows that he is much more successful when he stays far away from CGI. Remember that he also made the entertaining “Cheaper by the Dozen,” with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt as a hard-pressed married couple.

    4. We’re halfway prepared for a low-key romantic comedy when all hell breaks lose. They pretend to be an absent couple in order to grab a reservation at a trendy restaurant, and two hit men assume they are that couple and topple them into a screwball comedy. Yet all the time Phil and Claire seem like the kind of people who don’t belong in a screwball comedy. That’s why it’s funny. They’re bewildered.

    5. A movie like “Date Night” encourages Hollywood comedy to occasionally dial down, and realize that comedy emerges from characters and situations and can’t be manufactured from manic stunts and overkill. If you don’t start out liking the Fosters and hoping they have a really nice date night, not much else is going to work.

  10. bowlingp on

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie? Because the characters play a nice, unassuming couple.
    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters? Carell and Fey are both natural comic performers, who know that a comedian must never seem to know that it’s funny. They play Phil and Claire as nearly as possible like plausible people trapped by this nightmare misunderstanding.

    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic? extends from the directors previous films.

    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality? It is funny because, against all odds, it is involving. Each crazy step in the bizarre plot made a certain sense because it followed from what went before.

    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable? It is believable because he describes the characters real personalities to the character they are playing plus he is very light-hearted in his discussion.

    • bowlingp on

      This must be someone else’s, not mine.

      Patrick Bowling

      • bowlingp on

        This was Donna Johnson’s

  11. hernaj25 on

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie? He mentions that the movie is believable several times and that is what makes it a good movie and that that comedy has to come from characters. That is what makes a good comedy.

    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters?”Their Phil and Claire Foster are a normal, overworked, sincere, good-natured New Jersey couple whose lives have become routine.”

    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic?
    “comedy emerges from characters and situations and can’t be manufactured from manic stunts and overkill” it comes from character not script

    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality? that the movie is believable

    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable?
    It is believable. He mentions other movies that were big hits and many people agreed with it.

  12. mavrik25 on

    1. What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie? easy to follow the story line, believable, good comedy- being funny without trying really hard to be funny.

    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters? that they are somewhat believable.

    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic? An unassuming couple that gets mistaken for a different couple is caught in a whirlwind of impossible situations.

    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality? its believable and they two actors are natural comedic actors.

    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable? because he points out and gives reasons why the things in the movie are funny and why the actors are good in this movie

  13. Nie on

    . What does the critic say are qualities that determine a good movie?
    -That it has to be believable.
    2. What does the critic say about the believability of the characters?
    -He said that they are naturally funny people and their acting is like they don’t know that the movie is funny making it funnier, like plausible people trapped in a nightmare.
    3. From what does comedy extend, according to the critic?
    – It’s a bizarre plot that made sense, because it follows what happened before.
    4. Why does the critic find Date Night to be funny? What is the key quality?
    -he finds it to be funny because the coupe those not look like the type to be in such a screwball comedy and it’s involving.
    5. Why is or isn’t the critic’s review believable?
    -It’s believable because he made the move seem down to earth, not over the top at all. Just a funny movie


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