Defining Your Perspective on The Food Conversation
• An Argument that makes a claim on a specific aspect of the food conversation (i.e. calories as a guide to nutritional eating, childhood obesity, a body image issue, a particular food myth, snacking vs. meals) and develops it.
• A Thesis that explains your definition of the food conversation and your criteria and why they are important (a claim and three “because” clauses).
• Selection of an “anchor” article to which your argument responds (agree, disagree, or partially agree).
• Definitions of any terms in the argument, i.e., “organic,” “natural,” “sustainable,” or even “local.”
• At least four sources (in addition to the “anchor” article). Three can be internet sources. Two must be either scholarly database or government publications.
• Proper citation in MLA format both for in-text and works cited documentation.
• Your sources must be critically analyzed. In other words, you must tell the reader how credible the source is and why you would or would not trust it.
• A conclusion that shows why your definition of an essential element of the food conversation matters and why it is a meaningful contribution to the topic.
For your second assignment, the goal is to enter into a conversation about eating and nutrition in America. Your goal is to present an argument about for a particular facet of the food conversation that can be covered in 1250 words. This means you have to narrow your topic since it is impossible to do a credible job of every aspect of food advertisement in four pages although you could cover print marketing in women’s magazines or cereal commercials aimed at children. Review the articles in Graff’s They Say/I Say in order to decide on a perspective that informs your view or a perspective you reject. Pick one article to anchor your essay. At minimum, you should mention the anchor article in your introduction. You may decide to write on a topic such as the raw food movement. Although Pollan does not mention this directly, you could bring in his article to set the context for your discussion of this form of dietary restriction.
Develop your argument with evidence and examples from personal experience and AT LEAST FOUR SOURCES. Two of the sources can be internet sources of any type (company websites, online magazines, nutrition tables), but you also need to include two sources that are either peer-reviewed from a database or United States government websites (such as the USDA). All sources must be in proper MLA format. It is important to remember to ANALYZE your source and to provide your own examples which illustrate your argumentative stand on your sources. Also remember to show why your definition and criteria offer a useful, coherent, practical, or necessary perspective on the complex topic of food and eating.
Short Peer Editing for Essay
1. Check the first paragraph. Does it contain the following?
A) Introduction—Background Information: This is the context of the essay and includes necessary background information. It can include narrowing the topic, defining important terms or concepts, historical information, or intellectual conversation. The introduction may include an anecdote, a brief narrative that encapsulates the topic such as the following tweet by Kent W. Graham published in Reader’s Digest, November 2020: “My wife got a free-range, organic, non-GMO, antibiotic-free turkey this year—and every one of those adjective added 20 bucks” (41). The writer should follow with an analysis. Avoid: A vague introduction such as “Food is the most important substance in human life. Without it, we would die. Each culture has its own traditions. . .”
B) Significance: This should include information about when, where, or to whom an essay is important and WHY it is meaningful.
C) Claim: This is the thesis; it is a concise, specific statement of the topic, your position on the topic, and the reasons (typically three) you hold this position. It provides the controlling idea of the essay.
2. Check the Thesis, which is typically placed at the end of the first paragraph. Does it meet the following requirements?
A) The Effective Thesis should make an assertion that needs to be explained or illustrated and which is arguable. It is a statement and not a question. It should fit the requirements of the assignment, i.e, a short paper should have a narrowly focused thesis.
B) Topic sentences of paragraphs should connect back to the thesis statement. You should also make logical connections between the reasons you put forth; in other words, does your first reason CAUSE the ones that follow it, does it DEFINE it, or does each reason offer a separate but essential part of the claim? You should also order your ideas by their importance. In emphatic order, the most important reason is explained last, so that it becomes the one the reader is most likely to remember.
3. Development of Body Paragraphs:
A) Transitions: Each body paragraph should develop a point in your thesis and the transitions between them should develop the logical relationships between the claim and your reasons. Paragraphs should have clear topic sentences which develop the reasons in your thesis. If you can’t see a clear connection between paragraphs, tell the writer.
B) Development: Paragraphs can supply support for your ideas in the form of personal experience, research materials, illustrations, statistics, or hypothetical arguments. They may also be used to refute the argument of a naysayer. When you shift the subject, context, or treatment of a subject, you should start a new paragraph. Graff covers transitions between paragraphs in chapter eight on pages 101-115.
C) Support: Assertions that are not common knowledge must be supported. For instance, a statement such as “Carbohydrates should be avoided in a healthy diet” is both too general since it does not specify a quantity and would exclude fruits and vegetables and argumentative in that “healthy” can be defined in many different ways.
D) Specificity: Points should be specific. If the writer says, “The dietary options one has are either fast food or home-cooked organic meals,” point out that this is a fairly drastic either/or equation. There is, after all, a middle ground. Watch out for huge generalizations and comparisons that are not clearly defined.
4. Conclusion: You should have a clear sense of what the writer has proven in the course of the essay, and he or she should emphasize the new awareness of issues or the way in which they can be regarded as a result of the essay. The writer should also leave you with a sense of why his or her point of view matters.
5. MLA Considerations:
A) In-Text: Every quotation or paraphrase should have an author and page citation if the source is paginated. If the author is mentioned in the signal phrase, there’s not need to repeat the name. Avoid p. pg. or pp. before the page number.
B) Work Cited page: This is a separate page. Make sure that MLA format is followed. You can look it up in the MLA section of Hacker on online at Purdue OWL. Use the author’s last name to alphabetize sources or the article title if there is no author. Entries begin at the left margin. Remember to use the hanging indent (the second and following lines of each citation are indented five spaces from the left margin). List Graff, et al. as the editors of They Say/ I Say; they are not the authors.
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