21W.041J Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Status Quo, Thesis Statement

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Status quo (stable context)
The current state of affairs
Common ground shared with the reader
Nonproblem that gives rise to the problem
Destabilizing condition
Gap in knowledge or understanding
Where you state your problem or question
There is a flaw in the status quo
Use conjunctions such as "but" or "however" to emphasize the juxtaposition
Challenging the status quo
Costs and benefits associated with solving and answering the question you posed
"If we failed to recognize this theme in the book, we lose the theme of [blank]
in this book"
Answers the question, "so what?"
Tells us what is at stake
Claim (thesis)
What do you think
Central argument of the paper
Must be debatable, significant, precise, supportable, and compelling
Reasons (subclaim)
Support your main claim
Answers how you came to your opinion
Reasons should be abstract
Different from evidence
Anticipates evidence and summarizes your evidence
For example, character A is rude to character B is a reason to believe that
your claim is right
Evidence would be concrete instances when we saw that behavior
Answers the question, "How do you know that?" thus eliciting the evidence
Supports your reasons
Hard evidence, concrete evidence
Quote the text or expert testimony
Historical facts that surround the text
For example, the time period it was written
Detailed images such as syntax, language, symbols
Connects reasons to your claim
At times are implicit
Many times they take the form of definitions
For example, defining love
General knowledge shared between the writer and the reader
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