- Your assignment is to formulate an ARGUMENT that you will then demonstrate with
examples (“evidence,” if you will) from the text (More’s Utopia).
- in academic writing, an argument presents a problem or a question which your essay
claims to have a solution or answer for.
- In introducing your essay, you are presenting the problem or question about the work,
and a first glimpse of your solution or answer—what your point is, and how you plan to
- It is NOT an argument to say “More’s Utopia presents an ideal society,” or ”I will show
that More’s Utopia presents a vision of an ideal society.” Those are simple statement of
fact, or presentations of topics.
IS UTOPIA A “SPIRITUAL EXERCISE,” OR A ”BLUEPRINT”?
Find evidence that supports your side
- “Hythloday,” the name of his source for information on Utopia, is Greek and means
approximately “purveyor of nonsense.” That could be a clue.
- More addresses very specific contemporary English problems: enclosure, capital
punishment, and vagrancy.
- Keep in mind, More is a prominent member of the class of people he is criticizing: the
wealthy, educated, and politically influential.
- “[I]f you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from
their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education
disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this but that you first make thieves and
then punish them?” (46).
- Hythloday’s “if you,” aimed as it is as his European audience, seems a direct criticism of
the current state of things.
Example Introduction arguing that Utopia is a spiritual exercise In Utopia, Thomas More envisions an ideal society that is different in almost every way
from the Europe his readers knew. With such care given to the social and economic details of
his Utopian society, one would assume that More meant to present it as a radical and realizable
alternative. However, More names his ideal society “no place,” and its advocate, Hythloday’s
name means “nonsense.” Perhaps More is