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Assignment: To write an illustration essay that fully demonstrates the ideas and rhetorical strategy of illustration as discussed and practiced in class.  The essay will be approximately 3-4 pages in length and will follow the essay manuscript guidelines provided.

1. The life of a young adult is not an easy one. 2. Advertisements influence consumers in many ways.

3. Illustrate the benefits or drawbacks of computers or some other form of technology.

4. Illustrate true heroism or true leadership. 

5. Many people appear obsessed with exercise (or dieting)

6. Sometimes we need to take risks.

7. Sometimes people can surprise you.

8. Form a generalization about the way some group is depicted on television (women, police

officers, the elderly, teenagers, or fathers, for instance) and provide examples to illustrate

that generalization. Evaluate the accuracy of the depiction.

9. The most useful (or useless) inventions.

10. A well run business.

11. Changing gender roles.

12. New communication technologies help keep people in close touch.

13. Dedication is the secret of success for many athletes (or use any other field or


14. Many intelligent people lack common sense.

15. Wanting more than we need can be destructive.

16. Many people become obsessed with appearance.

Due Dates:

· Draft of the illustration essay due: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 (bring 3 copies for peer review)

· Final draft of the illustration essay due: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 (instructor’s marked draft and final essay)



· Reduce a general topic to a limited thesis statement.

· Develop and effectively use specific examples to support a claim(s).

· Order examples according to their importance.

· Write an essay that demonstrates their understanding of the rhetorical strategy of exemplification (illustration).

“A picture is worth a thousand words”

What is an exemplification essay?

A rhetorical writing strategy involving using specific and detailed examples to show, support, or prove a point (thesis).

“It doesn’t pay to fight City Hall.  For example, my friend Josie…”

“Many intelligent people lack common sense.  Take Dr. Branch…”

“Top-notch women tennis players are among the biggest moneymakers in sports.  Last year, for instance, Martina Navratilova…”

“Predicting the weather is far from an exact science.  Two winters ago, a surprise snowstorm…”

Using examples and illustration isn’t merely a writing strategy.  Practically speaking, how does it benefit people?

· Often we understand a general assertion or claim only when we connect it to one or more specific examples.

· It puts ideas and experiences that otherwise would be foreign to us within our reach.

· Examples give depth to the ideas that we present.

· Examples contribute to the authority of the writer/speaker.

· Illustration is the cornerstone of all writing that deals with ideas.

It is using a list of: 

Facts Events Statistics People Samples

Quotations Anecdotes Other kinds of specific evidence


How can writers and readers tell exemplification from other MODs?

· Look for a thesis followed by a number of examples that support it in a parallel manner.

· Identify the types of examples. If there seems to be a story, ask, “Is it one story, or several stories?” Several stories indicate exemplification. If there is only one story, the dominant method of development is narrative, not exemplification.

Example Paragraphs

Topic sentence As they had resolved to do, my siblings took any job they

could find to survive. In Montreal, Luong went to work at

Example a plastics factory, mixing resins, until he found a job in the city

government. In California, Zuong began working in a hotel,

Example while his wife Hao started assembling electronics components

in a factory; they became self-sufficient so quickly that

they never had to resort to welfare. In Australia, Phu took a

Example job as a cleaning lady until she got a position in the post

office. (My nephew Nam went back to school and, after taking

a series of jobs, became a real estate agent.) Tuyet, in

Example Paris, also started out as a cleaning lady for an office, and

Eventually found a position in a government agency.

Dugong Van Mai Elliott, The Sacred Willow,

Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 465

Essay using extended example

Thesis By 1880 several hundred medicine shows were traveling in the United States, giving performances varying from simple magic acts to elaborate “med-presentations.” Among the largest of such

Major extended operations from 1880 to 1910 was the Kickapoo Indian Medicine

example—from Company, “The King of Road Shows.” Founded by two veteran

here to end troopers, John E. “Doc” Healy and Charles H. “Texas Charlie”

Bigelow, the Kickapoo Company maintained a large headquarters

Building, “The Principal Wigwam,” in New Haven, Connecticut,

And from there sent out shows, as many as twenty-five at a time,

To cities and villages throughout the country.

Minor examples Doc Healy hired performers, both Indian and white—dancers,

of performers singers, jugglers, fire-eaters, acrobats, comedians, fiddlers—and

who were hired Texas Charlie managed the medicine business and trained the “Doctors” and Professors” who gave “Medical Lectures.”

Minor examples All troupe members were distinctly garbed. The Indians—

of distinctly including Mohawks, Iroquois, Crees, Sioux, and Blackfeet—billed


garbed troupes as “all pure-blooded Kickapoos, the most noted of all Indian Medical People,” were adorned with colored beads and feathers and loaded down with primitive weapons; they trailed great strings

of unidentified hairy objects. Some lecturers wore western-style leather clothes and boots with silver-capped toes, others fancy

silk shirts, frock coats, and high silk hats. One of the most colorful

Kickapoo figures was smooth-talking Ned T. Oliver—“Nevada Ned, the King of Gold”—who wore an enormous sombrero from

the brim of which dangled 100 gold coins, and a fancy suit loaded

with buttons made of gold pieces.

The Kickapoo shows were presented under canvas at “Kickapoo Camps” during the summer and in opera houses and town halls in winter. On many nights the show was free to all, on others each adult was charged 10 cents. The money poured in from medicine sales.

The wonder-working Kickapoo concoctions were “compounded

according to secret ancient Kickapoo Indian tribal formulas” from “blood root, feverwort, spirit gum wild poke berries, sassafras, slippery elm, wintergreen, white oak bark, yellow birch bark, dock

root, sarsaparilla and other Natural Products.” The medicines were made in the Connecticut factory in vats so huge the “mixers” had

to perch on ladders and wield long paddles. The leader of the Kickapoo line was Sagwa, which sold at 50 cents to 1 dollar per

bottle—“Sagwa, the wonderful remedy for catarrh, pulmonary consumption, and all ills that afflict the human body. It is made from roots, barks, gums, leaves, oils, and berries gathered by little

Kickapoo children from God’s great laboratory, the fertile fields and vast forests. Sagwa, Nature’s own great secret cure, now

available to all mankind!”

Long after the Kickapoo Company was dissolved, a woman

who had worked in the medicine factory recalled that one of the

ingredients of Kickapoo Cough Syrup was Jamaica rum. Could this “cure” have been the inspiration for the “Kickapoo Joy Juice” Al Capp featured in his popular comic strip?

Peggy Robbins,

“The Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company”




1.  Choose one of the following topic sentence.  Select an appropriate example and write the rest of the paragraph.

a.  Sometimes a minor incident drastically changes a person’s life.

b.  _____’s name exactly suits (her/his) personality.

c.  I still get embarrassed when I remember _____.

d.  Not all education goes on in the classroom.

e.  I learned the value of _____ the hard way.

2.  Explain why you would use one extended illustration, several shorter ones, or a whole series of examples to develop each of the following statements.  Suggest appropriate illustrations.

a. Many parents I know think for their children.

b. The hamburger isn’t what it used to be.

c. The ideal pet is small, quiet, and affectionate.

d. Different college students view their responsibilities differently.

e. The hotels in Gotham City run the gamut from sumptuous to seedy.

f. Modern English includes any number of words taken directly from foreign languages.

3. Read the following paragraph. Then answer the questions that follow.

Folk Art in the Barrios

In this paragraph, Eric Kroll describes the wall paintings in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that depict a bold and colorful Chicano history and that defy stereotypes.

On ten Santa Fe walls, the history of the Chicanos, both mythical and actual, is depicted in brilliant colors and disproportionate figures. Aztec medicine figures dance and gods

protect peasants, all for the glory of the Chicano in the present. On some walls, the chains of bondage are being broken and the Lady of Justice, depicted as an Indian Maiden, watches over


both Indians and Chicanos. On others, Pancho Villa and Father Hidalgo lead the Mexican peasants to freedom. But the clenched fist at the end of the grotesquely muscled arms is the most prominent image. It symbolizes unity, determination, ambition, and pride, all traits that Los Artes believe should be part of Chicano psychology. The figures they paint are bold, upright, strong, and grasping, far from the stereotype of the Mexican-American with drooping mustache and floppy sombrero lying in the shade of a stucco building.

Questions About the Writer’s Strategies

1. What is the main idea (topic) of the paragraph?

2. What examples depict the freedom of Mexican peasants?

3. What is the metaphor for the traits that the artists believe Chicanos should have?

4. What descriptive words are used for the figures in the paintings?

5. What descriptive words are used for the Mexican-American stereotype?

Look for transitional expressions that indicate illustration:

· For instance· Another instance of· For example· Another example of· To illustrate· Another of· A case in point is· Here are a few examples· Some instances· One such in particular· Yet another· One illustration of this idea
The more of the above that a paragraph or essay includes, the more likely it is to be illustration.How does one write an illustration essay?a. Decide on a thesis first, then look for the examples. Or observe events, people, objects, or ideas, reflect on them, and decide what true statement they suggest. b. List an abundance of examples, then mark the strongest ones, not just the first ones that come to mind. c. Then, check them to be sure they are relevant. Ask, “Do these examples relate directly to the point?” d. Next, ask, “Which of these examples is the most7representative?” Use the strongest ones. If they lead to different or opposite conclusions, consider modifying the thesis to be consistent with the new evidence. Make every example work in favor of the purpose, not against it. e. Although illustrations can be organized in either time or space order, most often, examples are organized in order of importance with the one carrying the most emphasis placed last. Organize the examples in the way that will most help further the point. Some possibilities:· least to most controversial· simplest to most difficult· least extreme to most extreme· least to most importantHow does the thesis pattern for an illustration essay go? A look at A, B, and C shows that _________________ (statement which identifies what inference one can draw from looking at those examples).How can one practice recognizing thinking which uses illustration? In outside reading (not English or reading textbooks, look for a list of items. Make note of the characteristic elements. Look also for examples in film.An Example and outline for an Exemplification Essay If assigned an exemplification essay, ask this question: in what area of your life do you see several examples that lead to an inference that can teach people? To begin organizing ideas for this topic, use the following outline:I. Introduction that uses a college level strategy, tells how the subject came up, states the thesis in the pattern above, and names the audience who can benefit from knowing the information.II. BodyA. Example 1 B. Example 2 C.Example 3III. Conclusion


Ethical Issues

In writing an illustration, we try to show readers something truthful about our understanding of the world. To avoid ethical pitfalls, ask and answer the following questions.

· Have I given adequate thought to the point I‘ll make and the examples I’ll use?

· Are the examples supporting my point truthful, or are they slanted to deceive the reader?

· Could my illustrations have harmful consequences? Do they stereotype an individual or group? Harm someone’s reputation unjustly?

· Will my example promote desirable or undesirable behavior?

Ethics: Discuss the following:

1. To encourage employees to work harder, a company includes examples of ideal employees in its newsletter. While most examples are accurate, the company deliberately exaggerates the accomplishments of some employees. Does the company’s goal justify the exaggerations? Why or why not?

2. Can you name any situations in which some politicians or advertisers contrive examples to support their views.


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