Writing a debate essay

Report
A Level English
Literature
Making a thesis for your
essays
Feedback from your last essays
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
Write down your peer and teacher feedback
Check whether you have met any of your previous
targets
Take note of your targets from the last uneven
question to ensure that you meet them in the timed
essay on Thursday
Whole class targets:
 You must range throughout the novel
 Make your argument crystal clear in your intro and in
all your topic sentences
 You are not marked for AO2 in this question
 Use academic language and discourse markers (see
your English folder for ideas)
Writing a debate essay
 Understand
the term ‘thesis’ (theory or
argument)
 Create a thesis from an essay question
 Create main body structure from
supporting points
 Using a mindmap to plan
Essay Questions / Introductions

All essays titles are a kind of question. They are asking for your
opinion about something. However, if your essay title doesn't appear
to be a question, it can be turned into one. For example, if you were
given the title, 'Discuss Shakespeare's presentation of ambition in
Macbeth', you could think about this as, 'How and why does
Shakespeare present the theme of ambition in Macbeth?‘
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When considered as a question, you will often find it is easier to
generate that all-important single main point of view - the main idea
upon which you will then base the remainder of your essay.

Here is an example of a main idea succinctly stated (i.e. thesis
statement) that could be used to create an argument essay from
the above question:
Shakespeare presents the theme of ambition in Macbeth through the
play's two major characters, Lord and Lady Macbeth, and this
theme is brought to a terrible conclusion as the play progresses.'
Are the men in The Kite
Runner more convincingly
portrayed than the women?
 First,
turn the question into a statement
 Then,
reverse or negate the statement
You now have two statements


The men in The Kite Runner are more convincingly portrayed
than the women
The women in The Kite Runner are more convincingly
portrayed than the men
Create different statements by making these two
stronger or weaker, more or less certain, more or less
specific.
The narrator is himself a man and as such we are party to
his innermost thoughts ,…
A lthough the character of Soraya is not as vividly painted
as Hassan, she possesses an inner strength,…
Afghanistan is a male-dominated country so . . . .
There are few women in the novel, and they are portrayed
stereotypically as mother, whore, wife
Look at all the statements you have…
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There are few women in the novel, and they are portrayed stereotypically as
mother, whore, wife
………………………………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………
The narrator is himself a man and as such we are party to his innermost
thoughts
Which do you agree with? Where do you stand? When
you decide on an argument (or thesis), you then need
to give reasons (or points) saying why.
There are few women in the novel, and they are portrayed
stereotypically as mother, whore, wife . . .
Each of the points supporting your thesis can be turned
into a paragraph in the main body of your essay. How?
Another way to plan your
essay is to create a mindmap
after you have questioned the
question
How do you evaluate an
interpretation?
A
feminist might view the lack of women
as being a flaw in the novel, however it is
more plausible that . . .
 Read
the script you have been given:
underline where the writer has evaluated
an interpretation
Are the men in
The Kite Runner
more
convincingly
portrayed than
the women?
Now create a thesis in your
groups for one of the following
questions:

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“Assef is nothing more than an evil thug.” How do
you respond to Assef’s character and role in The
Kite Runner as a whole?
How far do you agree with the view that The Kite
Runner is a celebration of the bonds of
brotherhood?
It is impossible to sympathise with Amir despite his
heroism in rescuing Sohrab. How do you respond
to this view?
Rahim Khan has been described as a “true hero
and yet too good to be true”. How do you respond
to Rahim Khan’s character and role in The Kite
Runner?
In pairs, take one point and
write a paragraph.
Remember the AOs!
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Agree
the characters of Amir, Baba,
Hassan, Ali, General Taheri,
Rahim Khan, Assef, Ali, etc •
the introspective first person
male narrator •
the most painful relationships
being those between brothers,
male friends, male enemies
and fathers and sons, etc •
the guilt felt by Baba and
Amir •
the background war story and
the adventure story which is
dominated by men •
the fact that women are only
seen as mothers or wives, etc.
Disagree
• Soraya and her inner
strength •
• minor female
characters who are
courageous and
who have voices
however small, etc •
• the way that some
male characters
have female
characteristics, etc.
Why might the women’s characters be less delineated than the
men’s?
Does it say anything about Amir? Afghan society?
Can you make a paragraph
out of the notes from the
debate?

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