Introducing the Essay: Twain, Douglass, and American Nonfiction (emphasis on logic)

This group of lessons is an introduction to American nonfiction essays with an emphasis on rhetorical devices. Students identify different types of writing an essay can be (narrative, cause-effect, etc) and apply to the essays. In the next lesson students learn about pathos, logos, and ethos and apply these persuasive appeals to the essays given. Students write an essay utilizing a specific essay type and persuasive appeals. This resource can be used to introduce nonfiction by American writers or used as a part of a larger logic unit in context of American literature. These lessons can also be connected to author's tone.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3002.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
CLE 3003.5.4
Analyze the logical features of an argument.
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Learning objectives: 
  • Learn the various methods for writing essays and their basis in rhetorical tradition
  • Learn through example effective strategies for writing essays and argumentative prose
  • Read and analyze Mark Twain and Frederick Douglass's writing styles
  • Understand the persuasive appeals: ethos, logos, and pathos.
  • Apply rhetorical strategies learned in this lesson to essay writing projects of their own.
Essential and guiding questions: 

What are the different kinds of essays and how are they based in rhetorical tradition? What are some effective strategies in persuasive writing?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: