Progymnasmata

Gymnastics of the Mind (Progymnasmata):

 Weekly Argument Assignments


Weekly Argument Assignment #1, due by Sept. 8: Fictional/made-up story. Read Kennedy (click for link), 96-97 and 136-139. Compose a brief fictional (made-up) but credible narrative like those in Kennedy (about the same length) strongly supporting your group's standpoint. For additional ideas, see http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Narration.htm .

Weekly Argument Assignment #2, due by Sept.15: True Story.
Write a true short story that supports your standpoint from the personal experience of someone in your Writing Group. (Alternatively, if you can think of nothing at all that is relevant from the personal experience of anyone in your group, re-tell some other well-known true story that supports your standpoint, either from literature, the news, a Holy Scripture or common knowledge.) Finally, briefly explain how it is that this story directly supports your group's standpoint. For additional ideas, see http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Narration.htm , but be sure your story is true.

Weekly Argument Assignment #3, due by Sept. 22: Expanding on a story, saying or quote. Read Kennedy (click for link), 99-101. Then choose another saying, quote or scripture verse (not the same one you used last week), and following the instructions at http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Proverb.htm , expand on it to argue for your group's standpoint.

Weekly Argument Assignment #4, due by Sept. 29: Refutation. Read http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Refutation.htm . Cite a real major argument against your  standpoint on your subject, and carefully indicate who in the real world believes in, proposes or supports this opposing argument (Name names! Don't just say, "My opposition," or "People who don't believe in my standpoint."). Then, using at least two of the techniques described on that page, decisively refute your opposition's major argument. [NOTE: This assignment should be included in the backbone of your final report!]

Weekly Argument Assignment #5, due by Oct. 6: Confirmation (arguing for a standpoint). Read Kennedy (click for link), 103-105 and http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Confirmation.htm . Then, in two or three good paragraphs use two or three of the techniques discussed on that page to briefly confirm (argue IN FAVOR of) your standpoint on your subject.

Weekly Argument Assignment #6, due by Oct. 13: Commonplace. Read Kennedy (click for link), 105-108. Read http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Commonplace.htm , and then write two paragraphs exposing a common public problem that will be fixed if your reader accepts your standpoint. Finally, briefly explain exactly how it will be fixed if your group's standpoint is accepted.

Weekly Argument Assignment #7, due by Oct. 20: Praise. Read Kennedy (click for link), 108-111.Then, carefully following the instructions at http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Encomium.htm , praise some well-known public figure closely identified with your standpoint, explaining why your audience should follow their example and agree with your standpoint.

Weekly Argument Assignment #8, due by Oct. 27: Condemnation [Invective/Vituperation]. Read Kennedy (click for link), 111-113 and http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Vituperation.htm , Then carefully 1.) identify and 2.) evaluate the real evil motives behind one of the main group(s) or public figure(s) who are currently opposing, blocking or fighting against your standpoint. Briefly quote their online statements or writings and then and show why they are wrong and not to be believed, because their motives are negative, selfish, questionable, or not shared by your audience. However, be careful not to slander, libel or discriminate against any living individual or group. [NOTE: This assignment should be included in the backbone of your final report!]

Weekly Argument Assignment #9, due by Nov. 3: Comparison. Read Kennedy (click for link), 113-115.Then read http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Comparison.htm .  Directions for Composition: Compare your standpoint to a specific opposing standpoint, praising one and condemning the other. Be certain not to treat them separately, but together, in parallel fashion. Follow these steps: Describe, side-by-side, the origin of each standpoint (i.e., your group's, and then the opposing view). Carefully answer the following questions side by side for each standpoint:  1. Who first thought up or expressed this sort of standpoint? 2. Who usually supports this standpoint right now? (Do not say "everyone.") What is their economic or social status likely to be? What background do they generally come from? 3. Finally, compare: Who would be happiest if this standpoint would succeed, and who would be unhappy, upset or angry, and why?  4. Who might get richer or gain more power, influence or fame if this standpoint would succeed, and who would lose power, influence, fame or riches?

Weekly Argument Assignment #10, due by Nov. 10. Name-dropping (Borrowing the ethos of someone famous, well-known,  respected or even hated in order to persuade).  Read Kennedy (click for link), 115-117 and 213-217 and also http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Impersonation.htm. Then, find on line an actual statement, text or quote by someone famous or respected (living or dead) that strongly supports your standpoint. This should not be the same individual you used on assignment 7. Give the URL address of the source and briefly indicate who it was and what was said about your standpoint. Finally, in two paragraphs, explain, arguing primarily from ethos, why your reader should follow what this famous person said or wrote about the subject you are arguing. (Or, alternatively, you may also find an opposing statement by someone with a really negative ethos, and then argue why your reader should not follow what this hated,  despised or scorned person said or wrote.)

Weekly Argument Assignment #11, due by Nov. 17: Description. Read Kennedy (click for link), 117-120 and http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Pedagogy/Progymnasmata/Description.htm , how to persuade by describing something in detail. Then, in two separate sections one after the other, describe in detail: 1.) The potential dangers or actual bad effects of not following your standpoint; and 2.) The potential benefits (good effects) if your standpoint were to be put into effect.  


Owen Williamson
Spring, 2015 UNIV 1301 Argument Assignment
Revised: 10/11/16.

 

Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655
The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
Important Disclaimer

Creative Commons License
Open Courseware | OCW |This work is dedicated to the Public Domain..