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Is Television Good or Bad for American Society?

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Author Note
This paper was prepared for English Composition II – ENG 170, Module 1 Homework Assignment taught by Dr. Sally Lozada.

Throughout the next four modules, you will plan and develop an argumentative essay. Your homework assignments will consist of: Module 1: Taking a Stance Module 2: Developing an Outline Module 3: Providing Body Paragraphs

Television is an interesting form of entertainment. With a proper cable subscription, one’s television can display 75+ channels of moving pictures. At some point in our lives, we have watched television. There are numerous reasons why television appeals to many people. In an effort to appeal to large numbers of people, many television shows look to outdo one another for ratings. Unfortunately, a quest for ratings sometimes leads to a lack of valuable and educational material. While it is easy to chastise television for some of its raunchier shows, we might agree that television can offer some valuable, quality television programs.

For this essay assignment, consider the following:

In your opinion, is television good or bad for American society? In either case, what evidence can you provide to strengthen your point?

For this essay, you will want to do the following:
Choose 1 or 2 shows that can help strengthen your argument (focusing on too many shows will cause you to lose track of your main point) Incorporate outside sources that agree and help strengthen your position in the essay (a minimum of 2 sources are required aside from your television show as an example) Remember that it is not enough to say, “Television is bad” or “Television is a good thing.” You must explain how and why. APA Format: Length is 3 pages Font: Times New Roman

Spacing: double-spaced
Remember, a strong essay will have a clear thesis statement that establishes your position. The remainder of your essay will support your thesis statement with reasons and evidence.

Module 1 Homework Assignment Instructions

Upon reading the Essay 1 prompt, you will consider your position on the essay topic. Your task for this Module 1 Homework Assignment is to submit an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement regarding the above essay topic. Remember that a thesis is the claim or main idea or premise of an argument, so you will submit your claim in this Module 1 Homework Assignment. For some information about writing thesis statements, please read Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements (Purdue Online Writing Lab). Since you have to submit a thesis statement for this assignment, it will help to include an introductory paragraph. Remember that a thesis statement (your claim/argument) is usually placed toward the end of the introductory paragraph. By including your thesis statement in your introductory paragraph, you allow your reader to understand your argument early in the essay. Once you have an introductory paragraph with a strong thesis statement, the remainder of your essay will flow better.

There is a very high concentration of violent and sexually suggestive shows on television. In certain circumstances, however, television can be a powerfully beneficial medium, when used properly. The American society has taken too much of an entertaining stance to television, and children now are too involved in the wrong types of shows. Although television has many positive aspects, the potential negative consequences of some shows outweigh the positive.

Part II: Using Appeals

Directions: After you have written your introduction and thesis statement, you should consider what you will use in order to convince your audience. For each – ethos, pathos, and logos – write a paragraph in which you describe how you would use this appeal in your essay.

Ethos (Credibility), or ethical appeal, means convincing by the character of the author. We tend to believe people whom we respect. One of the central problems of argumentation is to project an impression to the reader that you are someone worth listening to, in other words making yourself as author into an authority on the subject of the paper, as well as someone who is likable and worthy of respect. With the respected community of the APA and AACAP on childhood psychiatry, one can trust that with the research the medical professionals are conducting, credible information will be portrayed. Common Sense Media is dedicated to the media aspect of childhood, and its information is verifiable through various outlets. Debate.org is a community based website where every day people can make their opinions heard.

With the diverse group represented here, there are many differing backgrounds weighing in on the presented scenarios. Pathos (Emotional) means persuading by appealing to the reader’s emotions. We can look at texts ranging from classic essays to contemporary advertisements to see how pathos, emotional appeals, are used to persuade. Language choice affects the audience’s emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument. With childhood obesity at an all-time high in the United States, something needs to be done. After years of watching television, missing countless opportunities for physical exercise, more Americans are becoming overweight, causing a wide variety of health issues. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. This reflects on how metabolism is slowed when someone is crushing the couch cushions in front of the television. Logos (Logical) means persuading by the use of reasoning.

This will be the most important technique we will study, and Aristotle’s favorite. We’ll look at deductive and inductive reasoning, and discuss what makes an effective, persuasive reason to back up your claims. Giving reasons is the heart of argumentation, and cannot be emphasized enough. We’ll study the types of support you can use to substantiate your thesis, and look at some of the common logical fallacies, in order to avoid them in your writing. Data on obesity is perfectly clear. Americans are gaining weight at an alarming rate. At the risk of condoning television watching, flip through the channels and see how many commercials for both weight loss supplements and exercise programs are for sale. It is a matter of common sense that Americans are becoming lazy and would choose to take a pill to lose weight over physical exercise. There have been many studies showing that childhood obesity is linked to the hours spent watching television. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that obesity now effects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States, which is triple the rate from just one generation ago.


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