Science Fiction Essay #2 (Persuasive/Argumentative)
Scenario:
The Belleville High School English Department is conducting a review of materials and has some decisions to
make regarding which novels to continue using for future Science Fiction and Fantasy classes. The curriculum
for the Science Fiction classes will only allow BHS to keep either The Maze Runner OR one other book which is
currently used as a literature circle choice (but not both).
Writing Task:
You will write a 3-page “argumentative” essay in which you will argue whether BHS should use The Maze
Runner OR your literature circle book in future Science Fiction classes. You must argue in favor of keeping
ONE BOOK ONLY and discuss literary elements from both texts to support your choice (You should have
notes about these in the prewriting packets you filled in for The Maze Runner and your Literature Circle
Book).
Literary Elements to discuss (pick 3-4 (you should have completed handouts from both novels):
 Setting
 Structure
 Characters
 Dialogue
 Word Choice
 Plot
 Syntax
 Theme
Use the following guidelines below to start developing your thoughts on your body paragraphs (follow
this format for all of your body paragraphs).
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Focus area (which literary element from above are you going to discuss)
Topic sentence (now form a sentence that informs the reader what the paragraph is going
to be about)
Rationale (why did you choose this literary element? Why is it important? How is it better
in the book you chose over the other? How does it draw the reader into the story, etc.)
Evidence (quote from the text WITH the page number that supports your point)
Analysis (make the reader see the point that you’re trying to make. Remember you have to “persuade” him
/her, so make it convincing)
Contrast Point from opposing book (you need to contrast your literary element with the same one from
the opposing book. i.e. setting vs. setting, etc.)
Evidence (quote WITH page number that supports your point as to why it’s not better than the one you ch
ose)
Argument against (slam the book and make your selection seem better)
Closing (make your final attempt to persuade the reader)
These points further make the case for your book as to why it should be chosen. This is also
where you find that the book you chose fairs better than the opposing selection.
Introduction Paragraphs:
 “Attention-getter”- grab the reader’s interest to make them want to read
your essay: MUST BE RELATED TO THE TOPIC
 Explain what you will be writing about and your purpose.
 Give a brief overview of each book (1-2 sentences each)
 THESIS STATEMENT (Last sentence)
o Your claim/opinion (don’t use 1st person)
o Preview your main points (Literary elements you will discuss)
The English Department at Belleville High School should keep The
Maze Runner as a part of the Science Fiction curriculum because
of its superior literary elements such as the unique setting, easyto-follow structure, and the realistic dialogue.
Example thesis statement- Argumentative Essay
The English Department at Belleville High School should keep The Maze Runner as a part of the
Science Fiction curriculum because of its superior literary elements such as the unique setting,
easy-to-follow structure, and the realistic dialogue.
BODY PARAGRAPHS- REVISION CHECKLIST
______
Topic sentence which states the “focus area” of the paragraph.
One area in which The Maze Runner was clearly superior to * literature circle book title* was in the author’s vivid
description of the setting.
BOOK 1
______
Rationale explaining why this literary element is important and/or better than in the other book.
Having a detailed description of The Glade allows the reader to picture in their mind what this unique setting might
look like and pulls them deeper into the experience of the characters in the book.
______
Specific evidence from the book WITH an MLA citation (if quoting directly).
Dashner paints a very descriptive picture of The Glade, for example, by writing, “Across the courtyard from there
stood wooden pens holding sheep and pigs and cows. A large grove of trees filled the final corner; the closest ones
looked crippled and close to dying. The sky overhead was cloudless and blue, but Thomas could see no sign of the sun
despite the brightness of the day.” (Dashner 7)
______
Analysis/explanation of why this example is important.
The imagery and language used by Dashner in this description is a great example of the detailed and clear portrayal
of The Glade, where much of the story takes place.
BOOK 2
______
Contrast point from the other book about the same literary element.
The description of the setting in *literature circle book title*, on the other hand, was not nearly as detailed and could
even be confusing at times.
______
Specific evidence from 2nd book.
______
Argument against the 2nd book.
Clearly, the description of the setting in *literature circle book title* is not nearly as interesting or clear as in The Maze
Runner.
______
Closing thought about this literary element.
Having a unique and well described setting is extremely important to keeping readers interested in the book and
Dashner has done a much better job in his excellent description of the Glade.
Essay #2 (Argumentative)- CONCLUSION PARAGRAPH
 NO 1st PERSON!!!
 Make your final “sales pitch” for the book you are recommending that the BHS English
Department keep.
 Re-state your thesis statement (Try to use different wording than in the introduction
paragraph).
 Explain again why this book would be the best choice for future Science Fiction classes
(Why is it the best option for the curriculum?, Why would students enjoy/learn more
from this book than the other?, Why would teachers want to have their classes read this
book?, etc.)
 Explain why THE OTHER BOOK would not be as good an option for future Science Fiction
classes.
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Science Fiction Essay #2 (Persuasive