Write about something meaningful.


assignment #3: the short persuasive letter

For this assignment, write a letter to a family member.  Your letter must address some meaningful issue with your family member—something you wish to convince them of, some point of disagreement, or some issue where there seems to be a lot of resentment or misunderstanding.  To make your letter effective, you must conscientiously employ ethos, pathos, and logos as you write. Your goal is not to “win” this person’s agreement, but to persuade this person to embrace your ideas.

Write about something meaningful.  You might write to your divorced brother who, you feel, should not move to Phoenix, Arizona, and leave his young daughters in Seattle without a father.  You might write to a father who demands too much of you in school and who does not let you choose what you want to study.  Perhaps you’ll write to an aunt or uncle who does not think you’ve grown up enough to join the family business.  Maybe you will write to a friend whom you feel betrayed you years ago, and you want this person to acknowledge the validity of your feelings.  Write with honesty, maturity, and care.  When you’re done, you should consider mailing this letter—print it, sign it, put it in a stamped envelope, and drop it in a mailbox. Letters are very powerful tools of communication, and a heartfelt letter is a true gift, even if the letter talks about tough topics.

Check-list of special requirements:

  • OPENLY EXPRESS RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING in this essay—even if you’re angry at the person you’re writing to
  • VALIDATE YOUR OPPONENT’S POINT OF VIEW—concede points and “agree” with them you need to
  • WRITE at least two (2) sentences that employ parallel structure. Underline these sentences in your essay like this.
  • INCLUDE at least one metaphor—be certain it is not a “mixed metaphor.”  Alternatively, include an analogy or simile.
  • MAKE SURE YOUR purpose—what you want—is clear to the reader
  • BLEND ETHOS, PATHOS, AND LOGOS as appropriate for your audience, your topic, and your purpose

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