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Independent Novel Argument Essay: Assignment

Independent Novel Argument Essay

Assignment: Compose a persuasive essay explaining why 10th grade students SHOULD or SHOULD NOT read the independent novel you chose. Be sure to use specific, relevant, logical reasoning and examples from the story to support your position.


  • MLA formatted

  • Five paragraphs (introduction, three body paragraphs, conclusion)

  • Works Cited page with the independent novel AND two outside sources cited

  • Evidence/quotations should be correctly and smoothly integrated

  • Avoid first person

  • Will be graded using the FCPS Argument rubric (located in Course Documents folder)

  • Final draft due: 17 Feb (Thurs) 11:59pm

Helpful Hints

  1. Determine whether you are “in favor” or “against” your novel. This will help shape your argument.

  2. Using the list above, choose three that hold the most weight or seem the most relevant/impactful based upon your novel. These three areas will become your three body paragraphs. They will also help formulate your thesis.

  3. Thesis example: Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes is a fitting book for tenth grade students to read in an English class because of Crutcher’s masterful use of pacing and point of view, a complex theme with which all teenagers can relate, and engaging figurative language. (color coding denotes paragraph organization)

  4. Make sure your body paragraphs follow the CER formula (Claim, Evidence, Reasoning) where your REASONING connects your EVIDENCE back to the CLAIM.

  5. Whenever you use direct quotes from your novel, make sure to integrate them AND cite them. NoodleTools is a great resource for this (be sure to pay attention to Ms. Mills’ lesson!)

  6. Don’t forget: you need TWO OUTSIDE sources for this essay as well. Where can you go to research aspects of your novel? Make sure to cite evidence that you’ve taken from another source. Use NoodleTools for this as well.

  7. I would sketch out an outline before beginning. What information needs to go in your introduction? How are you going to lay out the body paragraphs? What information needs to go in your conclusion?

Questions to Consider

  1. Identify and explain the novel’s overarching theme.

  2. Analyze the use of complex characters.

  3. What have you learned about a culture or society that is different from your own?

  4. How has your understanding of the complexity of human relationships increased?

  5. What connections are you able to draw between your text and other texts you’ve read, or real world events/people/time periods?

  6. Does the author use descriptive imagery and/or figurative language? How does it enhance the novel or engage the reader?

  7. Do characters, setting, and action lend themselves to significant aspects of history or culture? Research history and explain events represented in the story.

  8. Analyze how an author’s choices on how to structure a text, order events within it (parallel plots, varying points of view) and manipulate time (flashbacks, pacing) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise

  9. Research: is biographical information about the author easily accessible on the internet or in books? What elements about the author’s life are evident in the book? What has the author said about his/her book?

  10. Research: does Sparknotes, Cliff Notes, Shmoop, or another secondary source offer analysis of chapters, themes, or symbols? If so, how does it compare to your own interpretation? 

  11. Research: has the novel been made into a movie or television show? If so, detail the version. When was it produced? Who stars in it? How does it compare to the novel?

  12. If you did watch the film or television version, what effective cinematic techniques does the director use to enhance the story? Are major aspects omitted (cleaned up?) for a mainstream audience? Detail differences between the textual and visual versions.