Final Persuasive Essay Assignment Sheet

Final Persuasive Essay Assignment Sheet


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Basic Requirements:

  • 10-12 pages (10-12 point Times New Roman font, 1” margins, approximately 3400 words, not including a works cited page)
  • Typed, MLA Style
  • MLA Documentation, Including a Works Cited Page


  • This essay will be an expansion of the Informative and Compare/Contrast essays. I expect that you will utilize a good portion of both essays, including any suggested changes (and the circled portions of the rubric) that I made to the final drafts.
  • The essay should incorporate your research into a final persuasive essay that persuades a publishing company or an executive production team that they should choose to publish/produce your idea for a female detective story. The essay should begin by making a strong case for which medium you choose (book, network television, streaming like Amazon or Netflix, etc.)
  • Part of the difficulty of creating this type of an essay is the seamless blending of the different types of information as well as direct arguing and counter-arguing (acknowledging, anticipating, accommodating, refuting) strategies. This will require much work and revising on your part.  I advise organizing the essay topically. Under each topic, use the direct argumentation where you provide evidence supporting your claim directly without regard to the opposition; and then also include the relevant counter-arguments and refutation of those arguments in the section and under the topic where they fit. In this way, you will have a solid and cohesive essay that does everything a persuasive argument should—makes a claim, provides evidence to support the claim, and counter-argues effectively.
    • For example, if you make the argument that your main detective character will be about 30-35 years of age, you will need to justify that decision based on your analysis and observations of what worked and didn’t work with the detectives we have studied in class that are and are not of that age group. You will also need to indicate a counter-argument, potentially, of why an 18 year old detective would NOT be as effective as a 30-35 year old detective. In this way, you are both directly arguing for your decision and responding to anticipated arguments about why someone might believe you’ve made the wrong choice. In this case, you could use the essay “The Teen Sleuth” to indicate the problems of creating a teen detective that could be avoided by having a detective of a more mature age.
  • Use your two-page set of guidelines (included below) as a basis for the various choices you will need to make in terms of the type of detective you would create and pitch to a network or publisher. You are required to cover the Character and Methodology areas and then you will need to choose ONE more area to explore. These areas will likely overlap, as one decision about character will probably depend on the audience you choose. For that final third piece, choose the area of most interest to you.
    • For example, you might choose to address the areas of relationships. This choice MUST be justified based on the detectives we have studied as well as the outside research you have done and will do in the next three weeks. You might choose to have the detective be a loner, like Veronica Mars or Miss Marple, who has few if any close friends, or you might choose to have your detective be part of a partnership or community like in Rosemary and Thyme or The Bletchley Circle.  You may choose to have your detective involved in a romantic/marriage relationship(s) like Miss Fisher and Veronica Mars, or you may choose to have them entirely outside of relationship circles like Miss Marple and Rosemary and Thyme. For each of these choices, you will need to identify what the pros and cons are for that choice and why the pros outweigh the cons. You should accomplish this using evidence from the detectives we encountered this semester and through the research you have conducted.
  • The essay MUST incorporate some discussion of EVERY detective from the syllabus this semester. Use them as either an example of what you want or do not want in your own detective.
  • The essay must have at least 6 different credible, secondary sources (this means you may certainly have more than that). At least four sources must be traditional scholarship from peer-reviewed sources. One additional source mightbe a relevant newspaper article/or television/book review, and the last source can be an online CREDIBLE source (this means a newspaper site, non-partisan government site, a non-biased organization).The online source should be found through Google Scholar and it CANNOT be a personal website or blog. I advise using the essay on Canvas “Intro to the Female Detective” as a solid basis and starting point for your essay.The research component will be one of the most challenging aspects of the essay, but you should have a good jump on this if you did solid research for the Informativeand Comparison essays. If you didn’t, you have lots of catching up to do, so get started NOW. Begin searching through the library databases and catalogue to find research on these female detectives and the overall ways in which women have been represented in television. Don’t forget to do research to find credible sources that are about the opposition as well. The best idea is to research the opposition as if you are taking their side. This will assure you are finding solid, academic sources that help you anticipate valid oppositional arguments and not straw man arguments. Put yourself in the opposition’s shoes and wander around for a bit to discover how it feels.
  • Please be sure to include a Works Cited page and correct documentation.
  • You may use first person narrative (I, we) in limited ways, but do not use second person narrative (you, your) in the essay. Stay in the academic third person, primarily.

























Grading Grid













Needs More Work







Introductory and concluding paragraphs are intriguing and engage the reader’s attention.  The author clearly states his/her position and does an excellent job of framing the essay in the opening and concluding paragraphs.  The thesis is well-developed and focused.


Introductory and concluding paragraphs engage the reader’s attention The author clearly states his/her position. The author does a good job framing the essay in the opening and concluding paragraphs.  The thesis is there but is not focused or developed.


Introductory paragraphs are adequately developed.  The author introduces the topic but does not clearly state a position.  The introductory and concluding paragraphs somewhat frame the essay.  The essay lacks a clear thesis.


Introductory and concluding paragraphs are underdeveloped and do not engage the reader’s interest.  The author does not introduce the subject or state a position.  The introductory and concluding paragraphs do not frame the essay.  The essay lacks a clear thesis.


Effectiveness of Content


Interesting and relevant information is presented.  The author seamlessly blends elements of ethos, pathos, and logos as well as counter-arguing strategies in order to prove the thesis. Effectively utilizes at least seven outside sources and the various detectives to develop the thesis statement.  The author does an excellent job of integrating the information to effectively argue the main point of the essay.


Relevant information is presented, but the author uses but does not blend elements of ethos, pathos, and logos as well as counter-arguing strategies in order to prove the thesis. Does NOT utilize at least seven outside sources and does not extensively use the various detectives to develop the thesis statement.   The author does a good job of integrating the information to argue the main point of the essay.


Adequate information is presented but is not supported by evidence of ethos, pathos, logos or other rhetorical techniques, or seven outside sources, and only occasionally discusses the various detectives.  The author does an adequate job of integrating information to argue the main point of the essay.


Lacks relevant information.  The author does not integrate information effectively or use seven outside sources and various detectives, therefore not effectively arguing the main point of the essay.




Essay is well organized in a coherent manner.  Paragraphs are well-developed and contain excellent transitions and topic sentences.


Essay is organized in a logical manner.  Paragraphs are developed and contain topic sentences.  Transitions are used.


Essay is organized in a logical manner.  Paragraphs express main ideas and transitions are adequately used.


Essay is unorganized and transitions are not used between paragraphs and main ideas.  Topic sentences are not utilized. Lack of clarity detracts from meaning.



The essay is constructed using a 10 or 12 point font, is double spaced, is 10-12 pages, and is formatted according to MLA guidelines. The essay is constructed using a 10 or 12 point font, is double spaced, is 10-12 pages, and is formatted according to MLA guidelines. The essay is constructed using a 10 or 12 point font, is double spaced, is 10-12 pages, and is formatted according to MLA guidelines The essay is NOT constructed using a 10 or 12 point font, is NOT double spaced, is NOT 10-12 pages, and is NOT formatted according to MLA guidelines


Language Uses sophisticated sentences effectively; usually chooses words aptly; observes conventions of written English and manuscript format; makes few minor or technical errors. Some mechanical difficulties or stylistic problems; may make occasional problematic word choice or awkward syntax error; a few spelling or punctuation errors or a cliché; usually presents quotations effectively. More frequent wordiness; several unclear or awkward sentences; imprecise use of words or over-reliance on passive voice; one or two major grammatical errors (subject-verb agreement, comma splice, sentence fragment, etc.); effort to present quotations accurately. Numerous major grammatical or proofreading errors that interfere and seriously distract from argument. (subject-verb agreement, fragments); language marred by clichés, colloquialism, repeated inexact word choices; inappropriate quotation or citations format; inattention to previous corrections.






Questions /Topics to Consider While Reading/Watching Detective Stories

  • Audience
    • Who is the audience?
    • What effect does writing for this particular audience have on the detective, other characters, setting, type of mystery, etc.?
    • How can you identify the audience?
    • Why might the writers have chosen that particular audience?
    • What impact might the audience choice have on the long-term viability of the detective? In other words, why have audiences continued to watch/listen to/read particular female detectives and others have fallen out of popularity and into obscurity?
  • Character
    • Who IS the detective?
      • What are her major traits, attributes, and characteristics?
        • How do these traits help or hinder her in solving the mystery?
      • How do other characters in the story perceive the detective? What impact do their perceptions have on the detective’s ability to solve the case?
      • How do audiences perceive or relate to the character? What is YOUR impression of the detective and how does this line up or differ from the perceptions of the other characters’ impressions of the detective? What are the implications of this alignment or disconnect for the success of the detective as a figure in popular culture?
      • What is the age of the detective(s)? How is her age both an advantage and disadvantage for the detective? What impact does the choice of age have on an audience and on the other characters in the story? How is the age of the characters a controlling element of the story? In other words, how is the story DEPENDENT on the age of the character?
      • Is the detective working alone or does she have a partner or a group of partners? How does this impact how the story proceeds, how the audience might relate to the story, and what are the advantages for the detective working alone and with a partner(s)?
    • Relationships
      • What types of relationships does the detective have in the story?
      • How are these relationships integral to the story?
      • How would the story and the detective herself be different if these relationships were absent?
      • What impact might these relationships have on particular audiences?
      • Which relationships MUST a writer include if the detective story has a particular target audience?
      • How does the story engage or include non-heterosexual relationships? What impact does this have on the story? The audience? The characters inside the story?
      • What types of family relationships are present? How do these relationships create both advantages and disadvantages for the characters? To what degree are these relationships a motivating factor for the detective to pursue her career as both a detective and her other occupation (if she has one)?
    • Methodology
      • HOW does the detective solve the mystery? What types of strategies does she use? How might this be determined by audience, setting, age, etc.?
      • How many suspects does the detective generally start with at the beginning of the mystery? What types of characters are these suspects, generally?
      • Is the methodology more action-based or intellectual-based, or both? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this methodology?
      • What is the process by which the audience becomes aware of the detective’s thought process? In other words, how are the various clues revealed to the audience in the appropriate order so that we are with the detective in the end?
      • How has the writer assured that the resolution is logical and isn’t a “gotcha!” type of ending? In short, a good mystery writer can’t withhold clues or vital information from the audience and only make them aware of it at the end. That is cheating and is considered a cardinal sin in mystery writing.
    • Villains and Type of Mystery
      • Who are the criminals?
        • Characteristics, traits, attributes?
        • Class?
        • Age?
        • Culture and Ethnicity?
        • Sex and Gender?
      • What is the impact of the criminals’ traits on the audience and the characters in the story?
      • What is the major motivating factor for the types of criminals the author chooses?
      • What type of crime is committed? How might the choice of crime for the detective be dependent on audience? How might the type of crime also depend on the choice of methodology that the writer has made for the detective?
      • What is the description/visual depiction of the crime? Why might this choice be significant?
    • Social Background
      • What are the social dynamics at work in the story?
        • Gender and Sex
        • Class
        • Profession
        • Ethnicity
        • Regional Location
        • Setting/Homes
      • How do these social dynamics contribute to the type of narrative being told? To the type of crime chosen? To the type of methodology open to the detective? To the resources to which the detective has access? To the choices the detective can make? To the relationships she forms? To the locations and settings into which she is allowed to travel?
    • Publication Medium
      • In what form is the detective primarily found? (novel, short story, film, television, online series, cable television, network television, online television—Netflix, Amazon, radio)
      • How might the medium of publication impact the type of detective and the type of mystery?
      • If it began in one form and transferred to another, how well did it transfer? How well WOULD it transfer if the funds were available for that option? What changes would need to be made?
      • What types of considerations might a writer think about for determining which medium would be best for that particular detective?
      • Which publishers/networks/companies first delivered the detective to an audience? Why might this be important to consider when analyzing the text?
    • Subtext
      • What kinds of subtexts are apparent in the story, and why do they matter?
        • Subtext is what is below (sub) the surface of the story (text). It is what is beneath the text and the literal meaning.
          • For example, one major subtext for Nancy Drew is that girls can do or be whatever they want, no matter how masculine or feminine these activities are thought to be by the social system. Another subtext for Nancy Drew might be that as long as a girl stays “feminine” and “pretty” and cares about her appearance, she can enter into the masculine sphere without repercussions.
          • Both of these subtexts are what the essays we’ve been reading have been about, and while these ideas are clearly IN the text, they are BELOW the literal narratives of the mysteries.
        • To what extent is the subtext a reflection of the literal story?
        • How might the reception of the detective and the text be different if the subtexts were different or even absent?


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