Partial Sample Paper 3

(about 700 words so far, with several areas available to develop…two-sentence thesis statement is underlined)


A Comparison on the Effectiveness of Two Essays on Societal Roles


Two essays that both have a persuasive primary purpose are Judy Brady’s “I Want a Wife” and Steve Olson’s “Year of the Blue-Collar Guy.”  “I Want a Wife” attempts to make its audience more sensitive to the needs of a working mother, while Olson’s essay argues that blue-collar men should receive more respect for their contributions to society.  Olson’s essay is somewhat more effective as it employs a series of examples and re-directed definitions to challenge stereotypes about males who hold blue-collar jobs.  Brady, in “I Want a Wife,” has subdivided the functions of a wife typically is expected to perform, and structures her essay in a long list of these duties, which causes her persuasive tone to shift into something of a rant.

Olson’s primary purpose is to persuade a target audience of white-collar readers that blue-collar male workers make a large contribution to society. The purpose becomes apparent in this sentence from the first paragraph: “I would like to steal 1989…and declare it  ‘the year of the blue-collar guy.’”  Although Olson’s essay contains a humorous tone that could appeal to a wide range of adult American readers, the essay seems especially directed at white-collar people who hold negative stereotypes about blue-collar men, as he devotes discussions within several paragraphs to defending and adjusting those stereotypes: “we need big bellies as ballast to stay on the bar stool,” and “our necks are red from the sun.”  Olson’s working thesis is that the nation should honor and blue-collar males because they continue to provide a critical service for America—quality construction.

The essay’s basic structure is an alternation between a list of two to three stereotyped qualities and an example that challenges or clarifies the stereotyped qualities.  The chief method of organization, then, is exemplification, using the examples to develop a picture of blue-collar males that is more favorable than the current stereotypes project on these workers.  For instance, Olson presents a general example, “I have seen men on the job hand-nail 20 square of shingles (that’s 6,480 nails) or more a day, day after day,” as an argument that blue-collar workers hold skills and strengths that go beyond an academic education.  Another, more specific example, which establishes the toughness of blue-collar workers in comparison with (potential) white-collar workers: “One day at noon this same fellow wrestled a 22-year-old college summer worker.  In the prime of his life, the college kid was a 6-foot-3, 190-pound body-builder…He was flat on his back …in 90 seconds flat.”  Olson carefully selects examples that tend to pit blue-collar skills against those of white-collar workers, thus challenging his white-collar workers in a humorous yet somewhat provoking fashion.

(need to develop secondary methods of organization, examples of paragraph organization, types of evidence used)

While Olson’s essay leaves readers with a greater appreciation of blue-collar skills and contributions, Brady’s essay’s tone tends to turn to a bitter (yet humorous) note that leaves readers more with a bad feeling than with a sense that wives need more respect:  “When I am through with school and have a job, I want my wife to quit working and remain at home so that my wife can more fully and completely take care of a wife’s duties,” Brady writes in the next to last sentence of the essay.

Brady’s essay’s primary audience is American husbands who take their wives for granted.  Her essay also seems to address wives, although she doesn’t make any clear call to arms for this group of readers.  Her working thesis is: Wives should be more respected because they complete a superhuman number of tasks.

Brady’s chief method of organization is a combination of division and listing.  She has broken out a long list of tasks wives perform.  The key weakness of the essay is its tone.  Brady uses a sarcastic humor: “I want a wife who will work and send me to school.”

(need an example of audience focus, method of organization)

(need to develop secondary methods of organization, examples of paragraph organization, types of evidence used)

(need analysis, examples of paragraphs where Brady’s essay is least and most effective, possibly comparing with Olson’s essay’s strongest paragraphs)