Writing an argument essay
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Writing an argument essay l.jpg

Writing an Argument Essay

Suggestions for Essay Exams

RHET 3108


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This idea and practice of seeking political transformation through bodily representations or performances, which lies at the center of hooks’ argument, is as troubling as it is alluring. [My response to the essay question] In this essay, I will argue that the wish to overcome or transcend the supposed limitations of the body through artistic representation or performance can imply a unproblematic conceptualization of the system of representation itself, a system involving a intricate relationship between [1] the viewing subject, [2] the represented “image”, and [3] the “real” to which the representation is said to refer. [Thesis statement with hint at outline of paper] My contention is that, rather than merely seeking to represent or even perform acts of bodily transcendence, art that seeks political transformation must work to destabilize or at least call into question the triadic nature of representation itself. [The purpose, the point, the so what statement]


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Setting Up Your Argument through bodily representations or performances, which lies at the center of hooks’ argument, is as troubling as it is alluring.

  • Response to the exam question – your take on the question

  • Thesis statements – your argument that you will prove in your paper.

  • Purpose or So What Statements – why you are arguing what you argue, alternatives (if any), suggestions, your contribution.

  • Outline Statements – a sentence or phrase that alludes to the outline of your essay.


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In other words, both history and gender can enact authorized (conventionalized) performatives sanctioned by a preexisting citational reference, of history and gender. After all both history and gender are “written” by human subjects, who have productive, though not unlimited, alternatives. [Response to the essay question] In this essay, I will argue that art history, generally speaking, can be understood as enacting a performative of heroism, by constructing the artist (usually male) as a hero of/with masculine proportions. [Thesis statement, what I must prove] Yet because of the performative nature of history, the “actualities” represented need not always be constructed (textually and ideologically) to mirror this masculine sameness. [Hints at an alternative] In other words, this mask of heroism that is depicted can also be displayed (worn) by artists and in art histories that highlight both difference and sameness as categories open to critique. [Explicitly states the alternative I will address and prove]

[But I have to outline statements]


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Working in the Summaries (conventionalized) performatives sanctioned by a preexisting citational reference, of history and gender. After all both history and gender are “written” by human subjects, who have productive, though not unlimited, alternatives.

Why – to show comprehension, to give the readers a “heads up.”

How – in a sentence that states what the source is about (thesis, purpose, method/how)

When – when you first make reference to the source.


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