Planting a Naysayer in Your Text Ch. 6 of They Say / I Say • No argument occurs in a vacuum. Everyone comes to most topics with some already formed opinions or ideas in the back of their minds. Your job as a persuasive writer is to anticipate the most common of those ideas and to refute them. • Refute: to prove false or erroneous (mistaken). Prove a person to be in error.
Example of an Answer to the Opposition: • In Chapter 6 of They Say, I Say, the authors use Kim Chernin’sbook about women and the pressure to be thin. • Chernin’sclaim: The pressure to be thin is harmful to women. • The naysayer/opposition’s argument (p. 80): Losing weight helps her feel better about herself, have more confidence. (So… this pressure to be thin is not so harmful.) • Chernin’sanswer to the opposition (p. 88): A vast percentage of women who lose weight gain it back and then some, making the gain in self-confidence temporary and putting women in a worse position than they were in to begin with. • By including a naysayer (an opposing view) in her argument, Cherninstrengthens her original stance.
When Answering an Opposing Argument… • Be fair. Summarize the opposing argument in a way that someone who holds it would recognize and agree with. • Avoid making unkind judgments about the people who hold the opposing opinion. • Make sure that your answer (refutation) of the opposing argument is strong and relevant. (Don’t just dismiss the opposing argument with “that doesn’t matter.)
Planting a Naysayer, Cont. • Remember, the purpose of planting a Naysayer in your essay is to show that you are aware of the other side’s argument, aware that not everyone is going to agree with you immediately, and that you have an answer for those arguments or objections. • This means that you need to make sure that your argument is stronger for having included the naysayer because you have answered the opposition.
Answering the Opposition in Essay #2 • Have you run across any articles/opinions about your claim that differ from yours? • How might you answer those differing opinions? Do you have good reasons that you agree with one point of view and not the other? • Are there places in your essay where your argument would be strengthened by inserting a naysayer into your text and then answering the naysayer’s points?