Third Evaluation Assignment


Warrants and Backing

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This assignment will help you:

  • Determine whether your audience accepts your warrants
  • Use backing to defend warrants that your audience won't accept

Using the Toulmin model of argumentation, you will now examine the warrants that connect your stated reasons with your claim. To successfully complete this assignment, you must 1) explicitly state the warrants that connect your reasons with your claim, 2) determine whether or not your audience is likely to accept this warrant, and 3) provide appropriate backing for your warrant (if necessary).

Remember the examples from Second Evaluation Task: Grounds and Support?

Claim: In Star Wars: Episode IV, Han Solo is a much more interesting character than the actual lead, Luke Skywalker.

Audience: People who have seen Star Wars: Episode IV.

Reason 1: Han Solo is a complex character.

Grounds for Reason 1: Han Solo isn't all good or all bad. He has conflicting feelings, wayward tendencies, but a good heart. That makes him more complex than Luke who, on the other hand, is Mr. Virtue. Dressed all in white, he never seems conflicted.

Warrant for Reason 1: People with flaws are more complex that people who are all good or all bad.

Backing?: Does everyone agree that people with flaws are more complex, or are there some people who feel like complexity has nothing to do with that? Perhaps some people even think I might be promoting "bad boys" over good. To back my warrant, I could talk about how flaws make characters human and unpredictable, and therefore more complex.

Reason 2: Han Solo is a dynamic character.

Grounds for Reason 2: Since a "dynamic" character is a character who changes, we can follow Han Solo from his beginning as a pure mercenary to the ending where he unselfishly comes back and helps the Rebels destroy the Death Star, saving Luke's life. He grows as a character. Luke is "static" or unchanging. He starts out as a pure-hearted hero and never changes.

Warrant for Reason 2: Characters who change are more interesting that characters that stay the same.

Backing?: Again, I have to ask myself, "Does everyone agree with this warrant?" Perhaps some people like it when characters are predictable and stay the same. I could expand on how we, the audience, can see the development of the character and almost grow with him.

Reason 3: Han Solo has a sharp wit.

Grounds for Reason 3: Because Han Solo is always cracking funny caustic one-liners, the audience takes to him. For instance, Han keeps making fun of Princess Leia's arrogance by addressing her sarcastically as "Your Worshipfulness" and other similar mock expressions of respect.

Warrant for Reason 3: People think funny characters are interesting.

Backing?: I think, out of all my warrants, this would be the one that I really have to back. Some people might think that funny people are annoying, whereas serious people are the ones who are more interesting. Here is where I would explain that Han Solo is funny in a smart way, and that his jokes reveal the depth of his character and the character's mentality. I would have to work a little harder on this one, so I would have to write more on it.


Due Date: Monday, Sept. 16

Worth 25 points


Adapted from M.W.Zoetewey


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