Week 5–Revising The Persuasive Essay, Olaudah Equiano, Phyllis Wheatley, and Thomas Paine

Week of October 13-17

This week I want you to focus time everyday on revising the rough draft of your Persuasive Essay. Revising isn’t the same thing as editing. With editing you are looking for grammatical and spelling mistakes. We don’t do that until next week. Revising is looking at the essay as a whole. This week you are going to look at the structure and the elements of your essay–to make sure that with each paragraph you have built a solid structure to prove your points.

This essay is a big deal. Do not think that you can just throw together some thoughts the night before it is due and I won’t be able to notice. You need to work on it every day. I will give you daily tips, but please be very thorough and treat it like it is your baby. Love it. Nurture it. Feed it. Be proud of it.

This week I also wanted to focus a bit on Phyllis Wheatley, since we didn’t get to her last week. But the book didn’t even mention Olaudah Equiano, who was also an important writer to this time period. So we will look at both. Please don’t just brush off this information as “history.” Their stories matter. These are people, humans. Imagine what it was like for them.

Monday– Equiano and paragraph development

  • Please read this biographical information.
  • Then watch this excerpt from his autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano.

  • Now, please watch the five minute video below.

  • I need you to look at your rough draft body paragraphs. Underline your topic sentences, and then make sure you support your topic sentence. put a squigly line underneath your support. Then put a double underline under the part where you elaborated on your support. You might not have done that yet. If not, then go back and add two sentences that elaborate on your support (in each paragraph). These sentences connect your support back to your topic sentence and show the reader why it is important and relevant.
  • The video gives suggested sentence starters for connecting/elaborating sentences. Feel free to use them.
  • Another way to say that is . . .
  • What I mean by that is . . .
  • This connects to my argument because . . .
  • This shows that . . .
  • The reason for this is that . . .
  • This is important because . . .
  • In other words . . .

Again, I need you to do 3 things for EACH body paragraph (you need to turn this in).

  1. underline the topic sentence.
  2. put a squigly line underneath the supporting sentences.
  3. put a double underline for the sentences that elaborate or connect the supporting ideas back to the topic.

Tuesday– Phyllis Wheatley and your introductory paragraph

Phillis Wheatley--A Beautiful and Intelligent Woman

  • Please click on this link to read about Phyllis Wheatley.
  • Then read her poems in the American Voices book, pg. 34-35.
  • Then please watch the video below to help you polish your introductory paragraph.

  • Then look at your rough draft introduction. Underline your broad opening/hook. Does it capture the readers attention?
  • Then look at your thesis sentence? Does it present your argument? Double underline your thesis statement. It needs to be the LAST sentence in your introduction.
  • Then look at your introduction, does it mention the three topics that you will develop in the body of your essay to prove your thesis? Please put a number next to each topic that you mention in your introduction (1, 2, 3, etc).

Again, you will be turning in your rough draft, with these underlines on it, along with your final draft.

And please let me know if you have any questions 🙂

Wednesday–Slave Narratives

  • Please watch the video below which is an interview of Afua Cooper, called “My Name is Phyllis Wheatley”


Write a paragraph about why this information in the video is important. What does Afua Cooper say makes these stories important and exciting?

(Leave this paragraph in the comment section below for ten points).

  • Watch the very basic video here on how to write a concluding paragraph.
  • Double underline the summary statement (the first sentence in your conclusion). Make sure that it is the same as your thesis statement.
  • Put a squigly line underneath the sentence that shows your reader why this is important.

Thursday– Rough Draft Number 2

Today I want you to take Rough Draft number one (which you will turn in) and type it again. Making sure that you fix and add in all the things that you noticed needed to be changed or developed this week as we worked on the different parts of your essay. Please type it up in proper MLA format. Print it out. Underline it just the same as your first rough draft. You are going to walk away from it for a couple of days.  🙂

Friday–Thomas Paine and Christian Apologetics

Apologetics is the branch of Christianity that deals with the defense and establishment of the Christian faith.  Christian Apologetics is something every true believer should be involved in even if it is only a little. (CARM)

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” (1 Peter 3:15).

So you read a bit of Thomas Paine in your History book. He became famous for writing “Common Sense” and “The Age of Reason.” He is literally the pen behind the Revolutionary War, and the greatest influence in our national independence. He was a close friend and confidant of our founding fathers.

And yet in this time of great awakening and spiritual fervor, we have this guy who influenced people in the opposite direction. As they say, the light shines brighter in the darkness. It is ironic that in a time of the gospel of Jesus Christ gripping the hearts of the people in our country, many of our countries leaders were gripped by the Age of Reason. They were literally blinded, and yet they call this time period “The Enlightenment.”

Please read some of these words and try to wrap your head around how the people of God must have felt about this harsh persuasive type writing.

 ‘Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistant that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]

When I see throughout this book, called the Bible, a history of the grossest vices and a collection of the most paltry and contemptible tales and stories, I could not so dishonor my Creator by calling it by His name. [Thomas Paine, in Toward The Mystery]

As to the book called the Bible, it is blasphemy to call it the Word of God. It is a book of lies and contradictions, and a history of bad times and bad men. There are but a few good characters in the whole book. [Thomas Paine, Letter to William Duane, April 23, 1806]

Science is the true theology. [Thomas Paine, quoted in Emerson, The Mind on Fire pg 153]

Now, I would encourage you to talk to your parents about this stuff. It is heavy subject matter. But it is important for you to be able to see it and process it, because it continues today. And you will encounter it not only in a college classroom, but on TV and in conversations you will have with people who believe the same ideas today.

Here are some similar quotes by a modern writer named Richard Dawkins, who is more famous for his offensive statements about Christianity than he is for his scientific knowledge.

“It’s a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn’t think of a better way to forgive us our sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself.”

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

“There is no such thing as a Christian child: only a child of Christian parents.”― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

These quotes are so infuriating that I really prayed about sharing them with you. But the truth of the matter is, if you really are a Christian, and you really love God, there is nothing anyone can say that can change your mind! You KNOW Him.

If you don’t really love God, you don’t know Him, and you are on the fence of faith, then these things won’t pull you further away from Christ. They may shock you. But you will be no more lost than you are than when you sat on that fence. Lost is lost. It isn’t a measure of distance. You either know Him, or you don’t.

But when it comes down to it, these angry atheists do not just not believe in God, they hate God. I was listening to Cheryl Brodersen on the KWVE last night and she was talking about Dinesh D’Souza talking with a famous atheist. And when it came down to it, Dinesh asked him if on any level if he believes God exists. The atheist admitted, that he believed God did exist, and that it was probably the God of the Bible. But he said, he just doesn’t like him. He hates the idea of that God. He is literally shaking his fist in God’s face.

I don’t know if that atheist was Christopher Hitchens or not. But Dinesh did debate Hitchens. I haven’t had time to watch the whole thing yet. You may be interested in watching the debate with your parents. I am not asking you to. But here is a quote from the website where the debate is listed:

As he admitted in a recent interview, Hitchens calls himself an “anti-theist” rather than an “atheist.” Most atheists say that based on the evidence, they believe God does not exist. Hitchens’ position is somewhat different: he doesn’t want God to exist. He hates the idea of God’s existence because he thinks of God as a tyrant who supervises his moral life. Even the tyranny of Stalin or Kim Jong Il, Hitchens says, ends when you die. But this God, he wants obedience and praise and worship even in the afterlife! To Hitchens that’s a form of unceasing subservience and slavery.

– See more at: http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/blog/dsouza-vs-hitchens-debate-does-god-exist/#sthash.gKoUg27g.dpuf

Assignment–To what extent do you think Thomas Paine, as well as modern atheists just don’t like Christianity or the God of the Bible? Please write 2-3 paragraphs exploring this (typed MLA format). And turn it in next Friday. You can be honest. Please read Romans 1 before your write.

If you would like more information on Atheism from a Christian Apologetics point of view, please take time to view the information at CARM.


30 thoughts on “Week 5–Revising The Persuasive Essay, Olaudah Equiano, Phyllis Wheatley, and Thomas Paine

  1. ” I will give you daily tips, but please be very thorough and treat it like it is your baby. Love it. Nurture it. Feed it. Be proud of it.” -Brandi Harrison, 2014

  2. Mrs. Brandi, sorry for so many comments haha! XD But may I change my persuasive essay from “Dogs Rule Cats Drool” to “Cats Rule, Dogs Drool”?

      1. Absolutely nothing (Besides the fact my dog smells so bad and he needs a bath and he’s utterly annoying XD) ❤ I love him anyways, and I truly cant pick a favorite… I should've written about moose vs deer… *sigh*

  3. Afua Cooper makes these stories important because, well, it’s a part of history! All history events shouldn’t be ignored, but at least pay some attention to it. She makes them exciting because she explains it in great detail, like if she is in their shoes. The story alone is exciting enough, but she makes it exciting-er (not a word I know).

  4. Paragraph for the Phyllis Wheatley Video:

    The information in the Afua Cooper interview is important because it shines a light of truth on the view of slaves and slavery during Phyllis Wheatley’s time period, but also disproves the view of racial inferiority that was popular during that era. Afua Cooper says that Wheatley was kind of a foundation for black literature, and not only was she a slave when her book was published, she was also a woman, Phyllis Wheatley represents the minority, yet she, being part of that minority, gave them a voice. She was not only that voice for the oppressed slaves, but women as well; she was the second woman in America to have a book published. The information in this video should be valued historically, yes, but also personally because Phyllis Wheatley’s story is an encouraging one.

    **Afua Cooper has a really cool accent as well.

  5. Afua Cooper makes this interview seem rather intriguing, as well as celebratory, yet she doesn’t make it seem bland or attempt to make history seem “sweet, kind, and sincere”. She, in fact, tells the cold, hard, brutal truth about slavery! Yet, she doesn’t focus on their tragic deaths,she focuses rather more on their legacy. The reason her words are important is because it shines a bright light down upon the parts of slavery and what occurred in the life of slaves in that time era. It gives these misunderstood slaves a voice, thus showing people that slaves were not only men, but were, in fact, women and children, all given the same punishments as men would, as well as their poor health conditions, lack of education, and usually not able to understand everyone around them! Also, how traumatizing after having been kidnapped at the age of seven (or younger), thrown into a crowded ship in harsh weather conditions, taken to a far place where everyone looked different and spoke a different language, as well as the separation anxiety the children, and even adults, must have had! I also really do appreciate Afua Cooper taking the time to share the legacy of slavery with the public, as well as Phyllis Wheatley’s hard work in her life and the emotional toll it must have taken on her. And, yet, she is a beautiful example that we must stick to God in all situations!

    “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

    **I agree, Lilly. Her accent is pretty cool. Her parents were most likely from Jamaica. ^^ ❤

  6. The information of that video is important because not only do we see people that were slaved go through such a rough and un-called for job and have an understanding about their past, but we also see how they can have a passion for something so belittled at the time for slaves; their writing. Their perseverance as a slave showed how hard they worked, and something as little as learning to write and read not only changed their lives, but the lives of many others.

  7. Afua Cooper makes the stories of the African-American slaves interesting because she had a different point of view in the story. Instead of focusing on the enslavement consequences, although they weren’t forgotten, she focuses on their accomplishment and their dreams conquered during their life spans. She paints a picture in our minds of what they went through and how they kept longing to accomplish their goal no matter how hard it would be or the intensity the consequences. She also makes them important because she elaborates on how if they wouldnt have kept reaching for their dreams literature in America wouldn’t be where it is today.

    1. sorry for the mistakes, my computer wasn’t letting me see what I wrote so it was hard for me to check my work… =/

  8. The information that was made important in the video was that these African-American slaves, (Phillis Wheatley and Henry Bibb), were the pioneers of Black Literature. Phillis Wheatley also showed many that it is possible for women to write and have their work published, even if they were past slaves. But the one thing that both of these people showed, was that African-American slaves were not stupid. There was maybe more literature, art, or music than we could have imagined that was just wasted because these slaves were just treated so wrongly and were punished for showing any intelligence at all. Afua Cooper makes these stories exciting because she tells the stories in the first-person, like she IS Phillis Wheatley and Henry Bibb. She didn’t tell them with the normal research paper tone, she told them with a passion like she was there and endured all the things that these two did.


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    BTW… its Tristan 🙂

    1. THANK YOU TRISTAN! *flails arms rapidly, making a fangirling noise* OH! And thanks for the lessons yesterday ^^ I owe you a picture of the panda.

  9. Afua Cooper is amazing! She speaks with great passion for what she loves, which is history. I appreciate that she knew what she was talking about and spoke in the third person. She was able to take you back to this time and give you a vivid image of what happened. Cooper also touched on the subject of the fact that Wheatley was intelligent. People of that day knew was brilliant and insisted she become free. Another thing I understand myself is that even though Afua Cooper (and Henry Bibb) were both African Americans, they weren’t the only slaves! Anyone who wasn’t white (Mexican, Spanish, Cuban, Indian) and any other ethnicity were most likely slaves as well. Even thought she was discussing the life of an African, she is also discussing the past of others as well.

    *Sorry for this being so late, I’ve been busy and trying to keep up! 🙂

  10. In this video, Afua Cooper, the author of “My Name Is Philis Wheatly” and “My Name is Henry Bibb”, expresses and shares the legacy of these two people and how they made their own individual, important marks in history. Philis Wheatley was one of the many children who were taken out of their home in Africa, and bound into slavery. She was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Wheatley, who were both merchants. In their household, she was taught the fundamentals of reading and writing by Mrs. Wheatley. Through this, she began expressing herself through poetry, and wrote her own pieces of literature at a very young age. She had her poetry published at the age of twelve in a newspaper, with the help of Mrs. Wheatley. When the time came for her to publish her first book, there was much controversy, but it was finally published when she was nineteen. Through her literacy, she became the first African American slave woman to ever have her
    literature published, the second American woman to publish, “…started Black literature across the Western Hemisphere”, and “…achieved her freedom…”(Afua Cooper). Afua Cooper now shares the legacy behind Henry Bibb, who was also bound into slavery as a child. As a slave, he was forbidden to read and write, but as he grew older, he taught himself these things. Through this, he began to dream about his freedom. He eventually did achieve this dream as he freed himself from the bondage of slavery. It was at a great cost as well, for he lost his wife and daughter to slavery. As a young free man, he now advanced and continued his education and literacy, and writes his autobiography, (which is now celebrated as the first written slave autobiography).He moved to Canada as well, due to the passing of the Fugitive Slave Act. In Canada, he began to protest the outrage of the Fugitive Slave Act, by writing the first Black newspaper, for, “…through the newspaper,you can spread the news of freedom,…you can teach through the columns of the newspaper.”(Afua Cooper). Through the writing of this newspaper, he now becomes the “pioneer of what is now, the tradition of Black newspaper in Canada” and is the “…voice of the fugitives.”(Aufa Cooper). In the conclusion of this video, Afua Cooper mentions that history is not just about the good and nice stuff. History contains the good, the bad, and the ugly. Though the lives of Philis Wheatley and Henry Bibb were tragic, the legacy they left behind is what makes history exciting and important. Through this, I conclude that Phillis and Henry both knew that through knowledge, comes power. By using the power of literature, they had their voices heard amongst the people, despite the opposition that were against them.

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