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Sample Literary Evaluative Argument Essay on “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Below is a sample outline and a well-developed literary evaluation argument essay in MLA titled “Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”: A Timeless Masterpiece of Empathy and Social Justice.” This sample is intended to help college students write better essays.

Sample Literary Evaluative Argument Essay on “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Sample Literary Evaluative Argument Essay Outline on Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”

  1. Introduction:
    1. Begin with a compelling hook or attention-grabbing statement to engage the reader (e.g., “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” These timeless words, penned by Harper Lee in her literary gem, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” encapsulate the essence of the novel’s profound exploration of empathy and tolerance.”)
    2. Brief overview of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and its enduring impact.
    3. Present the thesis statement i.e. “Through its poignant portrayal of societal issues and its unwavering commitment to the power of compassion, Lee’s novel continues to resonate, reminding us of the profound impact literature can have on our understanding of humanity.”
  2. Main Point 1 – Compelling Characters
    1. Topic Sentence: Lee masterfully crafts a cast of memorable and multi-dimensional characters that captivate readers.
    2. Scout Finch:
      • Evidence and Reasoning: Scout’s innocent perspective as the narrator offers a unique lens through which readers experience the events of the novel.
      • Counterargument and Refutation: Critics may argue that Scout’s young age limits her understanding of complex issues. However, her growth throughout the novel and her keen observations challenge societal norms and provide valuable insights.
    3. Atticus Finch:
      • Evidence and Reasoning: Atticus embodies moral integrity, serving as a moral compass and a symbol of justice and compassion.
      • Counterargument and Refutation: Some may claim that Atticus is an idealized character with an unrealistic sense of morality. However, his unwavering commitment to doing what is right, even in the face of adversity, inspires readers to examine their own beliefs and actions.
  3. Main Point 2 – Poignant Exploration of Racial Injustice
    1. Topic Sentence: “To Kill a Mockingbird” confronts the dark realities of racial prejudice and discrimination with honesty and sensitivity.
    2. Tom Robinson Trial:
      • Evidence and Reasoning: The trial exposes the systemic racism prevalent in Maycomb County, emphasizing the injustice faced by Tom Robinson, an innocent Black man.
      • Counterargument and Refutation: Critics may argue that the portrayal of racial injustice is limited to the historical context of the novel. However, the novel’s themes of prejudice and discrimination remain relevant, prompting readers to reflect on contemporary social issues.
  4. Main Point 3 – Timeless Lessons on Empathy and Tolerance
    1. Topic Sentence: Lee’s novel imparts valuable lessons on the importance of empathy, understanding, and tolerance.
    2. Boo Radley:
      • Evidence and Reasoning: The transformation of Boo Radley from a mysterious figure to a symbol of compassion highlights the need to withhold judgment and extend empathy towards others.
      • Counterargument and Refutation: Some may argue that the lessons on empathy and tolerance are overly simplistic. However, the gradual development of Scout’s understanding and the complex portrayal of characters challenge readers to reassess their own biases and preconceptions.
  5. Main Point 4 – Literary Devices:
    1. Topic Sentence: Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” masterfully utilizes literary devices to enhance its impact and convey its powerful themes.
    2. Symbolism and Imagery:
      • Evidence: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it” (Lee, 30).
      • Counterargument: Use of literary devices in “To Kill a Mockingbird” is unnecessary and merely decorative.
      • Rebuttal: Lee uses symbolism and imagery to successfully portray complex ideas and evoke emotional responses which aid passing messages of justice, prejudice, and compassion.
  6. Conclusion
    1. Restate the thesis statement, emphasizing the literary brilliance of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
    2. Summarize the compelling characters, poignant exploration of racial injustice, and timeless lessons on empathy and tolerance.
    3. Conclude with a reflection on the enduring impact of the novel, inviting readers to delve into its pages and experience the transformative power of Lee’s storytelling.

Remember, an evaluative argument essay is a type of persuasive writing that aims to assess and provide a judgment or evaluation of a particular subject or topic. It involves presenting a clear position or opinion and supporting it with evidence, reasoning, and criteria for evaluation.

The writer analyzes the subject or topic based on specific criteria, presenting arguments and examples to demonstrate the strengths, weaknesses, merits, or flaws. It is important to provide sufficient evidence and logical reasoning to support the evaluation and make a compelling case.

Additionally, an evaluative argument essay may consider alternative viewpoints or counterarguments and address them in a persuasive manner. The writer may anticipate objections and provide rebuttals to strengthen their evaluation.