Rhetorical Writing

INSTRUCTIONS:  You have forty minutes in class today to respond to the essay question below.  After forty minutes you are to submit your composition to Turnitin.  

Benjamin Franklin reportedly commented about doing the right thing, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

An ideology is a rigid set of beliefs that define what an individual or community thinks. In the Puritan theocracy of Massachusetts, a government run by religious authorities, the dominant ideology held that the Puritans were a chosen people that the devil would do anything to destroy. Since religious men ran their government, the Puritans considered all government actions to be necessarily “good,” or sanctioned by Heaven. This meant that any attempt to question, obstruct, or otherwise resist any of the government’s actions, no matter how ludicrous, destructive, or ill-informed, was considered by the government and other Puritans to be an attempt to overthrow God.

Governments fueled by such rigid and absolute ideological convictions often fall into corruption and tyranny without even realizing it.  On the other hand, institutions lacking rigid and absolute authority often are chaotic and disrespected.  

Essay Prompt:

In Act I of The Crucible Reverand Parris, the leader of Salem’s church, is compromised when he discovers his daughter and his niece in the forest along with other village girls accompanied by Parris’ servant Tituba comporting in inappropriate behavior.  Parris is confronted with the responsibility of reporting the event while suffering from the ignominy of being associated with such an act against God.  Parris instead decides to keep the details of what he witnessed to himself which leads to the dramatic accusations made by the girls at the conclusion of Act I.  

You are to compose an introduction that expresses one of the two thesis options:

1. It is better to lie than to suffer from the condemnation of an overly-strict society.


2. People should always commit to doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. 

Organize three body paragraphs.  The first body paragraph will discuss your perspective regarding this debate using examples from Act 1 of The Crucible.  The second body paragraph will discuss your perspective using examples from recent human society.  The final body paragraph is to discuss your perspective about the conflict of deciding what is right and what is wrong.

Finally, compose a conclusion that sums up your essential observation.