Posted By Caulimovirus on January 4, 2007
“You Should Give Me an A on This Paper”
.: I recently downloaded all my emails from gmail, and I rediscovered one of the first emails I sent. It was the rough draft of an essay I wrote my freshman year. Since last semester was the first semester I ever received an A in an English class, and since I think the essay is pretty damn funny — if you don’t mind me saying so — I thought I’d share with you my lazy, ill-conceived literary masterpiece.
Thinking & Writing 1302
26 October 2004
You Should Give Me an A on This Paper
.: I have a history of poor grades in all of my English classes. From my first forty in Composition to my most recent F in Thinking & Writing 1302, there has never been a moment when I have performed satisfactorily to my English instructors. In college, however, grades actually matter; they will follow me no matter where I decide to go, whether I choose medical school or film school. They also determine if I get to keep certain scholarships that require I maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher. I figure the best way to do well in this class is to write an excellent essay. By doing so, you have no choice but to give me an A on this paper.
.: There are three main reasons why you should give me an A. First, this essay merits an A. In the process of writing the paper, I have debated my claim; analyzed you, my audience; presented numerous viewpoints opposed to my own; refuted those opposing viewpoints; and supported my thesis with sufficient evidence. In addition to meeting all the requirements of an argumentative paper, as you will see, this paper is also original and creative. I ask you, however, to first read the entirety of the essay with an uncritical eye. Initial judgment of this type of essay could potentially ruin its effect and, ultimately, its purpose.
.: The second argument is one I already mentioned in the introduction: I need to boost my grade in your class and the best way to do that is to write an A paper. With two C-minuses and an F, I need no less than an A to keep my average at the C level. A decent grade is not only important to me as a student but to my family as well. They need to know I am not wasting my time and money at this university; the easiest and most effective way to let them know is to show them an impressive GPA.
.: Finally, before I began writing this paper, I told my friends and family the thesis, and they were highly enthusiastic. Often they responded with a statement like, â€œI would never have the guts to do what you are doing. You deserve an A just for actually doing this.â€ I agree to an extent. While this paper is a risky move on my part, the risk alone does not merit an A. For the â€œrisk factorâ€ to be applicable, the rest of the paper has to function as well. In a lesser paper with the same thesis, the risk undertaken by the author would be wasted.
.: There are, as you have undoubtedly thought by now, several reasons for you to not give me an A on this paper. They can be divided into two main categories: the idea behind the paper and the execution. The counterarguments concerning the fundamental idea of my thesis involve chiefly philosophical objections; the dissenting opinions regarding the execution of the idea are based on more technical matters.
.: In the right light, my thesis could be construed as a form of begging. Grades are not given at the request of the student; rather, they are what the student earned for an assignment. A paper with the thesis â€œyou should give me an A on this paperâ€ exists contrary to the nature of a graded assignment. And yet I am not begging. I truly feel this paper warrants an A, not just because I wish it so, but because I believe it meets the qualifications. I am not asking you to compromise your integrity by giving me an undeserved grade; I took a chance when I submitted this topic for approval and will accept whatever grade you deem appropriate.
.: Of course, for an essay to receive an A, it needs a complementary writing style to match its thesis. A great idea can be easily marred by a poor handling of language. My paper thus far has made unwavering use of self-referential prose. Self-referentiality is inherently gimmicky. A self-referential entity (in this case my paper) refers to itself before it exists, and it is this process of self-referral that defines the entity. This style of writing could ultimately distract you from the thesis. Referring again and again to a poorly written paper to argue that the paper warrants an A is one of the many logical â€œholesâ€ that can undermine the entire essay. However, the converse is also true: referring to a well written paper to argue that the paper warrants an A will strengthen the argument. In other words, for this paper to be perfect it needs to be perfect.
.: Yet, you can argue that my using self-referentiality as a means to write this essay is, in a sense, illegitimate. It almost seems like a loophole for this assignment: by writing in this fashion, I am effectively creating something out of nothing. Whereas other students must work hard to develop a legitimate thesis and support it with physical, rather than philosophical, facts, I took the â€œeasy way outâ€ by using my self-conscious, self-referential thesis. I can attest, however, that writing this paper was not easy. The fact that I will turn this paper in the same morning I finish writing it should be some indication of the difficulty of the topic (as well as the laziness of the author, but more so the former).
.: As I mentioned in my email to you, it is impossible for me to write in the self-referential style without exploiting some of it bizarre properties for humorous purposes. Indeed, the paper thus far has maintained an air of irreverence in its approach to discuss the thesis, itself unconventional and unorthodox. The question, then, follows: does my humor fit in the mold of a formal argumentative essay? I say yes, because my use of humor in this paper is an appeal to emotion. Concepts like self-referentiality can be confusing when expressed in dry logical terms, but when coupled with humor they add new depth to the readerâ€™s understanding. In a sense, I use humor to make this paper somewhat readable; whether I succeeded or not will be left to you to decide. (Be warned: there is a humorous analogy in the following paragraph involving The Rock and his recent movie. If you think this is inappropriate for a formal argumentative essay, please skip to the concluding paragraph once you have reached the phrase â€œunsound reasoning.â€)
.: At this point, I have presented more arguments against my thesis than I have for it. Though I feel I offered adequate rebuttals for each of them, the relatively small number of arguments that support my thesis can be seen to contradict my earlier claim that I have â€œsupported my thesis with sufficient evidence.â€ But to consider quantity as the only factor in determining the worth of an argument is unsound reasoning. I can offer several reasons why you should watch Walking Tall (high production values, The Rockâ€™s appeal as an actor, a new interpretation of a film classic), but these reasons put together are not as convincing as the single counterargument: Walking Tall is a bad movie. The quality of the three reasons I gave to support my thesis and the rebuttals I made of the counterarguments are what will ultimately decide the fate of this paper.
.: â€œYou should give me an A for this paperâ€ might not seem like an arguable claim at first, but as I have shown, a case can be made for it. While many faults and impurities can be found in this paper, they actually serve a purpose: they are the focus of the arguments against the thesis and those counterargumentâ€™s rebuttals which make up bulk of the paper itself. The beauty of using self-referential logic is that I make it clear that my claim is debatable, but by following that path of logic I will ultimately conclude in favor of my claim.
.: Yeah, I pretty much deserved the B I got.