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Hello you guys did such a great job helping me with my essays in ENG100 but it has been so long, I am now in ENG103 and I need help with an argument definitional essay. I typed my intro, it needs work, I just need help with my thesis/argument.

General Topic: The Myth of the Model Family.
(Assignment instructions is below)

I need to pick a type of family to write about, my own definition to what I think family means, I'm a little unsure to how the professor wants me to write this essay. But I just need help with the thesis or argument. After I pick a sup-topic of what kind of family I will be talking about, whether its traditional, modern, nuclear, etc.. I need to pick a tv show and compare the tv show's family values to whatever type of family I choose to write about.

I'm not sure if I should just make it easy and compare a traditional family from the 50's and compare it to a modern tv show today. I am just unsure what my argument would be and which way to go. I'm not sure if I want to talk about my own definition of today's modern family and pick a traditional tv show such as Leave it to Beaver or Dennis the Menace, or go the other way and talk about a traditional family and it's values, and choose a modern family tv show to compare it to. Either way, I would appreciate some help on my thesis/argument. I was thinking that my argument would say that even though traditional families have morals and traditional values, the more modernized family would have unity because today, families seem to be more open to talk about things, there is more communication involved, children have more freedom to contribute to decision making, women are not as oppressed as they once were, they can now go to work, and also gender roles are being switched as well in certain areas in the household.

I have no clue what to write so I will just start free writing and see what I can come up with: This is my intro.

The modernized family today is no where close to what your traditional family back in the 40's use to be. Or at least that is how television portrays how families back then use to be. A family would commonly consist of two parents which is a mother and a father, and a child or two depending how many children the parents have. And they would all live together in harmony, compatible with each other, mother is a housewife staying at home taking care of the children while the husband goes out to work to support the family. But does this type of family household describe your typical family today in the modern world? A lot has changed since then and their really isn't many families that represent television shows such as "Leave it to Beaver" or "Lassie" anymore. And one would think this may not be such a good thing but the more recent version of what family values represent today may have more advantages than one may think. Even though the wholesome families from yesterday may hold more morals and traditional values compared to today's, a more modernized family may have some real advantages such as more democracy and freedom, better communication also due to technology, and gender roles being switched between parents.

What do you think of my intro and thesis/argument? I know it could use some work. It's all I could come up with for now. I think I may just define a modern family of today using my own definition and compare it to a television show such as Leave it to Beaver or Lassie.

Please tell me what you guys think,

My rough draft needs to be done by Thursday night for Friday morning class.

Here is my assignment instructions in case you wanted more information.


Argument Essay: Definition
General Topic: The Myth of the Model Family


It is necessary to understand the elements of a strong definitional argument, including the different types of definitions: formal definitions, operational definitions, and definitions by example. Arguments of definition answer the stasis question “What is the nature?” An effective definition will contain the following:

A clear definitional claim

Text-based (both written and visual) evidence

A balance of appeals: ethos, pathos, logos

Pages 268—273 offer a fantastic guide through the steps of developing an argument of definition. Along with these guidelines, focus on the Writing Goals I’ve listed below.


As we’ve read and discussed, the idea of the “true” modern family is hard to define. Television shows can amplify our confusion or clarify our positions on the definition of family. Shows like “Leave It to Beaver” and “Seventh Heaven” portray a traditional idea of the nuclear family, while shows like “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Gene Simmons: Family Jewels” break convention. Over the years, soap operas, sitcoms (situation comedies), reality shows, documentaries, and dramas have continued to define and redefine family and family values.

Before you get started, you need to focus on one definition of family: modern family, one-parent family, “traditional” family, nuclear family, anti-family, etc. You may choose any definition you’d like—yours or that of another person/author.

Then you will watch one episode of a television show that focuses on family or family issues. You will compare the show’s definition of family to your own. Your definition might answer questions like the following: What type of family is the program portraying? Is it in support of or contrary to your definition? What assertion is the program making about families? Are there specific warrants that need to be exposed? How does this show highlight a common definition of family or create a new definition of family? Please remember that this is an argument, not an opinion piece.


This essay will culminate in a controversial definition, so you must create an assertion (arguable opinion) and craft a clear claim. Your claim should be in a logical position within your introduction, and it must outline the topic and scope of your discussion. Be sure to use appropriate qualifiers (review Toulmin method notes). Something like following can be an effective definitional claim: “The debate over the definitions of masculinity and femininity has affected the workplace, the school yard, and the bedroom.”


Try to use all of the definition types you learned about in Ch. 9.: formal, operational, and example-based. Be sure to balance the types you use. You don’t, for instance, want to rely too heavily on formal definitions, neglecting questions related to conditions or fulfillment of conditions. Avoid rote dictionary definitions: “Webster’s Dictionary defines family as…” That is an overused technique and does not forward the goal of providing your audience with new knowledge. Alternative lexicons, however, might be interesting to explore—slang dictionaries, idiom dictionaries, dictionaries that language learners use for translation, etc.


In addition to your perspective of the family definition you choose, you must include 3 outside sources. Your sources must include the television episode you use and one additional source that is not a reference material. The third source is your choice and may include a visual text, an interview, a sociology textbook, a religious manuscript, or anything else that will help you develop a robust definition.

A SUCCESSFUL ESSAY will demonstrate your critical reading skills (written and visual texts), your comprehension of argument fundamentals, your ability to organize a definitional argument, and your ability to locate and incorporate outside sources.


3—4 typed, double-spaced, proofread pages in MLA format (1” margins, 12-point Times/Courier, heading).
A works cited including all additional outside sources (the requirements of which are detailed in the EVIDENCE section of the prompt). Your works cited page must be formatted according to MLA standards and should appear as the last consecutively numbered page of your essay. Your textbook has information on formatting works cited entries for most source types. You might also consider easybib,com to help with your formatting.
A clear, concise, and directed claim. Please underline your entire claim.
A compelling title that lets your reader know the subject and position of your argument. Review the model essay’s we’ve read for examples of strong titles.

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