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Why Shouldn't I Put This Puppy in the Microwave?

In each of the following arguments, a different reason is given in answer to a question at issue: "Why shouldn't I put Sparky in the microwave?" Look at each example and describe what assumptions the writer makes about the audience and their beliefs. For what audiences might this line of reasoning work? Why might an audience not be convinced by the line of reasoning?


You should not put Sparky in the microwave because . . .


1. It is unethical to torture a defenseless puppy for personal amusement.

2. Torturing animals will disgust your lover or spouse, and that lover or spouse will probably have nothing to do with you afterwards.

3. Microwaves radically elevate the temperature of biological liquids, including the fluids of the cardiovascular system and the inner-ear canal.

4. Cruelty to animals is a felony in Tennessee, and it could result in a five-to-ten-year prison sentence.

5. You might damage your expensive microwave.

6. You might damage my expensive microwave.

7. Sparky belongs to me.

8. You put the last one in the microwave, and it's my turn now.

9. Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war, forbids us to kill one of his holy avatars.

10. You will have to clean the microwave afterward.

11. Sparky is--gosh darn it--too cute for that!

12. Your suggestion that it will dry his coat and get rid of the "wet dog" smell is erroneous.

13. The strong always have an obligation to defend lesser creatures that are weak and helpless.

14. Burritos taste better than puppies when they are reheated.

15. All the food you cook in the microwave will taste like puppy hair afterwards.

REMEMBER: There is more than one way to build an argument, and not all arguments are equally persuasive. You will have the best possible chance of convincing someone of your own argument if you carefully adapt your writing to work with and incorporate concerns that you share with the reader, rather than simply relying on your own beliefs and concerns.


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