Argument of Fact
Challenge a Lifestyle

Classical Oration

How to set up an argument


Challenge a Belief or Lifestyle

When constructing an argument of fact, you have 4 different arguments from which to choose.

Challenging a belief or lifestyle centers around what we hold as true in society.

Do not choose something we cannot argue, something that is beyond a question true: the earth is round; the sun rises in the east and sets in the west; everyone will physically die; cigarettes are hazardous to one’s health.

Think of a topic you are familiar with and are interested in researching.

You may begin your research with a set claim (belief) and change your belief after your research. That is normal.

Garner as many RELIABLE PRIMARY sources as possible. (Wikipedia is a SECONDARY source and not acceptable.)

You need to add your own information and experiences to the argument.

Do not solely rely on sources: you need to make a connection with the audience through your own voice and experiences. Sources are used to support, not be the focus of your essay.

Your sources are there to buttress your argument and your claim.

Your experiences and voice on the matter are just as important as an expert you cite.

Let’s Begin…

I thought of this argument when Dan and I were running.

We have a health check for his insurance every March. If certain parts of our health check are not to their specifications, we will have to pay more for our insurance.

Not all arguments are the “hot topics”: most arguments are beliefs you hold in high regard.

They can be spurred by a single incident as mine.

The Topic

As the years have progressed, I have noticed changes to my body. These are changes that indicate a passing of time. Surgery, a patella injury, and a torn rotator cuff have caused some changes.

The thought of our premium increasing gave birth to this CLAIM: Skinny does not equate to Healthy.

So, something as small as my fears of a higher premium sparked an argument I wrestled with most of the day.

The Claim

The first step is the CLAIM.

Here is what I drafted:

Skinny does not equal healthy.

Although society (media) portrays skinny as the norm—the way people should look—this does not necessarily equate to healthy.

Revised Claim

I realized this claim was a little weak and not the point I wanted. I went back to the drawing board and penned this:

Images in the media consume us. They are omnipresent, altering our perception of how people should look. These images flash persistently—rail-thin arms, protruding bones, size 0 frame. These almost unobtainable goals scream to the populace if they do not look like these “super models”, the general populace is unhealthy.

Eating disorders can erupt, an unrealistic goal to reach. However “super” these models and actors are, the question remains: is skinny healthy? Are these “super models” and actors the epitome of health? Is the skinny person sitting next to the not-so-skinny person healthier? Or is the slightly bigger person healthier? Just because a person is skinny does not necessarily indicate that person is healthy.

Classical Oration: Exordium

Your exordium contains your opening, your hook, your “bonding” with the audience.

I decided that I have to relate to people who experience what I have to go through and to those who may not.

To begin, I need to be in the audience’s level and make them see I am human. So, I decided to tell my story of the health check.

Classical Oration: Narratio
and Partitio

The previous paragraphs I wrote would serve for these parts since the narratio gives the facts of the case and the partitio is the thesis statement.

Although my partitio is pretty simple, it suffices. Nothing is wrong with a short, to-the-point thesis: “Just because a person is skinny does not necessarily indicate said person is healthy.”

Make sure you are clear with your claim—agree, disagree, or qualify.

Classical Oration: Confirmatio

The confirmatio is your body, the main points of your argument. This is where you pull sources to support your claim.

I have so many sources I can use for this.

I briefly jotted down some ideas:

Olympic Athletes vs. Calista Flockhart

VSecret Models vs. Muscular women

TV Commerical of a heart attack (skinny woman)

The norm in 1950s and today.

Pictures from FB about “a real woman”.

Athletes are not bone thin—many models/actors could not handle the rigor of an athlete’s life.

So, are athletes unhealthy and undesirable?

Are the models/actors undesirable?

Facts of healthy/skinny/fit people.

I can and have outrun people 20 years younger than I am…and much skinnier (in longer races, of course).

What about this wonderful new trend girls are trying to achieve: THE THIGH GAP.

What about the Sports Illustrated plus-sized model?

And what about Cheryl Tiegs' comment about the plus-sized model?  

Sports-Illustrated plus-sized model Ashley Graham.

How do you like Tiegs' comment "That's what Dr. Oz said and I'm sticking to it"? False Authority fallacy perhaps?

Classical Oration: Refutatio

You MUST see the other side and address it. If you do not, your argument is incomplete.

Here are some ideas I jotted down:

I understand bad fat is bad fat.  (But good fats exist, too: fats we need to survive, especially for our brains to function.)

A difference exists between fat, fit, and skinny. And "fat" can be fit.

An extremely obese person is not ideal or healthy.

Facts on Fit vs. Fat.

Classical Oration-Peroratio

You MUST refer to the exordium. Reiterate those important points or that story. This reinforces the claim and makes your argument whole.

With my health check looming sooner than I like, I have struggled with skinny vs. healthy.


You MUST include pictures in your formal researched arguments.

And they MUST be formatted correctly according to MLA.

Here are some pictures I would add in this essay that show my main points:

Visuals Matter

Which one is healthy? (These are NOT altered!)


Is the norm for women now?
What about this era? Women were not super skinny and this was acceptable.
Should we accept people for who they are and not what they should look like (according to media and society)?
Is this healthy?