Writing a Persuasive Essay: Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico Relief

Hurricane Maria

Writing a persuasive essay is a tricky task. It may seem easy for a novice or a layman, but every high school or college student knows that not everything is as simple as it seems at face value. A good persuasive essay should incorporate such overriding elements as a staunch stance, well-structured arguments and a first-rate unique conclusion.

When confronted with a sensitive topic, it is easy to become desperate or indignant. It is natural to start off a jeremiad and lose a healthy outlook on life. It is especially distressing for those affected by the tragedy. Even knowing somebody whose existence was marked by the hurricane can sway you off the walk of reason.

It is not forbidden to be emotional in a persuasive essay. In fact, it is one of the rhetorical devices extensively employed in this type of writing. Here you can learn more about writing proficiently. However, indulging in emotive vocabulary is not the best way to prove your point, neither in the essay, nor in real life.

Pick a Side

You start your essay as usual – by crafting a compelling thesis. Look deep into your heart. See where your sympathies stand. Are they with Puerto Ricans? Or, maybe, you believe they should not obtain all that assistance. Just be honest with yourself. Do not try to slant your views following the popular opinion.

The author of this article happens side with relief for the Puerto Ricans. So, whatever your opinion, you are stuck with mine... for now. Even if your views differ, I encourage you to continue reading as this is first of all a teaching material, and only then – an opinion.

Be authoritative. Even if you reckon that this issue is contentious – be firm in your belief in its dubious nature. Avoid words like probably, maybe. Just blot them out of your memory for an hour or so while you are writing this persuasive essay.

Again I am going to stress it - it is not an opinion essay. Its aim is to hammer home the idea that you fiercely support. So, first, find that idea. Passion up; doubt down.

Factor in the Facts

Going back to the touchy-feely part… do not base your idea on such flimsy foundation. Emotions are like cards to be blown away by the relentless wind of reason. They are easily disputed and effortlessly discarded. You do not want that, do you?

For instance, my stance revolves around stepping up the US efforts in alleviating the Puerto Rican crisis. That is because what is done now is barely tangible for real life Puerto Ricans. Those 3.4 million islanders appear disengaged from the whole world, with only 25 % having electricity, with hundreds of transmission lines in need of repair, and with 80 % of agricultural crops erased. This is what most sympathetic people would call “dire conditions.”

It’s been a month since the hurricane, and it is still estimated that only in 2018 will the power grid be restored. Even such necessities as potable water are in deplorable scarcity. See, those are facts. However, they are so emotional that will bring a tear even to the crassest person. Or, maybe, they won’t.

 Facts do not only underpin your essay. They are also your only leverage against the indifference and ignorance of your opponents. You do not want to be the blind leading the blind.

Talk About the Children

Seriously, if you are still a student, (and if you have to write a persuasive essay, chances are that you are), pay tribute to your peers’ trials and tribulations. Did you know that at the moment only 10 % of Puerto Rican schools have reopened their doors? Shocking, don’t you think?

I don’t mean that rambling about children is always a good idea. However, remember, remember… your intended audience. Your teacher, as well as your classmates will be able to connect with the adversities of those far-away kids. They are very likely to share that pain.

Just imagine living without the Internet, air conditioning, cell phones, and schools. Well, maybe not the latter, but you get my point. When writing a persuasive essay, it is clever to keep an eye on your audience. Make them imagine, put them into the other people’s skin.

Then, if you are really convincing, your buddies will conclude that living without homework or uniform is not all that fun. That would be what I call a genuine mastery.

Put in Some Politics

How can you even manage an essay on a modern issue circumventing politics? If you know how, let me know. Seriously!

Jokes aside, almost no matter nowadays is apolitical. This is mostly good news, at least in democratic countries. If you are bound on conducting a thorough analysis about the drawbacks of the US reaction to Puerto Rican crisis, be my guest. However, in most cases you will have to put on brakes.

The reason being is the spatial constraints of your very persuasive essay. However, you can still squeeze in some facts. Like that the president only visited Puerto Rico a week after the hurricane, or the fact that the removal of the Jones Act was still controversial despite the scope of human suffering that was further aggravated by it.

Just keep it civil. Don’t call someone an idiot. Not in your essay. Be poised and to-the-point, explain your judgments. Despite the measly volume of a typical essay, you can still infuse it with healthy and justified political criticism.

Refer to the Great Minds

I don’t mean to diminish your own greatness here. However, it goes without saying that your arguments will only convince others if you bolster them with authoritative viewpoints.

For example, the mayor of San Juan names the hurricane the “people-are-dying” story. Here you can also mention that at least two patients were reported dead because of a generator failure in the hospital. You can then further explicate upon the worsening humanitarian crisis and its ramifications for ordinary people.

If all men are created equal, then why do Puerto Ricans get worse treatment from Uncle Sam than other hurricane bedridden lands? Why does it end up getting a contract with an electric firm that has little to none experience in the field? Why do politicians seek justifications for their inefficiency instead of ramping up their efforts and finding novice solutions?

Do not abuse rhetorical questions though. You do not just want to question. You want to give answers and call for action in the end.

Call for Action

A good persuasive essay calls for a certain action, be it sharing author’s concerns with friends and family or flying out to Puerto Rico at a moment’s notice. Whatever it is, ensure that the build-up is sufficient for such grandiose appeals.

When writing a persuasive essay, always choose the topic you feel strongly about, use factual and personal examples and fuse in references from the notable people. See what I did here? I am hereby calling you for action of writing a grade A persuasive essay! 

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