Unit #2: Love


PURPOSE: We have now run through two composing cycles: the first asked you to reflect on and build an argument for a process you are familiar with, and the second asked you to advance a claim about the relationship between rhetoric and belief. Our third assignment asks you to take on an even larger and arguably more common question. We will continue to use the same composing cycle and we will continue to use ancient text(s) as a starting point. You will further be required to incorporate a source of your choice that is relevant to the topic. Sources must be cleared with me prior to use, but I can promise you that almost any text, painting, musical piece, cultural artifact, etc., will probably be acceptable provided you have a thoughtful reason for using it. This assignment must conform to the expectations of academic writing, but further expects you to incorporate performative elements in your work that match the spirit of the original text we will all start from. Essays must be between 6-12 pages, 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced. All MLA guidelines apply.

– Symposium, by Plato
– 1 source of your choice
– “The Definition of Love in Plato’s Symposium” by Donald Levy
– “Argument as Emergence, Rhetoric as Love” by Jim Corder
– Excerpts from “The Law of Love” by Mohandas Gandhi
– Beatles Songs: Eros – I Saw Her Standing ThereSomething; Storge – When I’m 64; Pragma – We Can Work It Out; Ludus – I’ll Cry Instead; Mania – Run For Your Life; Agape – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

TOPIC: What, exactly, is love? We sing about it, we dramatize it, we write (bad) poetry in its name. We write it off as a cliché, we claim it as the origin of everything. Is love a power or a feeling? Is it a commitment or a passion? Discussions and definitions of love have been around for as long as humans can record, and it is (an answer to) a question that drives pop songs as well as activists around the world. One of the most oft-cited discussions of love in Western civilization is Plato’s Symposium, in which six guests at a dinner party respond to the question “What is love?” As we see, there are as many perspectives on the question as there are dinner guests. Each perspective reflects variations on both form and content. Are there any types of love left out of the piece, and if so, what are they?

WRITING PROMPT: Imagine you’ve been invited to Agathon’s Symposium* and asked to give a speech: How would you define love?

DUE DATES: Friday 3/14 – Thesis & Source
Friday 3/28 – Rough Draft
Monday 3/ 31– Final Draft

*Keep in mind that unless you want to appear a self-absorbed dinner guest, you should acknowledge at least some of what Agathon’s other guests have shared. Let’s say at least 3 of the other guests.