Why Should Batman Kill The Joker

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Principles of Writing
Rhetoric 101
Fall 2017
“Should Batman Kill the Joker?”
Formal Essay Three
Formal Essay Final Draft Due Date: Sunday, December 24th to holguin2@illinois.edu by midnight Directions: You have already read Mark D. White and Robert Arp's short essay “Should Batman
Kill the Joker?” and now you need to write an argument that fully responds to the question on page
548 of The Norton Sampler:
So is Batman morally and ethically right to let the Joker live? Or should he kill the
Joker at the first opportunity? Why do you think so?
Purpose of Essay Three: Or, What I hope You learn from Writing this Paper
1. Understand the differences between how to express your personal opinions versus your educated arguments/ideas on the subject
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2. Understand how to use quotes and paraphrases from White and Arp effectively by using the three-step approach. For example: White and Arp present three different school of ethics without giving their personal opinions of any of them: “...we can see that while there are good reasons to kill the Joker...there are also good reasons not to kill him” (547). In fact, their use of ambiguity throughout this essay makes me wonder all the more what I think about Batman's ethical dilemma.
3. Understand how to describe a scene from the film The Dark Knight with concrete terms WHILE you explain your understanding of a school of ethics. For example: The final scene between Batman
(Christian Bale) and the Joker (Heath Ledger) literally places the latter upside down so the viewer sees the character in a symbolic posture of seeing the world from a completely different perspective from Batman. Batman and the Joker come from opposing world and ethical views: Batman's
“upright” perspective, like his Kantian philosophy, directly contradicts the Joker's
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For example, refer to “students in a boat” thought experiment discussed in class. Be ready to “confront a naysayer” who disagrees with your school of ethics. Make sure to avoid a “false analogy” and use concrete (and imaginative) terms for your make-believe world.
5. Understand how to connect your argument for Batman's school of ethics to a larger “so what?” factor beyond The Dark Knight. Consider how your ideas on Batman's ethics relate to your own personal ethics. For example: While I have argued that Batman's Kantian point of view would not allow him to kill the Joker, I have realised that I'm also supporting my own personal belief system.
It's interesting that my personal opinion on right and wrong can actually turn into a fully formed idea if I support it with evidence and fully examine it from different angles.
Checklist for Basic Requirements For Final Draft
 Includes quotes and paraphrases from White and Arp's essay
 Summary of White and Arp's argument
 Your own original and logical argument
 Use the 3-step approach to quoting and analysis
 Avoid logical fallacies (refer to The Norton Sampler)
 Define and fully explain the schools of thought you
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