We celebrate whistleblowers as heroes, and yet, we allow them to be


Essay #2: A Deep Revision

5-6 pages, double-spaced

We celebrate whistleblowers as heroes, and yet, we allow them to be treated in

real-life as traitors.

–Tom Mueller

Links for paper:





As Tom Mueller notes in his video Whistleblowing and Democracy, whistleblowing is a controversial topic that continues to be debated in America. On the one hand, advocates argue that whistleblowing is a noble act as a person exposes illegal or unethical activity or information about an organization. On the other hand, detractors attest that whistleblowing is a form of betrayal and synonymous with words like “rat,” “snitch,” or “traitor.”

Over the next few weeks, we will explore specific instances of whistleblowing to learn more about its history in our country and see its impacts on people, organizations and society. In Essay #2, you will use this knowledge to build on your understanding of heroism and writing from the previous essay by weighing in on this debate.


For this assignment, you will answer the following question: Should whistleblowers be considered heroes or traitors?

You goal is to inform your audience about whistleblowing and convince them of your argument’s validity. While you used description, reflection, and personal voice to discuss an experience in Essay #1, you will use critical reading strategies to analyze ideas about whistleblowing and incorporate evidence from one writer or speaker to support your argument in Essay #2.

Your Essay Should:

1.Think about the rhetorical situation. A rhetorical situation is the circumstances that give writing meaning. Consider using the acronym GAP (genre, audience, and purpose) to think about rhetorical situation.

Your genre is a college-level argumentative essay. What are the expectations of this genre? (e.g., addressing the counterpoints, calmer tone, citing evidence, use of logos, etc.)

Your audience is an unknowing reader. You will need to provide context about the topic and the text you are citing. How will you define whistleblowing? What other information does your audience need to know about whistleblowing/whistleblowers?

Your purpose is to have the reader recognize the validity of your argument about whistleblowing.

2.Introduce your topic and source. Since you cannot assume your audience has knowledge of your topic, you should define whistleblowing in your own words and briefly summarize the debate. When introducing a source, state the author’s first and last name and title, then explain its main point. For example, “In Whistleblowers and Democracy, Tom Mueller argues that whistleblowing is a fundamental principle to our democracy…” I recommend including this information in your introduction paragraph.

3.Present an argument. You should include a thesis statement that answers or relates to the question about whistleblowing. You may choose an argument that is straightforward (e.g., Whistleblowing is a heroic act because…) or nuanced (e.g., The ethics of whistleblowing is easier to enforce in the corporate sphere than in politics because…) As Steven D. Krause states, “A thesis advocates a specific and debatable position, is not a statement of fact nor a summary of events, and it answers the questions ‘what’s your point?’ and ‘why should I care?’” (143). You will experiment with thesis statement writing strategies in the Week 7 activity.

4.Support your argument. You should support your thesis statement with at least three reasons. You will also incorporate the voice of one writer or speaker by citing evidence from their work. Consider questions like: How does this reason support my argument that whistleblowers are _____? How does this writer or speaker’s point add to my argument? How can I refute this writer or speaker’s point to prove my argument?

5.Follow MLA guidelines. Any information that is summarized, paraphrased, or quoted requires an in-text MLA citation. We will discussion MLA citation in the Week 8 activity, but you can read about MLA guidelines for in-text citations and Works Cited entries at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/.

6.Expand on your understanding of the course theme. Consider how the topic of whistleblowing and writing Essay #2 changes your understanding of heroism or being a bystander. This will be illustrated as you connect the topic of whistleblowing to concepts like heroism. However, you may want to conclude your essay by discussing this understanding more directly.

Grading Criteria:
A strong essay will…

Address a specific audience, follow the conventions of the genre, and have a clear purpose

Introduce the topic of whistleblowing and the source that will be consulted

Include an engaging and thoughtful introduction and conclusion that move beyond rudimentary statements of argument and reiterations of main points

Contain a clear, well-supported argument about your perspective or answers the question about whistleblowing.

Progress logically and smoothly with appropriate transitions indicating connections between ideas

Make appropriate use of sentence structure, word choice, grammar, spelling, and punctuation that enables rather than hinders clear and effective communication.

Document and integrate source material correctly and effectively in the essay

Show significant revision of ideas, language, and style from first to final draft

Meet the minimum page requirement of 5 double-spaced pages

Essay Format: double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, standard 1-inch margins; your name, instructor’s name, the class (English 111), and the date should appear in the upper left corner of the first page; pages should be numbered. Example below:

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