How to Write an Aporia
You can write an aporia by:
- Present the reader with a doubt that has a fairly evident answer
- (Optional) Directly answer the doubt
Hopefully your doubts match the real doubts your reader has about the argument, and therefore demonstrate that you are thinking about your argument logically and from multiple angles.
Aporia is especially effective at the transition from one section to another, and is a much more elegant form of transition than a simple announcement of the switch. For example:
Without Aporia: I have now shown that the national parks need to be preserved, and will move on to a discussion of how this can be accomplished.
With Aporia: It is clear, then, that the national parks need to be preserved. But how should we go about doing so?
The two passages accomplish exactly the same rhetorical task, but the aporia does so in a much more pleasing manner.
When to use Aporia
Because aporia is inherently a feature of argumentation, it primarily belongs to formal writing. Aporia is something used to advance or express an argument, and it’s a great technique for essays, particularly at the transitions. Aporia also works very well in the introduction, where you can use it to raise the question that your thesis statement will answer. However, always try to avoid using aporia in your thesis statement! A thesis statement should be a strong, positive declaration, not an expression of doubt or a claim that things are “maybe” the way you say. If you’re going to make an argument for a certain idea, you should state that idea clearly and forcefully up front.
When aporia appears in creative writing, it’s usually in the form of dialogue – when one character is trying to persuade another, he or she may employ aporia as part of the argument. Aporia may also appear in poetry, when the poet is employing the techniques of argumentation and formal rhetoric.