PART 1 Writing Activities

PART 1 Writing Activities

ST. MARTIN’S THE

S H O R T T E N T H E D I T I O N

Rise B. Axelrod Charles R. Cooper

with e-Pages

1 Introduction: Thinking about Writing 1

PART 1 Writing Activities

2 Remembering an Event 8 3 Writing Profiles 58 4 Explaining a Concept 116 5 Finding Common Ground 172 6 Arguing a Position 242 7 Proposing a Solution 296 8 Justifying an Evaluation 350 9 Speculating about Causes 402

10 Analyzing Stories 457

PART 2 Critical Thinking Strategies

11 A Catalog of Invention Strategies 508 12 A Catalog of Reading Strategies 521

PART 3 Writing Strategies

13 Cueing the Reader 546 14 Narrating 561 15 Describing 574 16 Defining 586 17 Classifying 594 18 Comparing and Contrasting 601 19 Arguing 608 20 Analyzing Visuals 626

Brief Contents

21 Designing Documents 640 22 Writing in Business and Scientific

Genres 652

PART 4 Research Strategies

23 Planning a Research Project 666 24 Finding Sources and Conducting Field

Research 674

25 Evaluating Sources 690 26 Using Sources to Support Your Ideas 697 27 Citing and Documenting Sources in MLA

Style 709

28 Citing and Documenting Sources in APA Style 739

PART 5 Writing for Assessment

29 Essay Examinations 752 30 Writing Portfolios 766

PART 6 Writing and Speaking to Wider Audiences

31 Oral Presentations 772 32 Working with Others 777 33 Writing in Your Community 781

To access the e-Pages that accompany this text, visit bedfordstmartins.com/theguide/epages. Students who do not buy a new book can purchase access to e-Pages at this site.

Chapter 2: Remembering an Event Shannon Lewis, We Were Here [student reading selection] Juliane Koepcke, How I Survived a Plane Crash [newspaper

article and linked podcast interview] Andrew Lam, Waterloo [book excerpt] Playing with Genre: Kate Beaton, Treasure [annotated cartoon]

Chapter 3: Writing Profiles Brianne O’Leary, Fatty’s Custom Tattooz and Body Piercing

[student reading selection] Sam Dillon, 4,100 Students Prove “Small Is Better” Rule Wrong

[newspaper article and slideshow] Veronica Chambers, The Secret Latina [magazine article

with illustrations] Playing with Genre: Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, Skull Cleaner

[linked video]

Chapter 4: Explaining a Concept Ammar Rana, Jihad: The Struggle in the Way of God [student

reading selection] Slate, What Extremely Walkable and Unwalkable Neighborhoods

Look Like [interactive maps and chart] Melinda Beck, What Cocktail Parties Teach Us [newspaper article] Playing with Genre: National Geographic Online, Mapping Memory

[annotated web pages]

Chapter 5: Finding Common Ground Chris Sexton, Virtual Reality? [student reading selection] Playing with Genre: Bloggingheads.tv [podcast interview with

jonathan haidt]

Understanding the Issue of Unpaid Internships Raphael Pope-Sussman, Let’s Abolish This Modern-Day Coal Mine

[op-ed] David Lat, Why Mess with a Win-Win Situation? [op-ed] Camille Olson, A Valuable Idea, If We Follow the Law [op-ed]

Understanding the Issue of Global Warming David McCandless, The Global Warming Skeptics vs. the Scientific

Consensus [infographic]

Chapter 6: Arguing a Position Michael Niechayev, It’s Time to Ban Head-First Tackles and Blocks

[student reading selection]

Farhad Manjoo, Troll, Reveal Thyself [annotated web page and linked podcast interview]

Laurie Fendrich, Sex for Tuition [op-ed] Playing with Genre: Ad Council / U.S. Department of Transportation,

The “It’s Only Another Beer” Black and Tan [annotated advertisement]

Chapter 7: Proposing a Solution Molly Coleman, Missing the Fun [student reading selection] TempoHousing, Keetwonen (Amsterdam Student Housing)

[interactive web page] Zach Youngerman, Did Bad Neighborhood Design Doom Trayvon

Martin? [op-ed] Playing with Genre: Ad Council, The $9 Lunch [annotated

advertisement]

Chapter 8: Justifying an Evaluation Brittany Lemus, Requiem for a Dream: Fantasy versus Reality

[student reading selection] Marlon Bishop, Gig Alert: Bright Eyes [interactive web page

and sound file] Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, Isn’t Narcissism

Beneficial, Especially in a Competitive World? [book excerpt] Playing with Genre: Yelp, Kuma’s Korner [annotated web page]

Chapter 9: Speculating about Causes Michele Cox, The Truth about Lying [student reading selection] On the Media, The Reel Sounds of Violence [podcast interview

with daniel engber] Shirley S. Wang, A Field Guide to the Middle-Class U.S. Family

[newspaper article] Playing with Genre: Jonathan Jarvis, The Crisis of Credit Visualized

[animated infographic]

Chapter 10: Analyzing Stories Sally Crane, Gazing into the Darkness [student reading selection] David Ratinov, From Innocence to Insight: “Araby” as an Initiation

Story [student reading selection] Playing with Genre: Natalie George, Lacey Patzer, and Sam

Williams, “The Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin [student video] Adrian Tomine, Mandarin Accent [graphic story (excerpt)] Sandra Tsing Loh, My Father’s Chinese Wives [story] Jamaica Kincaid, Girl

Inside the e-Pages for The St. Martin’s Guide

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The St Martin’s Guide to Writing

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Preface iii

The St Martin’s Guide to Writing

Rise B. Axelrod University of California, Riverside

Charles R. Cooper University of California, San Diego

Bedford / St. Martin’s

SHORT TENTH EDITION

For Bedford/St. Martin’s

Senior Developmental Editor: Jane Carter Production Editor: Peter Jacoby Senior Production Supervisor: Jennifer Peterson Executive Marketing Manager: Molly Parke Editorial Assistant: Amy Saxon Copy Editor: Diana Puglisi George Indexer: Melanie Belkin Photo Researcher: Debbie Needleman Permissions Manager: alina Ingham Art Director: Lucy rikorian Text Design: Jerilyn Bockorick Cover Design: Marine Bouvier Miller Composition: Cenveo Publisher Services Printing and Binding: RR Donnelley and Sons

President, Bedford/St. Martin’s: Denise B Wydra Presidents, Macmillan Higher Education: Joan E Feinberg and Tom Scotty Editor in Chief: aren S Henry Director of Development: Erica T Appel Director of Marketing: aren R Soeltz Production Director: Susan W Brown Associate Production Director: Elise S aiser Managing Editor: Shuli Traub

Copyright © 2013 2010 2008 2004 by Bedford St Martin’s All rights reserved No part of this book may be reproduced stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic mechanical photocopying recording or otherwise except as may be expressly permitted by the applicable copyright statutes or in writing by the Publisher

Manufactured in the United States of America

8 7 6 5 4 3 f e d c b a

For information, write: Bedford St Martin’s 75 Arlington Street Boston MA 02116 617-399-4000

ISBN 978-1-4576-3250-1 paperback with Handbook ISBN 978-1-4576-0442-3 hardcover with Handbook ISBN 978-1-4576-4081-0 loose-leaf edition with Handbook ISBN 978-1-4576-0450-8 paperback without Handbook

Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments and copyrights are continued at the back of the book on pages A-1–A-4 which constitute an extension of the copyright page It is a violation of the law to reproduce these selec- tions by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the copyright holder

v

We owe an enormous debt to all the rhetoricians and composition specialists whose theory research and pedagogy have informed The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing We would be adding many pages if we were to name everyone to whom we are indebted

The members of the advisory board for the tenth edition a group of dedicated composition instructors from across the country have provided us with extensive insights and suggestions for the chapters in Part One and have given us the benefit of their advice on new features The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing has been greatly enhanced by their contributions

Advisory Board

Lisa Bickmore Salt Lake Community College

Mary Brantley Holmes Community College–Ridgeland

Jo Ann Buck Guilford Technical Community College

Wallace Cleaves University of California–Riverside

Leona Fisher Chaffey College

Gwen Graham Holmes Junior College–Grenada

Lesa Hildebrand Triton College

Stephanie Kay University of California–Riverside

Donna Nelson-Beene Bowling Green State University

Gail Odette Baton Rouge Community College

Gray Scott Texas Woman’s University

David Taylor St. Louis Community College

this page left intentionally blank

vii

When we first wrote The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing our goal was to provide stu- dents with the clear guidance and practical strategies they needed to harness their potential as writers — an achievement that will be key to their success in college at work and in the wider world We also wanted to provide instructors with the hands- on tools they needed to help their students write with a clear understanding of their rhetorical situation Our goals have remained the same and so The St. Martin’s Guide retains the core features that over the years have drawn so many instruc- tors and programs to the Guide But now it also includes many new features that we believe will keep the Guide the most practical hands-on text for teachers and students

Core Features of the Guide The St. Martin’s Guide retains its emphasis on active learning — learning by doing — by providing practical guides to writing promoting genre awareness to aid the transfer of writing skills from one genre or context to another and integrating reading and writing through hands-on activities of critical thinking reading and analysis

Practical Guides to Writing

Each chapter in Part One offers practical flexible guides that help students draft and revise essays in a variety of analytical and argumentative genres Commonsensical and easy to follow these writing guides teach students to

assess the rhetorical situation focusing on their purpose and audience with spe- cial attention to the genre and medium in which they are writing

ask probing analytical uestions

practice finding answers through various kinds of research including memory search field research and traditional source-based research

These flexible guides to writing begin with a Starting Points chart to offer students multiple ways of finding the help they need when they need it Each also includes a Critical Reading Guide to help students assess their own writing and the writing of their classmates and a Troubleshooting Guide to help students find ways to improve their drafts All these guides are organized and color-coded to emphasize the genre’s basic features In short the guides to writing help students make their writing

Preface

Prefaceviii

THINKING CRITICALLY

Summarize: Tell the writer what you understand the subject of the evaluation to be, and identify the kind of subject it is.

Praise: Point to a place where the subject is presented effectively — for example, where it is described vividly and accurately, where it is named, or where it is clearly placed in a recognizable genre or category.

Critique: Tell the writer where readers might need more information about the subject, and whether any information about it seems inaccurate or possibly only partly true. Suggest how the writer could clarify the kind of subject it is, either by naming the category or by giving examples of familiar subjects of the same type.

Has the writer presented the subject effectively?

Subject

A CRITICAL READING GUIDE

Summarize: Tell the writer what you understand the overall judgment to be, and list the criteria on which it is based.

Praise: Identify a passage in the essay where support for the judgment is presented effectively — for example, note particularly strong supporting reasons, appeals to criteria readers are likely to share, or especially compelling evidence.

Critique: Let the writer know if you cannot find a thesis statement or think the thesis is vague or overstated. Tell the writer where the evaluation could be improved — for example, suggest another reason that could be added; propose a way to justify one of the criteria on which the evaluation is based; or recommend a source or an example that could be used to bolster support for the judgment.

Has the writer supported the judgment effectively?

Each chapter in Part One introduces a genre of writing By working through several genres students learn how writers employ the basic features and strategies of a genre to achieve their purpose with their readers The Arguing a Position essay for exam ple teaches students to examine critically their views on a controversial issue as well as those of their prospective readers with an eye toward developing an argument that not only is well reasoned and well supported but also responds constructively to read ers’ likely uestions and concerns The Finding Common Ground essay teaches stu dents how to analyze opposing arguments on a controversial issue—unpacking the ways writers use the classical appeals of logos ethos and pathos to promote their underlying values and beliefs Whereas the primary purpose in Arguing a Position is persuasive to convince readers to take seriously the writer’s point of view the primary purpose in a Finding Common Ground essay is analytical to explain the basis for divergent points of view and determine where if anywhere compromise might be forged Studying multiple genres —as well as multiple examples of each genre —helps students understand that genre is not simply a way for rhetoricians to classify texts or

thoughtful clear organized and compelling—in a word effective for the rhetorical situation

Preface ix

for teachers to construct assignments More important genre awareness helps them understand how we actually communicate with one another in a variety of contexts and situations Genre awareness makes us better communicators better readers and writers in whatever medium we are using

Systematic Integration of Critical Reading and Reflective Writing

Students are asked to read and analyze essays in the genre they are learning to write The activities following the professional reading selections prompt students to read actively by asking them to reflect on the essay and connect it to their own experience and to read like a writer paying attention to the strategies the writer uses to convey his or her ideas and connect with readers

What’s New Although the tenth edition of The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing builds on the success of previous editions many of the strategies the Guide employs have changed in order to connect more effectively with a new generation of teachers and students Even in the years since the publication of the ninth edition there have been the increasingly burdensome demands on the time attention and energy of teachers and students and the tremendous growth in access to high-speed Internet So the guiding principle for the tenth edition has been to maximize active learning by enhancing the book’s visual rhetoric, giving students more opportunities for hands-on learning, and pro- viding students and instructors with more readings and more interactive activities than ever before: more showing more doing more options more learning

More Readings in the e-Pages

The Guide is the first rhetoric to integrate e-Pages that come alive online with video Web sites podcasts and more An electronic extension of the printed page e-Pages make it possible for us to include more reading selections in the Guide than ever before The e-Pages for The St. Martin’s Guide, Tenth Edition include the following:

Ten more student essays. Each is accompanied by a headnote identifying the student writer and describing the assignment that the essay was written to fulfill are available free through the e-Pages Additional student essays are also avail- able on the book’s companion site and in Sticks and Stones, a collection of student essays from across the country that is available free to adopters

Twenty-one more professional readings take advantage of what the Web can do to give instructors more choices than ever before Each reading is accompa- nied by a headnote describing the writer and the venue in which the selection originally appeared and each is followed by an Analyze Write activity that

Prefacex

asks students to think and write about how the selection employs a basic feature of the genre A Consider Possible Topics feature is also included to help students identify topics about which they could write

Student Site for The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing—bedfordstmartins.com/theguide—or by typing the following URL into the address bar of a Web browser: bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/epages

Students receive automatic access with the purchase of a new book If the activa tion code printed on the inside back cover of the student edition has expired students

415GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Vedantam The Telescope Effect

Shankar Vedantam Th e Telescope Eff ect

SHAN AR VEDANTAM is a National Public Radio correspondent and a journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Slate, and the Washington Post He has been honored with fellowships and awards by Harvard University the World Health Organization the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Public Health Association In addition to his many articles Vedantam writes plays and fiction including his short story collection The Ghosts of Kashmir 2005 “The Telescope Effect” is excerpted from his book The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds

Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives 2010 The photograph of the rescued dog Hokget which appears in the reading selection on p 416 is from the Honolulu

As you read consider the following uestions:

The Insiko 1907 was a tramp tanker that roamed the hunted the seas for fishing fleets in need of fuel the Insiko had a cargo of tens of thousands of gallons of diesel It was supposed to be an Indonesian ship except that it was not registered in Indonesia because its owner who lived in China did not bother with taxes In terms of international law the Insiko 1907

largest ocean on earth On March 13 2002 a fire broke out in the Insiko’s engine room The ship was about eight hundred miles south of Hawaii’s Big Island and adrift Its crew could not call on anyone for help and no one who could help knew of the Insiko’s existence let alone its problems 1

Drawn by wind and currents the Insiko eventually got within two hundred twenty miles of Hawaii where it was spotted by a cruise ship called the Norwegian Star on April 2 The cruise ship diverted course rescued the Taiwanese crew and radioed the United States Coast Guard But as the Norwegian Star pulled away from the Insiko and steamed toward Hawaii a few passengers on

tain’s puppy had been left behind on the tanker It is not entirely clear why the cruise ship did not

rescue the Jack Russell mixed terrier or why the

1

2

3

Taiwanese crew did not insist on it Whatever the

were abandoned on the terrible immensity of the Pacific The Norwegian Star senger who heard the barking dog called the Hawaiian Humane Society in Honolulu The Humane Society

ports began appearing about the terrier whose name was Hokget

Something about a lost puppy on an abandoned ship on the Pacific gripped people’s imaginations

cue One check was for five thousand dollars “It

tunity for people to feel good about rescuing a dog People poured out their support A handful of people

ing money to the homeless ’” But Burns felt the great thing about America was that people were free to give money to whatever cause they cared about and people cared about Hokget

On April 26 nearly one and a half months after the puppy’s ordeal began the American Quest found the Insiko female pup was still alive and hiding in a pile of

4

5

Preface xi

25GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Make connections: Remembering idols. We often fi nd ourselves profoundly affected by what happens to people we’ve never

idol showing us not only how Tupac’s death affected her then but what she thinks of her teenage self ’s obsession now that she is older

Recall a time when the emotional impact of an event that happened to someone else or to other people was powerful enough to affect your behavior decisions or actions for the day or longer Consider the reasons for your reactions Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts to a class discussion board or blog or to discuss them with other students in class Use these uestions to get started:

Use the basic features.

Dialogue is a narrating strategy that helps writers dramatize a story uoting with descriptive speaker tags —

He said, “ .” She asked, “ ?”

hearing what was said and how it was said But all of the dialogue strategies — uoting

clude demonstrate how effective this sentence strategy can be

1 Skim the story, highlighting the dialogue and underlining the speaker tags. Also note

2 Consider each bit of dialogue, paraphrase, or summary to see what role it plays. Does it tell you something about the speaker or her relationship with another person? Does it convey feelings or attitudes? Does it advance the narrative or something else?

Speaker tag

To learn more about quoting

phrasing, and summarizing in autobiographical stories, see pp. 11–12; to learn more about using them in your own writing, see the Guide to Writing, pp. 35–36 and 38–39.

REFLECT

bedfordstmartins.com/theguide/epages and following the instructions there

Leaner chapters make it easier for instructors to get and keep students reading and to focus their attention on what matters most This edition of The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing is tighter and more focused than ever

A new design helps guide students through the chapters with headings that show students where they are where they’ve been and where they’re going in the chapter and that help students identify the activities and understand the purpose they serve in active learning

Prefacexii

problem. (pp. 299–300)

(p. 332)

Problem (p. 314)

Studies (p. 320)

(pp. 326–27)

seriousness. (pp. 335–36)

for your readers. (pp. 336–37)

Problem. (p. 344)

GUIDE TO WRITING

The Writing Assignment

munity or group to which you belong and address your proposal to one or more members of the group or to outsiders who might help solve the problem

This Guide to Writing is designed to help you compose your own proposal and apply what you have learned from reading other essays in the same genre This Starting Points chart will help you fi nd answers to uestions you might have about composing a proposal Use the chart to fi nd the guidance you need when you need it

The Writing Assignment

Invention,

Planning, and Composing

Improving the

Proofreading

330

331

341

343

330

How do I come up with a problem to write about?

How can I best define the problem for my readers?

(pp. 301–2)

Implementation (p. 327)

How do I come up with a plausible solution?

s show students the techni ues writers use to communicate effectively with their readers

is worth the expense time and effort to do so

Read fi rst to fi nd the proposed solution usually declared in a thesis statement early in the essay Typically the thesis describes the proposed solution briefl y and indicates how it would solve the problem as in this example which contrasts the problem’s disadvantages with the solution’s benefi ts:

So not only do discourage frequent study and undermine students’ performance, they also If professors gave brief exams at fre uent intervals students would be spurred to learn more and worry less They would study more regularly perform better on tests and enhance their cognitive functioning O’Malley par 2

Th h k h h i h i d id d

Problem and its disadvantages

Thesis proposing solution and its benefits

A mini table of contents and a Starting Points chart at the opening of each Guide to Writing section in Part One help students fi nd the information they need Starting Points Critical Reading, and Troubleshooting guides use speech bubbles to prompt students to refl ect on interrogate and revise their writing on their own

Preface xiii

Integrated sentence strategies foreground the sentence patterns writers use to communicate effectively with their readers Examples from the reading selections demonstrate the fl exibility of the pattern

In the Guide to Writing sentence strategies are integrated into the Ways In activities to invite students to use them for their own rhetorical purpose and to make them their own as they revise

Frame the problem for your readers. Once you have made a preliminary choice of a problem consider what you know about it what research will help you explore what others think about it and how you can interest your readers in solving it Then determine how you can frame or reframe

you revise later

Give an example to make the problem specific:

has been [in the news/ in movies/a political issue] because of [name event].

Example: Lately the issue of bullying has been in the news sparked by the suicide of Tyler Clementi a gay college student

Bornstein par 1

Brainstorm a list: Spend 10 minutes listing everything you know about the problem Write uickly leaving judgment aside for the moment After the 10 minutes are up you can review your list and highlight or star the most promising information

Use cubing: Probe the problem from a variety of perspectives:

problems or contrast it with other related problems

views, consult Chapter 24,

writing, see Chapter 11, pp. 510, 514–15.

Use t e bas c eatu es.

Writers sometimes have to remind their readers why an issue is controversial Beginning with the title Solove works to undermine the widely held assumption

wellian and afkaes ue based on the novels 1984, by George Orwell and The Trial, by Franz afka To present this contrast Solove uses sentence patterns like these:

Not , but .

focus on , which is characterized by even notice , which is characterized by .

Here are a couple of examples from Solove’s position argument:

The problems are not just Orwellian but afkaes ue par 10

Legal and policy solutions focus too much on the problems under the Orwellian metaphor — those of surveillance — and aren’t ade uately addressing the afkaes ue problems — those of information processing par 9

Prefacexiv

Greater attention to the writing situation helps students transfer the skills they’re learning to other courses and contexts: Practicing the Genre activities at the beginning of the chapter encourage students to explore the genre collaboratively Playing with Genre boxes at the end of each Guide to Reading section encourage students to consider the effects of genre A new chapter on writing in business and scientific genres encourages students to consider how genre drives design and formatting

Concept explanations may appear in textbooks or magazines but they also appear in a variety of other contexts You can fi nd podcasts that explain concepts on iTunes University or Web tutorials that explain concepts on sites from Microsoft.com to the National Library of Medicine nlm nih gov Infographics like the example below from National Geographic Online are used fre uently to explain complex concepts

Infographics and Other Concept

Explanations Online

version of this feature, plus activities, go to

.

In the next section of this chapter we ask you to explain a concept Consider how you can best engage your readers’ attention and make the explanation clear to your audience and possibly yourself What explanatory strategies will

your explanation in a different medium in a graphic or an online tutorial help

Consider too whether using visuals or conveying your concept explanation in a different medium would be acceptable to your instructor

With the tenth edition the full version of The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing is now available in a wider variety of formats than ever before including hardcover,

Preface xv

paperback, loose leaf, and versions For a full list of options visit us online at bedfordstmartins.com/theguide/catalog

The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing, Tenth Edition helps students build profi ciency in the four categories of learning that writing programs across the country use to assess their students’ work: rhetorical knowledge critical thinking reading and writing writing processes and knowledge of conventions The chart below shows in detail how The St. Martin’s Guide helps students develop these profi ciencies

DESIRED STUD ES RELEVANT FEATURES THE ST. MARTIN’S GUIDE

Rhetorical Knowledge

purpose(s) for the genre of writing covered in that chapter.

audiences particular genre covered in that chapter. In Chapters 6–10, which cover argument, there is also extensive discussion of the need to anticipate opposing positions and

kinds of rhetorical situations rhetorical situation, from remembering an event (Chapter 2) to analyzing stories (Chapter 10).

structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation

Guides to Writing help students systematically develop their own effective structures. Document design is covered in the Guide to Writing in each of these chapters, as well as in a dedicated Chapter 21, “Designing Documents,” and in a new Chapter 22, “Writing in Business and Scientific Genres.”

Adopt appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality

Many of the Sentence Strategies in each chapter in Part One deal with these issues. Also, see purpose and audience coverage mentioned previously.

reading and writing

constructive peer criticism. In addition, In College Courses, In the Community, and In the Workplace sections, which open each Part One chapter, as well as Playing with

outside the composition course.

(continued)

Prefacexvi

DESIRED STUD ES RELEVANT FEATURES THE ST. MARTIN’S GUIDE

Rhetorical Knowledge continued

Write in several genres The Guides to Writing in each of the nine chapters in Part One offer specific advice on writing to remember an event; to profile a person, activity, or place; to explain a concept; to analyze opposing positions and find common ground; to argue a position; to propose a solution; to justify an evaluation; to speculate about causes; and to analyze literature. In addition, Chapter 22 covers business and scientific genres, and Chapters 23–26 cover research strategies that many students will use while writing in the genres covered in Part One.

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing

inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating whose apparatus introduces students to thinking about the features of the genre; then a

Guide to Writing leads them through the process of applying these features to an essay of their own. Chapter 11, “A Catalog of Invention Strategies,” and Chapter 12, “A Catalog

Other Part Two chapters include coverage of specific invention, reading, and writing strategies useful in a variety of genres.

as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate primary and secondary sources

The Guides to Writing in each chapter in Part One break writing assignments down into doable focused thinking and writing activities that engage students in the recursive process of invention and research to find, analyze, and synthesize

various strategies useful in working with sources, including annotating, summarizing,

coverage of finding, evaluating, using, and acknowledging primary and secondary

creating an annotated bibliography.

Integrate their own ideas with those of others integrate and introduce quotations, how to cite paraphrases and summaries so as to

strategies and research coverage in several Part One chapters offer additional support.

language, knowledge, and power Make Connections, a recurring section in the apparatus following the professional

the context of the world they live in. These preliminary reflections come into play in the Guides to Writing, in which students are asked to draw on their experiences in college, community, and career in order to begin writing. Thinking Critically sections, which conclude Part One chapters, ask students to reconsider what they have learned, often in a social/political context.

Preface xvii

DESIRED STUD ES RELEVANT FEATURES THE ST. MARTIN’S GUIDE

Processes

Be aware that it usually takes multiple drafts to create and complete a successful text

The need for a critical reading of a draft and for revision is emphasized in Chapter 1 as well as in the Guides to Writing in each chapter of Part One. Case studies of

Part One chapter.

Develop flexible strategies for generating ideas, revising, editing, and proofreading

invention and research, getting a critical reading of a draft, revising, editing, and proofreading. Also in each Part One chapter, Ways In invention activities encourage students to start from their strengths, and Starting Points and Troubleshooting charts offer specific, targeted advice for students with different challenges. A dedicated Chapter 11, “A Catalog of Invention Strategies,” offers numerous helpful suggestions for idea generation.

process that permits writers to use later invention and rethinking to revise their work

on rethinking and revising at multiple stages. Ways In activities, Starting Points charts, and Troubleshooting charts in Part One chapters encourage students to discover, review, and revise their own process(es) of writing.

social aspects of writing processes

Learn to critique their own and Part One chapter offer students specific advice on constructively criticizing—and praising — their own work and the work of their classmates. Peer review is also covered in depth in Chapter 32, “Working with Others.”

Learn to balance the advantages of relying on others with the responsibility of doing their part

beginning of the chapter, Make Connections activities after the readings, and, in the

work is also covered in depth in Chapter 32, “Working with Others.”

address a range of audiences demonstrate how purpose and medium interact. Sidebars provide information and

See also Chapters 24 and 25 for extensive coverage of finding, evaluating, and using

communities for research, and Chapter 22, which offers advice on creating Web sites. Guide

(continued)

Prefacexviii

Acknowledgments We owe an enormous debt to all the rhetoricians and composition specialists whose theory research and pedagogy have informed The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing We would be adding many pages to an already long book if we were to name everyone to whom we are indebted suffi ce it to say that we have been eclectic in our borrowing

We must also acknowledge immeasurable lessons learned from all the writers professional and student alike whose work we analyzed and whose writing we used in this and earlier editions

So many instructors and students have contributed ideas and criticism over the years The members of the advisory board for the tenth edition a group of dedicated composition instructors from across the country have provided us with extensive

DESIRED STUD ES RELEVANT FEATURES THE ST. MARTIN’S GUIDE

Knowledge of Conventions

Learn common formats for different kinds of texts

Document design is covered in a dedicated Chapter 21 as well as in two sections

formats for a range of texts appear on pp. 731–38 (research paper); p. 653 (memo);

letter); pp. 662–63 (lab report); and pp. 649–50 (table, diagram, graph, chart, map, and other figures).

Develop knowledge of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics

are introduced up front and then consistently reinforced throughout the chapter.

each Guide to Writing.

Practice appropriate means of documenting their work

Chapter 26 offers detailed advice on how to integrate and introduce quotations,

own ideas, and how to avoid plagiarism. Chapters 27 and 28 offer coverage of MLA and APA documentation in addition to an annotated sample student research paper. Chapter 20, “Analyzing Visuals,” also offers a complete student paper with MLA documentation. In addition, research sections in each Guide to Writing in the Part One chapters help students with the details of using and appropriately documenting

Control such surface features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling

Proofreading section in each chapter in Part One. The full version of the Guide also includes a concise yet remarkably comprehensive handbook that covers syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Preface xix

insights and suggestions on the ninth edition and have given us the benefit of their advice on new readings and other new features for the tenth edition For their many contributions we would like to thank Lisa Bickmore Salt Lake Community College Mary Brantley Holmes Community College–Ridgeland Jo Ann Buck Guilford Technical Community College Wallace Cleaves University of California–Riverside Leona Fisher Chaffey College Gwen Graham Holmes Junior College–Grenada Lesa Hildebrand Triton College Stephanie ay University of California–Riverside Donna Nelson-Beene Bowling Green State University Gail Odette Baton Rouge Community College Gray Scott Texas Woman’s University and David Taylor St Louis Community College

Many other instructors have also helped us improve the book For responding to detailed uestionnaires about the ninth edition we thank Yolanda Ainsworth University of Texas at El Paso ara Poe Alexander Baylor University Amy Azul Mt San Antonio College Melissa Batai Triton College Jac ueline Blackwell Thomas Nelson Community College Vanessa M Cavett Holmes Community College– Ridgeland Sherry Cisler Arizona State University Susan Marie Cruea Bowling Green State University James Dail Riverside Community College Heath A Diehl Bowling Green State University Leona Fisher Chaffey College MacGregor Frank Guilford Technical Community College Patricia L Golder Victor Valley College Valerie A Gray Harrisburg Area Community College David R Hammontree Jack- son Community College Anne Helms Alamance Community College Lesa Hildeb- rand Triton College Richard Hishmeh Palomar College Dawn Hubbell-Staeble Bowling Green State University Rick Jones South Suburban College Lucinda Ligget Ivy Tech Community College Gwen W Macallister Covenant College ate McConnell Ivy Tech Community College Sara E McFarland Northwestern State University Linda McHenry Fort Hays State University C Liegh McInnis Jackson State University David Michael Merchant Louisiana Tech University Caroline Nobile Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Jennifer L Odom John Tyler Community College Clayann Gilliam Panetta Christian Brothers University Gordon Petry Bradley University im Salrin Bradley University Marguerite Anne Samuels Cecil College Graham Gray Scott Texas Woman’s University Frank Shimerdla Metropolitan Community College Wanda Synstelien Southwest Min- nesota State University Ruthe Thompson Southwest Minnesota State University Patrick Tompkins John Tyler Community College Susan Waldman Leeward Community and College and Carmen Wong John Tyler Community College

For helping us select new readings and providing feedback on our revisions we thank Yolanda Ainsworth University of Texas at El Paso John Alberti Northern

entucky University ara Poe Alexander Baylor University James Allen College of DuPage Laura Baltuska South Suburban College a’ran Bechet-Benjamin Thomas Nelson Community College Paul Beehler University of California– Riverside Tammie Bob College of DuPage ristin Brunnemer Pierce College Cagle University of Nevada–Las Vegas Gary Cale Jackson Community College Stacey Coulter Holmes Community College Steven P Deaton Holmes Community College–Ridgeland Darren DeFrain Wichita State University Tammy DiBenedetto Riverside College Joanne Diddlemeyer Tidewater Community College Marilu dos

Prefacexx

Santos South Suburban College Anne Dvorak Metropolitan Community College– Longview Christopher Ervin Western entucky University Janis Flint-Ferguson Gordon College MacGregor Frank Guilford Technical Community College Linda Gannon College of Southern Nevada Valerie Gray Harrisburg Area Community College athleen Gurnett University of California–Riverside Anne Helms Ala- mance Community College Lesa Hildebrand Triton College Dawn Hubbell- Staeble Bowling Green State University im Jameson Oklahoma City Community College Peggy Jolly University of Alabama at Birmingham Rick Jones South Sub- urban College Nadene eene Indiana University– okomo Jessica idd Universi- ty of Alabama Lucinda Ligget Ivy Tech Community College Carol Marion Guil- ford Technical Community College Linda Matthews South Suburban College ate McConnell Ivy Tech Community College Sarah E McFarland Northwestern State University Mary McMullen-Light Metropolitan Community College–Longview David Michael Merchant Louisiana Tech University Troy Nordman Butler Com- munity College Gail Odette Baton Rouge Community College Matt Oliver Old Dominion University Staci Perryman-Clark Western Michigan University athryn Raign University of North Texas Amanda Rzicznek Bowling Green State Univer- sity ym Snelling Metropolitan Community College Cathy Stablein College of DuPage Bonnie Startt Tidewater Community College Candace Stewart Ohio State University Elissa Weeks Stogner Loyola University Deana St Peter Guilford Tech- nical Community College Jamey Trotter Arapahoe Community College Janice Vierk Metropolitan Community College Melanie Wagner Lake-Sumter Community College Gwenna Weshinskey College of DuPage Jeana West Murray State College Brian Whaley Utah Valley University Lynn Wolstadt South Suburban College and Hui Wu University of Texas at Tyler

For this new edition of the Guide, we also gratefully acknowledge the special contributions of Gray Scott who made recommendations of reading selections helped draft some of the reading apparatus and was generally available as a sound- ing board and a font of good advice Natasha Cooper Syracuse University who pro- vided expert advice on the revised coverage of research Christine Garbett Bowling Green State University who wrote all comprehension uizzes for the reading selec- tions that appear on the Web site and in the instructor’s manual Beth Castrodale who helped find e-Pages selections and wrote the apparatus to accompany them and Leona Fisher who revised and updated the instructor’s manual Finally we are espe- cially grateful to the student authors for allowing us to use their work in Sticks and Stones and the Guide

We want to thank many people at Bedford St Martin’s especially Senior Editor Jane Carter without whom this book would not have been written Peter Jacoby who worked miracles keeping all the details straight and keeping us on schedule imber- ly Hampton without whom we would have no e-Pages or x-Book and Amy Saxon who single-handedly managed the reviewing process while also editing many of the book’s ancillaries including Sticks and Stones and the Guide Web site

Diana George made many valuable contributions to this revision with her care- ful copyediting as did Jamie Thaman and Lori Lewis with their meticulous

Preface xxi

proofreading and Melanie Belkin with her indexing of the text Sue Brown Shuli Traub and Jenny Peterson kept the whole process running smoothly

Thanks also to the immensely talented design team — book designer Jerilyn Bockorick as well as Bedford St Martin’s art directors Lucy rikorian and Anna Palchik — for making the tenth edition the most beautiful and most functional yet Our gratitude also goes to Linda Winters and Barbara Hernandez for their hard work clearing permissions and Martha Friedman and Debbie Needleman for their imagi- native photo research and uick work clearing permissions for the e-Pages

We also want to thank Erica Appel Director of Development aren Henry Editor in Chief and Leasa Burton Senior Executive Editor — all of whom offered valued advice at many critical stages in the process Thanks as well to Joan Feinberg and Tom Scotty for their adroit leadership of Macmillan Higher Education Denise Wydra for her skillful guidance of Bedford St Martin’s and Marketing Director

aren Soeltz and Executive Marketing Manager Molly Parke — along with the extraordinarily talented and hardworking sales staff — for their tireless efforts on be- half of the Guide

Rise dedicates this book to two young women whose writing she very much looks forward to reading: Amalia Serenity Axelrod-Delcampo and Sophie Amistad Axelrod-Delcampo

Prefacexxii

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Preface xxiii

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Prefacexxiv

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Preface xxv

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Prefacexxvi

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Preface vii

1 Introduction: Thinking about Writing 1 Why Write? 1 Write to communicate effectively in different rhetorical situations. 2 Write to think. 3 Write to learn. 3 Write to succeed. 3 Write to know yourself and connect to other people. 3

How The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing Helps You Learn to Write 4 Learn to write by using the Guides to Reading. 4 Learn to write by using the Guides to Writing. 4

THINKING CRITICALLY 5

REFLECTION: A Literacy Narrative 5

PART 1 Writing Activities

2 Remembering an Event 8 PRACTICING THE GENRE: Telling a Story 10

GUIDE TO READING 11

Analyzing Remembered Event Essays 11 Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. 11 Assess the genre’s basic features. 11

Readings 13 Jean Brandt, Calling Home 13

Shannon Lewis, We Were Here (student reading selection)

Contents

For readings that go beyond the printed page, see bedfordstmartins.com/theguide/epages.

xxviii Contents

Annie Dillard, An American Childhood 17

Jenée Desmond-Harris, Tupac and My Non-thug Life 22

Tom Ruprecht, In Too Deep 27

Juliane oepcke, How I Survived a Plane Crash (newspaper article and linked podcast interview)

Andrew Lam, Waterloo (book excerpt)

PLAYING WITH GENRE: 31

ate Beaton, Treasure (annotated cartoon)

GUIDE TO WRITING 32

The Writing Assignment 32 STARTING POINTS: 32

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing 33 Choose an event to write about. 34

TEST YOUR CHOICE 35

Shape your story. 35

WAYS IN: 35

Organize your story to enhance the drama. 36

TEST YOUR CHOICE 37

Choose your tense and plan time cues. 38 Use dialogue to tell your story. 38 Develop and refine your descriptions. 39

WAYS IN: Describing People and Places 40

Incorporate the descriptive details throughout your story. 41

WAYS IN: Working Descriptions into Action Sequences 41

Consider ways to convey your event’s autobiographical significance. 42

WAYS IN: Conveying 42

Write the opening sentences. 43 Draft your story. 44

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading 44 A CRITICAL READING GUIDE 44

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading 45 Revise your draft. 46

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE 46

Think about design. 48 Edit and proofread your draft. 49

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A WRITER AT WORK 51

Jean Brandt’s Essay 51 The First Draft 54 Critical Reading and Revision 55

THINKING CRITICALLY 56

Reflecting on What You Have Learned 56

Reflecting on the Genre 57

3 Writing Profiles 58 PRACTICING THE GENRE: Conducting an Interview 60

GUIDE TO READING 61

Analyzing Profiles 61

Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. 61 Assess the genre’s basic features. 61

Readings 63 Brian Cable, The Last Stop 63

Brianne O’Leary, Fatty’s Custom Tattooz and Body Piercing (student reading selection)

John T. Edge, I’m Not Leaving Until I Eat This Thing 69

Amanda Coyne, The Long Good-Bye: Mother’s Day in Federal Prison 74

Gabriel Thompson, A Gringo in the Lettuce Fields 81

Sam Dillon, 4,100 Students Prove “Small Is Better” Rule Wrong (newspaper article and slideshow)

Veronica Chambers, The Secret Latina (magazine article with illustrations)

PLAYING WITH GENRE: Profiles in the Media 87

Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, Skull Cleaner (linked video)

GUIDE TO WRITING 88

The Writing Assignment 88 STARTING POINTS: Writing a Profile 88

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing 89 Choose a subject to profile. 90

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TEST YOUR CHOICE 90

Conduct your field research. 91

WAYS IN: Manag Time 91

WAYS IN: Preparing for and Conducting Interviews and Observations 92

Integrate quotations from your interviews. 95 Create an outline that will organize your profile effectively for your readers. 96 Consider document design. 97 Determine your role in the profile. 97

WAYS IN: Determining 97

Develop your perspective on the subject. 98

WAYS IN: Developing 99

Write the opening sentences. 101 Draft your profile. 101

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading 101 A CRITICAL READING GUIDE 102

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading 103 Revise your draft. 103

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE 104

Think about design. 106 Edit and proofread your draft. 107

A WRITER AT WORK 110

Brian Cable’s Interview Notes and Write-Up 110 The Interview Notes 110 The Interview Write-Up 112

THINKING CRITICALLY 114

Reflecting on What You Have Learned 114

Reflecting on the Genre 115

4 Explaining a Concept 116 PRACTICING THE GENRE: 118

GUIDE TO READING 119

Analyzing Concept Explanations 119 Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. 119 Assess the genre’s basic features. 119

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Readings 122 Patricia Lyu, Attachment: Someone to Watch over You 122

Ammar Rana, Jihad: The Struggle in the Way of God (student reading selection)

Anastasia Toufexis, Love: The Right Chemistry 128

Dan Hurley, Can You Make Yourself Smarter? 134

Susan Cain, Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic? 142

Slate, What Extremely Walkable and Unwalkable Neighborhoods Look Like (interactive maps and chart)

Melinda Beck, What Cocktail Parties Teach Us (newspaper article)

PLAYING WITH GENRE:

Online 149

National Geographic Online, Mapping Memory (annotated Web pages)

GUIDE TO WRITING 150

The Writing Assignment 150 STARTING POINTS: 150

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing 152 Choose a concept to write about. 152

TEST YOUR CHOICE 153

Conduct initial research on the concept. 153

WAYS IN: 153

Focus your explanation of the concept. 154

WAYS IN: 154

TEST YOUR CHOICE 155

Conduct further research on your focused concept. 155 Draft your working thesis. 155 Organize your concept explanation effectively for your readers. 156 Design your writing project. 157 Consider the explanatory strategies you should use. 157

WAYS IN: Choosing 157

Use summaries, paraphrases, and quotations from sources to support your points. 158 Use visuals or multimedia illustrations to enhance your explanation. 158 Use appositives to integrate sources. 159 Use descriptive verbs in signal phrases to introduce information from sources. 160 Write the opening sentences. 161 Draft your explanation. 161

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Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading 161 A CRITICAL READING GUIDE 162

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading 163 Revise your draft. 163

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE 163

Think about design. 166 Edit and proofread your draft. 167

A WRITER AT WORK 169

Patricia Lyu’s Use of Sources 169

THINKING CRITICALLY 170

Reflecting on What You Have Learned 170

Reflecting on the Genre 171

5 Finding Common Ground 172 PRACTICING THE GENRE: 174

GUIDE TO READING 175

Analyzing Opposing Positions to Find Common Ground 175 Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. 175 Assess the genre’s basic features. 175

Readings 178 Jeremy Bernard, Lost Innocence 178

Betsy Samson, Does Mother Know Best? 183

Melissa Mae, Laying Claim to a Higher Morality 189

Chris Sexton, Virtual Reality? (student reading selection)

PLAYING WITH GENRE: Talk Shows and Blogs 196

Bloggingheads.tv (podcast interview with Jonathan Haidt)

GUIDE TO WRITING 197

The Writing Assignment 197 STARTING POINTS: 197

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Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing 198 Choose opposing argument essays to write about. 198 Analyze the opposing argument essays. 199

WAYS IN: 199

TEST YOUR CHOICE 201

Think about your readers. 201 Research the issue. 202 Present the issue to your readers. 202 Develop your analysis. 202

WAYS IN: 203

TEST YOUR ANALYSIS 203

Formulate a working thesis statement. 203 Define your purpose for your readers. 204 Consider your tone. 204 Weave quoted material into your own sentences. 204 Create an outline that will organize your analysis effectively for your readers. 205 Write the opening sentences. 206 Draft your essay finding common ground. 207

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading 207 A CRITICAL READING GUIDE 207

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading 209 Revise your draft. 209

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE 209

Think about design. 211 Edit and proofread your draft. 212

A WRITER AT WORK 213

Betsy Samson’s Analysis of Opposing Argument Essays 213

THINKING CRITICALLY 216

Reflecting on What You Have Learned 216

Reflecting on the Genre 216

APPENDIX 218

Understanding the Issue of Parenting Style 218 Amy Chua, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior 219

Hanna Rosin, Mother Inferior? 222

Don Aucoin, For Some, Helicopter Parenting Delivers Benefits 225

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Understanding the Issue of Sports Helmet Use 227 Nate Jackson, The NFL’s Head Cases 227

David Weisman, Disposable Heroes 229

Lane Wallace, Do Sport Helmets Help or Hurt? 231

Understanding the Issue of Compensating Organ Donors 233 Sally Satel, Yuan a Kidney? 234

National idney Foundation, Financial Incentives for Organ Donation 236

Scott Carney, Inside the Business of Selling Human Body Parts 238

Understanding the Issue of Unpaid Internships Raphael Pope-Sussman, Let’s Abolish This Modern-Day Coal Mine (op-ed)

David Lat, Why Mess with a Win-Win Situation? (op-ed)

Camille Olson, A Valuable Idea, If We Follow the Law (op-ed)

Understanding the Issue of Global Warming David McCandless, The Global Warming Skeptics vs. the Scientific Consensus (infographic)

6 Arguing a Position 242 PRACTICING THE GENRE: Debating a Position 244

GUIDE TO READING 245

Analyzing Position Arguments 245 Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. 245 Assess the genre’s basic features. 245

Readings 250 Jessica Statsky, Children Need to Play, Not Compete 250

Michael Niechayev, It’s Time to Ban Head-First Tackles and Blocks (student reading selection)

Richard Estrada, Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names 255

Amitai Etzioni, Working at McDonald’s 260

Daniel J. Solove, Why Privacy Matters Even If You Have “Nothing to Hide” 266

Farhad Manjoo, Troll, Reveal Thyself (annotated Web page and linked podcast interview)

Laurie Fendrich, Sex for Tuition (op-ed)

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PLAYING WITH GENRE: Public Service Announcements 273

Ad Council/U.S. Department of Transportation, The “It’s Only Another Beer” Black and Tan (annotated advertisement)

GUIDE TO WRITING 274

The Writing Assignment 274 STARTING POINTS: Arguing a Position 274

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing 276 Choose a controversial issue on which to take a position. 276

TEST YOUR CHOICE 277

Frame the issue for your readers. 277

WAYS IN: 278

TEST YOUR CHOICE 279

Formulate a working thesis stating your position. 279

WAYS IN: Devising an Arguable Thesis 279

Develop the reasons supporting your position. 280

WAYS IN: 280

Research your position. 280 Use sources to reinforce your credibility. 281 Identify and respond to your readers’ likely reasons and objections. 282

WAYS IN: 282

Create an outline that will organize your argument effectively for your readers. 284 Consider document design. 285 Write the opening sentences. 285 Draft your position argument. 286

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading 286 A CRITICAL READING GUIDE 286

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading 288 Revise your draft. 288

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE 288

Think about design. 289 Edit and proofread your draft. 290

A WRITER AT WORK 292

Jessica Statsky’s Response to Opposing Positions 292 Listing Reasons for the Opposing Position 293 Conceding a Plausible Reason 293 Refuting an Implausible Reason 293

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THINKING CRITICALLY 294

Reflecting on What You Have Learned 294

Reflecting on the Genre 295

7 Proposing a Solution 296 PRACTICING THE GENRE: 298

GUIDE TO READING 299

Analyzing Proposals 299 Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. 299 Assess the genre’s basic features. 299

Readings 304 Patrick O’Malley, More Testing, More Learning 304

Molly Coleman, Missing the Fun (student reading selection)

David Bornstein, Fighting Bullying with Babies 310

elly D. Brownell and Thomas R. Frieden, Ounces of Prevention—The Public Policy Case for Taxes on Sugared Beverages 316

aren ornbluh, Win-Win Flexibility 322

Tempohousing, Keetwonen (Amsterdam Student Housing) (interactive Web page)

ach Youngerman, Did Bad Neighborhood Design Doom Trayvon Martin? (op-ed)

PLAYING WITH GENRE: Proposals in Public Service Announcements 329

Ad Council, The $9 Lunch (annotated advertisement)

GUIDE TO WRITING 330

The Writing Assignment 330 STARTING POINTS: Proposing a Solution 330

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing 331 Choose a problem for which you can propose a solution. 332

TEST YOUR CHOICE 332

Frame the problem for your readers. 333

WAYS IN:

Will Care 333

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TEST YOUR CHOICE 335

Use statistics to establish the problem’s existence and seriousness. 335 Assess how the problem has been framed, and reframe it for your readers. 336

WAYS IN: 336

Develop a possible solution. 337

WAYS IN: Solving the Problem 337

Explain your solution. 338

WAYS IN: ility 338

Research your proposal. 338 Develop a response to objections and alternative solutions. 339

WAYS IN: 339

Create an outline that will organize your proposal effectively for your readers. 340 Write the opening sentences. 341 Draft your proposal. 341

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading 341 A CRITICAL READING GUIDE 342

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading 343 Revise your draft. 343

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE 344

Think about design. 345 Edit and proofread your draft. 345

A WRITER AT WORK 347

Patrick O’Malley’s Revision Process 347

THINKING CRITICALLY 348

Reflecting on What You Have Learned 348

Reflecting on the Genre 349

8 Justifying an Evaluation 350 PRACTICING THE GENRE: 352

GUIDE TO READING 353

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Analyzing Evaluations 353 Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. 353 Assess the genre’s basic features. 353

Readings 357 William Akana, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: A Hell of a Ride 357

Brittany Lemus, Requiem for a Dream: Fantasy versus Reality (student reading selection)

Steve Boxer, LA Noire Review 363

Malcolm Gladwell, What College Rankings Really Tell Us 368

Christine Rosen, The Myth of Multitasking 374

Marlon Bishop, Gig Alert: Bright Eyes (interactive Web page and sound file)

Jean M. Twenge and W. eith Campbell, Isn’t Narcissism Beneficial, Especially in a Competitive World? (book excerpt)

PLAYING WITH GENRE: 382

Yelp, Kuma’s Corner (annotated Web page)

GUIDE TO WRITING 383

The Writing Assignment 383 STARTING POINTS: 383

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing 384 Choose a subject to evaluate. 385

TEST YOUR CHOICE 385

Assess your subject and consider how to present it to your readers. 386

WAYS IN: 386

Formulate a working thesis stating your overall judgment. 387

WAYS IN: Asserting a Tentative Overall Judgment 387

Develop the reasons and evidence supporting your judgment. 388

WAYS IN: 388

Research your evaluation. 389 Respond to a likely objection or alternative judgment. 389

WAYS IN: 390

Organize your draft to appeal to your readers. 391 Write the opening sentences. 392 Draft your evaluation. 392

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Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading 392 A CRITICAL READING GUIDE 393

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading 394 Revise your draft. 394

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE 395

Think about design. 396 Edit and proofread your draft. 397

A WRITER AT WORK 399

William Akana’s Thesis and Response to Objections 399

THINKING CRITICALLY 400

Reflecting on What You Have Learned 400

Reflecting on the Genre 401

9 Speculating about Causes 402 PRACTICING THE GENRE: Arguing That a Cause Is Plausible 404

GUIDE TO READING 405

Analyzing Texts Speculating about Causes 405 Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. 405 Assess the genre’s basic features. 405

Readings 409 Sheila McClain, The Fitness Culture 409

Michele Cox, The Truth about Lying (student reading selection)

Shankar Vedantam, The Telescope Effect 415

Stephen ing, Why We Crave Horror Movies 422

Erica Goode, The Gorge-Yourself Environment 426

On the Media, The Reel Sounds of Violence (podcast interview with Daniel Engber)

Shirley S. Wang, A Field Guide to the Middle-Class U.S. Family (newspaper article)

PLAYING WITH GENRE: Graphics and Other Visuals 433

Jonathan Jarvis, The Crisis of Credit Visualized (animated infographic)

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GUIDE TO WRITING 434

The Writing Assignment 434 STARTING POINTS: Speculating about Causes 434

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing 436 Choose a subject to analyze. 436

TEST YOUR CHOICE 437

Present the subject to your readers. 438

WAYS IN: 438

Analyze possible causes. 439

WAYS IN: Analyzing Possible Causes 439

Conduct research. 440 Cite a variety of sources to support your causal analysis. 441 Formulate a working thesis stating your preferred cause(s). 441

WAYS IN: Asserting a Thesis 442

Draft a response to objections readers are likely to raise. 442

WAYS IN: Objections 443

Draft a response to the causes your readers are likely to favor. 443

WAYS IN: 444

Create an outline that will organize your causal analysis effectively for your readers. 445 Write the opening sentences. 446 Draft your causal analysis. 446

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading 446 A CRITICAL READING GUIDE 447

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading 448 Revise your draft. 448

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE 449

Think about design. 450 Edit and proofread your draft. 451

A WRITER AT WORK 453

Sheila McClain’s Analysis of Possible Causes 453

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THINKING CRITICALLY 455

Reflecting on What You Have Learned 455

Reflecting on the Genre 455

10 Analyzing Stories 457 PRACTICING THE GENRE: Analyzing a Story Collaboratively 458

GUIDE TO READING 459

Analyzing Essays That Analyze Stories 459 Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. 459 Assess the genre’s basic features. 459

Readings 463 Iris Lee, Performing a Doctor’s Duty 463

Isabella Wright, “For Heaven’s Sake!” 466

Sally Crane, Gazing into the Darkness (student reading selection)

David Ratinov, From Innocence to Insight: “Araby” as an Initiation Story (student reading selection)

PLAYING WITH GENRE: Adaptations, Sequels, and Parodies 471

Natalie George, Lacey Patzer, and Sam Williams, “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (student video)

GUIDE TO WRITING 472

The Writing Assignment 472 STARTING POINTS: Analyzing Stories 472

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing 473 Find a story to write about. 473 Analyze the story. 475

WAYS IN:

Approach to Take 475

WAYS IN: Generating Ideas by Moving from Specific Details to General Ideas and Vice Versa 478

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teSt youR choice 479

Formulate a working thesis. 479

wayS in: Formulating an Arguable Thesis 480

Provide support for your argument. 481

wayS in: Integrating Evidence from the Story 481

To build on your support, consider doing outside research. 482 Create an outline that will organize your argument effectively. 483 Write the opening sentences. 483 Draft your analysis. 484

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading 484 a cRitical Reading guide 485

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading 486 Revise your draft. 486

a tRoubleShooting guide 487

Think about design. 488 Edit and proofread your draft. 488

A WRiteR At WoRk 491

Isabella Wright’s Invention Work 491

thinkinG CRitiCAllY 494

Reflecting on What You Have Learned 494

Reflecting on the Genre 494

An AntholoGY oF ShoRt StoRieS 495 Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour 495

James Joyce, Araby 497

William Carlos Williams, The Use of Force 501

Jamaica Kincaid, Girl 504

Adrian Tomine, Mandarin Accent (graphic story [excerpt])

Sandra Tsing Loh, My Father’s Chinese Wives (story)

Jamaica Kincaid, Girl (audio recording)

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PART 2 Critical Thinking Strategies

11 A Catalog of Invention Strategies 508 Mapping 508 Create a cluster diagram. 509 Make a list. 510 Create an outline. 510

Writing 514 Use cubing. 514 Construct a dialogue. 515 Use the five elements of dramatizing. 515 Freewrite for a set amount of time. 517 eep a journal. 517 Use looping. 518 Ask questions. 519

12 A Catalog of Reading Strategies 521 Annotating 522 Martin Luther ing Jr., An Annotated Sample from “Letter from Birmingham Jail” 522

Taking Inventory 528

Outlining 529

Paraphrasing 531

Summarizing 532

Synthesizing 533

Contextualizing 534

Exploring the Significance of Figurative Language 535

Looking for Patterns of Opposition 537

Reflecting on Challenges to Your Beliefs and Values 538

Evaluating the Logic of an Argument 539 Test for appropriateness. 539 Test for believability. 540 Test for consistency and completeness. 541

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Recognizing Emotional Manipulation 541

Judging the Writer’s Credibility 542 Test for knowledge. 542 Test for common ground. 543 Test for fairness. 543

PART 3 Writing Strategies

13 Cueing the Reader 546 Orienting Statements 546 Use thesis statements to announce the main idea. 546 Use forecasting statements to preview topics. 547

Paragraphing 548 Paragraph indents signal related ideas. 548 Topic sentences announce the paragraph’s focus. 549

Cohesive Devices 552 Pronouns connect phrases or sentences. 552 Word repetition aids cohesion. 553 Synonyms connect ideas. 553 Sentence structure repetition emphasizes connections. 554 Collocation creates networks of meaning. 554

Transitions 555 Transitions emphasize logical relationships. 555 Transitions can indicate a sequence in time. 556 Transitions can indicate relationships in space. 557

Headings and Subheadings 558 Headings indicate sections and levels. 559 Headings are not common in all genres. 559 At least two headings are needed at each level. 559

14 Narrating 561 Narrating Strategies 561 Use calendar and clock time to create a sequence of events. 561 Use temporal transitions to establish an action sequence. 563 Use verb tense to place actions in time. 564 Use narrative action for vivid sequences. 566 Use dialogue to dramatize events. 567

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Narrating a Process 568 Use process narratives to explain. 568 Use process narratives to instruct. 571

Sentence Strategies for Narration 572

15 Describing 574 Naming 574

Detailing 575

Comparing 577

Using Sensory Description 578 Describe what you saw. 578 Describe what you heard. 579 Describe what you smelled. 580 Describe tactile sensations. 581 Describe flavors. 582

Creating a Dominant Impression 583

Sentence Strategies for Description 584

16 Defining 586 Sentence Definitions 587

Extended Definitions 587

Historical Definitions 590

Stipulative Definitions 591

Sentence Strategies for Definition 592

17 Classifying 594 Organizing Classification 594

Illustrating Classification 596

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Maintaining Clarity and Coherence 598

Sentence Strategies for Classification 599

18 Comparing and Contrasting 601 Two Ways of Comparing and Contrasting 601

Analogy 605

Sentence Strategies for Comparison and Contrast 606

19 Arguing 608 Asserting a Thesis 608 Make arguable assertions. 609 Use clear and precise wording. 610 ualify the thesis appropriately. 610

Giving Reasons and Support 611 Use representative examples for support. 612 Use up-to-date, relevant, and accurate statistics. 613 Cite reputable authorities on relevant topics. 614 Use vivid, relevant anecdotes. 615 Use relevant textual evidence. 616

Responding to Objections and Alternatives 617 Acknowledge readers’ concerns. 618 Concede readers’ concerns. 618 Refute readers’ objections. 619

Logical Fallacies 620

Sentence Strategies for Argument 621

20 Analyzing Visuals 626 Criteria for Analyzing Visuals 628

A Sample Analysis 629

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21 Designing Documents 640 The Impact of Document Design 640

Considering Context, Audience, and Purpose 641

Elements of Document Design 642 Choose readable fonts. 642 Use headings to organize your writing. 644 Use lists to highlight steps or key points. 645 Use colors with care. 645 Use white space to make text readable. 646

Adding Visuals 647 Choose and design visuals with their final use in mind. 647 Number, title, and label visuals. 647 Cite visual sources. 650 Integrate the visual into the text. 650 Use common sense when creating visuals on a computer. 651

22 Writing in Business and Scientific Genres 652

Memos 652

Letters 654

E-mail 656

Résumés 657

Job-Application Letters 659

Web Pages 659

Lab Reports 662

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PART 4 Research Strategies

23 Planning a Research Project 666 Analyzing Your Rhetorical Situation and Setting a Schedule 667

Choosing a Topic and Getting an Overview 669

Narrowing Your Topic and Drafting Research Questions 670

Establishing a Research Log 670

Creating a Working Bibliography 671

Annotating Your Working Bibliography 672

Taking Notes on Your Sources 673

24 Finding Sources and Conducting Field Research 674

Searching Library Catalogs and Databases 674 Use appropriate search terms. 675 Narrow (or expand) your results. 675 Find books (and other sources) through your library’s catalog. 675 Find articles in periodicals using your library’s databases. 677 Find government documents and statistical information. 679 Find Web sites and interactive sources. 679

Conducting Field Research 682 Conduct observational studies. 682

PRACTICING THE GENRE: Collaborating on an Observational Study 684

Conduct interviews. 684

PRACTICING THE GENRE: Interviewing a Classmate 686

Conduct surveys. 686

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25 Evaluating Sources 690 Choosing Relevant Sources 690

Choosing Reliable Sources 692 692 692 Is the source

693 694 696 696

26 Using Sources to Support Your Ideas 697 Synthesizing Sources 697

Acknowledging Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism 698 698 Avoid

plagiarism by acknowledging sources and quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing carefully. 698

Using Information from Sources to Support Your Claims 700 Decide whether to quote, paraphrase, or summarize. 701 Copy quotations exactly, or use italics, ellipses, and brackets to indicate changes. 701 Use in-text or block quotations. 704 Use punctuation to integrate quotations into your writing. 706 Paraphrase sources carefully. 706 Summaries should present the source’s main ideas in a balanced and readable way. 708

27 Citing and Documenting Sources in MLA Style 709

Citing Sources in the Text 710 DIRECTORY TO IN-TEXT CITATION MODELS 710

Creating a List of Works Cited 714 DIRECTORY TO WORKS-CITED LIST MODELS 714

Student Research Project in MLA Style 730

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28 Citing and Documenting Sources in APA Style 739

Citing Sources in the Text 739 DIRECTORY TO IN-TEXT CITATION MODELS 739

Creating a List of References 741 DIRECTORY TO REFERENCE LIST MODELS 741

A Sample Reference List 748

PART 5 Writing for Assessment

29 Essay Examinations 752 Preparing for an Exam 752

Taking the Exam 753 Read the exam carefully. 753 Write your answer. 759

30 Writing Portfolios 766 The Purposes of a Writing Portfolio 766

Assembling a Portfolio for Your Composition Course 766 Select your work. 767 Reflect on your work and what you have learned. 768 Organize your portfolio. 769

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PART 6 Writing and Speaking to Wider Audiences

31 Oral Presentations 772 Preparing 772 Understand the kind of oral presentation you have been asked to give. 772 Assess your audience and purpose. 773 Determine how much information you can present in the allotted time. 773 Use cues to orient listeners. 773 Prepare effective and appropriate visuals. 774 Verify that you will have the correct equipment and supplies. 775 Rehearse your presentation. 775

Delivering Your Oral Presentation 776

32 Working with Others 777 Working with Others on Your Individual Writing Projects 777

Working with Others on Joint Writing Projects 779

33 Writing in Your Community 781 Using Your Service Experience as Source Material 781 Find a topic. 781 Gather sources. 782

Writing about Your Service Experience 783

Writing for Your Service Organization 784

Index I-1

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The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing

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Introduction: Thinking about Writing

1

1

More people are writing today than ever before, and many are switching comfortably from one genre or medium to another — from tweeting to blogging to creating multi- media Web pages. Learning to be effective as a writer is a continuous process as you find yourself in new writing situations using new technologies and trying to antici- pate the concerns of different audiences. “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write,” futurist Alvin Toffler predicted, “but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Learning anything — especially learning to communicate in new ways — benefits from what we call reflection, thinking critically about how as well as what you are learning. Extensive research confirms what writers have known for a long time: that reflection makes learning easier and faster. In fact, recent studies show that writing even a few sentences about your thoughts and feelings before a high-stress paper or exam helps students reduce stress and boost performance. That is why in this chapter and throughout this book, we ask you to think about your experience as a writer, and we recommend using writing to explore and develop your ideas. The activities that conclude this chapter invite you to compose a literacy narrative, a multifaceted exploration of yourself as a writer.

To get started thinking about writing, we will look at some of the important con- tributions writing makes. Then, we’ll preview how The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing can help you become a better, more confident, and more versatile writer.

Why Write? “Why write ” is an important basic question, especially today, when many people assume technology has eliminated the need to learn to write well. Obviously, writing enables you to communicate, but it also helps you think and learn, enhances your chances of success, contributes to your personal development, and strengthens your relationships.

CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Thinking about Writing2

Write to communicate effectively in different rhetorical situations. Writing is a powerful means of communicating with diverse audiences in different genres and media. We use the term rhetorical situation to emphasize the fact that writing is social and purposeful. The rhetorical situation includes four interrelated factors:

Why Your purpose for writing

Who The audience you are addressing

What The genre or type of text you are writing

How The medium in which your text will be read

Writing with an awareness of the rhetorical situation means writing not only to ex- press yourself but also to reach out to your readers (audience) by engaging their inter- est and responding to their concerns. You write to influence how your readers think and feel about a subject and, depending on the genre, perhaps also to inspire them to action.

Writing with genre awareness affects your composing decisions — what you write about (subject choice), the claims you make (thesis), how you support those claims (reasons and evidence), and how you organize it all. Genres are simply ways of categorizing texts — for example, we can distinguish between fiction and nonfiction; subdivide fiction into romance, mystery, and science fiction genres; or break down mystery even further into hard-boiled detective, police procedural, true crime, and classic whodunit genres. Each genre has a set of conventions or basic features readers expect texts in that genre to use. Although individual texts within the same genre vary a great deal — for example, no two proposals, even those arguing for the same solution, will be identical — they nonetheless follow a general pattern that provides a certain amount of predictability. Without such predictability, communication would be difficult, if not impossible. But these con- ventional patterns should not be thought of as recipes. Conventions are broad frameworks within which writers are free to be creative. Most writers, in fact, find that working within a framework makes creativity possible. Depending on the formality of the rhetorical situation and the audience’s openness to innovation, writers may also play with genre conventions, remixing features of different genres to form new mash-ups, as you will see in the Playing with Genre sections of each Part One chapter.

Like genre, the medium in which you are working also affects many of your design and content choices. For example, written texts can use color, type fonts, charts, diagrams, and still images to heighten the visual impact of the text, deliv- ering information vividly and persuasively. If you are composing Web pages or apps, you have many more options to make your text truly multimedia — for ex- ample, by adding hyperlinks, animation, audio, video, and interactivity to your written text.

Why Write? 3

“How can I tell what I think,” the novelist E. M. Forster famously wrote, “till I see what I say?”

Write to think. The very act of writing—crafting and combining sentences—helps you think creatively and logically. You create new ideas by putting words together to make meaningful sentences and by linking sentences with logical transitions, like however or because, to form a coherent chain of meaning. Many writers equate thinking with writing: “How can I tell what I think,” the novelist E. M. Forster famously wrote, “till I see what I say ” Other writers have echoed the same idea. Columnist Anna uindlen, for example, put it this way: “As a writer, I would fi nd out most clearly what I thought, and what I only thought I thought, when I saw it written down.” Finally, here’s the way physicist James Van Allen explained the connection between writing and thinking: “The mere process of writing is one of the most pow erful tools we have for clarifying our own thinking.”

Write to learn. As a student, you are probably keenly aware of the many ways writing can help you do well in courses throughout the curriculum. The physical act of writing —from simply making notes as you read, to listing main points, to summarizing—is a potent memory aid. Writing down your rudimentary ideas and posing questions can lead to deeper understanding. Analyzing and synthesizing ideas and information from different sources can extend your learning. Most important, thinking about what you are learning and how—what are called methodologies in many disciplines—can open up new directions for further learning.

Write to succeed. Writing contributes to success in school and at work. We’ve already suggested some of the ways writing can both help you think analytically and logically and aid your learn ing and remembering. In school, you need to use writing to demonstrate your learn ing. You will be asked to write essays explaining and applying concepts and to construct academic arguments using sources and other kinds of evidence. Your skill at doing these things will most likely affect your grades. Writing also helps in practical ways as you apply for internships, admission to professional school, and a job. At work, you may need to write for a variety of rhetorical situations—for example, to evaluate staff you supervise, to collaborate with colleagues proposing

reports justifying expenditures and priorities. Just as your achievement in school is infl uenced by your ability to write well, so, too, may your professional success depend on your ability to write effectively to different audiences in varied genres and media.

Write to know yourself and connect to other people. Writing can help you grow as an individual and also help you maintain and build re lationships with friends and colleagues. Journal writing has long been used as a

CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Th inking about Writing4

confers authority, giving you confi dence to assert your ideas and opinions. Whether you’re tweeting to let friends know what’s happening, posting comments on a Web site, taking part in a class discussion, or participating in political debate and de cision making, writing enables you to offer your own point of view and invites others to share theirs in return.

How The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing Helps You Learn to Write There are many myths about writing and writers. Perhaps the most enduring myth is that people who are good at writing do not have to learn to write —they just naturally

know how. Writing may be easier and more rewarding for some people, but no one is born knowing how to write. Writing must be learned. To learn to write, as Stephen ing explained, “you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” That is precisely how The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing works—by providing both a Guide to Reading and a Guide to Writing for each genre you will be writing.

Learn to write by using the Guides to Reading.

analyzing several texts in the genre you will be writing in, you can see how writers employ the genre’s basic features differently to achieve their purpose with their audience. In other words, you will see in action the many strategies writers can use to achieve their goals.

Learn to write by using the Guides to Writing. These guides help you apply to your own writing what you are learning from reading and analyzing examples of the genre. They provide a scaffold to support your writing as you develop a repertoire of strategies for using the genre’s basic features to achieve your purpose with your audience.

Each Guide to Writing begins with a Starting Points chart that will enable you to fi nd answers to your composing questions. You can follow your own course, dipping into the Guide for help when you need it, or you can follow the sequence of explor atory activities, from Writing a Draft through Evaluating the Draft to Improving the Draft. Although many people assume that good writers begin with their fi rst sentence and go right through to their last sentence, professional writers know that writing is a process of discovery. Most writers begin with preliminary planning and exploratory writing that at some point turns into a rough draft. Then, as the draft takes shape, they may reconsider the organization, do additional research to fi ll in gaps, rewrite

To learn to write, as Stephen King explained, “you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

THINKING CRITICALLY

In addition to modeling good writing and providing guides for reading and writing, The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing helps you think critically about your writing. Each writing assignment chapter in Part One of the Guide includes many opportunities for you to think critically and refl ect on your understanding of the rhetorical situation in which you are writing. In addition, a section titled Thinking Critically concludes each chapter, giving you an opportunity to look back and refl ect on how you used your writing process creatively and how you expanded your understanding of the genre. The following activity gives you the opportunity to refl ect on your own experience with reading and writing, your own literacy narrative. Why not start now to become a better writer by thinking critically about your own experience

REFLECTION

A Literacy Narrative Write several pages telling about your experience with writing. Consider the following sug gestions:

Recall an early experience of writing: What did you write? Did anyone read it? What kind of feedback did you get? How did you feel about yourself?

Think of a turning point when your attitude toward writing changed or crystallized. What happened? What changed?

How Th e St. Martin’s Guide to Writing Helps You Learn to Write 5GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Essayist Dave Barry describes his typical writing process this way: “It’s a matter of piling a little piece here and a little piece there, fitting them together, going on to the next part, then going back and gradually shaping the whole piece into something.”

his typical writing process this way: “It’s a matter of piling a little piece here and a little piece there, fi tting them together, going on to the next part, then going back and gradually shaping the whole piece into something.”

A challenge for most writers comes when they have a draft but don’t know how to improve it. It is sometimes hard for them to see what a draft actually says as opposed to what they want to convey. Instructors often set aside class time for a draft workshop or ask students to do an online peer critique. Each chapter’s Guide to Writing includes a Critical Reading Guide for this pur pose. You may fi nd that reading someone else’s draft can be especially helpful to you as a writer because it’s often easier to recognize problems and see how to fi x them in someone else’s draft than it is to see similar problems in your own writing. The Criti cal Reading Guide is also keyed to a Troubleshooting Guide that will help you fi nd ways to revise and improve your draft. The Guide to Writing also includes advice on

CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Thinking about Writing6

Recall a person—a teacher, a classmate, a family member, a published writer, or someone else—who influenced your writing, for good or ill. How was your writing affected?

Cast yourself as the main character of a story about writing. How would you describe yourself—as a talented writer, as someone who struggles to write well, or somewhere in between? Consider your trajectory, or narrative arc: Over the years, would you say you have showed steady improvement? Ups and downs? More downs than ups? A decline?

Think about literacy more broadly and write about how you acquired academic literacy (perhaps focusing on how you learned to think, talk, and write as a scientist or a historian), workplace literacy (perhaps focusing on how you learned to communicate effectively with customers or managers), sports literacy (perhaps as a player, coach, or fan), music literacy (perhaps as a performer or composer), community literacy (perhaps focusing on how you learned to communicate with people of different ages or with people who speak different languages or dialects), or any other kind of literacy you have mastered.

Remembering an Event 8

Writing Profiles 58

Explaining a Concept 116

Finding Common Ground 172

Arguing a Position 242

Proposing a Solution 296

Justifying an Evaluation 350

Speculating about Causes 402

Analyzing Stories 457

PART 1

Writing Activities

7

8

IN COLLEGE COURSES For a linguistics course, a student writes an essay analyzing a recent conversation with her brother in light of a book she read for the class: Deborah Tannen’s Gender and Discourse, in which Tannen argues that when discussing problems, women tend to focus on the problem and their feelings about it, while men typically cut short talk about feelings and focus on possible solutions. The student begins her essay by reconstructing the conversation with her brother, quoting some dialogue from her diary and paraphrasing other parts from memory. Then she analyzes the conversation. Using Tannen’s ideas, she discovers that what bothered her about the conversation was less its content than her brother’s way of communicating.

2 Remembering an Event Writing about the memorable events and

people in our lives can be exhilarating.

This kind of writing can lead us to think

deeply about why certain experiences

are meaningful and continue to touch

us. It can help us understand the cultural

influences that helped shape who we are

and what we value. It can also give us

an opportunity to represent ourselves

and connect with others. In college

courses, we can use our experience to

better understand what we are studying

in the community, we can use personal

stories for inspiration and in the

workplace, we can use experience to

catalyze needed change.

9

IN THE WORKPLACE A respected longtime regional manager gives the keynote speech at the highway department’s statewide meeting on workplace safety. He opens his speech with a dramatic recounting of a confrontation he had with a disgruntled employee who complained bitterly about his work schedule and threatened the safety of the manager and his family. Setting the scene (a lonely office after hours) to help audience members enter into his experience, he describes the taste of fear in his mouth and his relief when a contractor entered the office. The manager follows the anecdote with data showing the frequency of such workplace incidents nationwide and concludes by calling for new departmen- tal guidelines on how to defuse such confrontations effectively.

IN THE COMMUNITY As part of a local history series in a newspaper serving a small western ranching community, an amateur historian helps an elderly rancher write about the winter of 1938, when a six-foot snowfall isolated the rancher’s family for nearly a month. The rancher talks about how he, his wife, and the couple’s infant son survived, including an account of how he snowshoed eight miles to get word to relatives. The details the rancher includes, like the suspenseful description of his exhaust- ing trek, make the event vivid and dramatic for the newspaper’s readers.

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 10

In this chapter, we ask you to write about a remembered event that will engage read- ers and that has significance for you. From reading and analyzing the selections in the Guide to Reading that follows, you will learn how to make your own story inter- esting, even exciting, to read. The Guide to Writing later in the chapter will support you as you compose your remembered event essay, showing you ways to use the basic features of the genre to tell your story vividly and dramatically, entertaining readers but also giving them insight into the event’s significance — its meaning and impor- tance — in your life.

PRACTICING THE GENRE

Telling a Story The success of remembered event writing depends on how well the story is told. Some memorable events are inherently dramatic, but most are not. The challenge is to make the story entertaining and meaningful for readers. The most effective autobiographical stories make readers care about the storyteller and curious to know what happened. To practice creating an engaging story based on a memorable event in your life, get together with two or three other students and follow these guidelines:

Part 1. Choose a memorable event that you feel comfortable describing to this group. (Make sure you can tell your story in just a few minutes.) Take five minutes to sketch out a plan: Think about what makes the event memorable (for example, a conflict with someone else or within yourself, the strong or mixed feelings it evokes, the cultural attitudes it reflects). What will be the turning point, or climax, of the story, and how will you build up to it? Then take turns telling your stories.

Part 2. After telling your stories, discuss what you learned about the genre:

What did you learn about the genre from others’ stories? To think about purpose and audience in the genre of autobiography, tell each other what struck you most on hearing each other’s stories. For example, identify something in the story that was moving, suspenseful, edgy, or funny. What in the story, if anything, helped you identify or sympathize with the storyteller? What do you think the point or significance of the story is—in other words, what makes the event so memorable?

What did you learn about the genre from constructing your own autobiographical story? With the others in your group, compare your thoughts on what was easiest and hardest about telling the story: for example, choosing an event, portraying the conflict and making the story dramatic, selecting what to put in and leave out, or letting the story speak for itself without explaining.

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GUIDE TO READING

Analyzing Remembered Event Essays As you read the selections in this chapter, you will see how different authors craft stories about an important event in their lives. Analyzing how these writers tell a dra

choose the details and words that enable them to convey their perspective on the event will help you see how you can employ these same techniques when writing your own autobiographical story.

Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. Many people write about important events in their lives to archive their memories and to learn something about themselves. eep in mind, however, that unless you are writing in your diary, remembered event writing is a public genre meant to be read by

readers often see larger themes or deeper implications—what we call signifi cance— beyond those the writer consciously intends to communicate or even acknowledges. This rich ness of meaning makes autobiographical writing fascinating to read and to write. When reading the selections about remembered events that follow, ask yourself the following questions about the writer’s purpose and audience:

What seems to be the writer’s main purpose—for example, to understand what happened and why, perhaps to confront unconscious and possibly uncompli mentary motives; to relive an intense experience, perhaps to work through com plex and ambivalent feelings; to win over readers, perhaps to justify or rationalize choices made, actions taken, or words used; to reflect on cultural attitudes at the time the event occurred, perhaps in contrast to current ways of thinking

What does the author assume about the audience—for example, that readers will have had similar experiences and therefore appreciate what the writer went through and not judge the writer too harshly; that they will see the writer as inno cent, well meaning, a victim, or something else; that readers will laugh with and not at the writer, seeing the writer’s failings as amusing foibles and not serious shortcomings; that readers will reflect on the cultural context in which the event occurred and how it influenced the writer

Assess the genre’s basic features. As you read remembered event essays in this chapter, you will see how different authors incorporate the basic features of the genre. The examples that follow are taken from the reading selections that appear later in this Guide to Reading.

A TOLD STORY

Read fi rst to enjoy the story pleasure to read.

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Basic Features

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 12

Examine the story to see if it is well told. Does it let readers into the narrator’s point of view, enabling us to empathize with the writer Does it arouse curiosity and suspense by structuring the narrative around conflict Does it lead to a change or dis- covery of some kind These elements can be visualized in the form of a dramatic arc (see Figure 2.1), which you can analyze to see how a narrative creates and resolves dramatic tension.

Look also to see how dialogue is used to portray people, help readers understand their point of view, and heighten the drama. There are three ways to present dia- logue: by quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing. Quoting dramatizes the dialogue through a combination of actual spoken words and descriptive speaker tags that surround them:

“You stupid kids,” he began perfunctorily. (Dillard, par. 18)

Paraphrasing reports the content of what was said but doesn’t quote the actual words or use quotation marks:

Ernie said he was going to take a quick look in the cave and invited me to come along. I politely declined. (Ruprecht, par. 5)

Summarizing gives the gist without the detail:

I was read my rights and questioned. (Brandt, par. 19)

VIVID DESCRIPTION OF PEOPLE AND PLACES

Look for descriptions of people and places to see how the describing strategies of nam- ing, detailing, and comparing are used to portray vividly what people look like and how they dress, gesture, and talk as well as to convey graphic sensory images show- ing what the narrator saw, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted. For example, take a look at Desmond-Harris’s description of people and Dillard’s description of a place:

Speaker tag

Exposition/ Inciting Incident

Rising Action

Climax

Falling Action

Resolution/ Reflection

Exposition/Inciting Incident: Background information, scene setting, or an introduction to the characters or an initial conflict or problem that sets off the action, arousing curiosity and suspense

Rising Action: The developing crisis, possibly leading to other conflicts and complications

Climax: The emotional high point, often a turning point marking a change for good or ill

Falling Action: Resolution of tension and unraveling of conflicts; may include a final surprise

Resolution/Reflection: Conflicts come to an end but may not be fully resolved, and writer reflects on the event’s meaning and importance—its significance

FIGURE 2.1 Dramatic Arc The shape of the arc varies. Not all stories devote the same amount of space to each element, and some may omit an element or include more than one.

13GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Brandt Calling Home

My hair has recently been straightened with my first (and last) relaxer and a Gold ’N Hot flatiron on too high a setting. Hers is slicked back with the mixture of Herbal Essences and Blue Magic that we formulated in a bathroom laboratory. (Desmond- Harris, par. 6)

The cars’ tires laid behind them on the snowy street a complex trail of beige chunks like crenellated castle walls. I had stepped on some earlier; they squeaked. (Dillard, par. 5)

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE

Read finally to understand the story’s autobiographical significance. This is the point the writer is trying to make — the purpose for writing to a particular audience. Notice how writers convey mixed or ambivalent feelings, how they acknowledge still- unresolved conflict, how they avoid making the story seem clichéd or sentimental.

To convey the richness of meaning that makes the event worth writing about, writers tell as well as show

by remembering feelings and thoughts from the time the event took place:

The thought of going to jail terrified me. . . . I felt alone and scared.” (Brandt, par. 17)

It was an immense discovery, pounding into my hot head with every sliding, joyous step, that this ordinary adult evidently knew what I thought only children . . . knew. (Dillard, par. 13)

by reflecting on the past from the present perspective:

I mourned Tupac’s death then , and continue to mourn him now , because his music represents the years when I was both forced and privileged to confront what it meant to be black. (Desmond-Harris, par. 9)

by choosing details and words that create a dominant impression: Brandt, for exam- ple, describes her rapidly changing feelings: naïve optimism, fear, humiliation, excitement, shame, worry, relief. This cinematic technique of quick cuts from one feeling or thought to another conveys the volatility of her emotions.

Readings

Jean Brandt Calling Home AS A FIRST-YEAR college student, Jean Brandt wrote about a memorable event that oc- curred when she was thirteen. Reflecting on how she felt at the time, Brandt writes, “I was afraid, embarrassed, worried, mad.” In disclosing her tumultuous and contradictory re- membered feelings, Brandt makes her story dramatic and resonant. Even if readers have not had a similar experience, they are likely to empathize with Brandt and grasp the signifi- cance of this event in her life.

Naming

Comparing

Detailing

For more on describing strategies, see Chapter 15.

Basic Features

As you read, do the following:

downplays or eliminates.

these questions to a class blog or discussion board or bring them to class.

As we all piled into the car, I knew it was going to be a fabulous day. My grand

mother was visiting for the holidays; and she and I, along with my older brother and

sister, Louis and Susan, were

and full of joy. I loved shopping —

like our

General Store, my favorite. It carried mostly knickknacks

and other useless items which nobody needs but buys anyway. I was thirteen years

old at the time, and things like buttons and calendars and posters would catch my

fancy. This day was no different. The object of my desire was a

Snoopy was the latest. If you owned anything with the Peanuts on it, you were “in.”

But since I was supposed to be shopping for gifts for other people and not myself, I

couldn’t decide what to do. I went in search of my sister for her opinion. I pushed my

way through throngs of people to the back of the store where I found Susan. I asked

her if she thought I should buy the button. She said it was cute and if I wanted it to

go ahead and buy it.

got back to the Snoopy section, I took one look at the lines at the cashiers

and knew I didn’t want to wait thirty minutes to buy an item worth less than one dollar.

I walked back to the basket where I found the button and was about to drop it when

suddenly, instead, I took a quick glance around, assured myself no one could see, and

slipped the button into the pocket of my sweatshirt.

I hesitated for a moment, but once the item was in my pocket, there was no turn

ing back. I had never before stolen anything; but what was done was done. A few sec

onds later, my sister appeared and asked, “So, did you decide to buy the button?”

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CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 14

Brandt Calling Home 15

“No, I guess not.” I hoped my voice didn’t quaver. As we headed for the

entrance, my heart began to race. I just had to get out of that store. Only a few

more yards to go and I’d be safe. As we crossed the threshold, I heaved a sigh of

relief. I was home free. I thought about how sly I had been and I felt proud of my

accomplishment.

An unexpected tap on my shoulder startled me. I whirled

aged man, dressed in street clothes, flashing some type of badge and politely asking me to

empty my pockets.

no one had seen me! On the verge of panicking, I told myself that all I had to do was give

item.

Next thing I knew, he was talking about calling the police and having me arrested

and thrown in jail, as if he had just nabbed a professional thief instead of a terrified

kid. I couldn’t believe what he was saying.

“Jean, what’s going on?”

The sound of my sister’s voice eased the pressure a bit. She always managed to get

me out of trouble. She would come through this time too.

“Excuse me. Are you a relative of this young girl?”

“This button.”

“I’m sorry, but she broke the law.”

The man led us through the store and into an office, where we waited for the police

officers to arrive. Susan had found my grandmother and brother, who, still shocked,

didn’t say a word. The thought of going to jail terrified me, not because of jail itself,

but because of the encounter with my parents afterward. Not more than ten minutes

later, two officers arrived and placed me under arrest. They said that I was to be

taken to the station alone. Then, they handcuffed me and led me out of the store.

I felt alone and scared. I had counted on my sister being with me, but now I had to

muster up the courage to face this ordeal all by myself.

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CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 16

As the officers led me through the mall, I sensed a hundred pairs of eyes staring

at me. My face flushed and I broke out in a sweat. Now everyone knew I was a criminal.

In their eyes I was a juvenile delinquent, and thank God the cops were getting me off

the streets. The worst part was thinking my grandmother might be having the same

thoughts. The humiliation at that moment was overwhelming. I felt like

being put on public display for everyone to ridicule.

That short walk through the mall seemed to take hours. But once we reached the

station within minutes. Everything happened so fast I didn’t have a chance to feel

remorse for my crime. Instead, I viewed what was happening to me as if it were a movie.

Being searched, although embarrassing, somehow seemed to be exciting. All the movies

and television programs I had seen were actually coming to life. This is what it was

really like. But why were criminals always portrayed as frightened and regretful? I was

having fun. I thought I had nothing to fear—until I was allowed my one phone call.

I was trembling as I dialed home. I didn’t know what I was going to say to my parents,

especially my mother.

“Yeah, but we haven’t told your mother. I think you should tell her what you did

and where you are.”

“You mean she doesn’t even know where I am?”

“No, I want you to explain it to her.”

There was a pause as he called my mother to the phone. For the first time that

night, I was close to tears. I wished I had never stolen that stupid pin. I wanted to

give the phone to one of the officers because I was too ashamed to tell my mother the

truth, but I had no choice.

“Jean, where are you?”

“I’m, umm, in jail.”

“Shoplifting.”

“I don’t know. No reason. I just did it.”

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Dillard An American Childhood

money with you.”

“I know but I just did it. I can’t explain why. Mom, I’m sorry.”

“I’m afraid sorry isn’t enough. I’m horribly disappointed in you.”

Long after we got off the phone, while I sat in an empty jail cell, waiting for my

parents to pick me up, I could still distinctly hear the disappointment and hurt in my mother’s

voice. I cried. The tears weren’t for me but for her and the pain I had put her through. I felt

like a terrible human being. I would rather have stayed in jail than confront my mom right

then. I dreaded each passing minute that brought our encounter closer.

came to release me, I hesitated, actually not wanting to leave.

where I had to sign a form to retrieve my belongings. I saw my parents a few yards away

and my heart raced. A large knot formed in my stomach. I fought back the tears.

Not a word was spoken as we walked to the car. Slowly, I sank into the back seat

anticipating the scolding. Expecting harsh tones, I was relieved to hear almost the

opposite from my father.

“I’m not going to punish you and I’ll tell you why. Although I think what you did

was wrong, I think what the police did was more wrong. There’s no excuse for locking a

you’ve been punished enough already.”

As I looked from my father’s eyes to my mother’s, I knew this ordeal was over.

Although it would never be forgotten, the incident was not mentioned again.

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bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/epages

Annie Dillard An American Childhood

ANNIE DILLARD, professor emeritus at Wesleyan University, won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction writing in 1975 with her first book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974). Since then, she has written eleven other books in a variety of genres. They include Teaching a Stone to Talk (1988), The Writing Life (1990), The Living (1993), Mornings Like This (1996), and The Maytrees (2007). Dillard also wrote an autobiography of her early years, An American Childhood (1987), from which the following selection comes.

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 18

As you read, consider Dillard’s opening paragraphs:

she could have begun with paragraph 3

significance

Some boys taught me to play football. This was fine sport. You thought up a new strategy for every play and whispered it to the others. You went out for a pass, fooling everyone. Best, you got to throw yourself might- ily at someone’s running legs. Either you brought him down or you hit the ground flat out on your chin, with your arms empty before you. It was all or nothing. If you hesitated in fear, you would miss and get hurt: you would take a hard fall while the kid got away, or you would get kicked in the face while the kid got away. But if you flung yourself wholeheartedly at the back of his knees — if you gathered and joined body and soul and pointed them diving fearlessly — then you likely wouldn’t get hurt, and you’d stop the ball. Your fate, and your team’s score, depended on your concentration and courage. Nothing girls did could compare with it.

Boys welcomed me at baseball, too, for I had, through enthusiastic practice, what was weirdly known as a boy’s arm. In winter, in the snow, there was neither baseball nor football, so the boys and I threw snowballs at passing cars. I got in trouble throw- ing snowballs, and have seldom been happier since.

On one weekday morning after Christmas, six inches of new snow had just fallen. We were standing up to our boot tops in snow on a front yard on trafficked Reynolds Street, waiting for cars. The cars traveled Reynolds Street slowly and evenly; they were targets all but wrapped in red ribbons, cream puffs. We couldn’t miss.

I was seven; the boys were eight, nine, and ten. The oldest two Fahey boys were there — Mikey and Peter — polite blond boys who lived near me on Lloyd Street, and who already had four brothers and sisters. My parents approved Mikey and Peter Fahey. Chickie McBride was there, a tough kid, and Billy Paul and Mackie ean too, from across Reynolds, where the boys grew up dark and furious, grew up skinny, know-

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ing, and skilled. We had all drifted from our houses that morning looking for action, and had found it here on Reynolds Street.

It was cloudy but cold. The cars’ tires laid behind them on the snowy street a complex trail of beige chunks like crenellated castle walls. I had stepped on some earlier; they squeaked. We could not have wished for more traffic. When a car came, we all popped it one. In the intervals between cars we re- verted to the natural solitude of children.

I started making an iceball — a perfect iceball, from perfectly white snow, perfectly spherical, and squeezed perfectly translucent so no snow remained all the way through. (The Fahey boys and I considered it unfair actually to throw an iceball at somebody, but it had been known to happen.)

I had just embarked on the iceball project when we heard tire chains come clanking from afar. A black Buick was moving toward us down the street. We all spread out, banged together some regular snowballs, took aim, and, when the Buick drew nigh, fired.

A soft snowball hit the driver’s windshield right before the driver’s face. It made a smashed star with a hump in the middle.

Often, of course, we hit our target, but this time, the only time in all of life, the car pulled over and stopped. Its wide black door opened; a man got out of it, running. He didn’t even close the car door.

He ran after us, and we ran away from him, up the snowy Reynolds sidewalk. At the corner, I looked back; incredibly, he was still after us. He was in city clothes: a suit and tie, street shoes. Any normal adult would have quit, having sprung us into flight and made his point. This man was gaining on us. He was a thin man, all action. All of a sudden, we were run- ning for our lives.

Wordless, we split up. We were on our turf; we could lose ourselves in the neighborhood backyards, everyone

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Dillard An American Childhood

for himself. I paused and considered. Everyone had vanished except Mikey Fahey, who was just rounding the corner of a yellow brick house. Poor Mikey, I trailed him. The driver of the Buick sensibly picked the two of us to follow. The man apparently had all day.

He chased Mikey and me around the yellow house and up a backyard path we knew by heart: under a low tree, up a bank, through a hedge, down some snowy steps, and across the grocery store’s de- livery driveway. We smashed through a gap in another hedge, entered a scruffy backyard and ran around its back porch and tight between houses to Edgerton Avenue; we ran across Edgerton to an alley and up our own sliding woodpile to the Halls’ front yard; he kept coming. We ran up Lloyd Street and wound through mazy backyards toward the steep hilltop at Willard and Lang.

He chased us silently, block after block. He chased us silently over picket fences, through thorny hedges, between houses, around garbage cans, and across streets. Every time I glanced back, choking for breath, I expected he would have quit. He must have been as breathless as we were. His jacket strained over his body. It was an immense discovery, pounding into my hot head with every sliding, joyous step, that this ordinary adult evidently knew what I thought only children who trained at football knew: that you have to fling yourself at what you’re doing, you have to point yourself, forget yourself, aim, dive.

Mikey and I had nowhere to go, in our own neighborhood or out of it, but away from this man who was chasing us. He impelled us forward; we com- pelled him to follow our route. The air was cold; every breath tore my throat. We kept running, block after block; we kept improvising, backyard after backyard, running a frantic course and choosing it simultane- ously, failing always to find small places or hard places to slow him down, and discovering always, exhila- rated, dismayed, that only bare speed could save us — for he would never give up, this man — and we were losing speed.

He chased us through the backyard labyrinths of ten blocks before he caught us by our jackets. He caught us and we all stopped.

We three stood staggering, half blinded, cough- ing, in an obscure hilltop backyard: a man in his twenties, a boy, a girl. He had released our jackets,

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our pursuer, our captor, our hero: he knew we weren’t going anywhere. We all played by the rules. Mikey and I unzipped our jackets. I pulled off my sopping mittens. Our tracks multiplied in the backyard’s new snow. We had been breaking new snow all morning. We didn’t look at each other. I was cherishing my excitement. The man’s lower pants legs were wet; his cuffs were full of snow, and there was a prow of snow beneath them on his shoes and socks. Some trees bor- dered the little flat backyard, some messy winter trees. There was no one around: a clearing in a grove, and we the only players.

It was a long time before he could speak. I had some difficulty at first recalling why we were there. My lips felt swollen; I couldn’t see out of the sides of my eyes; I kept coughing.

“You stupid kids,” he began perfunctorily. We listened perfunctorily indeed, if we listened at

all, for the chewing out was redundant, a mere formal- ity, and beside the point. The point was that he had chased us passionately without giving up, and so he had caught us. Now he came down to earth. I wanted the glory to last forever.

But how could the glory have lasted forever We could have run through every backyard in North America until we got to Panama. But when he trapped us at the lip of the Panama Canal, what precisely could he have done to prolong the drama of the chase and cap its glory I brooded about this for the next few years. He could only have fried Mikey Fahey and me in boiling oil, say, or dismembered us piecemeal, or staked us to anthills. None of which I really wanted, and none of which any adult was likely to do, even in the spirit of fun. He could only chew us out there in the Panamanian jungle, after months or years of exalting pursuit. He could only begin, “You stupid kids,” and continue in his ordinary Pittsburgh accent with his normal righteous anger and the usual com- mon sense.

If in that snowy backyard the driver of the black Buick had cut off our heads, Mikey’s and mine, I would have died happy, for nothing has re- quired so much of me since as being chased all over Pittsburgh in the middle of winter — running terrified, exhausted — by this sainted, skinny, furious redheaded man who wished to have a word with us. I don’t know how he found his way back to his car.

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CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 20

Make connections: Acting fearlessly. At the beginning of the essay, Dillard tells about being taught by the neighborhood boys the joy of playing football, particularly the “all or nothing” of diving “fearlessly” (par. 1). Recall an occasion when you had an opportunity to dive fear- lessly into an activity that posed some challenge or risk or required special effort. For example, you may have been challenged, like Dillard, by your teammates at a football game or by a group of volunteers helping during a natural disaster. Or you may have felt pressured by friends to do something that went against your better judgment, was illegal, or was dangerous. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts to a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

What made you embrace the challenge or resist it What do you think your choice tells about you at the time of the event

Dillard uses the value term courage to describe the fearless behavior she learned playing football. What value term would you use to describe your experience For example, were you being selfless or self-serving; responsible or irresponsible; a fol- lower, a leader, or a self-reliant individual

Use the basic features. A WELL-TOLD STORY: CONSTRUCTING AN ACTION SEQUENCE

Throughout the excerpt from An American Childhood, Dillard combines action verbs and prepositional phrases to create compelling action sequences. Consider this example:

He chased Mikey and me around the yellow house and up a backyard path we knew by heart: under a low tree, up a bank, through a hedge, down some snowy steps, and across the grocery store’s delivery driveway. (par. 12)

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing Dillard’s action sequences:

1 Skim paragraphs 11–13, circling the action verbs and underlining the prepositional phrases.

2 Think about how this series of prepositional phrases contributes to the effectiveness of the scene.

VIVID DESCRIPTION OF PEOPLE AND PLACES: USING NAMES AND DETAILS

Describing — naming objects and detailing their colors, shape, size, textures, and other qualities — is an important strategy in remembered event writing. Writers use this strategy to create vivid images of the scene in which the story takes place. They also use describing to give readers thumbnail portraits of people.

ANALYZE

Action verb

Prepositional phrases

For more on narrative action, see Chapter 14.

To learn more about the describing strategies of naming and detailing, see Chapter 15, pp. 574–77.

REFLECT

21GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Dillard An American Childhood

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing Dillard’s use of naming and detailing:

1 Reread paragraph 4, noting the names of her friends and underlining the details she gives to describe each boy. How do these details help you imagine what each boy was like?

2 Look closely at Dillard’s description of an iceball to see how she uses these describing strategies:

I started making an iceball — a perfect iceball , from perfectly white snow , perfectly spherical , and squeezed perfectly translucent so no snow remained all the way through. (par. 6)

What attributes of the iceball does she point out? Why do you think she repeats the words perfect and perfectly? Notice also that in the next sentence, she tells us that it was against the rules to throw an iceball at someone. So why do you imagine she tries to make such a “perfect” iceball?

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE: SHOWING AND TELLING

Writers use both showing and telling to convey significance. Showing, through the care- ful choice of words and details, creates an overall or dominant impression. Telling presents the narrator’s remembered feelings and thoughts together with her present per- spective on what happened and why it is significant.

To alert readers that they are telling, not showing, writers may announce their experience by using a verb like felt or a noun like thought:

I felt . (Example: “I felt alone and scared” [Brandt, par. 17])

The thought of . (Example: “The thought of going to jail terrified me” [Brandt, par. 17])

A more direct strategy is to choose words that tell readers which emotion or thought was experienced:

The [terror/exhilaration/excitement] was . (Example: “The humiliation of that moment was overwhelming” [Brandt, par. 18])

Writers may also use stream of consciousness, which captures remembered thoughts and feelings by relating what went through the narrator’s mind at the time. The following example re-creates the mash-up of feelings and thoughts, seemingly uncen- sored, that went through Jean Brandt’s mind as she was being stopped for shoplifting:

Where did this man come from How did he know I was so sure that no one had seen me . . . I told myself that all I had to do was give this man his button back, say I was sorry, and go on my way. After all, it was only a 75-cent item. (par. 6)

Much of the telling in autobiographical stories includes what the writer remembers thinking and feeling at the time the incident occurred. But writers also

Naming

Detailing

Verb

Noun

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 22

occasionally insert comments telling what they think and feel now, from the present perspective, as they look back and reflect on the event’s significance.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing Dillard’s use of showing and telling to create autobio- graphical significance:

1 Skim paragraphs 7, 10, 13, 16, 18, and 20–21, highlighting the details Dillard uses to describe the man, how he dresses, the car he drives, and especially the way he talks when he catches her and her friend. What is the dominant impression you get of the man from these details, and what do they suggest about why he chases the kids?

2 Review paragraphs 13–21, adding notes where Dillard tells us what she thought and felt at the time. Notice also how Dillard conveys her present perspective—for example, by using adult vocabulary such as “perfunctorily,” “redundant,” and “mere formality” (par. 19). Highlight any other details that help convey Dillard’s adult authorial voice. What does Dillard’s telling add to the dominant impression, and how does it help you better understand the event’s significance?

Consider possible topics: Remembering unexpected adult actions and reactions. Like Dillard, you could write about a time when an adult did something entirely un- expected during your childhood; an action that seemed dangerous or threatening to you; or something humorous, kind, or generous. Consider unpredictable actions of adults in your immediate or extended family, adults you had come to know outside your family, and strangers. As you consider these possible topics, think about your purpose and audience: What would you want your instructor and classmates to learn about you from reading about this event

RESPOND

Jenée Desmond-Harris Tupac and My Non-thug Life

JENÉE DESMOND-HARRIS is a staff writer at the Root, an online magazine dedicated to African American news and culture. She writes about the intersection of race, politics, and culture in a variety of formats, including personal essays. She has also contributed to Time magazine, MSNBC’s Powerwall, and xoJane on topics ranging from her relationship with her grandmother, to the political significance of Michelle Obama’s hair, to the stereotypes that hinder giving to black- teen mentoring programs. She has provided television commentary on CNN, MSNBC, and Current TV. Desmond-Harris is a graduate of

Howard University and Harvard Law School. The following selection was published in the Root in 2011. It chronicles Desmond-Harris’s reaction to the murder of gangsta rap icon Tupac Shakur in a Las Vegas drive-by shooting in 1996. She mentions Tupac’s mother,

23GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Desmond-Harris Tupac and My Non-thug Life

Afeni, as well as the “East Coast–West Coast war” — the rivalry between Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie), who was suspected of being involved in Tupac’s murder.

As you read, consider the photograph that appeared in the Root article and that is re- produced here:

adolescent self and the event she recollects

I learned about Tupac’s death when I got home from cheerleading practice that Friday afternoon in September 1996. I was a sophomore in high school in Mill Valley, Calif. I remember trotting up my apartment building’s stairs, physically tired but buzzing with the frenetic energy and possibilities for change that accom- pany fall and a new school year. I’d been cautiously al- lowing myself to think during the walk home about a topic that felt frighteningly taboo (at least in my world, where discussion of race was avoided as delicately as obesity or mental illness): what it meant to be biracial and on the school’s mostly white cheerleading team in- stead of the mostly black dance team. I remember ac- knowledging, to the sound of an 8-count that still pounded in my head as I walked through the door, that I didn’t really have a choice: I could memorize a series of stiff and precise motions but couldn’t actually dance.

My private musings on identity and belong- ing — not original in the least, but novel to me — were interrupted when my mom heard me slam the front door and drop my bags: “Your friend died!” she called out from another room. Confused silence. “You know, that rapper you and Thea love so much!”

Mourning a Death in Vegas

The news was turned on, with coverage of the deadly Vegas shooting. Phone calls were made. Ultimately my best friend, Thea, and I were left to our own 15-year-old devices to mourn that weekend. Her mother and stepfa- ther were out of town. Their expansive, million-dollar home was perched on a hillside less than an hour from Tupac’s former stomping grounds in Oakland and Marin City. Of course, her home was also worlds away from both places.

We couldn’t “pour out” much alcohol undetected for a libation, so we limited ourselves to doing somber shots of liqueur from a well-stocked cabinet. One each. Tipsy, in a high-ceilinged kitchen surrounded by

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hardwood floors and en flower arrangements, we baked cookies for his mother. We packed them up to ship to Afeni with a handmade card. (“Did we really do that ” I asked Thea this week. I wanted to ensure that this story, which people who know me now find hilari- ous, hadn’t morphed into some sort of personal urban legend over the past 15 years. “Yes,” she said. “We put them in a lovely tin.”)

On a sound system that echoed through speakers perched discreetly throughout the airy house, we played “Life Goes On” on a loop and sobbed. We analyzed lyrics for premonitions of the tragedy. We, of course, cursed Biggie. Who knew that the East Coast–West Coast war had two earnest soldiers in flannel pajamas, lying on a king-size bed decorated with pink toe shoes that dangled from one of its posts There, we studied our pictures of Tupac and re-created his tattoos on each other’s body with a Sharpie. I got “Thug Life” on my stomach. I gave Thea “Exodus 1811” inside a giant cross. Both are flanked by “West Side.”

A snapshot taken that Monday on our high school’s front lawn (seen here) shows the two of us lying side by side, shirts lifted to display the tributes in black marker.

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The author (left) with her friend Thea

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 24

Despite our best efforts, it’s the innocent, bubbly letter- ing of notes passed in class and of poster boards made for social studies presentations. My hair has recently been straightened with my first (and last) relaxer and a Gold ’N Hot flatiron on too high a setting. Hers is slicked back with the mixture of Herbal Essences and Blue Magic that we formulated in a bathroom laboratory.

My rainbow-striped tee and her white wifebeater capture a transition between our skater-inspired Salvation Army shopping phase and the next one, during which we’d wear the same jeans slung from our hip bones, re- vealing peeks of flat stomach, but transforming our- selves from Alternative Nation to MTV Jams imitators. We would get bubble coats in primary colors that Christmas and start using silver eyeliner, trying — and failing — to look something like Aaliyah.1

Mixed Identities: Tupac and Me

Did we take ourselves seriously Did we feel a real stake in the life of this “hard-core” gangsta rapper, and a real loss in his death We did, even though we were two mixed-race girls raised by our white moms in a privi- leged community where we could easily rattle off the names of the small handful of other kids in town who also had one black parent: Sienna. Rashea. Brandon. Aaron. Sudan. Akio. Lauren. Alicia. Even though the most subversive thing we did was make prank calls. Even though we hadn’t yet met our first boyfriends, and Shock G’s proclamations about putting satin on peo- ple’s panties sent us into absolute giggling fits. And even though we’d been so delicately cared for, nurtured and protected from any of life’s hard edges — with spe- cial efforts made to shield us from those involving race — that we sometimes felt ready to explode with boredom. Or maybe because of all that.

I mourned Tupac’s death then, and continue to mourn him now, because his music represents the years when I was both forced and privileged to confront what it meant to be black. That time, like his music, was about exploring the contradictory textures of this iden- tity: The ambience and indulgence of the fun side, as in

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“California Love” and “Picture Me Rollin’.” But also the burdensome anxiety and outright anger — “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” “Changes” and “Hit ’Em Up.”

For Thea and me, his songs were the musical score to our transition to high school, where there emerged a vague, lunchtime geography to race: White kids perched on a sloping green lawn and the benches above it. Below, black kids sat on a wall outside the gym. The bottom of the hill beckoned. Thea, more outgoing, with more admirers among the boys, stepped down boldly, and I followed timidly. Our formal invitations came in the form of unsolicited hall passes to go to Black Student Union meetings during free periods. We were assigned to recite Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” at the Black History Month assembly.

Tupac was the literal sound track when our school’s basketball team would come charging onto the court, and our ragtag group of cheerleaders kicked furiously to “Toss It Up” in a humid gymnasium. Those were the games when we might breathlessly join the dance team after our cheer during time-outs if they did the single “African step” we’d mastered for BSU performances.

Everything Black — and Cool

. . . Blackness became something cool, something to which we had brand-new access. We flaunted it, buying

wanzaa candles and insisting on celebrating privately (really, just lighting the candles and excluding our friends) at a sleepover. We memorized “I Get Around”2 and took turns singing verses to each other as we drove through Marin County suburbs in Thea’s green Toyota station wagon. Because he was with us through all of this, we were in love with Tupac and wanted to embody him. On Halloween, Thea donned a bald cap and a do- rag, penciled in her already-full eyebrows and was a dead ringer.

Tupac’s music, while full of social commentary (and now even on the Vatican’s playlist), probably wasn’t made to be a treatise on racial identity. Surely it wasn’t created to accompany two girls (little girls, really) as they embarked on a coming-of-age journey. But it was there for us when we desperately needed it.

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1 A hit rhythm-and-blues and hip-hop recording artist. Aaliyah Dana Haughton died in a plane crash at age twenty-two. Editor’s note

2 Tupac Shakur’s first top-twenty single, released in 1993 on Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., Shakur’s second studio album. Editor’s note

25GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Desmond-Harris Tupac and My Non-thug Life

Make connections: Remembering idols. We often find ourselves profoundly affected by what happens to people we’ve never met. You may remember where you were and how you reacted to the death of Mi- chael Jackson or Whitney Houston, for example. In “Tupac and My Non-thug Life,” Desmond-Harris captures the emotional connection between a teen and her slain idol, showing us not only how Tupac’s death affected her then but what she thinks of her teenage self ’s obsession now that she is older.

Recall a time when the emotional impact of an event that happened to someone else (or to other people) was powerful enough to affect your behavior, decisions, or actions for the day or longer. Consider the reasons for your reactions. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts to a class discussion board or blog, or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

Why did you identify so closely with the person (or people) you heard about

What does your reaction say about who you were and what you valued

Would you react the same way today What would be different and why

Use the basic features. A WELL-TOLD STORY: USING DIALOGUE

Dialogue is a narrating strategy that helps writers dramatize a story. uoting with descriptive speaker tags —

He said, “ .” She asked, “ ?”

— is an especially effective way of making readers feel as though they were there, over- hearing what was said and how it was said. But all of the dialogue strategies — quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing — can help readers identify with or understand a writ- er’s point of view and give us an impression of the speakers. Desmond-Harris includes only a few lines of dialogue in “Tupac and My Non-thug Life,” but those she does in- clude demonstrate how effective this sentence strategy can be.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing how Desmond-Harris uses dialogue:

1 Skim the story, highlighting the dialogue and underlining the speaker tags. Also note where Desmond-Harris summarizes or paraphrases a conversation.

2 Consider each bit of dialogue, paraphrase, or summary to see what role it plays. Does it tell you something about the speaker or her relationship with another person? Does it convey feelings or attitudes? Does it advance the narrative or something else?

VIVID DESCRIPTION OF PEOPLE AND PLACES: USING VISUALS AND BRAND NAMES

Desmond-Harris provides lots of concrete details to enliven her narrative. She also uses a photo and refers to brand names to convey to readers an exact sense of what the girls

ANALYZE

Speaker tag

To learn more about quoting with speaker tags, para- phrasing, and summarizing in autobiographical stories, see pp. 11–12; to learn more about using them in your own writing, see the Guide to Writing, pp. 35–36 and 38–39.

REFLECT

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 26

were like. Notice that she recounts the Sharpie tattooing and then actually shows us a photo of the girls displaying their tattoos. But Desmond-Harris does not let the photo speak for itself; instead, she describes the picture, pointing out features, such as their hairstyles and outfits, that mark their identity. Consider the references to particular styles and brand names (such as “our skater-inspired Salvation Army shopping phase”) that tag the various roles they were trying on at that time of their lives (par. 7).

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing Desmond-Harris’s use of a photograph and brand names to enhance her descriptions:

1 Skim paragraphs 5–7, highlighting the specific details in the photo that Desmond- Harris points out as well as the brand names (usually capitalized) and the modifiers that make them more specific (as in skater-inspired).

2 Look closely at the photograph itself, and consider its purpose: Why do you think Desmond-Harris included it? What does the photograph contribute or show us that the text alone does not convey?

3 Consider the effect that the photo and the brand names have on you as a reader (or might have on readers of about Desmond-Harris’s age). How do they help readers envision these girls? What is the dominant impression you get of the young Desmond- Harris from these descriptive details? Where, if anywhere, in this passage do you detect the adult author’s self-irony?

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE: HANDLING COMPLEX EMOTIONS

Remembered events that have lasting significance nearly always involve mixed or ambivalent feelings. Therefore, readers expect and appreciate some degree of complex- ity. Multiple layers of meaning make autobiographical stories more, not less, interest- ing. Significance that seems simplistic or predictable makes stories less successful.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing Desmond-Harris’s handling of the complex personal and cultural significance of her remembered event:

1 Skim the last two sections (pars. 8–13), noting passages where Desmond-Harris tells readers her remembered feelings and thoughts at the time and her present perspective as an adult reflecting on the experience. Consider Desmond-Harris’s dual perspective—that of the fifteen-year-old experiencing the event and the thirty-year-old writing about it. How does she use this dual perspective to convey complexity?

2 Look closely at paragraph 8, and highlight the following sentence strategies:

Rhetorical questions (questions writers answer themselves)

Repeated words and phrases

Stylistic sentence fragments (incomplete sentences used for special effect)

What effect do these sentence strategies have on readers? How do they help convey the significance of the event?

For more on analyzing visuals, see Chapter 20.

To learn more about correcting sentence fragments, turn to the Handbook in the comprehensive edition or e-book; for practice correcting sentence fragments, go to bedfordstmartins.com/ theguide/exercisecentral and click on Sentence Boundaries in the Handbook section.

27GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Ruprecht In Too Deep

Note that in academic writing, stylistic fragments may be frowned on; one of the instructor’s purposes in assigning a writing project is to teach students to use formal academic writing conventions, and it may not be clear from the context whether the student is using a frag- ment purposely for rhetorical effect or whether the student does not know how to identify and correct sentence fragments.

Consider possible topics: Recognizing a public event as a turning point. Like Desmond-Harris, you could write about how a public event, like a celebrity death or marriage, an act of heroism or charity, or even the passage of a law helped (or forced) you to confront an aspect of your identity. Consider the complexities of your reaction — the significance the event had for you at the time and the significance the event has for you now. You might make a list of physical traits, as well as beliefs about or aspects of your sense of identity that changed as a result of the event.

RESPOND

Tom Ruprecht In Too Deep

TOM RUPRECHT is the author of the book George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History (2007) and was a writer for the television show Late Night with David Letterman. With Craig Finn, from the band the Hold Steady, he co-wrote a film adaptation of Fargo Rock City based on the book by Chuck losterman. His writing has also appeared in peri- odicals, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times Magazine, where “In Too Deep” appeared in 2011.

Throughout the reading selection, Ruprecht refers to events that readers of the New York Times Magazine in 2011 would probably have

been aware of: that Osama Bin Laden was assumed to have taken refuge in a cave follow- ing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001; that Aron Ralston amputated his own arm to escape a half-ton boulder pinning him to a canyon wall (an event that was depicted in the 2010 film 127 Hours, starring James Franco); that the 2010 rescue of thirty-three Chilean miners trapped underground for six weeks was greeted with worldwide jubilation. As you read, consider Ruprecht’s use of current events:

when this article was published in 2011

It’s impossible to look cool when you’re part of a tour group. Instead of bravely exploring on your own, you’ve chosen to be led around like a frightened kinder- gartner. My wife and I were on a tour bus while in Hawaii recently, and our guide made me feel even more uncool because he was very rugged and handsome.

1 After a couple of hours, he announced we were stop- ping for what he called “snack break,” as if we actually were kindergartners. He then mentioned that down a nearby path there was a cave we could check out. Not being a terrorist mastermind, I’ve never had a huge de- sire to hang out in a cave. But the opinion of absolute

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 28

strangers means a lot to me, and I was desperate to dif- ferentiate myself from the other travelers in this cool, rugged guide’s eyes.

“I’m going to the cave,” I declared and marched down the path to check out its mouth. The mouth. That’s as far as I was willing to go.

When I arrived, I found another guy from the group standing there.

“Hey, I’m Ernie. I’m a spelunker.” Ernie said he was going to take a quick look in the

cave and invited me to come along. I politely declined. He insisted. I thought of my dad, who has encouraged me to say “yes ” to every opportunity while traveling. During a trip to Puerto Rico in the ’70s, it was this carpe diem spirit that led my dad to play tennis all week long with the adult-film star Harry Reems — the same Harry Reems who was in Deep Throat (not that you recognized the name, dear reader), though true aficionados prefer his later work, in films like For Your Thighs Only. So I entered the mouth of the cave.

Thirty feet in, I began telling Ernie we should probably head back. But he simply rushed ahead, and because he had the flashlight, I had no choice but to follow. I soon found myself slithering through tight spaces in order to get to slightly tighter places. I pan- icked. It was only a matter of time before I would be wedged between rocks. I began looking around for a knife, so I could pre-emptively chop off my arm like James Franco in that movie I was too scared to see.

Things Ernie did made me question his spelunking expertise. For instance, there was a weird greenish- whitish substance on the cave’s roof. “That’s probably sodium,” Ernie said, and he swabbed a finger on the slimy substance and stuck it in his mouth. He muttered, “That’s not sodium.” I believe it was Ernie’s pride that kept him from adding, “I think it’s bat guano.”

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We were a good mile inside the cave when Ernie looked at me, gave a little laugh and then turned off the flashlight. A mile deep in the cave. “Scared ” he whis- pered. Then he chuckled, turned the flashlight back on and said, “Nah, the thing you should really be worried about is what would happen if there were an earth- quake right now.” Seeing my terrified expression, Ernie said, “Oh, hadn’t you thought about that ” I had to get out of there. People were waiting for us. More impor- tant, my wife was above ground chatting with a rug- gedly handsome tour guide. I implored Ernie to turn back. He reluctantly agreed. On the way, we came upon a fork in the cave. I asked if we should go to the right or the left. Ernie, the great spelunker, replied: “Oh, I have a terrible sense of direction.” So Ernie had me choose. I, of course, picked the wrong way. We wandered aim- lessly for 10 minutes, wondering if we were passing the same generic rocks we passed on the way in or if we were passing slightly different generic rocks. If only there had been a spelunker there, I would have asked him.

Eventually Ernie’s spelunking expertise did kick in. He realized we were headed down the wrong path. We doubled back, took the other path and, finally, saw a sliver of sunlight. I popped out of the cave, expecting a welcome worthy of a Chilean miner. Instead I was greeted by 11 annoyed people whose trip Ernie and I had hindered. As my wife hugged me, she whispered, “People are kinda mad.”

The guide reprimanded us for endangering our lives and delaying the others. But as we started back to the bus, he pulled Ernie and me aside and said in a low voice, “Don’t tell anybody, but I think what you guys did was seriously kick-ass ” The rest of the day I walked around with a happy smile, like the proudest little kin- dergartner you’ve ever seen.

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Make connections: Using humor. Ruprecht’s story is often funny, and he’s frequently the butt of his own jokes. At the same time, he presents himself as unabashedly proud of his admittedly juvenile behavior. In other words, Ruprecht has it both ways by using humor. On the one hand, humor is tricky to pull off, especially self-deprecating humor, because it can be annoying. On the other hand, writing without humor or self-irony can seem pomp- ous or self-important, especially when you are recalling a time when you acted fool- ishly or embarrassed yourself. Take a moment to recall an event in your life that you could write about, and consider how you could tell this story effectively using humor.

REFLECT

29GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Ruprecht In Too Deep

Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts to a class discussion board or blog, or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

Which aspect of your story is funny Is the situation funny, or did you do or say some- thing silly Would you use irony or satire to expose your own or someone else’s folly

Consider whether humor played a role in any of the other readings in this chapter — and, if so, whether the humor was used effectively.

Reconsider Ruprecht’s use of humor in light of your answers. How effectively do you think he uses humor to tell his story

Use the basic features.

A WELL-TOLD STORY: UNDERSTANDING THE DRAMATIC ORGANIZATION OF A STORY

To keep readers’ interest, even the most exciting remembered events need to be orga- nized in a way that builds suspense and tension. But if you compare the dramatic structure of Dillard’s story to Brandt’s, for example, you will see that writers may not always devote the same amount of space to the same elements of a story. Take an- other look at Figure 2.1 (p. 12), showing the parts of a dramatic arc. Recall that after several paragraphs of exposition, Dillard devotes most of the story to the rising ac- tion, as the man chases Dillard and Mikey relentlessly through streets and backyards. The climax comes when he catches the children, but the story ends with no falling action other than a line of dialogue and the writer’s thoughts for a quick resolution. Brandt has a more complicated rising action that includes the mini-climaxes of getting caught and getting arrested before the final confrontation with her parents, followed by falling action and a briefly stated resolution.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing the dramatic arc of Ruprecht’s story:

1 Skim the selection and note in the margin where you find the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, or whether any of them is omitted.

2 How effective are Ruprecht’s choices about how to plot his narrative? How does Ruprecht’s emphasis differ from that of Brandt or Dillard?

3 Describe how useful the dramatic arc was for you in terms of understanding Ruprecht’s narrative technique. Did it help you understand how Ruprecht created (or undermined) tension, for example?

VIVID DESCRIPTION OF PEOPLE AND PLACES: USING FIGURES OF SPEECH

Writers often use figures of speech based on comparison to enrich their descriptions. Comparisons make descriptions more evocative by associating characteristics from one thing with those of the thing to which it is being compared. You’re probably fa- miliar with similes and metaphors. Here are two examples from Brandt’s essay:

I felt like Hester Prynne being put on public display for everyone to ridicule. (par. 18)

The shopping center was swarming with frantic last-minute shoppers. (par. 2)

ANALYZE

Simile

Metaphor

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 30

In comparing herself to Hester Prynne, a character in a novel, Brandt also uses a kind of comparison called an allusion, an indirect reference to a literary work.

Finally, in the next example, Brandt combines simile with hyperbole, a figure of speech that uses exaggeration:

Next thing I knew, he was talking about calling the police and having me arrested and thrown in jail, as if he had just nabbed a professional thief instead of a terrified kid. (par. 7)

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing Ruprecht’s use of figures of speech:

1 Reread Ruprecht’s story, looking for places in which he uses simile, metaphor, allusion, hyperbole, or another figure of speech.

2 Consider the role that figurative language plays in making the description in this selection vivid. What effect does it have on you as a reader? How appropriate is it given the target audience for this selection? (Remember that it was originally published in the New York Times Magazine.)

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE: COMING FULL CIRCLE

Sometimes stories about remembered events echo something in the ending that was in- troduced in the beginning. Brandt’s story, for example, begins and ends in a car. In the beginning, there is singing, chatter, and good cheer. She is full of anticipation (“I knew it was going to be a fabulous day”). In the end, she is in another car, “anticipating the scolding” that will be followed by years of silence. This is repetition with a difference that sheds new light on the event’s significance.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing how Ruprecht’s story comes full circle:

1 Skim paragraph 1, highlighting Ruprecht’s references to his desire to “look cool,” his admiration for the “rugged and handsome” guide, and his feeling that he is being condescended to—treated “as if we actually were kindergartners.”

2 Reread paragraphs 8–10, noting the repetition of these themes. Consider whether this is repetition with a difference or repetition that reinforces the same themes Ruprecht introduced in the opening paragraph.

Consider possible topics: Being “In Too Deep.” Most of us, like Ruprecht, have at some point experienced the feeling of being “in too deep.” Like him, you might write about a time when you got yourself into a situation you did not feel competent to handle. (Conversely, you could write about an event that proved you more capable than you expected.) Ruprecht’s story also suggests oth- er possibilities: You could write about a time when you tried something new, feared for your life, let the opinions of others influence your decisions, trusted someone who (like Ernie) might not have deserved that trust, or behaved foolishly.

Hyperbole

RESPOND

For more remembered events, including a multimodal selection, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide/epages.

PLAYING WITH GENRE

Remembering an Event in a

Graphic Memoir

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Remembered events appear regularly in newspaper columns and blog posts and even in cartoons and graphic memoirs. The cartoon reproduced here, called “Treasure,” from ate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant series, neatly conveys the basic features of the genre: It tells a compelling story, vividly describes the writer and her younger self through simple but evocative drawings, and clearly conveys the

buried. The cartoon also deftly captures the tension between what the writer felt as a child and what she feels now on remembering the day she buried her treasures.

bedfordstmartins .com/theguide/epages

In the next section of this chapter, we ask you to craft your own remembered event story. As you draft your story, consider how you can most effectively create suspense or curiosity and convey your point of view; describe vividly the people

it means to you now. Consider, too, whether using visuals or multimedia or conveying your story in words and pictures, as Beaton does, would help your

to consider, too, whether a remembered event conveyed in words and pictures would be appropriate to your purpose and audience.)

• Consider possible topics. (pp. 22, 27, 30) • Choose an event to write about. (p. 34) • Test Your Choice (p. 35)

• Assess the genre’s basic features: A story. (pp. 11–12)

• A Story: Constructing an Action Sequence (p. 20)

• A Story: Using Dialogue (p. 25) • Shape your story. (pp. 35–36) • Organize your story to enhance the drama. (pp. 36–37) • Use dialogue to tell your story. (pp. 38–39)

• Shape your story. (pp. 35–36) • Organize your story to enhance the drama. (pp. 36–37) • Test Your Choice (p. 37) • Write the opening sentences. (pp. 43–44)

GUIDE TO WRITING

The Writing Assignment Write an essay about an event in your life that will engage readers and that will, at the

matically and vividly.

This Guide to Writing is designed to help you compose your own remembered event essay and apply what you have learned from reading other essays in the same genre.

tions you might have about composing a remembered event essay. Use the chart to fi nd the guidance you need, when you need it.

The Writing Assignment

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research,

Planning, and Composing

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading

Improving the Draft: Revising,

Formatting, Editing, and

Proofreading

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R ING POIN S: REMEMBERING AN EVEN

How can I come up with an event to write about?

How can I make the story of my event dramatic?

How can I interest my audience and hold its attention?

• Assess the genre’s basic features: A story. (pp. 11–12)

• Autobiographical Significance: Coming Full Circle (p. 30)

• Organize your story to enhance the drama. (pp. 36–37) • Choose your tense and plan time cues. (p. 38)

How should I organize my story?

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33GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

Vivid Description of People and

Places

Autobiographical Significance

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing The activities in this section will help you choose an event to write about and de

of these activities can be used in a rough draft that you will be able to improve after

Guide

bedfordstmartins.com /theguide

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 34

receiving feedback from your classmates and instructor. Do the activities in any or- der that makes sense to you (and your instructor), and return to them as needed as you revise.

Choose an event to write about. To make a compelling story, the event you choose to write about should

take place over a short period of time (preferably just a few hours);

center on a conflict (an internal struggle or an external confrontation);

disclose something significant about your life;

reveal complex or ambivalent feelings (rather than superficial and sentimental ones).

Make a list of events that fit the bill. If you’re like most people, you may have trouble coming up with events to write about. To get your juices flowing, try the following:

Review the Consider Possible Topics sections on pp. 22, 27, and 30, or reread any notes you made in response to those suggestions.

Consult Web sites where people post stories about their lives, such as the Story Preservation Initiative, the Sixties Project, or StoryCorps. Try also typing mem- ory project, survivor stories, or a similar word string into the search box of your browser.

If you need more ideas, the following may give you a jumping-off point:

A difficult situation (for example, when you had to make a tough choice and face the consequences, or when you let someone down or someone you admired let you down)

An occasion when things did not turn out as expected (for example, when you expected to be criticized but were praised or ignored instead, or when you were convinced you would succeed but failed)

An incident that changed you or that revealed an aspect of your personality (such as initiative, insecurity, ambition, jealousy, or heroism)

An incident in which a conflict or a serious misunderstanding with someone made you feel unjustly treated or caused you to mistreat someone else

An experience that made you reexamine a basic value or belief (such as a time when you were expected to do something that went against your values or had to make a decision about which you were deeply conflicted)

An encounter with another person that led you to consider seriously someone else’s point of view, that changed the way you viewed yourself, or that altered your ideas about how you fit into a group or community

An event that revealed to you other people’s surprising assumptions about you (as a student, friend, colleague, or worker)

35GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

TEST YOUR CHOICE

After you have made a tentative choice, ask yourself the following questions:

Will I be able to reconstruct enough of the story and describe the place and people in vivid detail to make my story dramatic and create a dominant impression?

Do I feel drawn toward understanding what this event meant to me then and what it

you should feel compelled to explore it.)

Do I feel comfortable writing about this event for my instructor and classmates? This

be comfortable doing so.

If you lose confidence in your choice, return to your list and choose another event.

Shape your story. Once you have selected an event, consider how you might structure your story to make it compelling. To do this, first create a quick sketch or outline of what happened during the event. Sketch out the moments in simple, chronological order. You can fill in details and revise later.

Once you have a quick sketch of the event, use the following questions and ad- vice to help you put your ideas in writing. (Some writers may prefer to work out the dramatic structure of the story before developing the key moments. If that is true of you, move on to the next section, “Organize your story to enhance the drama,” and come back to this section later on.)

HOW CAN I INTEREST READERS?

Analyze your audience:

Consider who will be reading your story and what aspect of the story they will find most interesting. Often, it’s the conflict, but it could be the setting or the activity you were taking part in.

Pick a moment in your story that you think might hook readers, such as a bit of dialogue or an inciting incident, and try writing about that moment.

WHAT DOES MY STORY NEED?

Compare your story sketch with the dramat- ic arc in Figure 2.1 (p. 12):

Sketch out the backstory, or exposition, your readers will need to understand what happened.

In (year), while I was ( ing) in (location), .

John knew all about because he was a/an , an expert on

.

In past years, I had previously .

WAYS IN

(continued )

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 36

My private musings on identity and belonging — not original in the least, but novel to me — were interrupted when my mom heard me slam the front door and drop my bags: “Your friend died!” she called out from another room. Confused silence. “You know, that rapper you and Thea love so much!” (Desmond-Harris, par. 2)

As an alternative, practice opening your story with an observation that connects with your theme or your motives at the time, as Ruprecht does.

It’s impossible to look cool when you’re part of a tour group. (Ruprecht, par. 1)

Or practice opening with exposition, as Dillard does.

Some boys taught me to play football. (Dillard, par. 1)

Experiment with ways to end your story so that the ending refers to something from the beginning — repetition with a difference.

Instead of bravely exploring on your own, you’ve chosen to be led around like a frightened kindergartner. (Ruprecht, par. 1)

The rest of the day I walked around with a happy smile, like the proudest little kindergartner you’ve ever seen. (Ruprecht, par. 10)

Practice writing the “inciting incident,” the conflict that triggers the story. To dramatize it, try using narrative actions and dialogue, including speaker tags and quotation marks.

A black Buick was moving toward us down the street. We all spread out, banged together some regular snowballs, took aim, and, when the Buick drew nigh, fired. (Dillard, par. 7)

“I’m going to the cave, ” I declared and marched down the path to check out its mouth. (Ruprecht, par. 2)

Dramatize the moment of surprise, confron- tation, crisis, or discovery that may become the climax of your story, using narrative action and dialogue.

He chased us through the backyard labyrinths of ten blocks before he caught us by our jackets. He caught us and we all stopped. . . . “You stupid kids,” he began perfunctorily. (Dillard, pars. 15, 18)

Augment your memory by asking people who were there what they remember; look through family photographs, yearbooks, e-mails, or videos, and write briefly about what you found:

A snapshot taken that Monday on our high school’s front lawn (seen here) shows the two of us lying side by side, shirts lifted to display the tributes in black marker. (Desmond-Harris, par. 6)

Prep. phrase

Action verbs

Organize your story to enhance the drama. Once you have sketched out your event and (perhaps) done some writing to help you focus on key moments, you may be ready to revisit the structure of your story. Think about how you can structure it to make it more exciting or moving for your readers. Following are organizational plans based on the dramatic arc in Figure 2.1 (p. 12) that you can use or modify to fit your needs.

37GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

If your readers are likely to understand the setting and activities described in the story, you might think about opening directly with the conflict’s inciting incident:

I. Inciting Incident: Hook readers’ attention by showing immediately how the conflict or problem started.

II. Exposition: Then rewind a bit to tell us what you had been doing when the event happened, and how you ended up in that situation.

III. Rising Action: Return to the main action, showing how the crisis developed or worsened.

IV. Climax: Describe the most critical moment of the event.

V. Falling Action: Narrate what happened after the climax.

VI. Resolution/Reflection: Tell how the event ended, and reflect on its autobiographical significance. What impact has this event had on you

If the situation you were in when the conflict or problem developed is one that might be interesting to readers or might require some explanation, you might open with exposition:

I. Exposition: Tell us what you were doing when the event happened, and how you got there.

II. Inciting Incident: Show us how the conflict or problem started.

III. Rising Action: Show how the crisis developed or worsened.

IV. Climax: Describe the most critical moment of the event.

V. Falling Action: Narrate what happened after the climax.

VI. Resolution/Reflection: Tell us how the event ended, and reflect on its autobiographical significance. What impact has this event had on you

If you have drafted parts of your story already (based on the “Ways In” section on pp. 35–36 or other writing you have done), try putting it all together now, so you can see what details your story still needs. You can always change the organization and move the scenes around as you continue drafting and revising.

TEST YOUR CHOICE

– tions will help you determine whether you are telling it in an interesting or exciting way.

Storytellers. Take turns telling your stories briefly. Try to pique your listeners’ curiosity and build suspense, and watch your audience to see if your story is having the desired reaction.

Listeners. Briefly tell each storyteller what you found most intriguing about the story. For example, consider these questions:

Were you eager to know how the story would turn out?

What was the inciting incident? Did it seem sufficient to motivate the climax?

Was there a clear conflict that seemed important enough to write about?

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 38

Choose your tense and plan time cues. To prevent readers from becoming confused about the sequence of actions in time, writers use a combination of verb tenses and transitional words and phrases related to time. Although writing about your remembered event in the present tense can give your narrative a sense of immediacy, writing about the event itself in the past tense will make it easier to manage your other tenses. For example, you may need to talk about what happened before the event took place or how you feel about the event now, as Desmond-Harris does here:

I mourned Tupac’s death then, and continue to mourn him now, because his music represents the years when I was both forced and privileged to confront what it meant to be black. (par. 9)

Managing the tenses for these breaks from the timeline can be tough if you aren’t al- ready writing most of the story in the past tense. Try rewriting the preceding sentence with the event described in the present tense: “I mourn Tupac’s death, and . . .” Can you see how to do it Most writers write about past events in the past tense because it makes these moves much easier.

Cite calendar or clock time to establish when the event took place and help readers fol- low the action over time. Writers often situate the event in terms of the date or time. Brandt, for example, establishes in the opening paragraph that the event occurred when she went to the mall for “a day of last-minute Christmas shopping.” Dillard also identifies when the event took place and how old she was at the time: “On one weekday morning after Christmas. . . . I was seven.” (pars. 3, 4).

Use transitions of time, such as after, before, in the meantime, and simultaneously, to help readers follow a sequence of actions. In the following example, when signals that one action followed another:

When I got back to the Snoopy section, I took one look at the lines. (Brandt, par. 3)

In the following example, as indicates that the first action occurred at the same time as the second action.

As we all piled into the car, I knew it was going to be a fabulous day. (Brandt, par. 1)

Use dialogue to tell your story. Although writers may not remember exactly what was said, they often reconstruct dialogue through quotation, paraphrase, or summary. uotation emphasizes a con- versation, while paraphrase or summary enables you to move past less important conversations quickly.

When you quote, enclose the words, phrases, or sentences within quotation marks. Each time a new speaker is quoted, start a new paragraph:

Past tense for event

Present tense for current reflection

Transition of time

First action

Second action

For more on transitions of time, see also p. 557 in Chapter 13 and pp. 563–64 in Chapter 14.

39GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

“Excuse me. Are you a relative of this young girl ”

“Yes, I’m her sister. What’s the problem ”

“Well, I just caught her shoplifting and I’m afraid I’ll have to call the police.” (Brandt, pars. 10–12)

In the example above, Brandt is careful to let readers know who is speaking by having the security guard ask Jean’s sister if she’s a relative, and by having her sister identify herself as such. In addition, writers can indicate who is speaking in the para- graphs that precede the dialogue:

There was a pause as he called my mother to the phone. For the first time that night, I was close to tears. I wished I had never stolen that stupid pin. I wanted to give the phone to one of the officers because I was too ashamed to tell my mother the truth, but I had no choice.

“ Jean, where are you ”

“ I’m, umm, in jail.” (Brandt, pars. 26–28)

You can also use speaker tags to identify the speaker:

“You stupid kids,” he began perfunctorily. (Dillard, par. 18)

(“Did we really do that ” I asked Thea this week. . . . “Yes,” she said. “We put them in a lovely tin.”) (Desmond-Harris, par. 4)

Use paraphrase to repeat the substance of what was said in your own words:

Next thing I knew, he was talking about calling the police and having me arrested and thrown in jail. (Brandt, par. 7)

The guide reprimanded us for endangering our lives and delaying the others. (Ruprecht, par. 10)

Use summary to convey the gist of the discussion without the details of what was said:

I implored Ernie to turn back. He reluctantly agreed. (Ruprecht, par. 8)

Develop and refine your descriptions. To be effective, a remembered event should include specific details about the people and places involved. Describe people in detail — what they looked like and how they dressed, talked, and gestured. Describe the setting — what you saw, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted. Once you’ve described the people and places involved, try incor- porating them into the action. The following activities will help you get started.

Security guard

Brandt’s sister

Security guard

References to mother prepare us for mother’s line

Reference to Jean prepares us for Jean’s reply

I’m tells us it is Jean’s turn again

To learn more about using speaker tags, see pp. 12, 25, and 35–36 in this chapter and pp. 95–96 in Chapter 3.

To learn more about quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing, see Chapter 26, pp. 701–8.

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 40

HOW CAN I MAKE MY DESCRIPTIONS OF PEOPLE AND PLACES MORE VIVID?

Consult memorabilia, like scrapbooks or souvenirs (ticket stubs, T-shirts), for details you may have forgotten.

Look at photographs from your own albums, visit the Facebook pages of key people, or consult Google Earth views to sharpen your descriptions. Consider scanning, upload- ing, or attaching images of the memorabilia to your essay.

Come up with a list of names or nouns to describe the most important people and loca- tions in the story.

Come up with a list of narrative actions that remind you of the ways people acted, moved, and talked or that capture what was happening in the setting.

Use detailing to flesh out descriptions.

Places Consider the type of location (clothing store, funeral parlor), the architectural fea- tures it had, or what it was near.

Brandt’s store: General Store, knickknacks, buttons, calendars, posters, lines at the cashiers, basket, threshold, office.

Dillard’s neighborhood: Reynolds Street, cars’ tires, trail of chunks, sidewalk, house, path, tree, hedge, bank, grocery store driveway, porch, gap in hedge, alley, woodpile, backyards, hilltop.

People Consider the job(s) they have, the roles they play, their facial features or accents, articles of clothing they wore, or items they carried.

Brandt’s security guard: man, street clothes, badge.

Dillard’s pursuer: man, driver, city clothes, suit and tie, street shoes, jacket; after the pursuit: cuffs full of snow, prow of snow on shoes and socks, Pittsburgh accent.

Places

Brandt’s shopping center: was swarming with frantic last-minute shoppers.

Ruprecht’s cave: slithering through tight spaces.

People

Brandt’s security guard: tapped shoulder, flashed badge.

Ruprecht’s Ernie: insisted, rushed, swabbed, muttered.

Places

Brandt’s store: other useless items, 75-cent Snoopy button.

Desmond-Harris’s friend’s house: well- stocked liquor cabinet, high-ceilinged kitchen, speakers perched discreetly.

People

Brandt’s security guard: unexpected tap, middle-aged man, some type of badge, politely asking.

Dillard’s pursuer: thin man, red-headed, chased silently, pants legs were wet.

WAYS IN

41GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

Remember that you can rearrange the components of your description in any way that makes sense to you.

Incorporate descriptive details throughout your story. Look over the details you’ve generated, your organizational plan, and any sections you’ve already drafted, and weave the descriptive details into your action sequences. Because readers often skip lengthy descriptions, spreading the details out over the whole story may work best.

Places

Dillard’s neighborhood: a complex trail of beige chunks like crenellated castle walls; mazy backyards.

People

Desmond-Harris and her friend Thea: were two earnest soldiers in the East Coast–West Coast war.

Ruprecht: felt like a kindergartner.

Use similes or metaphors to compare people or places with other people or things.

HOW CAN I WORK DESCRIPTIONS INTO MY ACTION SEQUENCES?

1. Begin with a simple sentence — an independent clause consisting of a subject (noun or pronoun) and a verb, for example:

Amalia and Sophie ran.

2. To describe people, add descriptive naming and detailing as well as narrative actions to show what the people said and did, as in this example:

Yelling “Grandma ” at the top of their lungs, the curly-headed five-year-old twins, Amalia and Sophie, ran to their laughing curly-headed grandmother, who was getting out of a silver hybrid sedan .

Here’s an example from Jean Brandt’s essay (par. 6):

I whirled around to find a middle-aged man, dressed in street clothes, flashing some type of badge and politely asking me to empty my pockets.

3. To describe the place, add descriptive naming, detailing, and comparing along with narrative actions, including prepositional phrases to show where each ob- ject is located in the scene, as in this example (with only the new information marked):

Yelling “Grandma ” at the top of their lungs, Amalia and Sophie ran to their laughing grandmother, a tall, thin woman getting out of a silver hybrid sedan she

Narrative actions

Independent clause

Descriptive naming and detailing

Independent clause

Descriptive naming and detailing Narrative actions

Narrative actions

WAYS IN

(continued )

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 42

Consider ways to convey your event’s autobiographical significance. The following activities should help you move from the notes you already have to some strategies for showing and telling readers why your event matters to you. Often, your word choices — what you focus on and how you describe it, especially the com- parisons you draw — can tell readers a lot about your feelings. It might also help to move back and forth between your memory of the experience and how you see it now, examining changes in your attitude toward the event and your younger self.

had just parked at the yellow loading-only zone in front of the old-fashioned yellow-clapboard elementary school.

Here’s an example from Annie Dillard’s essay (par. 12):

He chased Mikey and me around the yellow house and up a backyard path we knew by heart: under a low tree, up a bank, through a hedge, down some snowy steps , and across the grocery store’s delivery driveway.

Descriptive naming and detailing

Descriptive naming and detailing

Narrative actions

HOW CAN I CONVEY THE AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF MY STORY?

Revisit your purpose and audience

Who are your readers, and what do you want them to think, feel, or believe about you or the event The following sentence strategy can help you come up with an answer:

Aside from my classmates and instructor, the people I imagine being most interested in what I’m saying would fit this description: . I think they will be most surprised by . I hope that when they are done reading they will think of me as and be more aware that .

Think about your main point

What do you want your readers to understand or believe after reading your story

When readers finish my story, they will better appreciate how [society and culture/an individual person/the human condition] .

Explore the significance of your story’s conflict

How does the event reflect what you were going through, and how can you drama- tize what occurred Following are some sentence strategies you may use to start generating ideas, though you may want to revise or restructure them before includ- ing them in your paper.

During this event, I found myself locked in conflict with . (Elaborate.)

Although I struggled with [a factor outside myself], I also was at war with myself while it happened: I kept wondering, should I or should I ? (Elaborate.)

WAYS IN

43GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

Consider the dominant impression you want to convey

Write for a few minutes about the kind of impression (of the setting, of the charac- ters) you are hoping to create. What mood (scary, lighthearted, gloomy) do you want to convey If you were filming the event, what would the lighting be like What sound track would you use

Now reread the writing you have already done. Identify any details that might undermine or contradict the dominant impression. Can you strengthen the domi- nant impression you want to convey by deleting or replacing any words that carry the wrong connotation (or associations) Or are these contradictions actually part of the dominant impression and complex significance you want to convey If so, consider how you could emphasize or deepen the complexity and ambivalence you felt at the time or feel now as you reflect on the event.

Explore how you felt at the time

Write for a few minutes, exploring how you felt and what you thought at the time the event occurred (for example, angry, subdued, in control, vulnerable, proud, embarrassed, or a combination of feelings). The following sentence strategies may help you put your feelings into words:

As the event started [or during or right after the event], I felt and . I hoped others would think of me as .

I showed or expressed these feelings by .

Explore your present perspective

Write for a few minutes, exploring what you think about the event now. What can you say or show that will let readers know what you think and feel as you look back The following sentence strategies may help you put your feelings into words:

My feelings since the event [have/have not] changed in the following ways: .

At the time, I had been going through , which may have affected my experience by .

Looking back at the event, I realize I was probably trying to , though I didn’t appreciate that fact at the time.

Write the opening sentences. Review what you have already written to see if you have something that would work to launch your story. If not, experiment with ways to begin, and review the readings to see how they begin. Here are some additional ideas:

A graphic description of a place or person

A startling action that you or someone else took

A telling bit of dialogue

Your present reflections on your past self or on the context of the event

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 44

after you’ve written a rough draft.

Draft your story. By this point, you have done a lot of writing

to come up with vivid details to help your readers imagine what happened;

to think of strategies for showing or telling the autobiographical significance of your event;

to try out a way to launch your story.

Now stitch that material together to create a draft. The next two parts of this Guide to Writing will help you evaluate and improve your draft.

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading

exchange drafts with your classmates and give each other a thoughtful critical read ing, pointing out what works well and suggesting ways to improve the draft. A good critical reading does three things:

1. It lets the writer know how clear, vivid, and meaningful the story seems to readers.

2. It praises what works best.

3. It indicates where the draft could be improved and makes suggestions on how to improve it.

Summarize:

Praise: —

Critique: —

A Told Story

A CRITICAL READING GUIDE

45GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Improving the Draft

Summarize:

Praise: —

Critique: —

Summarize:

Praise: —

Critique: —

Vivid Description of People and

Places

Autobiographical Significance

Before concluding your peer review, be sure to address any of the writer’s concerns that have not been discussed already.

Making Comments Electronically Most word processing software offers features that allow you to insert comments directly into the text of someone else’s document. Many readers prefer to make their comments this way because it tends to be faster than writing on hard copy and space is virtually unlimited; it also eliminates the process of decipher ing handwritten comments. Where such features are not available, simply typing com ments directly into a document in a contrasting color can provide the same advantages.

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading Start improving your draft by refl ecting on what you have written thus far:

Review critical reading comments from your classmates, instructor, or writing center tutor. What are your readers getting at

bedfordstmartins .com/theguide

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 46

Take another look at your notes and ideas. What else should you consider

Review your draft. What else can you do to make your story compelling

Revise your draft.

tation of the genre’s basic features.

A Told Story

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

47GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Improving the Draft

Vivid Description of People and

Places

Autobiographical Significance

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 48

bedfordstmartins .com/theguide.

Think about design. Remembered event writing appears in a wide variety of contexts and genres outside of college classrooms. For example, a grandparent might write a letter to entertain her grand child with family stories from the past, and a CEO might give a speech to inspire employ ees to come up with the next great idea. Each context and genre requires different design decisions to tell the story vividly and engagingly for readers. In the example below, a

breaking blizzard of 1938 to commemorate this historic event. It is designed to enter tain and inform readers about local history.

49GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Improving the Draft

Notice that although it demonstrates many of the genre’s key features, this remem- bered event essay also makes use of design elements that are appropriate to the type of publication in which it appears, such as a headline, the author’s byline, the sidebar provid- ing context for the story, and a “continued” line directing readers to the inside page where the story goes on.

Edit and proofread your draft. Three problems commonly appear in essays about remembered events: misused words and expressions, incorrectly punctuated or formatted dialogue, and misused past-perfect verbs. The following guidelines will help you check your essay for these common errors.

Using the Right Word or Expression

The Problem Many familiar sayings and expressions are frequently heard but not often seen in writing, so writers often mistake the expression. Consider the following sentences:

Chock it up to my upbringing, but having several children play butt naked around my feet certainly curved my appetite for parenthood.

The deer was still jerking in its death throws, but for all intensive purposes it was dead.

Within those two sentences are five commonly mangled expressions. To the ear, they may sound right, but in each case the author has heard the expression incorrectly and written down the wrong words.

Note: the expressions should be: chalk it up, buck naked, curbed my appetite, death throes, for all intents and purposes.

The Correction You can find and debug these kinds of errors by following these steps:

1. Highlight or circle common expressions of two or more words in your writing project (especially those you’ve heard before but haven’t seen in writing).

2. Check each expression in a dictionary or in a list of frequently misused words.

3. Consider revising the expression: If you have heard the expression so often that it “sounds right,” it may be a cliché. A fresh expression will be more powerful.

The Problem Early drafts often include vague or overly general word choices and flabby sentences. Cutting words that add little, making verbs active, and replacing weak word choices with stronger ones can greatly increase the power of a remem- bered event essay.

The Correction The following three steps can help you tighten your language and make it more powerful.

1. Circle empty intensifiers, such as just, very, certain, and really. Now reread each sentence, omitting the circled word. If the sentence still makes sense without the word, delete it.

For practice correcting word choice problems, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide/exercise central and click on Word Choice in the Handbook section.

A glossary of frequently misused words appears at the end of the full edition of this book (pp. H-112–H-115) and in the e-book, acces- sible at bedfordstmartins .com/theguide.

A Note on Grammar and Spelling Checkers

These tools can be helpful, but don’t rely on them exclusively to catch errors in your text: Spelling checkers cannot catch misspellings that are themselves words, such as to for too. Grammar checkers miss some problems, sometimes give faulty advice for fixing problems, and can flag correct items as wrong. Use these tools as a second line of defense after your own (and, ideally, another reader’s) proofreading and editing efforts.

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 50

For practice correcting problems punctuating quotations, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Punctuation in the Handbook section.

2. Circle all forms of the verb to be (such as am, is, are, was, and were). Now reread each sentence that includes a circled word, and ask yourself, “Could I revise the sentence or combine it with another sentence to create an active construction?” Examples:

The dog was barking. He took off after Jasper, as he raced toward

Third Avenue.

The rope was tied around the oak in the front yard.

3. Review your descriptions, highlighting or underlining adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases. Now reread them, imagining a more specific noun or verb that could convey the same idea in fewer words.

A large, black truck moved quickly across the parking lot.

Dialogue Issues

The Problem Remembered event essays often include dialogue, but writers some- times have trouble using the conventions of dialogue correctly. One common prob- lem occurs with punctuation marks:

In American English, the opening quotation mark hugs the first word of the quotation. Commas belong inside the closing quotation mark, but end punctua- tion can go inside or outside the closing quotation mark, depending on whether the end punctuation belongs to the quotation or the end of the sentence.

Speaker tags reflect what the speaker was thinking, feeling, or doing.

A new paragraph is typically used to indicate a change in speaker.

The Correction Revise the punctuation, add speaker tags, or start a new paragraph as needed:

“/Jean, what’s going on ”,/ my sister asked?/.

“Jean, what’s going on?” my sister questioned.

A few seconds later, my sister appeared and asked, “So, did you decide to buy the

button?” “No, I guess not.”

Using the Past Perfect

The Problem Remembered event essays often mention events that occurred before the main action. To convey this sequence of events, writers use the past-perfect tense rather than the simple past tense:

barking

^

Sarah double-knotted the rope

^

A Humvee sped

^

?

^^ asked

^

Past Perfect Simple Past

had traveled traveled

had been was

had begun began

Failing to use the past perfect when it is needed can make your meaning unclear. (What happened when, exactly?)

The Correction Check places where you recount events to verify that you are using the past perfect to indicate actions that had already been completed at the time of another past action (she had finished her work when we saw her).

I had three people in the car, something my father told me not to do that very morning.

Coach Kernow told me I ran faster than ever before.

Note for Multilingual Writers It is important to remember that the past perfect is formed with had followed by a past participle. Past participles usually end in -ed, -d, -en, -n, or -t — worked, hoped, eaten, taken, bent — although some are irregular (such as begun or chosen).

Before Tania went to Moscow last year, she had not really speak Russian.

had

^ had run

^

spoken

^

For practice correcting tense problems, go to bedfordstmartins /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Grammatical Sentences in the Handbook section.

A WRITER AT WORK

Jean Brandt’s Essay In this section, we look at the writing process that Jean Brandt followed in composing her essay, “Calling Home.” You will see the writing that became her first draft, and you can compare her first draft with the final draft that appears on pp. 14–17.

Brandt started out by drafting dialogue and exploring her past and present perspec- tives. This writing took up about nine pages, but it only required about two hours spread over four days for her to produce it. She began by choosing an event, reimagining the place with specific sensory details, and recalling the other people involved.

Creating a Dialogue

She also wrote two dialogues, one with her sister, Sue, and the other with her father. Following is the dialogue between her and her sister:

SUE: Jean, why did you do it? ME: I don’t know. I guess I didn’t want to wait in that long line. Sue, what am I going

to tell Mom and Dad?

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Jean Brandt’s Essay 51

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 52

SUE: Don’t worry about that yet, the detective might not really call the police. ME: I can’t believe I was stupid enough to take it. SUE: I know. I’ve been there before. Now when he comes back, try crying and acting

like you’re really upset. Tell him how sorry you are and that it was the first time you ever stole something, but make sure you cry. It got me off the hook once.

ME: I don’t think I can force myself to cry. I’m not really that upset. I don’t think the shock’s worn off. I’m more worried about Mom.

SUE: Who knows? Maybe she won’t have to find out. ME: God, I hope not. Hey, where’s Louie and Grandma? Grandma doesn’t know about

this, does she? SUE: No, I sort of told Lou what was going on so he’s just taking Grandma around

shopping. ME: Isn’t she wondering where we are? SUE: I told him to tell her we would meet them in an hour. ME: How am I ever going to face her? Mom and Dad might possibly understand or at

least get over it, but Grandma? This is gonna kill her. SUE: Don’t worry about that right now. Here comes the detective. Now try to look like

you’re sorry. Try to cry.

Brandt wrote this dialogue quickly, trying to capture the language of excited talk, keep- ing the exchanges brief. She included a version of this dialogue in her first draft (see pp. 54–55) but excluded it from the final essay. Even though she eventually decided to leave it out, this dialogue helped her work out her thoughts about the event and enabled her to evaluate how to dramatize it.

Recalling Remembered Feelings and Thoughts

In an attempt to bring the autobiographical significance of the event into focus, Brandt explored her remembered as well as her current feelings and thoughts about the experience:

Being arrested for shoplifting was significant because it changed some of my basic attitudes. Since that night I’ve never again considered stealing anything. This event would reveal how my attitude toward the law and other people has changed from disre- spectful to very respectful.

Reading this statement might lead us to expect a moralistic story of how someone learned something the hard way. As we look at the subsequent invention activities, however, we see how her focus shifts to her relations with other people.

I was scared, humiliated, and confused. I was terrified when I realized what was happening. I can still see the manager and his badge and remember what I felt when I knew who he was. I just couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to run. I felt there wasn’t any- thing I could do—I was afraid, embarrassed, worried, mad that it happened. I didn’t show my feelings at all. I tried to look very calm on the outside, but inside I was ex- tremely nervous. The nervousness might have come through in my voice a little. I wanted the people around me to think I was tough and that I could handle the situa- tion. I was really disappointed with myself. Getting arrested made me realize how wrong

53GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Jean Brandt’s Essay

my actions were. I felt very ashamed. Afterward I had to talk to my father about it. I didn’t say much of anything except that I was wrong and I was sorry. The immediate consequence was being taken to jail and then later having to call my parents and tell them what happened. I hated to call my parents. That was the hardest part. I remember how much I dreaded that. My mom was really hurt.

Naming specific feelings, Brandt focuses here on the difference between what she felt and how she acted. She remembers her humiliation at being arrested as well as the terrible moment when she had to tell her parents. As we will see, this concern with her parents’ reaction, more than her own humiliation, becomes the focus of her re- membered feelings and thoughts.

Exploring Her Present Perspective

In exploring her first response to the event, Brandt wrote quickly, jotting down memo- ries as they came to mind. Next, she reread this first exploration and attempted to state briefly what the incident revealed about her:

I think it reveals that I was not a hard-core criminal. I was trying to live up to Robin Files’s (supposedly my best girlfriend) expectations, even though I actually knew that what I was doing was wrong.

Stopping to focus her thoughts like this helped Brandt see the point of what she had just written and discover the autobiographical significance of the event. Next, she wrote about her present perspective on the event.

At first I was ashamed to tell anyone that I had been arrested. It was as if I couldn’t admit it myself. Now I’m glad it happened, because who knows where I’d be now if I hadn’t been caught. I still don’t tell many people about it. Never before have I written about it. I think my response was appropriate. If I’d broken down and cried, it wouldn’t have helped me any, so it’s better that I reacted calmly. My actions and re- sponses show that I was trying to be tough. I thought that that was the way to gain respectability. If I were to get arrested now (of course it wouldn’t be for shoplifting), I think I’d react the same way because it doesn’t do any good to get emotional. My cur- rent feelings are ones of appreciation. I feel lucky because I was set straight early. Now I can look back on it and laugh, but at the same time know how serious it was. I am emotionally distant now because I can view the event objectively rather than subjec- tively. My feelings are settled now. I don’t get upset thinking about it. I don’t feel angry at the manager or the police. I think I was more upset about my parents than about what was happening to me. After the first part of it was over I mainly worried about what my parents would think.

In writing about her present perspective, Brandt reassures herself that she feels com- fortable enough to write for class about this event: She no longer feels humiliated, embarrassed, or angry. She is obviously pleased to recall that she did not lose control and show her true feelings. Staying calm, not getting emotional, looking tough — these are the personal qualities Brandt wants others to see in her. Exploring her present perspective seems to have led to a new, respectable self-image she can proudly display to her readers:

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 54

My present perspective shows that I’m a reasonable person. I can admit when I’m wrong and accept the punishment that is due me. I find that I can be concerned about others even when I’m in trouble.

Clarifying Purpose and Audience

Next, Brandt reflected on what she had written and restated the event’s significance, with particular emphasis on her readers’ likely reactions:

The event was important because it entirely changed one aspect of my character. I will be disclosing that I was once a thief, and I think many of my readers will be able to identify with my story, even though they won’t admit it.

This writing reveals that Brandt is now confident that she has chosen an event with personal significance. She knows what she will be disclosing about herself and feels comfortable doing it. In her brief focusing statements, she begins by moralizing (“my attitude . . . changed”) and blaming others (“Robin Files”) but concludes by acknowl- edging what she did. She is now prepared to disclose it to readers (“I was once a thief”). Also, she thinks readers will like her story because she suspects many of them will recall doing something illegal and feeling guilty about it, even if they never got caught.

The First Draft The day after completing the writing that appears on pp. 51–54, Brandt reviewed her invention and composed her first draft on a word processor. It took her about an hour to write the draft, and she wrote steadily without doing a lot of rearranging or cor- recting of obvious typos and grammatical errors. She knew this would not be her only draft.

It was two days before Christmas and my older sister and brother, my grand- mother, and I were rushing around doing last-minute shopping. After going to a few stores we decided to go to Lakewood Center shopping mall. It was packed with other frantic shoppers like ourselves from one end to the other. The first store we went to (the first and last for me) was the General Store. The General Store is your typical gift shop. They mainly have the cutesy knick-knacks, posters, frames and that sort. The store is decorated to resemble an old-time western general store but the appearance doesn’t quite come off.

We were all browsing around and I saw a basket of buttons so I went to see what the different ones were. One of the first ones I noticed was a Snoopy button. I’m not sure what it said on it, something funny I’m sure and besides I was in love with anything Snoopy when I was 13. I took it out of the basket and showed it to my sister and she said “Why don’t you buy it?” I thought about it but the lines at the cashiers were outrageous and I didn’t think it was worth it for a 75 cent item. Instead I figured just take it and I did. I thought I was so sly about it. I casually slipped it into my pocket and assumed I was home free since no one pounced on me.

1

2

55GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Jean Brandt’s Essay

Everyone was ready to leave this shop so we made our way through the crowds to the entrance. My grandmother and sister were ahead of my brother and I. They were almost to the entrance of May Co. and we were about 5 to 10 yards behind when I felt this tap on my shoulder. I turned around already terror struck, and this man was flashing some kind of badge in my face. It happened so fast I didn’t know what was going on. Louie finally noticed I wasn’t with him and came back for me. Jack explained I was being arrested for shoplifting and if my parents were here then Louie should go find them. Louie ran to get Susie and told her about it but kept it from Grandma.

By the time Sue got back to the General Store I was in the back office and Jack was calling the police. I was a little scared but not really. It was sort of exciting. My sister was telling me to try and cry but I couldn’t. About 20 minutes later two cops came and handcuffed me, led me through the mall outside to the police car. I was kind of embarrassed when they took me through the mall in front of all those people. When they got me in the car they began questioning me, while driving me to the police station. Questions just to fill out the report—age, sex, address, color of eyes, etc.

Then when they were finished they began talking about Jack and what a nui- sance he was. I gathered that Jack had every single person who shoplifted, no matter what their age, arrested. The police were getting really fed up with it because it was a nuisance for them to have to come way out to the mall for something as petty as that. To hear the police talk about my “crime” that way felt good because it was like what I did wasn’t really so bad. It made me feel a bit relieved. When we walked into the station I remember the desk sergeant joking with the arresting officers about “well we got another one of Jack’s hardened criminals.” Again, I felt my crime lacked any seriousness at all.

Next they handcuffed me to a table and questioned me further and then I had to phone my mom. That was the worst. I never was so humiliated in my life. Hearing the disappointment in her voice was worse punishment than the cops could ever give me.

Brandt’s first draft establishes the main sequence of actions. About a third of it is devoted to the store manager, an emphasis that disappears by the final draft. What ends up having prominence in the final draft — Brandt’s feelings about telling her par- ents and her conversations with them — appears here only in a few lines at the very end. But mentioning the interaction suggests its eventual importance.

Critical Reading and Revision Brandt revised this first draft for another student to read critically. In this session, the reader told Brandt how much he liked her story and admired her frankness. However, he did not encourage her to develop the dramatic possibilities in calling her parents and meeting them afterward. In fact, he encouraged her to keep the dialogue with the police officers about the manager and to include what the manager said to the police.

3

4

5

6

CHAPTER 2 Remembering an Event 56

In her final version, “Calling Home,” Brandt did not take her reader’s advice. She reduces the role of the police officers, eliminating any dialogue with them. She greatly expands the role of her parents: The last third of the essay is now focused on her remembered feelings about calling them and seeing them afterward. In terms of dramatic importance, the phone call home now equals the arrest. When we recall Brandt’s earliest writings, we can see that she was headed toward this conclusion all along, but she needed to reflect on her experience, write two drafts, get a critical read- ing and think about it, and write a final revision to get there.

To think critically means to use all of the knowledge you have acquired from the infor- mation in this chapter, your own writing, the writing of other students, and class dis- cussions to reflect deeply on your work for this assignment and the genre (or type) of writing you have produced. The benefit of thinking critically is proven and important: Thinking critically about what you have learned will help you remember it longer, en- suring that you will be able to put it to good use well beyond this writing course.

Reflecting on What You Have Learned In this chapter, you have learned a great deal about this genre from reading several autobiographical stories and writing one of your own. To consolidate your learning, reflect not only on what you learned but also on how you learned it.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a blog post, a letter to your instructor or a classmate, or an e-mail message to a student who will take this course next term, using the writing prompt that seems most productive for you:

Explain how what you wanted your readers to learn about you from reading your story influenced one of your decisions as a writer, such as how you used the dramatic arc to shape your story around a conflict, how you used dialogue to intensify the drama and convey the significance, or how you integrated your remembered thoughts and feelings into your storytelling.

Discuss what you learned about yourself as a writer in the process of writing this essay. For example, what part of the process did you find most challenging, or did you try anything new, like getting a critical reading of your draft or outlining your draft in order to revise it? If so, how well did it work?

THINKING CRITICALLY

57GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Reflecting on the Genre

If you were to give advice to a fellow student who was about to write a remembered event essay, what would you say?

Which of the readings (in this chapter or elsewhere) influenced your choice of an event to write about or how you told the story? Explain the influence, citing specific exam- ples comparing the two.

If you got good advice from a critical reader, explain exactly how the person helped you—perhaps by questioning the conflict in a way that enabled you to develop your story’s significance, or by pointing out passages that needed clearer time markers to better orient readers.

Reflecting on the Genre We’ve said throughout this chapter that writing a remembered event essay leads to self-discovery, but what do we mean by the “self ”? Should we think of the self as our “true” essence or as the different roles we play in different situations? If we accept the idea of an essential self, writing about significant events in our lives can help us in the search to discover who we truly are. Given this idea of the self, we might see Jean Brandt, for example, as searching to understand whether she is the kind of person who breaks the law and only cares when she is caught and has to face her parents’ disap- proval. If, on the other hand, we accept the idea that the various roles we play are ways we construct the self in different situations, then writing about a remembered event allows us to examine a side of our personality and the influences that shaped it. This view of the self assumes that we present different self-images to different people in dif- ferent situations. Given this idea, we might see Brandt as presenting her sassy teenage side to the police but keeping her vulnerability hidden from them and perhaps also from her family, with some painful loss of intimacy.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a page or two explaining how the genre prompts you to think about self-discovery. In your discussion, you might consider one or more of the following:

1 Consider how your remembered event essay might be an exercise in self- discovery. Planning and writing your essay, did you see yourself as discovering your true self or examining how you reacted in a particular situation? Do you think your essay reveals your single, essential, true self, or does it show only an aspect of the person you understand yourself to be?

2 Write a page or so explaining your ideas about self-discovery and truth in remembered event essays. Connect your ideas to your own essay and to the readings in this chapter.

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IN COLLEGE COURSES A college student who plans to become a teacher visits a middle school class to study how a group of sixth graders collaborate on a project. During multiple visits, she makes notes of her observa- tions and her interviews with the students and their teacher. To keep the focus on the children’s activities, she reports as a spectator, weaving her insights about their collaborative process into a detailed narrative of a typical half-hour session. As she writes, the central idea emerges that the success of their collaboration depends on the children’s frequent talk—both planning what to do next and reflecting on what they have already accomplished. After completing her ethnographic profile, she posts it on the class bulletin board for her classmates and others interested in collaborative learning.

3 Writing Profiles Profiles are analytical, informative,

and thought-provoking portraits of

a person or place, or of an activity

that brings people together. They may

be cultural ethnographies, ranging

from a day-in-the-life to extended

immersion studies of communities or

people at work and at play. They are

intensively researched, centering on

the field research techniques of colorful

observations and edifying interviews. As

a result, profiles are always entertaining

to read, sometimes amusing, and often

compelling. Whether written in a college

course, for the broader community,

or about the workplace, at their best

profiles bring their subjects to life,

taking us behind the scenes.

59

IN THE WORKPLACE For a company newsletter, a public- relations officer profiles the corporation’s new chief executive officer (CEO). He follows the CEO from meeting to meeting, taking photographs and observing her interactions with colleagues. Between meetings, he interviews her about her management philosophy and her five- year plan for the corporation. Immediately after the interviews, he makes notes and writes down questions to ask as follow-up. A day later, the CEO invites the writer to visit her at home. He watches her help her daughter with homework, chats with her husband, and takes more photographs. The writer decides to illustrate the profile with images of the CEO at her desk working and with her daughter. As he reports on some of the challenges she anticipates for the corporation, he tries to convey the confidence she shows both at work and at home.

IN THE COMMUNITY A newspaper reporter is assigned to write a profile of a mural project recently commissioned by the city of Los Angeles, so he visits the studio of the local artist in charge of the project. They discuss the specifics of the mural project and the artist’s views of other civic art projects, and the artist invites the reporter to spend the following day at the site. The next day, the artist puts the reporter to work alongside two volunteers. The reporter intends to use his firsthand experience, interviews with volunteers, and photos of the project to describe the painting from a participant-observer’s point of view. Later, writing copy for the Sunday paper, the reporter organizes the profile around the artist’s goals for the project, the experience of volunteers, and the mural’s importance as civic art.

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 60

In this chapter, we ask you to write a profile. Whether you choose something you know well or something you want to learn about, focus on it as if for the first time, and choose details that will not only make it come alive for your readers but also show them why your subject is intriguing and important. As you write your profile, consider how you can most effectively convey your insights to your readers. Consider, too, whether using visuals or multimedia would help your readers more fully grasp your subject.

PRACTICING THE GENRE

Conducting an Interview

Part 1. Get together in a small group to practice interviewing, a crucial skill in profile writing. Have one group member take the role of the interviewee and the rest of the group taking turns as interviewers. (Choose as the interviewee a group member who is knowl- edgeable about a subject, such as a sport, a type of music or video game, an academic subject, or a kind of work.) Interviewers should take a couple of minutes to prepare questions and then spend five minutes taking turns asking questions. Listen to what is being said, and respond with follow-up questions as needed. All interviewers should take notes on what is being said (quoting or summarizing) plus any details about the way it is said (Is it sarcastic, excited, uncertain?) that could give readers a sense of the interviewee’s attitude.

Part 2. Discuss what you learned about profiles and about conducting an interview:

What did you learn about profiles? For a profile to be effective, it must depict the subject vividly and be thought provoking. Assume that other members of your class do not know much about the subject, and take turns identifying one thing the interviewee said—for example, an illuminating fact, an amusing anecdote, or a surprising judg- ment—that would engage readers’ interest. What other questions would readers want answered?

What did you learn about conducting an interview? Compare your thoughts with those of the others in your group on what was easiest and hardest—for example, pre- paring questions, listening and following up, taking notes, or considering what to include in your profile.

61

GUIDE TO READING

Analyzing Profiles As you read the selections in this chapter, you will see how different authors create a compelling profi le. Analyzing how they describe and report on what they observed, how they organize the profi le (as a guided tour, a story, or an array of topics), the role

create will help you see how you can employ these same techniques to convey your perspective on the subject to your readers.

Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. Although crafting a profi le usually helps writers come to understand the people, places, and activities they are studying, most write profi les to impart their own special under standing or insight. When reading the profi les that follow, ask yourself questions like these about the writer’s purpose and audience:

What seems to be the writer’s main purpose—for example, to inform readers about some aspect of everyday life (the places and activities around us that we

intriguing or unusual activity; to surprise readers by presenting unusual subjects or familiar ones in new ways; to offer a new way to look at and think about the cultural significance of the subject; or to bridge the distance between outsiders’ preconceptions and the lived experience of people as they try to communicate, construct their identities, and define their values?

What does the author assume about the audience—for example, that audience members know nothing or very little about the subject; that they will be interested and possibly amused by a particular aspect of the subject; or that they will be intrigued by the perspective the writer takes or fascinated by certain quotes or descriptive details?

Assess the genre’s basic features. Use the following to help you analyze and evaluate how profi le writers employ the genre’s basic features. The examples are drawn from the reading selections in this chapter.

DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THE SUBJECT

Read fi rst to learn about the subject. Much of the pleasure of reading a profi le comes from the way the writer interweaves bits of information into a tapestry of lively narra tive, arresting quotations, and vivid descriptions.

Examine the describing strategies of naming, detailing, and comparing to see how they create a vivid image, as in Brian Cable’s description of coffi ns on display:

We passed into a “display room.” Inside were thirty coffi ns. . . . Like new cars on the showroom fl oor. . . (Cable, par. 18)

Naming

Comparing

Detailing

61

Basic Features Detailed Information

A Clear, Logical Organization

Writer’s Role

Perspective on the Subject

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 62

Although most information in a profile comes from observation (and is therefore described), information may also come from interviews and background research. To present information from sources, profile writers rely on three basic strategies — quotation, paraphrase, and summary:

QUOTATION “We’re in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, along with another funeral home whose owners’ names are Baggit and Sackit,” Howard told me, without cracking a smile. (Cable, par. 14)

PARAPHRASE Goodbody Mortuary, upon notification of someone’s death, will remove the remains from the hospital or home. They then prepare the body for viewing, whereupon features distorted by illness or accident are restored to their natural condition. (Cable, par. 6)

SUMMARY I came across several articles describing the causes of a farmworker shortage. The stories cited an aging workforce, immigration crack- downs, and long delays at the border that discourage workers with green cards. (Thompson, par. 5)

Profile writers nearly always research the subject thoroughly. Convention dictates that selections published in popular publications like magazines, blogs, and general- interest books not cite their sources. Not so for academic or scholarly essays: Unless the information is widely known by educated adults, most instructors require you to cite your sources and provide a list of references or works cited.

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION

Profiles can be organized narratively, as a guided tour of a place or as a story, or they can be organized as an array of topics. In narratives, look for time markers, such as narrative actions, which combine actors (nouns and pronouns) with action verbs; prepositional phrases, which locate objects in space or actions in time; verb tenses, which show how actions relate in time; calendar and clock time; and transitions of time and space.

NARRATIVE I climbed the stone steps to the entrance. (Cable, par. 4) ACTIONS

PREPOSITIONAL Half a mile down the road, behind a fence coiled with razor PHRASES wire, Lionel Dufour, proprietor of Farm Fresh Food Supplier . . . (Edge, par. 3) On my first day . . . (Thompson, par. 6)

VERB TENSES I bend over, noticing that most of the crew has turned to watch. (Thompson, par. 8)

CALENDER AND It’s now 3:00. (Coyne, par. 19) CLOCK TIME His crew packed lips today. Yesterday, it was pickled sausage; the day

before that, pig feet. Tomorrow, it’s pickled pig lips again. (Edge, par. 4)

TRANSITIONS When I chomp down . . . (Edge, par. 18) OF TIME Next , he . . . he then . . . (Thompson, par. 7)

TRANSITIONS Across the aisle . . . Around the corner . . . (Edge, par. 4) OF SPACE Ahead of us . . . (Cable, par. 15)

See Chapters 27 and 28 to learn about the conventions for citing and documenting sources in two popular academic styles.

To learn more about these narrating strategies, see Chapter 14.

63GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Cable The Last Stop

In topical sections, look for logical transitions such as these that announce a

CONTRADICTION . . . but it’s widely assumed . . . (Thompson, par. 5) On the contrary, his bitterness . . . (Coyne, par. 13)

CAUSE Because of their difference in skin color, there would be . . . (Coyne, par. 11)

CONCLUSION So I am to be very careful and precise . . . (Thompson, par. 12)

SPECULATION Perhaps such an air of comfort makes it easier for the family to give up their loved one. (Cable, par. 24)

Whereas a narrative tour or story may be more engaging, a topical organization may deliver information more efficiently. As you read the profiles in this chapter, consider the writer’s decision on how to organize the information. What was gained and lost, if anything?

THE WRITER’S ROLE

Look also at the role that the writer assumes in relation to his or her subject:

As a spectator or detached observer, the writer’s position is like that of the reader — an outsider looking in on the people and their activities (such as the college student in the first scenario, p. 58, and Brian Cable in his profile below).

As a participant observer, the writer participates in the activity being profiled and acquires insider knowledge (such as Gabriel Thompson in his profile, pp. 81–84).

Sometimes writers use both the spectator and the participant role, as John T. Edge and Amanda Coyne do in their profiles on pp. 69–71 and 75–78, respectively.

A PERSPECTIVE ON THE SUBJECT

All of the basic features listed previously — detailed information, the way the informa- tion is organized, and the writer’s role — develop the writer’s perspective on the subject, the main idea or cultural significance that the writer wants readers to take away from reading the profile. Profiles create a dominant impression through their description and narration. But they also analyze and interpret the subject, conveying their perspective explicitly through commentary as well as implicitly through tone (such as irony).

To learn more about cueing the reader, see Chapter 13.

Brian Cable The Last Stop THIS PROFILE of a neighborhood mortuary was originally written when Brian Cable was a first-year college student. “Death,” as he explains in the opening sentence, “is a subject largely ignored by the living,” so it is not surprising that he notices people averting

Readings To learn how Cable con- ducted his interview with the funeral director and wrote up his notes, turn to A Writer at Work on pp. 110–14. Compare the write- up to pars. 5–22 of the profile, where Cable reports on what he learned from his interview. How did writing up his notes help him draft part of the essay?

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 64

their eyes as they walk past the mortuary on a busy commer cial street. Cable, however, walks in and takes readers on a guided tour of the premises. As he presents information he learned from observing how the mortuary works — from the reception room up front to the embalming room in back — and from interviewing the people who work there, Cable in vites us to reflect on our own feelings and cultural attitudes about death.

As you read, do the following:

ness of his subject.

ask you to post your answers to a class blog or discussion board or to bring them to class.

A recent photo of Goodbody Mortuary, the subject of Cable’s profile. Does this photo match Cable’s description? How would the addition of such a photo, or other photos of the mortuary, have strengthened Cable’s profile?

1

2

3

4

Cable tells us what he expected. How does the opening—including the title and epigraph (intro ductory quote)—influence what you expect from his profile?

Basic Features Detailed Information

A Clear, Logical Organization

Writer’s Role

Perspective on the Subject

Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

— Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson

Death is a subject largely ignored by the living. We don’t discuss it much, not as

children (when Grandpa dies, he is said to be “going away”), not as adults, not even as

senior citizens. Throughout our lives, death remains intensely private. The death of

a loved one can be very painful, partly because of the sense of loss, but also because

someone else’s mortality reminds us all too vividly of our own.

that houses the Goodbody Mortuary. It looks a bit like a church — tall, with gothic

arches and stained glass — and somewhat like an apartment complex — low, with

many windows stamped out of red brick.

It wasn’t at all what I had expected. I thought it would be more like Forest Lawn,

serene with lush green lawns and meticulously groomed gardens, a place set apart from

odd pink structure set in the middle of

a business district. On top of the Goodbody Mortuary sign was a large electric clock.

What the hell, I thought. Mortuary are concerned with time, too.

I was apprehensive as I climbed the stone steps to the entrance. I feared rejection

or, worse, an invitation to come and stay. The door was massive, yet it swung open easily What organizational plan for the profile emerges in pars. 4 and 5?

65GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

5

6

7

8

9

10

What does the detailed description of Deaver in pars. 5 and 6 contribute to Cable’s profile of the mortuary?

What role has Cable adopted in writing the profile? When does it become clear?

Why do you think Cable summarizes the informa tion in par. 6 instead of quoting Howard?

What does this observa tion reveal about Cable’s perspective?

light down to a soft glow.

I found the funeral director in the main lobby, adjacent to the reception room.

Like most people, I had preconceptions about what an undertaker looked like. Mr. Deaver

fulfilled my expectations entirely. Tall and thin, he even had beady eyes and a bony

pants, and black shoes. Indeed, he looked like death on two legs.

was easy to talk to. As funeral

Goodbody Mortuary, upon notification of someone’s death, will remove the remains

from the hospital or home. They then prepare the body for viewing, whereupon

features distorted by illness or accident are restored to their natural condition.

The body is embalmed and then placed in a casket selected by the family of the

deceased. Services are held in one of three chapels at the mortuary, and afterward

the casket is placed in a “visitation room,” where family and friends can pay their

last respects. Goodbody also makes arrangements for the purchase of a burial site

and transports the body there for burial.

It was obvious he was used to explaining the specifics of his profession. We sat

— just

lived right upstairs. The phone rang. As he listened, he bit his lips and squeezed his

Adam’s apple somewhat nervously.

“I think we’ll be able to get him in by Friday. No, no, the family wants him cremated.”

Directly behind him

wall, right next to a crucifix.

“Some people have the idea that we are bereavement specialists, that we can

handle emotional problems which follow a death: Only a trained therapist can do that.

We provide services for the dead, not counseling for the living.”

Cable The Last Stop

Why do you think Cable quotes Howard in par. 10 instead of paraphrasing or summarizing?

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 66

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12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

Physical comfort was the one thing they did provide for the living. The lobby was

modestly but comfortably furnished. There were several couches, in colors ranging from

earth brown to pastel blue, and a coffee table in front of each one. On one table lay

some magazines and a vase of flowers. Another supported an aquarium. Paintings of

pastoral scenes hung on every wall. The lobby looked more or less like that of an old

hotel.

“The last time the Goodbodies decorated was in ’59, I believe. It still makes people

feel welcome.”

And so “Goodbody” was not a name made up to attract customers but the owner’s

family name. The Goodbody family started the business way back in 1915. Today, they

do over five hundred services a year.

“We’re in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, along with another funeral home whose owners’

I followed him through an arched doorway into a chapel that smelled musty and

old. The only illumination came from sunlight filtered through a stained glass ceiling.

Ahead of us lay a casket. I could see that it contained a man dressed in a black suit.

Wooden benches ran on either side of an aisle that led to the body. I got no closer.

From the red roses across the dead man’s chest, it was apparent that services had

already been held.

of craftsmanship.”

I guess it was. Death may be the great leveler, but one’s coffin quickly reestab

lishes one’s status.

Inside were thirty coffins,

lids open, patiently awaiting inspection. Like new cars on the showroom floor, they

“We have models for every price range.”

Indeed, there was a wide variety. They came in all colors and various materials.

“The top of the line.”

What does this observation contribute to the dominant impression?

How does Cable make the transition from topic to topic in pars. 15–18?

What does the comparison

pars. 18–21 reveal about Cable’s perspective?

67GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

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This was a solid bronze casket, its seams electronically welded to resist corrosion.

price: a cool $25,000.

A proper funeral remains a measure of respect for the deceased. But it is

expensive. In the United States, the amount spent annually on funerals is around

$12 billion (Grassley). Among ceremonial expenditures, funerals are second only to

weddings. As a result, practices are changing.

burials costing more than $7,000 a shot (Grassley), people often opt instead for

60 percent. Observing this trend, one might wonder whether burials are becoming

obsolete. Do burials serve an important role in society?

For Tim, Goodbody’s licensed mortician, the answer is very definitely yes. Burials

will remain in common practice, according to the slender embalmer with the disarming

smile, because they allow family and friends to view the deceased. Painful as it may

be, such an experience brings home the finality of death. “Something deep within us

demands a confrontation with death,” Tim explained. “A last look assures us that the

person we loved is, indeed, gone forever.”

Fig. 1

Where does the informa tion in pars. 22–23 come from? How can you tell?

Why do you think Cable uses a rhetorical question here?

Cable The Last Stop

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 68

Apparently, we also need to be assured that the body will be laid to rest in

comfort and peace. The average casket, with its innerspring mattress and pleated

satin lining, is surprisingly roomy and luxurious. Perhaps such an air of comfort

makes it easier for the family to give up their loved one. In addition, the burial

provides none of these comforts.

Tim started out as a clerk in a funeral home but then studied to become a

mortician. “It was a profession I could live with,” he told me with a sly grin.

with courses in anatomy and embalming as well as in restorative art.

about the size of an operating room. Against the wall was a large sink with elbow

taps and a draining board. In the center of the room stood a table with equipment

for preparing the arterial embalming fluid, which consists primarily of formalde

hyde, a preservative, and phenol, a disinfectant. This mixture sanitizes and also

gives better color to the skin. Facial features can then be “set” to achieve a restful

expression. Missing eyes, ears, and even noses can be replaced.

I asked Tim

it doesn’t depress me at all. I do what I can for people and take satisfaction in

people were becoming more aware of the public service his profession provides.

museums. The mortician is no longer regarded as a minister of death.

Before leaving, I wanted to see a body up close. I thought I could be indifferent

touched the skin. It felt cold and firm, not unlike clay. As I walked out, I felt glad

to have satisfied my curiosity about dead bodies, but all too happy to let someone

else handle them.

Twain, Mark. Pudd’nhead Wilson. New York: Pocket Books, 2004: 45. Print.

For an additional student reading, go to

bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/epages.

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Which information in par. 26 comes from observation and which comes from interviewing Tim? How do you know?

Whose perspective does this statement reflect? How do you know?

Is Tim’s definition of mortuary science helpful? Why or why not?

How effective is this ending?

69GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

John T. Edge I’m Not Leaving Until I Eat This Thing

JOHN T. EDGE directs the Southern Foodways Symposium, which is part of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, and edits the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. He has written Truck Food Cookbook (2012); A Gracious Plenty: Recipes and Recollections from the American South (1999); Southern Belly (2000), a portrait of southern food told through profiles of people and places; and a series of books on specific foods, including Fried Chicken (2004), Apple Pie (2004), and Hamburgers and Fries (2005). In addition to appearing on several radio and television programs, such as Iron

Chef and NPR’s All Things Considered, Edge writes columns for a number of newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Garden and Gun, Gourmet, and the Oxford American, in which this profile originally appeared.

As you read, consider how Edge uses his own experience of trying to eat a pickled pig lip to introduce readers to Farm Fresh Food Supplier, a family business that produces pickled meat products:

It’s just past 4:00 on a Thursday afternoon in June at Jesse’s Place, a country juke 17 miles south of the Mississippi line and three miles west of Amite, Louisiana. The air conditioner hacks and spits forth torrents of Arctic air, but the heat of summer can’t be kept at bay. It seeps around the splintered doorjambs and settles in, transforming the squat particleboard- plastered roadhouse into a sauna. Slowly, the dank barroom fills with grease-smeared mechanics from the truck stop up the road and farmers straight from the fields, the soles of their brogans thick with dirt clods. A few weary souls make their way over from the nearby sawmill. I sit alone at the bar, one empty bottle of Bud in front of me, a second in my hand. I drain the beer, order a third, and stare down at the pink juice spreading outward from a crumpled foil pouch and onto the bar.

I’m not leaving until I eat this thing, I tell myself. Half a mile down the road, behind a fence coiled

with razor wire, Lionel Dufour, proprietor of Farm Fresh Food Supplier, is loading up the last truck of the day, wheeling case after case of pickled pork offal out

of his cinder-block processing plant and into a semi- trailer bound for Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

His crew packed lips today. Yesterday, it was pickled sausage; the day before that, pig feet. Tomorrow, it’s pickled pig lips again. Lionel has been on the job since 2:45 in the morning, when he came in to light the boilers. Damon Landry, chief cook and maintenance man, came in at 4:30. By 7:30, the production line was at full tilt: six women in white smocks and blue bouffant caps, slicing ragged white fat from the lips, tossing the good parts in glass jars, the bad parts in barrels bound for the rendering plant. Across the aisle, filled jars clatter by on a conveyor belt as a worker tops them off with a ool-Aid-red slurry of hot sauce, vinegar, salt, and food coloring. Around the corner, the jars are capped, affixed with a label, and stored in pasteboard boxes to await shipping.

Unlike most offal — euphemistically called “variety meats” — lips belie their provenance. Brains, milky white and globular, look like brains. Feet, the ghosts of their cloven hoofs protruding, look like feet. Testicles look like, well, testicles. But lips are different.

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CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 70

Loosed from the snout, trimmed of their fat, and dyed a preternatural pink, they look more like candy than like carrion.

At Farm Fresh, no swine root in an adjacent feed- lot. No viscera-strewn killing floor lurks just out of sight, down a darkened hallway. These pigs died long ago at some Midwestern abat- toir. By the time the lips arrive in Amite, they are, in essence, pig Popsicles, 50-pound blocks of offal and ice.

“Lips are all meat,” Lionel told me earlier in the day. “No gristle, no bone, no nothing. They’re bar food, hot and vinegary, great with a beer. Used to be the lips ended up in sausages, headcheese, those sorts of things. A lot of them still do.”

Lionel, a 50-year-old father of three with quick, intelligent eyes set deep in a face the color of cordo- van, is a veteran of nearly 40 years in the pickled pig lips business. “I started out with my daddy when I wasn’t much more than 10,” Lionel told me, his shy smile framed by a coarse black mustache flecked with whispers of gray. “The meatpacking business he owned had gone broke back when I was 6, and he was peddling out of the back of his car, selling dried shrimp, napkins, straws, tubes of plastic cups, pig feet, pig lips, whatever the bar owners needed. He sold to black bars, white bars, sweet shops, snowball stands, you name it. We made the rounds together after I got

out of school, sometimes staying out till two or three in the morning. I remember bringing my toy cars to this one joint and racing them around the floor with the bar owner’s son while my daddy and his father did business.”

For years after the demise of that first meatpack- ing company, the Dufour family sold someone else’s product. “We used to buy lips from Dennis Di Salvo’s company down in Belle Chasse,” recalled Lionel. “As far as I can tell, his mother was the one who came up with the idea to pickle and pack lips back in the ’50s, back when she was working for a company called Three Little Pigs over in Houma. But pretty soon, we were selling so many lips that we had to almost beg Di Salvo’s for product. That’s when we started cooking up our own,” he told me, gesturing toward the cast- iron kettle that hangs from the rafters by the front door of the plant. “My daddy started cooking lips in that very pot.”

Lionel now cooks lips in 11 retrofitted milk tanks, dull stainless-steel cauldrons shaped like oversized cradles. But little else has changed. Though Lionel’s

father has passed away, Farm Fresh remains a family-focused company. His wife, athy, keeps the books. His daughter, Dana, a button-cute college student who has won numerous beauty titles, takes to the road in the summer, selling lips to convenience stores

and wholesalers. Soon, after he graduates from busi- ness school, Lionel’s younger son, Matt, will take over operations at the plant. And his older son, a veterinar- ian, lent his name to one of Farm Fresh’s top sellers, Jason’s Pickled Pig Lips.

“We do our best to corner the market on lips,” Lionel told me, his voice tinged with bravado. “Sometimes they’re hard to get from the packing houses. You gotta kill a lot of pigs to get enough lips to keep us going. I’ve got new customers calling every day; it’s all I can do to keep up with demand, but I bust my ass to keep up. I do what I can for my family — and for my customers.

“When my customers tell me something,” he con- tinued, “just like when my daddy told me something, I listen. If my customers wanted me to dye the lips

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“Lips are all meat,” Lionel told me earlier in the day. “No gristle, no bone, no nothing. They’re bar food, hot and vinegary, great with a beer.”

71GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

green, I’d ask, ‘What shade?’ As it is, every few years we’ll do some red and some blue for the Fourth of July. This year we did jars full of Mardi Gras lips — half purple, half gold,” Lionel recalled with a chuckle. “I guess we’d had a few beers when we came up with that one.”

Meanwhile, back at Jesse’s Place, I finish my third Bud, order my fourth. Now, I tell myself, my courage bolstered by booze, I’m ready to eat a lip.

They may have looked like candy in the plant, but in the barroom they’re carrion once again. I poke and prod the six-inch arc of pink flesh, peering up from my reverie just in time to catch the barkeep’s wife, Audrey, staring straight at me. She fixes me with a look just this side of pity and asks, “You gonna eat that thing or make love to it?”

Her nephew, Jerry, sidles up to a bar stool on my left. “A lot of people like ’em with chips,” he says with a nod toward the pink juice pooling on the bar in front of me. I offer to buy him a lip, and Audrey fishes one from a jar behind the counter, wraps it in tinfoil, and places the whole affair on a paper towel in front of him.

I take stock of my own cowardice, and, following Jerry’s lead, reach for a bag of potato chips, tear open the top with my teeth, and toss the quivering hunk of hog flesh into the shiny interior of the bag, slick with

grease and dusted with salt. Vinegar vapors tickle my nostrils. I stifle a gag that rolls from the back of my throat, swallow hard, and pray that the urge to vomit passes.

With a smash of my hand, the potato chips are reduced to a pulp, and I feel the cold lump of the lip beneath my fist. I clasp the bag shut and shake it hard in an effort to ensure chip coverage in all the nooks and crannies of the lip. The technique that Jerry uses — and I mimic — is not unlike that employed by home cooks mixing up a mess of Shake ’n Bake chicken.

I pull from the bag a coral crescent of meat now crusted with blond bits of potato chips. When I chomp down, the soft flesh dissolves between my teeth. It tastes like a flaccid cracklin’, unmistakably porcine, and not altogether bad. The chips help, providing texture where there was none. Slowly, my brow unfurrows, my stom- ach ceases its fluttering.

Sensing my relief, Jerry leans over and peers into my bag. “ ind of look like Frosted Flakes, don’t they?” he says, by way of describing the chips rapidly turning to mush in the pickling juice. I offer the bag to Jerry, order yet another beer, and turn to eye the pig feet float- ing in a murky jar by the cash register, their blunt tips bobbing up through a pasty white film.

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Make connections: Aversion to new foods. Edge uses the words courage (par. 13) and cowardice (par. 16) to describe his squeamish- ness about eating a pickled pig lip. And when he finally eats a bite, he feels queasy. Although his nausea is undoubtedly real, it may be caused more by anxiety than by anything sickening in the food itself.

Consider the kinds of food you feel uncomfortable eating — foods that you have anxiety about eating, foods that gross you out, or foods that you stay away from for some other reason, such as a religious dietary restriction or a moral conviction. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

What role do factors such as family, ethnic, or religious traditions play in your food choices? If your food aversions are unusual in your family or community, consider how other family or community members regard your choice — for example, as a quirk or as a rejection of something they value. If you find it hard to try foods from different cultures, why do you think that is?

REFLECT

Edge I’m Not Leaving Until I Eat This Thing

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 72

Early in the essay, Edge makes clear that he is squeamish about eating a pickled pig lip even though he is a Southerner and it is a popular southern delicacy. How does his difficulty eating the pig lip set him apart from the other people in the bar? What else separates him from them?

Use the basic features.

DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THE SUBJECT: DESCRIBING THE PLACE AND PEOPLE

An effective description names the observable features of the subject, details the sub- ject by explaining what it is or what its parts or features are, and compares the sub- ject with something else to explain what it is like. The comparisons may be similes, which explicitly compare items using words such as like or as: The pig lips “look more like candy than like carrion ” (par. 5). Or the comparisons may be metaphors, which compare the subject with something else without using words such as like or as: “The air conditioner . . . spits forth torrents of Arctic air” (par. 1). The choices a writer makes about the details to include and the words to use in creating the descrip- tion work together to create a dominant impression that conveys the writer’s perspec- tive—what we call showing.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing Edge’s descriptions:

1 For paragraphs 5 – 7, 14, and 16 – 18, choose a few examples of especially vivid naming and detailing. Also highlight one or two comparisons—similes or metaphors—that work particularly well. What makes these examples so effective?

2 If you have never seen a pickled pig lip, what more do you need to know to imagine what it looks, smells, and tastes like, or how it feels and sounds when you chomp down on it? Which details make a lip seem appealing to you? Which ones make it seem unappealing?

3 Consider the photograph Edge includes in his essay, and explain what it contributes to the dominant impression. Edge could have used a full-body photograph of a pig or a photograph of the pig lips themselves. What does the choice of visual suggest about the writer’s perspective?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: TAKING READERS ON A TOUR

Profiles may be organized topically, with the writer moving through a series of topics about the subject. They may be organized narratively, with the writer taking readers on a tour of the place, pointing out interesting sights and commenting as they move

ANALYZE

To learn more about the descriptive strategies of naming and detailing, see Chapter 15, pp. 574–77. For more on analyzing a photograph, see Chapter 20, pp. 628–29.

73GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

through space. (Brian Cable’s profile of the Goodbody Mortuary is a good example of narrative organization.) Or, like Edge, they may combine strategies.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing the organization of Edge’s profile:

1 Skim paragraphs 3–12, and note in the margin where Edge presents the following topics: the production process, the various products produced by Farm Fresh, the source of the products, and the history of the Farm Fresh business.

2 Reread paragraphs 16–18, and highlight places where the sequence of actions involved in eating a pig lip are narrated.

3 Explain what, if anything, you learn from Edge’s narrative that you couldn’t find out from the topics he presents in paragraphs 3–12.

THE WRITER’S ROLE: ACTING AS A SPECTATOR

Profile writers can adopt the role of a spectator or the role of a participant. In the student essay at the beginning of this section, Cable takes on the role of a spectator when he talks to Howard and Tim and takes a tour of the Goodbody Mortuary. To become a participant, Cable would have had to help the funeral director or embalmer in his daily activities.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Analyze Edge’s dual roles of spectator and participant in “I’m Not Leaving Until I Eat This Thing,” and then write a few paragraphs explaining what the two roles contribute to his profile:

1 Skim the essay, and note in the margin where Edge uses the spectator role and where he uses the participant role.

2 Give an example of each role, and explain how the examples show which role he is using.

3 What does adopting each role enable Edge to do?

A PERSPECTIVE ON THE SUBJECT: SHOWING AND TELLING

Profile writers do not simply present information about their subject; they also offer their insights on it. They do so through their decisions about what to show the reader. For example, by comparing the display of caskets to shiny new cars in a showroom, Cable reveals his perspective on Americans’ denial of death and their inclination to profit from it. They may also tell readers what they are thinking. Cable conveys his per- spective with comments such as, “The death of a loved one can be very painful, partly because . . . someone else’s mortality reminds us all too vividly of our own” (par. 1). A writer’s tone can also be telling—for example, Cable’s use of humor.

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CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 74

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing Edge’s use of telling to convey his perspective:

1 Reread paragraph 1, and highlight the descriptions of the patrons of Jesse’s Place, noting particularly information suggesting the kinds of work they do and their socioeconomic class.

2 Skim paragraph 15, where Jerry shows Edge how people like to eat pickled pig lips.

3 Explain Edge’s perspective on this popular Southern bar snack and how it may reflect his own class position.

Consider possible topics: Writing about a specialty restaurant, manufacturer, or store. Consider writing about a place that serves, produces, or sells something unusual, perhaps something that, like Edge, you could try yourself for the purpose of further informing and engaging your readers. There are many possibilities: a producer or packager of a special ethnic or regional food or a local café that serves it, a licensed acupuncture clinic, a caterer, a novelty and toy balloon store, a microbrewery, a boat builder, a talent agency, a manufacturer of ornamental iron, a bead store, a nail salon, a pet fish and aquarium supplier, a detailing shop, a tattoo parlor, a scrap metal recy- cler, a fly-fishing shop, a handwriting analyst, a dog- or cat-sitting service. If none of these appeals to you, try browsing the Yellow Pages in print or online at Yellow.com. Remember that relating your experience with the service or product is a good idea but not a requirement for a successful profile.

RESPOND

Amanda Coyne The Long Good-Bye: Mother’s Day in Federal Prison

AMANDA COYNE earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the University of Iowa, where she was the recipient of an Iowa Arts Fellowship. She is the cofounder and writer of the Alaska Dispatch, an award-winning online news site. Her work has appeared in such publications as Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, Bust, Newsweek, and the Guardian. Most recently, she is the coauthor with her husband of a book about oil and politics in Alaska entitled Crude Awakening: Money, Mavericks, and Mayhem in Alaska (2011).

“The Long Good-Bye,” her first piece of published writing, originally appeared in Harper’s. This selection takes a more ethnographic turn than the other profiles in this chapter in that Coyne uses direct observation and interview to study the behavior

75GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Coyne The Long Good-Bye: Mother’s Day in Federal Prison

of a particular community. In this profile, Coyne examines women who have been in- carcerated and separated from their children to see how the mothers and children ne- gotiate their difficult relationships.

As you read, think about what you learn about the stresses on these parent-child relationships:

what she thinks and feels?

You can spot the convict-moms here in the visiting room by the way they hold and touch their children and by the single flower that is perched in front of them — a rose, a tulip, a daffodil. Many of these mothers have untied the bow that attaches the flower to its silver-and- red cellophane wrapper and are using one of the many empty soda cans at hand as a vase. They sit proudly be- fore their flower-in-a-Coke-can, amid Hershey bar wrap- pers, half-eaten Ding Dongs, and empty paper coffee cups. Occasionally, a mother will pick up her present and bring it to her nose when one of the bearers of the single flower — her child — asks if she likes it. And the mother will respond the way that mothers always have and always will respond when presented with a gift on this day. “Oh, I just love it. It’s perfect. I’ll put it in the middle of my Bible.” Or, “I’ll put it on my desk, right next to your school picture.” And always: “It’s the best one here.”

But most of what is being smelled today is the chil- dren themselves. While the other adults are plunking coins into the vending machines, the mothers take deep whiffs from the backs of their children’s necks, or kiss and smell the backs of their knees, or take off their shoes and tickle their feet and then pull them close to their noses. They hold them tight and take in their own second scent — the scent assuring them that these are still their children and that they still belong to them.

The visitors are allowed to bring in pockets full of coins, and today that Mother’s Day flower, and I know from previous visits to my older sister here at the Federal Prison Camp for women in Pekin, Illinois, that there is always an aberrant urge to gather immedi- ately around the vending machines. The sandwiches are stale, the coffee weak, the candy bars the ones we always pass up in a convenience store. But after we

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hand the children over to their mothers, we gravitate toward those machines. Like milling in the kitchen at a party. We all do it, and nobody knows why. Polite conversation ensues around the microwave while the popcorn is popping and the processed-chicken sand- wiches are being heated. We ask one another where we are from, how long a drive we had. An occasional whistle through the teeth, a shake of the head. “My, my, long way from home, huh?” “Staying at the Super 8 right up the road. Not a bad place.” “Stayed at the Econo Lodge last time. Wasn’t a good place at all.” Never asking the questions we really want to ask: “What’s she in for?” “How much time’s she got left?” You never ask in the waiting room of a doctor’s office either. Eventually, all of us — fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, a few boyfriends, and very few husbands — return to the queen of the day, sitting at a fold-out table loaded with snacks, prepared for five or so hours of attempted normal conversation.

Most of the inmates are elaborately dressed, many in prison-crafted dresses and sweaters in bright blues and pinks. They wear meticulously applied makeup in corresponding hues, and their hair is re- plete with loops and curls — hair that only women with the time have the time for. Some of the better seamstresses have crocheted vests and purses to match their outfits. Although the world outside would never accuse these women of making haute-couture fashion statements, the fathers and the sons and the boyfriends and the very few husbands think they look beautiful, and they tell them so repeatedly. And I can imagine the hours spent preparing for this visit — hours of nee- dles and hooks clicking over brightly colored yards of yarn. The hours of discussing, dissecting, and brag- ging about these visitors — especially the men. Hours

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spent in the other world behind the door where we’re not allowed, sharing lipsticks and mascaras, and unraveling the occasional hair-tangled hot roller, and the brushing out and lifting and teasing . . . and the giggles that abruptly change into tears without warning — things that define any female-only world. Even, or especially, if that world is a female federal prison camp.

While my sister Jennifer is with her son in the playroom, an inmate’s mother comes over to introduce herself to my younger sister, Charity, my brother, John, and me. She tells us about visiting her daughter in a higher-security prison before she was transferred here. The woman looks old and tired, and her shoulders sag under the weight of her recently acquired bitterness.

“Pit of fire,” she says, shaking her head. “Like a pit of fire straight from hell. Never seen anything like it. Like something out of an old movie about prisons.” Her voice is getting louder and she looks at each of us with pleading eyes. “My daughter was there. Don’t even get me started on that place. Women die there.”

John and Charity and I silently exchange glances. “My daughter would come to the visiting room

with a black eye and I’d think, ‘All she did was sit in the car while her boyfriend ran into the house.’ She didn’t even touch the stuff. Never even handled it.”

She continues to stare at us, each in turn. “Ten years. That boyfriend talked and he got three years. She didn’t know anything. Had nothing to tell them. They gave her ten years. They called it conspiracy. Conspiracy? Aren’t there real criminals out there?” She asks this with hands outstretched, waiting for an answer that none of us can give her.

The woman’s daughter, the conspirator, is chasing her son through the maze of chairs and tables and through the other children. She’s a twenty-four-year-old blonde, whom I’ll call Stephanie, with Dorothy Hamill hair and matching dimples. She looks like any girl you might see in any shopping mall in middle America. She catches her chocolate-brown son and tickles him, and they laugh and trip and fall together onto the floor and laugh harder.

Had it not been for that wait in the car, this scene would be taking place at home, in a duplex Stephanie would rent while trying to finish her two-year degree in dental hygiene or respiratory therapy at the local community college. The duplex would be spotless,

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with a blown-up picture of her and her son over the couch and ceramic unicorns and horses occupying the shelves of the entertainment center. She would make sure that her son went to school every day with styl- ishly floppy pants, scrubbed teeth, and a good break- fast in his belly. Because of their difference in skin color, there would be occasional tension — caused by the strange looks from strangers, teachers, other moth- ers, and the bullies on the playground, who would chant after they knocked him down, “Your Momma’s white, your Momma’s white.” But if she were home, their weekends and evenings would be spent together transcending those looks and healing those bruises. Now, however, their time is spent eating visiting-room junk food and his school days are spent fighting the boys in the playground who chant, “Your Momma’s in prison, your Momma’s in prison.”

He will be ten when his mother is released, the same age my nephew will be when his mother is let out. But Jennifer, my sister, was able to spend the first five years of Toby’s life with him. Stephanie had Ellie after she was incarcerated. They let her hold him for eigh- teen hours, then sent her back to prison. She has done the “tour,” and her son is a well-traveled six-year-old. He has spent weekends visiting his mother in prisons in

entucky, Texas, Connecticut (the Pit of Fire), and now at last here, the camp — minimum security, Pekin, Illinois.

Ellie looks older than his age. But his shoulders do not droop like his grandmother’s. On the contrary, his bitterness lifts them and his chin higher than a child’s should be, and the childlike, wide-eyed curiosity has been replaced by defiance. You can see his emerging hostility as he and his mother play together. She tells him to pick up the toy that he threw, say, or to put the deck of cards away. His face turns sullen, but she per- sists. She takes him by the shoulders and looks him in the eye, and he uses one of his hands to swat at her. She grabs the hand and he swats with the other. Eventually, she pulls him toward her and smells the top of his head, and she picks up the cards or the toy herself. After all, it is Mother’s Day and she sees him so rarely. But her ac- quiescence makes him angrier, and he stalks out of the playroom with his shoulders thrown back.

Toby, my brother and sister and I assure one an- other, will not have these resentments. He is better taken care of than most. He is living with relatives in

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“Is my Mommy a bad guy?” It is the question that most seriously disorders his five-year-old need to clearly separate right from wrong.

country, a country that watches over and protects its most vulnerable citizens: its women and children.

So for now we simply say, “Toby, your mother isn’t bad, she just did a bad thing. Like when you put rocks in the lawn mower’s gas tank. You weren’t bad then, you just did a bad thing.”

Once, after being given this weak explanation, he said, “I wish I could have done something really bad, like my Mommy. So I could go to prison too and be with her.”

It’s now 3:00. Visiting ends at 3:30. The kids are get- ting cranky, and the adults are both exhausted and wired from too many hours of conversation, too much coffee

and candy. The fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and the few boy- friends, and the very few husbands are beginning to show signs of gath- ering the trash. The mothers of the infants are giving their heads one last whiff before tucking them and

their paraphernalia into their respective carrying cases. The visitors meander toward the door, leaving the older children with their mothers for one last word. But the mothers never say what they want to say to their children. They say things like, “Do well in school,” “Be nice to your sister,” “Be good for Aunt Berry, or Grandma.” They don’t say, “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry. I love you more than anything else in the world and I think about you every minute and I worry about you with a pain that shoots straight to my heart, a pain so great I think I will just burst when I think of you alone, without me. I’m sorry.”

We are standing in front of the double glass doors that lead to the outside world. My older sister holds her son, rocking him gently. They are both crying. We give her a look and she puts him down. Charity and I grasp each of his small hands, and the four of us walk through the doors. As we’re walking out, my brother sings one of his banana songs to Toby.

“Take me out to the — ” and Toby yells out, “Banana store ”

“Buy me some — ” “Bananas ” “I don’t care if I ever come back. For it’s root, root,

root for the — ” “Monkey team ” I turn back and see a line of women standing

behind the glass wall. Some of them are crying, but

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Wisconsin. Good, solid, middle-class, churchgoing relatives. And when he visits us, his aunts and his uncle, we take him out for adventures where we walk down the alley of a city and pretend that we are being chased by the “bad guys.” We buy him fast food, and his uncle, John, keeps him up well past his bedtime enthralling him with stories of the monkeys he met in India. A perfect mix, we try to convince one another. Until we take him to see his mother and on the drive back he asks the question that most confuses him, and no doubt all the other children who spend much of their lives in prison visiting rooms: “Is my Mommy a bad guy?” It is the question that most seriously disorders his five-year-old need to clearly separate right from wrong. And because our own need is perhaps just as great, it is the question that haunts us as well.

Now, however, the answer is relatively simple. In a few years, it won’t be. In a few years we will have to explain mandatory minimums, and the war on drugs, and the murky conspiracy laws, and the enormous amount of money and time that federal agents pump into impris- oning low-level drug dealers and those who happen to be their friends and their lovers. In a few years he might have the reasoning skills to ask why so many armed robbers and rapists and child-molesters and, indeed, murderers are punished less severely than his mother. When he is older, we will somehow have to explain to him the difference between federal crimes, which don’t allow for parole, and state crimes, which do. We will have to explain that his mother was taken from him for five years not because she was a drug dealer but because she made four phone calls for someone she loved.

But we also know it is vitally important that we explain all this without betraying our bitterness. We understand the danger of abstract anger, of being disillusioned with your country, and, most of all, we do not want him to inherit that legacy. We would still like him to be raised as we were, with the idea that we live in the best country in the world with the best legal system in the world — a legal system carefully designed to be immune to political mood swings and public hysteria; a system that promises to fit the punishment to the crime. We want him to be a good citizen. We want him to have absolute faith that he lives in a fair

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Coyne The Long Good-Bye: Mother’s Day in Federal Prison

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 78

many simply stare with dazed eyes. Stephanie is hold- ing both of her son’s hands in hers and speaking ur- gently to him. He is struggling, and his head is twisting violently back and forth. He frees one of his hands from her grasp, balls up his fist, and punches her in the face. Then he walks with purpose through the glass doors

and out the exit. I look back at her. She is still in a crouched position. She stares, unblinking, through those doors. Her hands have left her face and are hang- ing on either side of her. I look away, but before I do, I see drops of blood drip from her nose, down her chin, and onto the shiny marble floor.

Make connections: Unfair punishment. Coyne reflects near the end of the essay that she wishes her nephew Toby would “have absolute faith that he lives in a fair country” (par. 16). Yet she expects that, like Stephanie’s son, Ellie, Toby will become bitter and angry when he understands that “his mother was taken from him for five years not because she was a drug dealer but because she made four phone calls for someone she loved” (par. 15).

Think about an occasion when you were punished harshly — for breaking a school rule, perhaps, or neglecting to fulfill an expectation of your parents. Although you willingly admit having done it, you may still feel that the punishment was unjus- tified. Consider what you did and why you think the punishment was unfair. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

Why do you think the punishment was unfair? For example, were the rules or expectations that you broke unclear or unreasonable? Were they applied to everyone or applied selectively or at the whim of those in power?

Coyne uses the value term unfair to describe what’s wrong with the punishment her sister and some of the other women received. Why do you think Coyne believes her sister’s punishment is unfair? Why does Stephanie’s mother think Stephanie’s punishment was unfair? Do you agree or disagree?

Use the basic features.

DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THE SUBJECT: USING ANECDOTES

Including anecdotes — brief narratives about one-time events — can be a powerful way to convey detailed information about a subject. Coyne, for example, exposes the effects of separation on mothers and children through powerful anecdotes portraying what happened between Stephanie and her son, Ellie, during their visit.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing Coyne’s use of anecdotes to present information:

1 Reread paragraphs 13 and 26, underlining the words that Coyne uses to present Ellie’s actions and putting brackets around the words Coyne uses to present his mother’s reactions.

2 What do you learn from these anecdotes about the effects on Stephanie and Ellie of enforced separation?

REFLECT

ANALYZE

79GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: NARRATING A DAY IN THE LIFE

Coyne uses narrative as a kind of exoskeleton, a shell within which to hold the infor- mation and ideas she wants to present to her readers. The occasion is specific: visiting hours at the Federal Prison on Mother’s Day. The opening paragraphs situate the pro- file in time and space, and the concluding paragraphs — signaled with the time marker “It’s now 3:00. Visiting ends at 3:30” (par. 19) — recount what happened at the end of the visit. Within this narrative framework, however, Coyne does not follow a strict chronological order. Some events occur at the same time as other events. For example, paragraphs 1 to 3 present actions that occur at the same time: while mothers are getting reacquainted with their children (pars. 1 and 2), the family members are using the vend- ing machines and chatting with one another (par. 3).

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing Coyne’s use of narrative organization:

1 Reread the essay, noting in the margin when the events are happening in relation to the events in earlier paragraphs and highlighting any time markers, such as prepositional phrases locating actions in time, clock time, or verb tenses (past, present, future, and so on).

2 Coyne could have organized her essay topically, by presenting a series of insights and impressions from the many visits she has made instead of focusing on one Mother’s Day. How does her choice help you understand the situation of the women and their families?

THE WRITER’S ROLE: ALTERNATING PARTICIPANT AND SPECTATOR ROLES

Instead of choosing between the roles of participant-observer or spectator, writers may also alternate between these two roles, as Coyne does in “The Long Good- Bye.” Notice how Coyne uses pronouns (first-, second-, and third-person) to let readers know which role she is taking.

The spectator, or eyewitness, role shows what is unfolding before the writer’s eyes.

You can spot the convict-moms here in the visiting room by the way they hold and touch their children. (par. 1)

The participant-observer role puts Coyne and the other adult visitors into the scene.

I know from previous visits to my older sister. (par. 3)

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing how Coyne uses these two roles:

1 Analyze the rest of paragraphs 1 and 3, highlighting the first-, second-, and third- person pronouns.

2nd-person pronoun

3rd-person pronouns

1st-person pronouns

Coyne The Long Good-Bye: Mother’s Day in Federal Prison

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 80

2 Look closely at the way the pronouns are used. Note, for example, that writers seldom use the second-person pronoun you; why do you think Coyne uses it here? Who is Coyne referring to with the first-person plural pronoun we?

3 Consider the effect that alternating between spectator and participant roles has on the reader. How would your experience as a reader be different if Coyne had stuck with one role or the other? Also think about how alternating the roles helps convey her perspective — for example, how the pronouns align the speaker with certain people and distance her from others (us versus them).

A PERSPECTIVE ON THE SUBJECT: USING CONTRAST AND JUXTAPOSITION

Profiles may offer a clear perspective on a subject, but unlike an argument for a posi- tion or a justification of an evaluation, which tell readers directly what the writer thinks and why, profiles may be more effective when they provide information and ideas that allow readers to draw their own conclusions. One strategy is to use transi- tions that point out different elements and identify the contrast between them.

They may have looked like candy in the plant, but in the barroom they’re carrion once again. (Edge, par. 14)

A related strategy is to juxtapose (place next to one another) contrasting ele- ments without explaining the relationship between them:

They were candy in the plant. They’re carrion here.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing how Coyne uses transitions indicating contrast and juxtaposition to convey her perspective:

1 Skim Coyne’s profile, highlighting the transitional words and phrases that indicate contrast. Analyze at least one of the contrasts you’ve found. What is being contrasted? How does the transition help you understand?

2 Note in the margin which paragraphs focus on Coyne’s sister Jennifer and her son, Toby, and which focus on Stephanie and her son, Ellie. What differences between the two families does Coyne emphasize? Contrasts tend to be worth pointing out when there are also important similarities. What similarities do you think Coyne wants readers to think about?

3 Consider how Coyne’s use of contrast and juxtaposition—between people, between the world of the prison and the world outside, and between what is and what could have been—helps convey her perspective on the plight of women like her sister and children like her nephew.

Consider possible topics: Profiling one instance of a recurring event. Like Coyne, you can also profile an activity occurring over a short period of time, in a relatively small space, involving only a few people. Consider, for example, profiling

RESPOND

To learn more about transitions, see Chapter 13; transitions indicating a con- trasting or opposing view are listed on p. 556.

81GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Thompson A Gringo in the Lettuce Fields

a team practicing, a musical group rehearsing, or researchers working together in a lab. Try to make more than one observational visit to see the group in action, and ar- range to talk with people on every visit, perhaps capturing a few digital images you could use to help you prepare the profile and possibly also to illustrate it.

Gabriel Thompson A Gringo in the Lettuce Fields

GABRIEL THOMPSON has worked as a community organizer and written extensively about the lives of undocumented immigrants in the United States. He has published numerous articles in periodicals such as New York magazine, the New York Times, and the Nation. His books include There’s No José Here: Following the Hidden Lives of Mexican Immigrants (2006), Calling All Radicals: How Grassroots Organizers Can Help Save Our Democracy (2007), and Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs (Most) Americans Won’t Do (2010), from which the fol-

lowing selection is taken. The photograph showing lettuce cutters at work (p. 82) is from Thompson’s blog, Working in the Shadows.

“A Gringo in the Lettuce Fields” falls into the category of immersion journalism, a cultural ethnography that uses undercover participant observation over an extended period of time to get an insider’s view of a particular community. As you read, consider the ethical implications of this kind of profile:

from understanding — about the community?

being profiled?

“joined the crew . . . to write about it” (par. 17). Not all participant-observers go un- dercover; why do you think Thompson chose to do so? What concerns would you have if you were the writer or if you were a member of the group being profiled?

I wake up staring into the bluest blue I’ve ever seen. I must have fallen into a deep sleep because I need several seconds to realize that I’m looking at the Arizona sky, that the pillow beneath my head is a large clump of dirt, and that a near-stranger named Manuel is standing over me, smiling. I pull myself to a sitting posi- tion. To my left, in the distance, a Border Patrol helicop- ter is hovering. To my right is Mexico, separated by only a few fields of lettuce. “Buenos días,” Manuel says.

I stand up gingerly. It’s only my third day in the fields, but already my 30-year-old body is failing me. I feel like someone has dropped a log on my back. And then piled that log onto a truck with many other logs,

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and driven that truck over my thighs. “Let’s go,” I say, trying to sound energetic as I fall in line behind Manuel, stumbling across rows of lettuce and thinking about “the five-day rule.” The five-day rule, according to Manuel, is simple: Survive the first five days and you’ll be fine. He’s been a farmworker for almost two decades, so he should know. I’m on day three of five — the goal is within sight. Of course, another way to look at my situation is that I’m on day three of what I promised myself would be a two-month immersion in the work life of the people who do a job that most Americans won’t do. But thinking about the next seven weeks doesn’t benefit anyone. Day three of five.

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 82

“Manuel Gabriel Let’s go ¡Vámonos!” yells Pedro, our foreman. Our short break is over. Two dozen crew members standing near the lettuce machine are already putting on gloves and sharpening knives. Manuel and I hustle toward the machine, grab our own knives from a box of chlorinated water, and set up in neighboring rows, just as the machine starts moving slowly down another endless field.

Since the early 1980s, Yuma, Ariz., has been the “winter lettuce capital” of America. Each winter, when the weather turns cold in Salinas, California — the heart of the nation’s lettuce industry — temperatures in sunny Yuma are still in the 70s and 80s. At the height of Yuma’s growing season, the fields surrounding the city produce virtually all of the iceberg lettuce and 90 percent of the leafy green vegetables consumed in the United States and Canada.

America’s lettuce industry actually needs people like me. Before applying for fieldwork at the local Dole headquarters, I came across several articles describing the causes of a farmworker shortage. The stories cited an aging workforce, immigration crackdowns, and long delays at the border that discourage workers with green cards who would otherwise commute to the fields from their Mexican homes.1 Wages have been rising some- what in response to the demand for laborers (one prom- inent member of the local growers association tells me average pay is now between 10 and 12 an hour), but it’s widely assumed that most U.S. citizens wouldn’t do the work at any price. Arizona’s own Senator John McCain created a stir in 2006 when he issued a chal- lenge to a group of union members in Washington, D.C. “I’ll offer anybody here 50 an hour if you’ll go pick lettuce in Yuma this season, and pick for the whole sea- son,” he said. Amid jeers, he didn’t back down, telling the audience, “You can’t do it, my friends.”

On my first day I discover that even putting on a lettuce cutter’s uniform is challenging (no fieldworkers, I learn, “pick” lettuce). First, I’m handed a pair of black galoshes to go over my shoes. Next comes the gancho, an S-shaped hook that slips over my belt to hold packets of plastic bags. A white glove goes on my right

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hand, a gray glove, supposedly designed to offer protec- tion from cuts, goes on my left. Over the cloth gloves I pull on a pair of latex gloves. I put on a black hairnet, my baseball cap, and a pair of protective sunglasses. Adding to my belt a long leather sheath, I’m good to go. I feel ridiculous.

1 A green card is an immigration document that allows noncitizens to work legally in the United States, whether they live here or commute across the border. Undocumented workers (or illegal immi- grants, depending on your position) lack green cards. Editor’s note

The crew is already working in the field when Pedro walks me out to them and introduces me to Manuel. Manuel is holding an 18-inch knife in his hand. “Manuel has been cutting for many years, so watch him to see how it’s done,” Pedro says. Then he walks away. Manuel resumes cutting, following a machine that rolls along just ahead of the crew. Every several seconds Manuel bends down, grabs a head of iceberg lettuce with his left hand, and makes a quick cut with the knife in his right hand, separating the lettuce from its roots. Next, he lifts the lettuce to his stomach and makes a second cut, trimming the trunk. He shakes the lettuce, letting the outer leaves fall to the ground. With the blade still in his hand, he then brings the lettuce toward the gancho at his waist, and with a flick of the wrist the head is bagged and dropped onto one of the machine’s extensions. Manuel does this over and over again, explaining each movement. “It’s not so hard,” he says. Five minutes later, Pedro reappears and tells me to grab a knife. Manuel points to a head of lettuce. “Try this one,” he says.

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83GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

I bend over, noticing that most of the crew has turned to watch. I take my knife and make a tentative sawing motion where I assume the trunk to be, though I’m really just guessing. Grabbing the head with my left hand, I straighten up, doing my best to imitate Manuel. Only my lettuce head doesn’t move; it’s still securely connected to the soil. Pedro steps in. “When you make the first cut, it is like you are stabbing the lettuce.” He makes a quick jabbing action. “You want to aim for the center of the lettuce, where the trunk is,” he says.

Ten minutes later, after a couple of other discour- aging moments, I’ve cut maybe 20 heads of lettuce and am already feeling pretty accomplished. I’m not perfect: If I don’t stoop far enough, my stab — instead of landing an inch above the ground — goes right through the head of lettuce, ruining it entirely. The greatest difficulty, though, is in the trimming. I had no idea that a head of lettuce was so humongous. In order to get it into a shape that can be bagged, I trim and trim and trim, but it’s taking me upward of a min- ute to do what Manuel does in several seconds.

Pedro offers me a suggestion. “Act like the lettuce is a bomb,” he says. “Imagine you’ve only got five sec- onds to get rid of it.”

Surprisingly, that thought seems to work, and I’m able to greatly increase my speed. For a minute or two I feel euphoric. “Look at me ” I want to shout at Pedro; I’m in the zone. But the woman who is packing the let- tuce into boxes soon swivels around to face me. “Look, this lettuce is no good.” She’s right: I’ve cut the trunk too high, breaking off dozens of good leaves, which will quickly turn brown because they’re attached to nothing. With her left hand she holds the bag up, and with her right she smashes it violently, making a loud pop. She turns the bag over and the massacred lettuce falls to the ground. She does the same for the three other bags I’ve placed on the extension. “It’s okay,” Manuel tells me. “You shouldn’t try to go too fast when you’re beginning.” Pedro seconds him. “That’s right. Make sure the cuts are precise and that you don’t rush.”

So I am to be very careful and precise, while also treating the lettuce like a bomb that must be tossed aside after five seconds.

That first week on the job was one thing. By midway into week two, it isn’t clear to me what more I can do to keep up with the rest of the crew. I know the techniques by this time and am moving as fast as my body will

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permit. Yet I need to somehow double my current output to hold my own. I’m able to cut only one row at a time while Manuel is cutting two. Our fastest cutter, Julio, meanwhile can handle three. But how someone could cut two rows for an hour — much less an entire day — is beyond me. “Oh, you will get it,” Pedro tells me one day. “You will most definitely get it.” Maybe he’s trying to be hopeful or inspiring, but it comes across as a threat.

That feeling aside, what strikes me about our 31-member crew is how quickly they have welcomed me as one of their own. I encountered some suspicion at first, but it didn’t last. Simply showing up on the sec- ond day seemed to be proof enough that I was there to work. When I faltered in the field and fell behind, hands would come across from adjacent rows to grab a head or two of my lettuce so I could catch up. People whose names I didn’t yet know would ask me how I was holding up, reminding me that it would get easier as time went by. If I took a seat alone during a break, someone would call me into their group and offer a homemade taco or two.

Two months in, I make the mistake of calling in sick one Thursday. The day before, I put my left hand too low on a head of lettuce. When I punched my blade through the stem, the knife struck my middle finger. Thanks to the gloves, my skin wasn’t even broken, but the finger instantly turned purple. I took two painkillers to get through the afternoon, but when I wake the next morning it is still throbbing. With one call to an answer- ing machine that morning, and another the next day, I create my own four-day weekend.

The surprise is that when I return on Monday, feel- ing recuperated, I wind up having the hardest day of my brief career in lettuce. Within hours, my hands feel weaker than ever. By quitting time — some 10 hours after our day started — I feel like I’m going to vomit from exhaustion. A theory forms in my mind. Early in the season — say, after the first week — a farmworker’s body gets thoroughly broken down. Back, legs, and arms grow sore, hands and feet swell up. A tolerance for the pain is developed, though, and two-day weekends provide just enough time for the body to recover from the trauma. My four-day break had been too long; my body actually began to recuperate, and it wanted more time to continue. Instead, it was thrown right back into the mix and rebelled. Only on my second day back did my body recover that middle ground. “I don’t think the

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Thompson A Gringo in the Lettuce Fields

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 84

soreness goes away,” I say to Manuel and two other co- workers one day. “You just forget what it’s like not to be sore.” Manuel, who’s 37, considers this. “That’s true, that’s true,” he says. “It always takes a few weeks at the end of the year to get back to normal, to recover.”

An older co-worker, Mateo, is the one who eventu- ally guesses that I have joined the crew because I want to write about it. “That is good,” he says over coffee at his home one Sunday. “Americans should know the hard work that Mexicans do in this country.”

Mateo is an unusual case. There aren’t many other farmworkers who are still in the fields when they reach their 50s. It’s simply not possible to do this work

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for decades and not suffer a permanently hunched back, or crooked fingers, or hands so swollen that they look as if someone has attached a valve to a finger and pumped vigorously. The punishing nature of the work helps explain why farmworkers don’t live very long; the National Migrant Resources Program puts their life expectancy at 49 years.

“Are you cutting two rows yet?” Mateo asks me. “Yes, more or less,” I say. “I thought I’d be better by now.” Mateo shakes his head. “It takes a long time to learn how to really cut lettuce. It’s not something that you learn after only one season. Three, maybe four seasons — then you start understanding how to really work with lettuce.”

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Make connections: Switching perspectives. Thompson joins a community of lettuce cutters to write about their work from the inside. Have you ever experienced an unfamiliar activity or culture? Perhaps you vis- ited relatives in another country, joined a friend’s family for an event, or tried out an unfamiliar sport or hobby with a group of experts. Consider what you learned about the culture, the participants, and yourself. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts about the experience on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

How fully were you able to immerse yourself in the community? What, if any- thing, held you back? How did the group members treat you — for example, wel- come you warmly, keep you at arm’s length, or make you earn their respect?

How valuable are such immersion experiences to the individual observing, to the group being observed, and to readers in general? What ethical challenges do you see with this kind of participant observation, especially if the writer is undercover, hiding his true purpose, as Thompson was?

Suppose Thompson wanted to join a community of which you are a member in order to write about it — such as a religious group, sports team, fraternity, or sorority. What elements of Thompson’s profile, if any, would cause you to trust or distrust his reporting?

Use the basic features.

DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THE SUBJECT: USING QUOTATION, PARAPHRASE, AND SUMMARY

Profile writers — like all writers — depend on the three basic strategies for presenting source material: quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Each strategy has advan- tages and disadvantages. It’s obvious why Cable chose this quotation: “We’re in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, along with another funeral home whose owners’ names are Baggit and Sackit” (par. 14). But decisions about what to quote and what to para- phrase or summarize are not always that easy.

REFLECT

ANALYZE

85GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing Thompson’s decisions about how to present information from different sources:

1 Skim the essay to find at least one example of a quotation and one paraphrase or summary of information gleaned from an interview or from background research.

2 Why do you think Thompson chooses to quote certain things and paraphrase or summarize other things? What could be a good rule of thumb for you to apply when deciding whether to quote, paraphrase, or summarize? (Note that when writing for an academic audience (in a paper for a class or in a scholarly publication, all source material—whether it is quoted, paraphrased, or summarized — should be cited.)

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: NARRATING AN EXTENDED PERIOD

Some profile writers do field research, observing and interviewing over an extended period of time. As an immersive journalist, Thompson spent more than two months as a member of one crew. To give readers a sense of the chronology of events, he uses time markers (such as calendar and clock time, transitions like next, and prepositional phrases such as on my first day). These cues are especially useful because Thompson’s narrative does not always follow a straightforward chronology.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing Thompson’s use of time markers and process narration:

1 Skim the profile, highlighting the time markers. Why do you imagine Thompson decided not to follow a linear chronology? How well does he use time markers to keep readers from becoming confused?

2 Why do you think Thompson devotes so much space (pars. 6–12) to narrating the process of cutting lettuce? What does this detailed depiction provide to readers?

THE WRITER’S ROLE: PARTICIPATING IN A GROUP

Thompson acts as both a participant and an observer: He does not watch lettuce cutters from the sidelines but works among them for two months. His informal inter- views take place during work or on breaks (even at the homes of his coworkers during the weekend). Nevertheless, there is a significant difference between a two-month experi- ment and a personal account written by a lettuce cutter like Mateo after a lifetime on the job. A profile writer may participate but is always an outsider looking in.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing Thompson’s use of the participant-observer role:

1 Skim the text, highlighting each time Thompson

reminds readers of his status as an outsider (for example, when he refers to a coworker as a “near-stranger” [par. 1]);

To learn more about quotation, paraphrase, and summary, see Chapter 26, pp. 701–08.

For more on time markers, see pp. 62–63 and Chapter 14, pp. 561–66.

For more on process narration, see Chapter 14.

Thompson A Gringo in the Lettuce Fields

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 86

tells readers about something he thinks will be unfamiliar to them (for example, when he explains that people do not “‘pick’ lettuce” [par. 6]);

calls attention to his own incompetence or failings (for example, when he describes his first attempt to cut lettuce [par. 8]).

2 Why do you think Thompson tells us about his errors and reminds us that he is an outsider? What effect are these moves likely to have on his audience?

3 How do the writers whose profiles appear in this chapter use their outsider status to connect with readers? What are the advantages, if any, of adopting the participant-observer role (as Thompson does) instead of the spectator role (as Cable does)?

A PERSPECTIVE ON THE SUBJECT: PROFILING A CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT

Two of the profiles in this chapter touch on a controversial subject about which people have strong opinions. Cable addresses the commercialization of death, and Coyne, the unfairness of the legal system. While profiles do not engage such debates head on, the way essays arguing a position do, they do offer a perspective on an issue. In doing so, they provide readers with certain kinds of information that they might not get from more explicit arguments.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing Thompson’s perspective:

1 Start by identifying the subject of the profile. Point to a couple of specific passages in the text that tell you what the subject is.

2 Identify Thompson’s perspective on the subject. Consider the title of the profile (“A Gringo in the Lettuce Fields”) and the title of the book from which it is excerpted, Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs (Most) Americans Won’t Do. What do these titles tell you about Thompson’s perspective?

3 What do you think Thompson wants readers to take away from the profile? How does the political debate raging in this country about undocumented (or illegal) immigration affect how you understand the subject and perspective of this profile?

Consider possible topics: Immersing yourself. Thompson’s experience suggests two possible avenues for research: You could embed yourself in a group, participating alongside group members, and then write about that experience. For example, you might join a club on campus or try an unusual sport. Alternatively, you could observe life in an unfamiliar group, watching how a meeting or event unfolds, interviewing members to learn about their practices, and conducting additional research to learn about the group.

RESPOND

For more profiles, including a multimodal selection, go to bedford stmartins.com/theguide /epages.

For an interactive version of this fea-

ture, plus activities, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/epages.

Profiles may be written as essays for a college class or for a magazine, but profiles appear in many other media as well. Extended profiles occur in documentary films. Brief profiles appear on TV shows, like Undercover Boss and Dirty Jobs. This still photograph shows Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe as a participant-observer in an episode in which he takes on the job of a skull cleaner, someone who makes bones ready for collectors and museums. (Here he is removing flesh-eating beetles from the skull of a horse.) Documentaries, from God Bless Ozzy Osbourne to Sicko, not only provide detailed information but also show a clear perspective on the subject and, especially in the case of Michael Moore’s documentaries, like Sicko, a role for the writer, who appears in his own films.

PLAYING WITH GENRE

Profiles in the Media

87

In the next section of this chapter, we ask you to create a profile of an activity, a place, a person, or a group of people in your community. Look for a fresh angle that will help your readers understand the significance of, and gain a new perspective on, your subject. Consider how you can best capture what’s special about your subject and engage your readers. What language or details will bring your subject to life for your readers? Should you include visuals, or would conveying your profile in another medium (a video on YouTube) help engage your readers and enable them to grasp your subject more fully? Consider, too, whether creating a profile with images or in a different medium would be acceptable to your instructor.

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 88

Assess the genre’s basic features: Detailed information about the subject. (pp. 61–62) Detailed Information about the Subject: Describing the Place and People (p. 72) Detailed Information about the Subject: Using Anecdotes (p. 78)

Paraphrase, and Summary (pp. 84–85) Integrate quotations from your interviews. (pp. 95–96)

Subject (p. 104)

Research”

GUIDE TO WRITING

The Writing Assignment Write a profi le on an intriguing person, a group of people, a place, or an activity in your community. Observe your subject closely, and then present what you have learned in a way that both informs and engages readers.

This Guide to Writing is designed to help you compose your own profi le essay and apply what you have learned from reading other profi les. This Starting Points chart will help you fi nd answers to questions you might have about composing a profi le. Use the chart to help you fi nd the guidance you need, when you need it.

The Writing Assignment

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research,

Planning, and Composing

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading

Improving the Draft: Revising,

Formatting Editing, and

Proofreading

88

89

101

103

Detailed Information about

the Subject

STARTING POINTS: WRITING A PROFILE

How do I come up with an appropriate subject to profile?

How can I make my subject come to life?

How can I gather information on my subject?

88

Planning and Drafting 89GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Assess the genre’s basic features: The writer’s role. (p. 63) The Writer’s Role: Acting as a Spectator (p. 73) The Writer’s Role: Alternating Participant and Spectator

What role should I adopt in researching and presenting my subject?

Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. (p. 61) Assess the genre’s basic features: A perspective on the subject. (p. 63) A Perspective on the Subject: Showing and Telling (pp. 73–74) A Perspective on the Subject: Using Contrast and Juxtaposition (p. 80) A Perspective on the Subject: Profiling a Controversial Subject (p. 86) Develop your perspective on the subject. (pp. 98–100)

The Writer’s Role

A Perspective on the Subject

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing The activities in this section will help you choose a subject to profi le and develop your perspective on the subject. Do the activities in any order that makes sense to you (and your instructor), and return to them as needed as you revise.

How do I develop and express a clear perspective on the subject?

Writing a Draft 89GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

To learn about using the Guide and drafting, go to bedford stmartins.com/theguide.

Assess the genre’s basic features: A clear, logical organization. (pp. 62–63) A Clear, Logical Organization: Taking Readers on a Tour (pp. 72–73) A Clear, Logical Organization: Narrating a Day in the Life (p. 79) A Clear, Logical Organization: Narrating an Extended Period (p. 85) Create an outline that will organize your profile effectively for your readers. (pp. 96–97)

A Clear, Logical Organization

How should I organize my profile?

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 90

Although some of the activities will take only a few minutes each to complete, the essential field research — making detailed observations and conducting inter- views — will take a good deal of time to plan and carry out. Your writing in response to many of these activities can be used in a rough draft, which you will be able to improve after receiving feedback from your classmates and instructor.

Choose a subject to profile. To create an informative and engaging profile, your subject — whether it’s a person, a group of people, a place, or an activity — should be

a subject that sparks your interest or curiosity;

a subject your readers will find interesting and informative;

a subject you can gain access to and observe in detail in the time allowed;

a subject about which (or with whom) you can conduct in-depth interviews.

Note: Whenever you write a profile, consider carefully the ethics involved in such research: You will want to be careful to treat participants fairly and with respect in the way you both approach and depict them. Discuss the ethical implications of your research with your instructor, and think carefully about the goals of your research and the effect it will have on others. You may also need to obtain permission from your school’s ethics review board.

Make a list of appropriate subjects. Review the “Consider possible topics” on pp. 74, 80–81 and 86, and consult your school’s Web site to find intriguing places, activities, or people on campus. The following ideas may suggest additional possibilities to consider:

A place where people come together because they are of the same age, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic group (for example, a foreign language–speaking dorm or fraternity or sorority), or a place where people of different ages, genders, sexual orientations, or ethnic groups have formed a community (for example, a Sunday morning pickup basketball game in the park, LGBT club, or barbershop)

A place where people are trained for a certain kind of work (for example, a po- lice academy, cosmetology program, truck driving school, or boxing ring)

A group of people working together for a particular purpose (for example, students and their teacher preparing for the academic decathlon competition, employees working together to produce something, law students and their professor working to help prisoners on death row, or scientists collaborating on a research project)

TEST YOUR CHOICE

After you have made a tentative choice, ask yourself the following questions:

1 Do I feel curious about the subject?

2 Am I confident that I will be able to make the subject interesting for my readers?

3 Do I believe that I can research this subject sufficiently in the time I have?

91GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Then get together with two or three other students:

Presenters. Take turns identifying your subjects. Explain your interest in the subject, and speculate about why you think it will interest readers.

Listeners. Briefly tell each presenter what you already know about his or her subject, if anything, and what might make it interesting to readers.

Conduct your field research. To write an effective profile, you must conduct field research — interviews and observations — to collect detailed, firsthand information about your subject. The following activities will help you plan and carry out your field research.

Many writers begin with observations to get the lay of the land and identify peo- ple to interview, but you can start with interviews. You may even be able to make ob- servations and conduct interviews during the same visit. Regardless of how you start your field research, come prepared: Dress appropriately, and bring preliminary ques- tions and equipment for taking notes (be sure to ask permission before recording or filming).

To learn more about conducting observations and making interviews, see Chapter 24, pp. 682–86.

HOW CAN I MANAGE MY TIME?

One of the best strategies for scheduling your time so that everything gets done by your deadline is backward planning.

1. Buy or make a calendar (in print or online).

2. Write the date the project is due and any other interim due dates (such as the date that your first draft is due) on the calendar. (Some writers like to give themselves a personal due date — the day before the official due date — so they have some wiggle room.)

3. Move backward through the calendar, writing in due dates for other parts of the project:

Interview and observation write-ups completed (organize your scribbled and abbreviated notes into logical categories, add reflections or additional thoughts, and type your notes in complete sentences)

All field research completed

Follow-up observations or interviews completed

Initial interviews and observations conducted (leave at least a week for this process)

Interviews and observations scheduled (leave at least several days for this process)

Writing a Draft

WAYS IN

(continued)

October

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

1

Arrange interviews & observations

2 3 4 5

Research interview subject, locations

6

7 8

Conduct interviews & observations

9 10 11 12 13

14 15 16

Write-ups completed

17 18 19

First draft due

20

Conduct any extra research

21 22

Call/E-mail with follow- up questions

23

Revise draft

24 25 26

Revised draft due

27

28 29 30 31

A Sample Schedule

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 92

HOW DO I SET UP AND PREPARE FOR INTERVIEWS AND OBSERVATIONS?

1. Make a list of people you would like to interview or places you would like to observe. Include a number of possibilities in case your first choice doesn’t work out.

2. Write out your intentions and goals, so you can explain them clearly to others.

WAYS IN

93GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Observation

How would I define or describe my subject?

What typically takes place at this location?

Who will I likely observe?

Why will my readers be interested in this location or the people who frequent it?

How will my presence affect those I am observing?

What do I expect to learn about my subject?

Interview

How would I define or describe the subject?

What is the subject’s purpose or function?

Who or what seems to be associated with it?

Why do I assume it will be interesting to me and to my readers?

What do I hope to learn about it?

Observation

Should I observe from different vantage points or from the same location?

Should I visit the location at different times of day or days of the week, or would it be better to visit at the same time every day?

Should I focus on specific people, or should I identify roles and focus on people as they adopt those roles?

Interview

Ask for stories:

Tell me how you got into .

Tell me about something that surprised, pleased, frustrated you .

Give subjects a chance to correct misconcep- tions, including your own:

What myths about would you most like to bust?

Ask for their thoughts about the subject’s past and future:

How has changed over the years, and where do you think it’s going?

5. Write some interview questions in advance, or ask yourself some questions to help you determine how best to conduct the observation.

6. Conduct some preliminary research on your subject or related subjects if possible, and revise your questions or plans accordingly.

3. Call or e-mail for an appointment with your interview subject, or make arrangements to visit the site. Explain who you are and what you are doing. Student research projects are often embraced, but be prepared for your request to be rejected.

Note: Be sure to arrange your interview or site visit as soon as possible. The most common error students report making on this assignment is waiting too long to make that first call. Be aware, too, that the people and places you contact may not respond immediately (or at all); be sure to follow up if you have not gotten an answer to your request within a few days.

4. Make notes about what you expect to learn before you write interview questions, interview your subject, or visit your site. Writing a paragraph or two responding to the following questions might help:

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CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 94

HOW DO I CONDUCT OBSERVATIONS?

Take notes

Note your surroundings, using all of your senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch.

Describe the place from multiple vantage points, noting furnishings, decor, and so on, and sketch the layout.

Describe people’s appearance, dress, gestures, and actions.

Make a record of interesting overheard conversation.

Note your reactions and ideas, especially in relation to your preconceptions. What surprises you?

If you can get permission, look closely over the shoulders of people who are centrally involved.

Consider your perspective

If you are new to the subject and would like to have a participant-observer role, ask permission to take part in a small way for a limited time.

If you are an insider, find a new angle so that you learn something new. (For example, if you’re on the football team, focus on the cheerleaders or the people who maintain the field.)

Collect artifacts, or take videos or photos

Collect any brochures or other written material you might be able to use, either to prepare for interviews or to include in your essay.

Consider taking photographs or videos, if allowed. Try a pan shot scanning the scene from side to side or a tracking shot indicating what you see as you enter or tour the place.

HOW DO I CONDUCT INTERVIEWS?

Take notes

Clearly distinguish quotations from para- phrases/summaries by inserting quota- tion marks where needed.

Make an audio recording of what peo- ple say, if allowed, but also take notes. If you’re worried about keeping pace with a pen, politely ask interviewees to speak slowly, repeat themselves, or confirm your quotations. (Inter viewees often fear being misquoted and will usually appre- ciate your being careful.)

In addition to writing down what your subject says, describe the interviewee’s tone, gestures, and mannerisms.

To generate anecdotes, ask how the inter- viewee first got involved; if there was a key event worth noting; what most concerns the interviewee; what has been the biggest influence, for good or ill.

To elicit process narratives, ask how some- thing works; what happens if it breaks; whether it was always done the same way; how it has changed; how it could be improved.

To classify, compare, or contrast, ask what kind of thing it is; how it’s like and unlike others of its kind; how it compares to what it was like in the past.

To help you with your perspective, ask why the subject is important, how it contributes to the community, or how it could be improved. Ask who would disagree with these perspectives.

Finally, ask for the interviewee’s prefer- ences for handling follow-up questions you might have later.

WAYS IN

Reflect on your observations

Take five minutes right after your visit to think about what you observed, and write a few sen- tences about your impressions of the subject:

The most interesting aspect of the subject is because .

Although my visit confirmed that , I was surprised to learn that .

My dominant impression of the subject is .

Reflect on the interview

Review your notes for five minutes after the interview. Focus on first impressions. Mark promising material, such as

anything that calls into question your or your readers’ likely preconceptions;

sensory details that could paint a vivid portrait of the place, people, and activity;

quotable phrases that could help you capture the tone or mood of the subject;

questions you still need answered.

Consider a follow-up observation

Consider a follow-up visit, possibly combined with an interview. Examine other aspects of the place or activity, and try to answer ques- tions you still have. Does the impression you had on the first visit still hold?

Consider another interview

You might also arrange to talk to another person who has different kinds of informa- tion to share.

Write up your observations

Write a few paragraphs reporting on your visit. This write-up may produce language you can use in your draft. It will also help you think about how to describe your sub- ject, what dominant impression you want to create, and the perspective your profile should take.

Write up your interview

Write a few paragraphs, deciding what to quote, summarize, paraphrase, or omit. Describe the person’s tone of voice, gestures, and appearance, as well as details you noticed about the place. You may use some of this material later in your draft. If your interviewee said you could follow up to check facts, e-mail or call with requests for clarification or questions.

Integrate quotations from your interviews. Good profiles quote sources so readers can hear what people have to say in their own voices. As you write, choose quotations from your notes to reveal the style and character of the people you interviewed, and integrate these quotations smoothly into your sentences.

When you quote someone directly (rather than paraphrasing or summarizing), you’ll need to identify the speaker. The principal way to do so is with a speaker tag. You may rely on an all-purpose verb (such as says) or a more descriptive verb (such as yells out) to help readers imagine speakers’ attitudes and personal styles:

“Try this one,” he says. (Thompson, par. 7)

“Take me out to the” — and Toby yells out, “Banana store ” (Coyne, par. 21)

95GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 96

For more on clustering and outlining, see Chapter 11, pp. 510–14.

You may also add a word or phrase to a speaker tag to describe the speaker or to reveal more about how, where, when, or why the speaker speaks:

“We’re in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, along with another funeral home whose owners’ names are Baggit and Sackit,” Howard told me, without cracking a smile. (Cable, par. 14)

Once, after being given this weak explanation, he said, “I wish I could have done something really bad, like my Mommy. So I could go to prison too and be with her.” (Coyne, par. 18)

In addition to being carefully introduced, quotations must be precisely punctuated. Fortunately, there are only two general rules:

1. Enclose all quotations in quotation marks. These always come in pairs: one at the beginning, and one at the end of the quotation.

2. Separate the quotation from its speaker tag with appropriate punctuation, usually a comma. But if you have more than one sentence (as in the last example above), be careful to punctuate the separate sentences properly.

For more on integrating quotations, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide and click on Bedford Research Room; see also Chapter 26, pp. 700–6.

Create an outline that will organize your profile effectively for your readers. Outlining what you have can help you organize the profile effectively for your audience. Compare the following possible outlines to see how you might organize your essay, de- pending on whether you prefer a narrative or a topical plan. Even if you wish to blend features of both outlines, seeing how each basic plan works can help you combine them.

If you plan to arrange your material narratively as a tour, plot the key events on a timeline. The following suggests one way to organize a narrative profile of a place:

I. Begin by describing the place from the outside.

II. Present background information.

III. Describe what you see as you enter.

IV. Introduce the people and activities.

V. Tour the place, describing what you see as you move from one part to the next.

VI. Fill in information wherever you can, and comment about the place or the people.

VII. Conclude with reflections on what you have learned about the place.

If you plan to arrange your material topically, use clustering or outlining to help you divide and group related information. Here is a suggested outline for a topical profile about a person:

I. Begin with a vivid image of the person in action.

II. Present the first topic. (A topic could be a characteristic of the person or one aspect of his or her work.) Use dialogue, description, narration, process description, evaluation, or interpretation to illustrate this topic.

III. Present the second topic. Use dialogue, description, narration, process description, evaluation, or interpretation to illustrate this topic.

IV. Present the third topic (and continue as above until you have presented all topics).

V. Conclude with a bit of action or dialogue.

97GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

WAYS IN

The tentative plan you choose should reflect the possibilities in your material as well as your purpose and your understanding of your audience. As you begin draft- ing, you will almost certainly discover new ways of organizing parts of your material.

Consider document design. Think about whether visual or audio elements — photographs; postcards; menus; or snippets from films, television programs, or songs — would strengthen your profile. If you can recall profiles you’ve seen in magazines, on Web pages, or on television shows, what visual or audio elements were used to create a strong sense of the subject? Profiles don’t require such elements to be effective, but they can be helpful.

Note: Be sure to cite the source of visual or audio elements you didn’t create, and get permission from the source if your profile is going to be published on a Web site that is not password protected.

Consider also whether your readers might benefit from design features such as headings, bulleted or numbered lists, or other typographic elements that can make an essay easier to follow.

Determine your role in the profile. Based on your work so far, decide whether you want to adopt a participant-observer role, a spectator role, or some blend of the two. All three options can be engaging and help readers identify with you. The following questions can help you choose, and the sentence strategies will give you some tools for expressing these roles in your paper.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS OF A SPECTATOR ROLE?

Advantages

The spectator role is a good way to profile places or people. By focusing attention on the subject rather than yourself, you improve the clarity of the picture.

On the other side of , a [appeared/came into view/did something].

[Person] talked as he -ed. “ ,” he said. “ .”

ing [at/down/along/with/on] , [person] remarked that .

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS OF A PARTICIPANT- OBSERVER ROLE?

Advantages

The participant-observer role is a good way to profile physical activities that readers won’t know unless you describe them in detail.

As I tried to like the , I was surprised to find that .

I picked up the . It felt like to the touch, and [smelled/

tasted/sounded] like .

After [hours/minutes/days] of , I felt like .

Writing a Draft

(continued)

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 98

Develop your perspective on the subject.

The following activities will help you deepen your analysis and think of ways to help your readers gain a better understanding of your subject’s cultural significance. Complete them in any order that seems helpful to you, and try using the sentence strategies to come up with ideas.

The is [impressive/strange/easy to miss], with [its/his/her] ,

, and .

If you describe a place readers may never have been, they can see it through your eyes as you learn about it and look over the shoulders of the people there.

The spectator role enables you to build an aura of objectivity—you’re just reporting what you saw and heard.

makes [person] angry. [She/he] says it’s because: “ .”

If you try to do what the people you’re observing do, readers can imagine going through the same experience.

The participant-observer role enables you to explore the effect your actions might have had on the scene.

I interrupted as [he/she] to ask why .

I can’t be sure whether that interruption led to , but I think .

Disadvantages

The spectator role can feel detached, partic- ularly if you are profiling a physical or diffi- cult activity.

Disadvantages

The participant-observer role can become distracting if it’s overdone—the profile starts to feel like it’s about you, rather than the subject. This is particularly true when you are profiling is a person or place.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS TO ALTERNATING BETWEEN PARTICIPANT AND SPECTATOR ROLES?

Advantages

You gain the best of both worlds: By switching back and forth, as Cable and Coyne do, you make activities come alive while portraying places and people without much interference from you.

[Above/around/before] me, [activity happened]. I tried to [an object or activity], and found it . “ ,” [person] said, watching, “ .”

Disadvantages

It can be challenging to juggle both roles. When it’s not handled well, the result can be con- fusing to readers.

99GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

WAYS IN HOW CAN I DEVELOP A PERSPECTIVE FOR MY PROFILE?

Explore your perspective

Write for five minutes exploring your perspective on the subject — what about the subject seems important and meaningful?

If you are focusing on a place, ask yourself what you find interesting about its culture: What rituals or habits are practiced there? Who visits it? What is its function in the community?

Without [name of place], [life/business/academics] would be different in [name of community or larger place], according to [interview subject]: [type of people] would/ would no longer because .

If you are focusing on an activity, consider how it has changed over time, for good or ill; how outsiders are initiated into the activity; who benefits from it; and what its value is for the community.

Although [activity] might seem , it’s important to because ________, says [interviewee]. , in particular, benefit from it in the following ways: .

[Activity] today is [somewhat/very] different from [activity] [in the past/long ago/just a few years ago]: Instead of , a change brought on by , those interested in participating are in for .

If you are focusing on a person or group, ask yourself what sense of identity they have; what customs and ways of communicating they have; what their values and attitudes are; what they think about social hierarchies or gender differences; and how they see their role in the community.

Despite common assumptions that , [subject] thinks of [himself/herself] as , an identity that comes across [in/through] .

[She/he] cares less about than about , to the point of .

Define your purpose for your readers

Write for five minutes exploring what you want your readers to learn about the subject. Use these sentence strategies to help you clarify your thinking:

In addition to my teacher and classmates, I envision my ideal readers as .

They probably know about my subject and have these opinions: .

They would be most surprised to learn and most interested in the following facets of the subject: .

I can help change their opinions of the subject by and get them to think about the subject’s social and cultural significance by .

Writing a Draft

(continued)

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 100

What I’ve learned about the subject implies about our shared values and concerns, and I can help readers understand this by .

Consider your main point

Review what you have written, and add a couple of sentences summarizing the main idea you want readers to take away from your profile. Readers don’t expect a profile to have an explicit thesis statement, as they do an argumentative essay, but the descriptive details and other information need to work together to convey the main idea.

Clarify the dominant impression

Although you need to create a dominant impression, readers appreciate profiles that reveal the richness and complexity of a subject. Even as Cable shows that the Goodbody Mortuary is guided by commercialism, he also gets readers to think about cultural attitudes toward death, perhaps exemplified in his own complex feelings. To create a dominant impression, try reviewing your notes and write-ups, highlighting in one color the descriptive language that supports the dominant impression you want your essay to create. Then highlight in a second color any descriptions that seem to create a different impression. Finally, write for a few minutes exploring how these different impressions relate to one another. Consider whether they reveal complexity in the subject or ambivalence in your perspective that could be developed further in your essay. You might start with one of the fol- lowing sentence strategies and elaborate from there.

Although [subject] clearly seemed , I couldn’t [shake the feeling that/ignore/ stop thinking about] .

Although [subject] [tries to/pretends to/has made progress toward] , [overall/for the most part/primarily] [he/she/it] .

Present the information

Review the notes from your interviews and observations, noting which information you should include in your draft and how you might present it. Consider including the following:

Definitions of key terms

Comparisons or contrasts that make information clearer or more memorable

Lists or categories that organize information

Ways to show processes or causes and effects vividly

uotes that reveal the character of the speaker as well as something about the subject

101GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Evaluating the Draft

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading Your instructor may arrange a peer review session in class or online, where you can exchange drafts with your classmates and give one another a thoughtful critical read- ing, pointing out what works well and suggesting ways to improve the draft. A good critical reading does three things:

1. It lets the writer know how well the reader understands the point of the essay.

2. It praises what works best.

3. It indicates where the draft could be improved and makes suggestions on how to improve it.

Write the opening sentences. You could try out one or two different ways of beginning your essay — possibly from the list that follows — but don’t agonize over the first sentences because you are likely to discover the best way to begin only as you draft your essay. Review your invention writing to see if you have already written something that would work to launch your essay. To engage your readers’ interest from the start, consider the following opening strategies:

A surprising statement

A remarkable thought or occasion that triggers your observational visit (like Cable)

A vivid description (like Coyne and Thompson)

An arresting quotation

A fascinating bit of information

An amusing anecdote

Draft your profile. By this point, you have done a lot of research and writing

to develop something interesting to say about a subject;

to devise a plan for presenting that information;

to identify a role for yourself in the essay;

to explore your perspective on the subject.

Now stitch that material together to create a draft. As you do so, you will notice that some of the sentences you have written based on the sentence strategies in this chap- ter feel awkward or forced. Revise them, keeping the content but putting the ideas into words and sentence structures that feel natural to you. The next two parts of this Guide to Writing will help you evaluate and improve your draft.

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 102

Summarize: Tell the writer one thing you learned about the subject from reading the essay.

Praise: Point out one passage where the description seems especially vivid, a quotation stands out, or another writing strategy works particularly well to present information.

Critique: Point out one passage where description could be added or where the descrip tion could be made more vivid, where a quotation that falls flat should be paraphrased or summarized, or where another writing strategy could be used.

Detailed Information

about the Subject

A CRITICAL READING GUIDE

Summarize: Identify the kind of organization — narrative, topical, or a blend of the two— that the writer uses.

Praise: Comment on the cues the writer gives that make the profile easy to follow. For example, point to a place where one topic leads logically to the next or where transitions help you follow the tour or narrative. Also, indicate what in the opening paragraphs grabs your attention or why you think the ending works well.

Critique: Point to information that seems out of place or instances where the chronology is confusing. If you think the opening or ending could be improved, suggest an alternative passage in the essay that could work as an opening or an ending.

Summarize: Identify the role the writer adopts.

Praise: to identify with the writer, enhancing the essay’s immediacy or interest.

Critique: role becomes distracting, or if the spectator role seems too distant.

A Clear, Logical Organization

The Writer’s Role

Is the profile easy to follow?

103GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Improving the Draft

For a printable version of this Critical Reading Guide, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide.

A Perspective on the Subject

Summarize: State briefly what you believe to be the writer’s perspective on the subject and the dominant impression you get from the essay.

Praise: Give an example where you have a strong sense of the writer’s perspective through a comment, description, quotation, or bit of information.

Critique: Tell the writer if the essay does not have a clear perspective or convey a dominant impression. To help him or her find one, explain what interests you about the subject and what you think is important. If you see contradictions in the draft that could be developed to make the profile more complex and illuminating, briefly explain.

Does the author have a clear point of view on the subject?

Before concluding your review, be sure to address any of the writer’s concerns that have not already been addressed.

Making Comments Electronically Most word processing software offers features that allow you to insert comments directly into the text of someone else’s document. Many readers prefer to make their comments this way because it tends to be faster than writing on hard copy, and space is virtually unlimited; it also eliminates the process of decipher ing handwritten comments. Where such features are not available, simply typing com ments directly into a document in a contrasting color can provide the same advantages.

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading Start improving your draft by refl ecting on what you have written thus far:

Review critical reading comments from your classmates, instructor, or writing center tutor. What are your readers getting at?

Take another look at the notes from your interviews, observations, and earlier writing activities. What else should you consider?

Review your draft. What else can you do to make your profile compelling?

Revise your draft. If your readers are having diffi culty with your draft, try some of the strategies listed

tion of the genre’s basic features.

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 104

Detailed Information about

the Subject

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

imagine or identify with the person.

My readers tell me the people do not come alive.

My readers say the place is hard to visualize.

cutting information that does not reinforce or complicates that perspective.

examples. Switch from raw factual

reporting to comparisons, examples, or process descriptions.

dialogue or summarized more succinctly.

My readers say there is too much information—it is not clear what is important.

place or people easier to imagine or the information more understandable.

more effectively.

My readers say visuals could be added or improved.

105

WAYS IN

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(continued)

A Clear, Logical

Organization

Try adding drama through dialogue or action sequences. Summarize or paraphrase any dialogue that seems dry or uninteresting. Give the narrative shape: Establish a conflict, build tension toward a climax, and resolve it. Make sure the narrative unfolds or develops and has a clear direction.

My readers say the narrative plan drags or rambles.

Rearrange topics into new patterns, choosing the structure that makes the most sense for your subject. (Describe a place from outside to inside or from biggest to smallest; describe a process from start to finish or from cause to effect). Add clearer, more explicit transitions or topic sentences. Move, remove, or condense information to restore balance.

Consider alternatives: Think of a question, an engaging image, or dialogue you could open with. Go back to your notes for other ideas. Recall how the writers in this chapter open their profiles: Cable stands on the street in front of the mortuary; Thompson awakens in the lettuce fields, his break over.

Look for connections between ideas, and try to use those connections to help readers move from point to point. Add appropriate transitional words or phrases.

Consider adding textual references to any images in your essay or positioning images more effectively. Think of other design features—drawings, lists, tables, graphs, cartoons, headings— that might make the place and people easier to imagine or the information more understandable.

Consider ending earlier or moving a striking insight to the end. (Often first drafts hit a great ending point and then keep going. Deleting the last few sentences often improves papers.) Consider ending by reminding readers of something from the beginning. Recall how the writers in this chapter end their profiles: Cable touches the cold flesh of a cadaver; Coyne watches a mother bleed after being punched by her son.

My readers say my topically arranged essay seems disorganized or out of balance.

My readers say the opening fails to engage their attention.

My readers say that transitions are missing or are confusing.

My readers say the visual features are not effective.

My readers say the ending seems weak.

Improving the Draft

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 106

The Writer’s Role

Consider placing yourself in the scene as you describe it. Add your thoughts and reactions to one of the interviews.

Bring other people forward by adding material about them. Reduce the material about yourself.

My readers say the spectator role is too distant.

My readers say my approach to participation is distracting.

A Perspective on the Subject

Try stating your perspective by adding your thoughts or someone else’s. Make sure the descriptive and narrative details reinforce the dominant impression you want to convey. If your perspective is complex, you may need to discuss more directly the contradic tions or complications you see in the subject.

My readers say the perspective or dominant impression is unclear.

An “uninteresting” perspective is sometimes an unclear one. Check with your readers to see whether they understood it. If they didn’t, follow the tips above. Readers sometimes say a perspective is “uninteresting” if it’s too simple or obvious. Go back through your notes, looking for contradictions, other perspectives, surprises, or anything else that might help you complicate the perspective you are presenting.

My readers don’t find my perspective interesting.

For an electronic version of the Troubleshooting Guide, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide. Think about design.

Profi les appear in a wide variety of contexts and genres. (Three examples appear in the scenarios at the beginning of this chapter.) The following example (a screenshot of an online profi le) is from the project highlighted in the “In College Courses” scenario (p. 58). The student designed her work to inform others interested in collab orative learning (including her classmates) about the sixth graders she studied. Notice that while her profi le demonstrates many of the genre’s key features, it also makes use of Web design to indicate separate Web pages and a link to the author’s own profi le.

107GUIDE TO READINGSGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Edit and proofread your draft. Several errors often occur in profiles, including problems with the punctuation of quotations and the integration of participial phrases. The following guidelines will help you check your essay for these common errors.

Checking the Punctuation of Quotations

Because most profiles are based in part on interviews, you have probably quoted one or more people in your essay. When you proofread your writing, check to make sure you have observed the strict conventions for punctuating quotations:

What to Check For

All quotations should have quotation marks at the beginning and the end.

“What exactly is civil litigation? ” I asked.

Commas and periods go inside quotation marks.

“I’m here to see Anna Post ,”,/ I replied nervously.

Tony explained, “Fraternity boys just wouldn’t feel comfortable at the Chez Moi Café.o”./

uestion marks and exclamation points go inside closing quotation marks if they are part of the quotation, outside if they are not.

After a pause, the patient asked, “Where do I sign ^ ?”?/

too learn to play Super Mario ^ !” !/

^

^

^ Findings page provides detailed information about research.

Link to author profile provides information about writer’s role.

Perspective of image—from behind and above—suggests writer’s perspective.

Contents link and list of topics in nav- igation make the organization clear.

Gallery provides visual information about sixth graders.

Improving the Draft

For more practice correcting punctuation problems, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Punctuation in the Handbook section.

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 108

When was the last time someone you just ticketed said to you, “Thank you, Officer, for doing a great job?/”

^ ?

Use commas with speaker tags (he said, she asked ) that accompany direct quotations.

“This sound system costs only four thousand dollars ,” Jorge said.

I asked , “So where were these clothes from originally?”

Integrating Participial Phrases

The Problem Consider the following sentence:

Snoring blissfully, Bob reclined in his chair.

You know that “Snoring blissfully” applies to Bob, because in English, modify- ing phrases or clauses like snoring blissfully are understood to apply to the nouns they precede or follow. That’s why, when you read

Exhausted after 28 hours of studying, Regina sighed loudly.

you know that Regina studied for twenty-eight hours. So what does the following sentence, taken from a 2003 government press release, mean?

Suspected to have been started by an arsonist, the fire investigation team . . . continues its search for the person(s) responsible.

— that the fire investigation team was started by an arsonist? That may not be what the author of this sentence meant, but that’s what the sentence says. This kind of error — called a dangling modifier — can confuse readers (or make them chuckle).

The Correction When editing or proofreading your writing, look for modifying clauses or phrases. In each case, ask yourself whether the person or thing performing the action in the modifier is named immediately before or after the modifier. If it isn’t, you have several options for fixing the error:

Change the subject of the sentence.

Suspected to have been started by an arsonist, the fire burned nearly 60,000 acres before being brought under control.

Change the modifier.

Suspecting that an arsonist started the fire, the fire investigation team . . . continues its search for the person(s) responsible.

Move the modifying phrase or clause.

The fire investigation team continues its investigation into the fire, suspected to have been started by an arsonist.

^

^

A Note on Grammar and Spelling Checkers

These tools can be helpful, but don’t rely on them exclusively to catch errors in your text: Spelling checkers cannot catch misspellings that are themselves words, such as to for too. Grammar checkers miss some problems, sometimes give faulty advice for fixing problems, and can flag correct items as wrong. Use these tools as a second line of defense after your own (and, ideally, another reader’s) proofreading and editing efforts.

For more practice correcting dangling modifiers, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Effective Sentences/Modifiers in the Handbook section

109GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

A Common Problem for Multilingual Writers: Adjective Order

The Problem In trying to present the subject of your profile vividly and in detail, you have probably included many descriptive adjectives. When you include more than one adjective in front of a noun, you may have difficulty sequencing them. For example, do you write a large old ceramic pot or an old large ceramic pot?

The Correction The following list shows the order in which adjectives are ordinar- ily arranged in front of a noun:

1. Amount (a/an, the, six)

2. Evaluation (good, beautiful, ugly, serious)

3. Size (large, small, tremendous)

4. Shape, length (round, long, short)

5. Age (young, new, old)

6. Color (red, black, green)

7. Origin (Asian, Brazilian, German)

8. Material (wood, cotton, gold)

9. Noun used as an adjective (computer as in computer program , cake as in cake pan )

Seventeen small green buds appeared on my birch sapling.

He tossed his daughter a nice new yellow tennis ball.

The slender German-made gold watch cost a great deal of money.

For more practice correcting adjective order, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Troublespots in the Handbook section.

1. 3. 6.

1. 2. 5. 6. 9.

1. 4. 7. 8.

Improving the Draft

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 110A WRITER AT WORK

Brian Cable’s Interview Notes and Write-Up Most profile writers take notes when interviewing people. Later, they may summa- rize their notes in a short write-up. In this section, you will see some of the interview notes and a write-up that Brian Cable prepared for his mortuary profile, “The Last Stop,” printed on pp. 63–68.

Cable arranged to tour the mortuary and conduct interviews with the funeral director and mortician. Before each interview, he wrote out a few questions at the top of a sheet of paper and then divided it into two columns; he used the left-hand col- umn for descriptive details and personal impressions, and the right-hand column for the information he got directly from the person he interviewed. Following are Cable’s notes and write-up for his interview with the funeral director, Howard Deaver.

Cable used three questions to guide his interview with Howard and then took brief notes during the interview. He did not concern himself too much with notetak- ing because he planned to spend a half hour directly afterward to complete his notes. He focused his attention on Howard, trying to keep the interview comfortable and conversational and jotting down just enough to jog his memory and catch especially meaningful quotations. A typescript of Cable’s interview notes follows.

The Interview Notes Questions

1. How do families of the deceased view the mortuary business? 2. How is the concept of death approached? 3. How did you get into this business?

Descriptive Details & Personal Impressions Information

weird-looking tall long fingers big ears low, sloping forehead like stereotype — skin colorless

Howard Deaver, funeral director, Goodbody Mortuary “Call me Howard” How things work: Notification, pick up body at home or hospital, prepare for viewing, restore distorted features — accident or illness, embalm, casket — family selects, chapel services (3 in bldg.), visitation room — pay respects, family & friends.

110

plays with lips blinks plays with Adam’s apple desk empty — phone, no paper or pen

angry disdainful of the Neptune Society

musty, old stained glass sunlight filtered

man in black suit roses wooden benches

contrast brightness fluorescent lights Plexiglas stands

Can’t answer questions about death — “Not bereavement specialists. Don’t handle emotional problems. Only a trained therapist can do that.” “We provide services for dead, not counseling for the living.” (great quote) Concept of death has changed in last 40 yrs (how long he’s been in the business)

Phone call (interruption) “I think we’ll be able to get him in on Friday. No, no, the family wants him cremated.” Ask about Neptune Society — cremation Cremation “Cheap, quick, easy means of disposal.”

Recent phenomenon. Neptune Society — erroneous claim to be only one.

“We’ve offered them since the beginning. It’s only now it’s come into vogue.” Trend now back toward burial. Cremation still popular in sophisticated areas 60% in Marin Co. and Florida Ask about paperwork — does it upstairs, lives there with wife, Nancy.

Tour around (happy to show me around) Chapel — large service just done, Italian.

“Not a religious institution — a business.” casket — ”beautiful craftsmanship” — admires, expensive

Display room — caskets, about 30 of them Loves to talk about caskets “models in every price range” glossy (like cars in a showroom) cardboard box, steel, copper, bronze starting at $500, aver- aging $1,800. Top of line: bronze, electronically welded, no corrosion — $25,000

111Brian Cable’s Interview Notes and Write-Up GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 112

Cable’s interview notes include many descriptive details of Howard as well as of various rooms in the mortuary. Though most entries are short and sketchy, much of the language found its way into the final essay. In describing Howard, for example, Cable noted that he fits the stereotype of the cadaverous undertaker, a fact that Cable emphasized in his essay.

He put quotation marks around Howard’s actual words, some of them written in complete sentences, others in fragments. We will see how Cable filled these quotes in when he wrote up the interview. In only a few instances did he take down more than he could use. Even though profile writers want good quotes, they should not use quotes to present information that can be more effectively expressed in their own words. In profiles, writers use direct quotation both to provide information and to capture the mood or character of the person speaking.

As you can see, Howard was not able to answer Cable’s questions about the families of the deceased and their attitudes toward death or mortuaries. The gap between these questions and Howard’s responses led Cable to recognize one of his own misperceptions about mortuaries — that they serve the living by helping people adjust to the death of loved ones. This misperception would become an important theme of his essay.

Immediately after the interview, Cable filled in his notes with details while they were still fresh in his mind. Next, he took some time to reflect on what he had learned from his interview with Howard. Here are some of his thoughts:

I was surprised by how much Howard looked like the undertakers in scary movies. Even though he couldn’t answer some of my questions, he was friendly enough. It’s obviously a business for him (he loves to talk about caskets and to point out all their features, like a car dealer kicking a tire). Best quote: “We offer services to the dead, not counseling to the living.” I have to bring up these issues in my interview with the mortician.

The Interview Write-Up Writing up an account of the interview a short time afterward helped Cable fill in more details and reflect further on what he had learned. His write-up shows him al- ready beginning to organize the information he had gained from his interview with the funeral director.

I. His physical appearance. Tall, skinny, with beady blue eyes embedded in his bony face. I was shocked to see

that he looks just like the undertakers in scary movies. His skin is white and colorless, from lack of sunshine. He has a long nose and a low, sloping forehead. He was wearing a clean white shirt. A most unusual man — have you ever seen those Ames Home Loan commercials? But he was friendly, and happy to talk with me. “Would I answer some questions? Sure.”

113

II. What people want from a mortuary. A. Well first of all, he couldn’t answer my second question, about how families

cope with the loss of a loved one. “You’d have to talk to a psychologist about that,” he said. He did tell me how the concept of death has changed over the last ten or so years.

B. He has been in the business for forty years(!). One look at him and you’d be convinced he’d been there at least that long. He told me that in the old times, everyone was buried. Embalmed, put in a casket, and paid final homage before being shipped underground forever. Nowadays, many people choose to be cremated instead. Hence comes the success of the Neptune Society and others specializing in cremation. You can have your ashes dumped anywhere. “Not that we don’t offer cremation services. We’ve offered them since the beginning,” he added with a look of disdain. It’s just that they’ve become so popular recently because they offer a “quick, easy, and efficient means of disposal.” Cheap too — I think it is a reflection of a “no nonsense” society. The Neptune Society has become so successful because it claims to be the only one to offer cremations as an alternative to expensive burial. “We’ve offered it all along. It’s just only now come into vogue.”

Sophisticated areas (I felt “progressive” would be more accurate) like Marin County have a cremation rate of over 60 percent. The phone rang. “Excuse me,” he said. As he talked on the phone, I noticed how he played with his lips, pursing and squeezing them. He was blinking a lot, too. I meant to ask him how he got into this business, but I forgot. I did find out his name and title: Mr. Howard Deaver, funeral director of Goodbody Mortuary (no kidding, that’s the real name). He lives on the premises, upstairs with his wife. I doubt if he ever leaves the place.

III. It’s a business! Some people have the idea that mortuaries offer counseling and peace of mind — a

place where everyone is sympathetic and ready to offer advice. “In some mortuaries, this is true. But by and large, this is a business. We offer services to the dead, not counseling to the living.” I too had expected to feel an awestruck respect for the dead upon entering the building. I had also expected green lawns, ponds with ducks, fountains, flowers, peacefulness — you know, a “Forest Lawn” type deal. But it was only a tall, Catholic- looking building. “Mortuaries do not sell plots for burial,” he was saying. “Cemeteries do that, after we embalm the body and select a casket. We’re not a religious institution.” He seemed hung up on caskets — though maybe he was just trying to impress upon me the differences between caskets. “Oh, they’re very important. A good casket is a sign of respect. Sometimes if the family doesn’t have enough money, we rent them a nice one. People pay for what they get just like any other business.” I wondered when you had to return the casket you rented.

I wanted to take a look around. He was happy to give me a tour. We visited several chapels and visiting rooms — places where the deceased “lie in state” to be “visited” by family and friends. I saw an old lady in a “fairly decent casket,” as Mr. Deaver called

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Brian Cable’s Interview Notes and Write-Up

CHAPTER 3 Writing Profiles 114

it. Again I was impressed by the simple businesslike nature of it all. Oh yes, the rooms were elaborately decorated, with lots of shrines and stained glass, but these things were for the customers’ benefit. “Sometimes we have up to eight or nine corpses here at one time, sometimes none. We have to have enough rooms to accommodate.” Simple enough, yet I never realized how much trouble people were after they died. So much money, time, and effort go into their funerals.

As I prepared to leave, he gave me his card. He’d be happy to see me again, or maybe I could talk to someone else. I said I was going to interview the mortician on another day. I shook his hand. His fingers were long and his skin was warm.

Writing up the interview helped Cable probe his subject more deeply. It also helped him express a humorous attitude toward his subject. Cable’s interview notes and write-up were quite informal; later, he integrated this material more formally into his full profile of the mortuary.

To think critically means to use all of the knowledge you have acquired from the infor- mation in this chapter, your own writing, the writing and responses of other students, and class discussions to reflect deeply on your work for this assignment and the genre (or type) of writing you have produced. The benefit of thinking critically is proven and im- portant: Thinking critically about what you have learned will help you remember it lon- ger, ensuring that you will be able to put it to good use well beyond this writing course.

Reflecting on What You Have Learned In this chapter, you have learned a great deal about this genre by reading several pro- files and writing one of your own. To consolidate your learning, reflect not only on what you learned but on how you learned it.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a blog post, a letter to your instructor or a classmate, or an e-mail message to a stu- dent who will take this course next term, using the writing prompt that seems most produc- tive for you:

Explain how your purpose and audience — what you wanted your readers to learn about your subject from reading your profile — influenced one of your decisions as a writer, such as what kinds of descriptive detail you included, what method of organiza- tion you used, or the role you adopted in writing about your subject.

THINKING CRITICALLY

Discuss what you learned about yourself as a writer in the process of writing this profile. For example, what part of the process did you find most challenging? Did you try anything new, like getting a critical reading of your draft or outlining your draft in order to revise it? If so, how well did it work?

If you were to give advice to a fellow student who was about to write a profile, what would you say?

Which of the readings in this chapter influenced your essay? Explain the influence, citing specific examples from your profile and the reading.

If you got good advice from a critical reader, explain exactly how the person helped you — perhaps by questioning your perspective in a way that enabled you to refocus your profile’s dominant impression, or by pointing out passages that needed more information or clearer chronology to better orient readers.

Reflecting on the Genre Profiles broaden our view of the world by entertaining and informing us with por- traits of people, places, or activities. But even effective profiles sometimes offer a lim- ited view of their subjects. For example, the impulse to entertain readers may lead a profile writer to focus exclusively on the dramatic, colorful, or humorous aspects of a person, place, or activity, ignoring the equally important humdrum, routine, or other- wise less appealing aspects. Imagine a profile that focuses on the dramatic moments in an emergency-room doctor’s shift but ignores the routine cases and the slow peri- ods when nothing much is happening. Such a profile would provide a limited and distorted picture of an emergency-room doctor’s work. In addition, by focusing on the dramatic or glamorous aspects of a subject, profile writers tend to ignore eco- nomic or social consequences and to slight supporting players. Profiling the highly praised chef in a trendy new restaurant, a writer might not ask who the kitchen work- ers and waitstaff are, how the chef treats them, or how much they are paid.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a page or two explaining how the genre prompts you to think about the subject of a profile. In your discussion, you might consider one or more of the following:

1 Consider whether any of the profiles you have read glamorize or sensationalize their subjects. Do they ignore less colorful but centrally important people or everyday activities? Is this a problem with your own profile?

2 Write a page or so explaining what the omissions signify. What do they suggest about the readers’ desires to be entertained and the profile writer’s reluctance to present the subject in a more complete way?

GUIDE TO READING GUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

115Reflecting on the Genre

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IN COLLEGE COURSES For a cultural studies course, a student responds to a writing assignment to analyze the politics of sexuality in advertising. She decides to use the concept of framing she had learned in her first-year composition course the previous term. After reviewing her old class notes, she researches cultural framing theory in relation to sexual politics. She finds several sources and cites them to explain the concept. Then, she uses cultural framing to analyze a couple of advertise- ments she downloaded from the Web. Finally, she posts to her class Web site the final paper, along with the advertisements she analyzed.

4 Explaining a Concept Concepts are central to the understanding

of virtually every subject — in the

community, at work, and especially

in college. Much of your reading and

writing as a student involves learning

the concepts that are the building

blocks of academic subjects. Concepts

include principles or ideals (such as

e ual justice or the American dream),

theories (such as relativit or evolution),

ideas (such as commodification or states’

rights), conditions (such as state of

flow or paranoia), phenomena (such

as uarks or inflation), and processes

(such as high-intensit interval training or

socialization). To communicate effectively

and efficiently about a particular

subject — whether you are writing to

insiders or to novices — you need to be

able to use and explain concepts clearly

and compellingly.

117

IN THE WORKPLACE At a seminar for small business owners with minimal knowledge of program- ming, a technology consultant gives a multimedia presentation on what has been called the Kinect effect. He begins by explaining what inect is and how it works, showing two clips from the film Minority Report to illustrate inect’s gesture-driven 3-D imaging (multitouch computer interface) and personalized advertising (retina-scanning talking billboards). Then he demonstrates some of its many potential medical uses—for example, enabling surgeons to use gesture to examine a patient’s MRI scans during surgery or providing navigational assistance for the visually impaired.

IN THE COMMUNITY A manager at a marketing research firm gives a presentation on surveying, an important research method, to fifth- grade science students. She begins by having students fill out a brief survey on their television-watching habits, and then asks them to speculate on what they expect their answers to show and how this data might be used by advertis- ers and programmers. Then, with the students’ help, she selects the variables that seem significant: the respondents’ gender, the number of hours spent watching television, and the types of shows watched. At the next class, she distributes graphs detailing her analysis and asks the students to see whether the results match their assumptions. She concludes by passing out a quiz to find out how much the students have learned about surveys.

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 118

In this chapter, we ask you to explain a concept that is unfamiliar to your readers. Whether you tackle a concept you’ve studied in college or choose one from your work or your favorite sport, you need to answer your readers’ inevitable “So what?” Why should they want to understand the concept? Analyzing the selections in the Guide to Reading that follows will help you learn how to make your concept expla- nation interesting as well as informative. The Guide to Writing later in the chapter will show you ways to use the basic features of the genre, including how to use visu- als and multimedia, to make an unfamiliar concept appealing and understandable to your readers.

PRACTICING THE GENRE

Explaining an Academic Concept

Part 1. Get together in a small group to practice explaining a concept. First, think of a concept you recently learned in one of your courses. Next, take a few minutes to plan how you will explain it to group members who may not know anything about the subject. Consider whether it would be helpful to identify the course and the context in which you learned it, to give your listeners a dictionary definition, to tell them what kind of concept it is, to compare it to something they may already know, to give them an example, or to explain why the concept is important or useful. Then, take two or three minutes each to explain your concept.

Part 2. Discuss what you learned about explaining concepts:

What did you learn from others’ explanations? To think about purpose and audi- ence in explaining a concept, tell one another whether you felt the “So what?” question was adequately answered: What, if anything, piqued your interest or made you feel that the concept might be worth learning about? If you were to try to explain the concept to someone else, what would you be able to say?

What did you learn by constructing your own explanation? Compare your thoughts with others in your group about what was easiest and hardest about explaining a concept—for example, choosing a concept you understood well enough to explain to others; making it interesting, important, or useful; or deciding what to say about it in the time you had.

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GUIDE TO READING

Analyzing Concept Explanations As you read the selections in this chapter, you will see how different authors explain concepts. Analyzing how these writers focus their explanations, organize their writ ing, use examples and other writing strategies, and integrate sources will help you see how you can employ these techniques to make your own explanation of a concept clear and compelling for your readers.

Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. How well a writer explains a concept can demonstrate how well the writer under stands the concept. That is why this kind of writing is so frequently assigned in college courses. But it is also a popular genre outside of the classroom, where writers typically know more about the subject than their readers do. It is especially important to anticipate readers’ “So what?” question and excite their curiosity. When reading the concept explanations that follow, ask questions like these about the writer’s pur pose and audience:

What seems to be the writer’s main purpose in explaining this concept—for ex ample, to inform readers about an important idea or theory, to show how a con cept has promoted original thinking and research in an area of study, to better understand the concept by explaining it to others, or to demonstrate knowledge of the concept and the ability to apply it?

What does the writer assume about the audience—for example, that readers will be unfamiliar with the concept and need an introduction that will capture their inter est, that readers will know something about the concept but want to learn more about it, or that the primary reader will be an instructor who knows more about the concept than the writer does and who is evaluating the writer’s knowledge?

Assess the genre’s basic features. Use the following to help you analyze and evaluate how writers of concept explana tions employ the genre’s basic features. The examples are drawn from the reading se lections in this chapter.

A FOCUSED EXPLANATION

Read fi rst to identify the concept. Then ask yourself, “What is the focus or main point?” This point is the thesis of a concept explanation, comparable to what we call autobiographical signifi cance in remembered event essays and perspective in profi les. The point answers the “So what?” question: Why are you telling me about this con cept? Why is it interesting or important?

Focusing requires that there be thoughtful selection of what to include and what to leave out. For college writing and some other contexts, the focus may be dictated by a specifi c question or prompt. For example, Patricia Lyu’s instructor asked stu dents to do two things: explain a concept they had learned about in a course,

119

Basic Features A Focused Explanation

A Clear, Logical Organization

Appropriate Explanatory Strategies

Smooth Integration of Sources

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 120

and apply that concept to a passage in The Things They Carried, a book the class was reading. In the textbook for her Introduction to Psychology course, Lyu had recently read about infant attachment and the research that had been done to establish the concept in the field of developmental psychology. She saw immediately how the con- cept could be applied to The Things They Carried, in particular to explain Dobbins’s “peculiar” attachment to “his girlfriend’s pantyhose” (Lyu, par. 11).

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION

Effective concept explanations have to be clearly and logically organized. As you read the essays in this chapter, notice how each writer develops a plan that does the following:

States the thesis or main point early on

Let’s put love under a microscope. . . . When rigorous people with Ph.D.s after their names do that, what they see is not some silly senseless thing. No, their probe reveals that love rests firmly on foundations of evolution, biology, and chemistry. (Toufexis, pars. 1-2)

Divides the information into clearly distinguishable topics and forecasts them

How does that bond develop and how does it affect romantic relationships later in life? John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth’s theory of attachment answers both of these questions. (Lyu, par. 1)

Guides readers by providing cues or road signs

Thus, Harlow’s research validated attachment theory . . .

As an adult, however, . . .

Moreover, . . . (Lyu, pars. 8, 11, 12)

If, in nature’s design, romantic love is not eternal, neither is it exclusive. (Toufexis, par. 8)

APPROPRIATE EXPLANATORY STRATEGIES

Writers explaining a concept typically use a variety of writing strategies, such as defini- tion, classification, comparison-contrast, example, illustration, and cause-effect:

DEFINITION Each person carries in his or her mind a unique subliminal guide to the ideal partner, a “ love map, ”. . . (Toufexis, par. 17)

CLASSIFICATION From this research, Ainsworth identified three basic types of attachment that children form with their primary caregiver: secure, anxious (or anxious-resistant ), and avoidant. (Lyu, par. 4)

COMPARISON- Shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Shy people fear CONTRAST negative judgment; introverts simply prefer quiet, minimally stimulat-

ing environments. (Cain, par. 9)

Concept

Main point

Rhetorical questions often announce the

topics

Logical transitions often used in topic sentences

Topic sentence may summarize topic of

preceding paragraph and introduce topic of

current paragraph

Defining characteristic

Term to be defined

Cue signaling classification

Juxtaposition

For more on writing strategies such as defi- nition and classification, see Chapters 14–19.

121GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Analyzing Concept Explanations

In contrast, . . . (Cain, par. 19)

The genetic component of intelligence . . . functions less like the genes that control for eye color and more like the complex of interacting genes that affect weight and height. (Hurley, par. 17)

EXAMPLE We find them in recent history, in figures like Charles Darwin, Marcel Proust and Albert Einstein, and, in contemporary times: think of Google’s Larry Page, or Harry Potter’s creator, J. K. Rowling. (Cain, par. 11)

Anxiety . . . can serve an important social purpose; for example, . . . (Cain, par. 22)

Despite . . . side effects — nausea, loss of sex drive, seizures — drugs like Zoloft . . . (Cain, par. 3)

ILLUSTRATION The infant monkeys were separated from their biological mothers and (WITH VISUAL) raised by a surrogate mother made of wood and covered with terry

cloth or made from uncovered heavy wire (see fig. 2). (Lyu, par. 7)

CAUSE-EFFECT How, then, could watching black cats . . . increase . . . fluid intelli- gence? Because the deceptively simple game . . . targets “working” memory. (Hurley, par. 6)

SMOOTH INTEGRATION OF SOURCES

Although writers often draw on their own experiences and observations in explaining a concept, they almost always conduct research into their subject. As you read, think about how the writer establishes her or his authority by smoothly integrating infor- mation from sources into the explanation. Does the writer quote, paraphrase, or sum- marize the source material? How does the writer establish the source’s expertise and credibility?

QUOTE The association between infant attachment and adult relationships was first investigated in Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver’s appropri- ately titled breakthrough study, “Romantic Love Conceptualized as an Attachment Process.” Since then, attachment theory “has become one of the major frameworks for the study of romantic relationships” (Fraley and Shaver 132). This expansion of the concept of attachment should be no surprise given that Bowlby himself described the formation of attachment as “falling in love” (qtd. in Cassidy 5). (Lyu, par. 11)

PARAPHRASE It is the difference between passionate and compassionate love, observes Walsh, a psychobiologist at Boise State University in Idaho. (Toufexis, par. 14)

Cues

Cues

Examples

Reference to a visual in the text

Cues

Parenthetical citation (qtd. in = quoted in)

Signal phrase plus background

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 122

SUMMARY In a 2008 study, Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl, now of the University of Maryland, found that young adults . . . showed improve- ment in a fundamental cognitive ability known as “fluid” intelligence. (Hurley, par. 4)

How writers treat sources depends on the writing situation. Certain formal sit- uations, such as college assignments or scholarly publications, require writers to cite sources in the text and document them in a bibliography (called a list of works cited in many humanities disciplines and a list of references in the sciences and social sciences). Students and scholars are expected to cite their sources formally because readers judge their work in part by what the writers have read and how they have used their reading and also so that those interested can locate the sources and read more about the topic for themselves. (See student Patricia Lyu’s essay, pp. 123–28, for an example of academic citation.) For more informal writing — magazine and newspaper articles, for example — readers do not expect references or publication information to appear in the article, but they do expect sources to be identified and their expertise established in some way. (See the articles by Toufexis, Hurley, and Cain, on pp. 129–31, 135–38, and 142–45, respectively, for examples of informal citation.)

Readings

ORIGINALLY, Patricia Lyu wrote this essay explaining the concept of infant attachment for her composition course. You will see that following her instructor’s recommendation, Lyu chose a concept she had learned about in another course, Introduction to Psychology, and she quotes from that course’s textbook. She also uses a number of other sources, in- cluding articles and books, some of which she accessed through the library’s Web site and others that she found in print in the library. As you read, consider the following questions as well as those in the margin:

What strategies does she use to cite her sources? Why do you think citing sources this way is expected in most college papers?

Patricia Lyu Attachment: Someone to Watch over You To learn about how Patricia Lyu used sources to support her own ideas, turn to A Writer at Work on pp. 169–70. How did she contextualize sources to show their relevance? How did she combine summary and quotation to integrate source material into her essay and avoid simply stringing quotations together?

123GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Lyu Attachment: Someone to Watch over You

What strategies does Lyu use in the epigraph and opening paragraphs to introduce the concept to readers? How well do they work to engage readers and give them a map to follow the analysis?

“Babies are such nice ways to start people.”

—Don Herrold

Fortunately, most people agree with humorist Don Herrold, because infants

ers.

How does

John

Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth’s theory of attachment answers both of these questions.

iors” such as crying, smiling, and cooing) that bring the child into close contact with

“A Brief

As Bowlby

famously stated, it continues to play an important role throughout life, from “the cradle

Attachment begins in need and is intensified by fear.

The Things They Carried

a fascinating example

Bowlby’s understanding of attachment after World War II

anxiety”—

ration—

Fraley describes the way the attachment system works and also illustrates it with the

flowchart shown in fig. 1:

the attachment system essentially “asks” the following fundamental question:

1

2

3

Basic Features A Focused Explanation

A Clear, Logical Organization

Appropriate Explanatory Strategies

Smooth Integration of Sources

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 124

“contributed the concept of the

attachment figure as a secure base from which an infant can explore the world”

She also designed a series of experiments using “the strange

situation”

a few moments. From this research, Ainsworth identified three basic types of attachment

secure, anxious ),

and

calms down when he or she returns. According to Ainsworth, these children feel secure

4

5

Felt

confidence

Playful, less inhibited, smiling,

sociable

Is the

monitoring to intense protest, clinging, and

searching

Separation distress and

anxiety experienced

Yes

No

How does Lyu use Ainsworth’s categories to organize this section of her paper?

How effectively does Lyu integrate information from sources to support her explanation?

How well do the figures that appear here and elsewhere in the paper help explain the concept of attachment?

125GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Lyu Attachment: Someone to Watch over You

Ainsworth classifies the other two styles of attachment as insecure compared to the

from him or her to play with toys.

Harry Harlow’s primate research lent support to

A

monkeys were separated from their biological mothers and raised by a surrogate mother

Harlow’s research this way:

In one experiment, both types of surrogates were present in the cage, but only

one was equipped with a nipple from which the infant could nurse. Some

the infant monkey spent a greater amount of time clinging to the cloth surro

attachment theory by showing that the infant

Harlow demonstrated that

attachment, the need for closeness and comfort, is as strong as the need for food.

In other experiments, he also showed attachment,

leading the infant monkeys to seek consolation from the surrogate. In these experiments,

Harlow put a strange object in the cage. If the surrogate was absent or if only the wire sur

rogate was present, the baby monkey would be afraid, often crying, sucking its thumb, and

hiding in the corner. But if the terry cloth surrogate was present, the monkey would run to

6

7

8

9

How effectively does Lyu transition to and dem onstrate the relevance of Harlow’s research to the concept of attachment?

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 126

security, especially in times of fear.

the idea that “the attachment and fear systems are intertwined” During a

we can see how applying the concept of attachment to The Things They Carried can

be illuminating. It is especially helpful in understanding Henry Dobbins’s peculiar

habit of wearing “his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck before heading out on

ambush” .

monkey, he seeks comfort from his attachment figure.

Since

then, attachment theory “has become one of the major frameworks for the study of

romantic relationships”

10

11

wire surrogate with the bottle.

How does Lyu signal the reader that she is shifting from a discussion of infant attachment to a discus sion of attachment in adult relationships?

127GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Lyu Attachment: Someone to Watch over You

Bowlby himself described the formation

shows that for adults under

extreme duress, the attachment process includes the use of substitutes. For Dobbins,

Dobbins’s security blanket: “He sometimes slept with the stockings up against his face,

the way an infant sleeps with a flannel blanket, secure and peaceful. More than any

O’Brien makes the further point that the power of the security object comes from

abandons him, Dobbins’s faith is not shaken because the object itself had taken her place

Dobbins’s example, we can see that O’Brien appears to be making

a connection

emphasizing their magical powers, O’Brien makes the connection explicit. Dobbins’s

as O’Brien tells us:

attachment is not only the

but it may also be a precursor to religious belief, the faith that someone is watching

“Attachment.” Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. Encyclopedia.com

Theory, Research,

Psychology

12

13

14

How effectively does this quotation support Lyu’s claim about Dobbins?

What makes Lyu’s sources seem authorita tive (or not)?

What does Lyu achieve in this conclusion? How does it work for you?

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 128

Review of

General Psychology

Process.”

Principles of General Psychology,

Handbook of

The Things They Carried

Passman, Richard H. “Security Objects.” Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. Encyclopedia

.com

For an additional student reading, go to

bedfordstmartins.com/ theguide/epages.

Anastasia Toufexis Love: Th e Right Chemistry

ANASTASIA TOUFE IS has been an associate editor of Time, senior editor of Discover, and editor in chief of Psychology Today. She has written on subjects as diverse as medicine, health and fitness, law, the environment, education, science, and national and world news. Toufexis has won a number of awards for her writing, including a

Ocean Science Journalism Fellowship at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She has also lectured on science writing at Columbia University, the University of North Carolina, and the School of

Visual Arts in New York. As you read, consider these questions:

ginning? How effective do you think this tone was for her original Time magazine readers? How appropriate would it be for a college paper?

What can you learn about creating a list of works cited from this example?

129GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Toufexis Love: The Right Chemistry

Love is a romantic designation for a most ordinary biological — or, shall we say, chemical? — process. A lot of nonsense is talked and written about it.

— Greta Garbo to Melvyn Douglas in Ninotchka

O.K., let’s cut out all this nonsense about romantic love. Let’s bring some scientific precision to the party. Let’s put love under a microscope.

When rigorous people with Ph.D.s after their names do that, what they see is not some silly, senseless thing. No, their probe reveals that love rests firmly on the foun- dations of evolution, biology and chemistry. What seems on the surface to be irrational, intoxicated behavior is in fact part of nature’s master strategy — a vital force that has helped humans survive, thrive and multiply through thousands of years. Says Michael Mills, a psychology professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles: “Love is our ancestors whispering in our ears.”

It was on the plains of Africa about 4 million years ago, in the early days of the human species, that the no- tion of romantic love probably first began to blossom or at least that the first cascades of neurochemicals began flowing from the brain to the bloodstream to produce goofy grins and sweaty palms as men and women gazed deeply into each other’s eyes. When mankind gradu- ated from scuttling around on all fours to walking on two legs, this change made the whole person visible to fellow human beings for the first time. Sexual organs were in full display, as were other characteristics, from the color of eyes to the span of shoulders. As never be- fore, each individual had a unique allure.

When the sparks flew, new ways of making love enabled sex to become a romantic encounter, not just a reproductive act. Although mounting mates from the rear was, and still is, the method favored among most animals, humans began to enjoy face-to-face couplings; both looks and personal attraction became a much greater part of the equation.

Romance served the evolutionary purpose of pulling males and females into long-term partnership, which was essential to child rearing. On open grasslands, one parent would have a hard — and dangerous — time handling a

1

2

If, in nature’s design, romantic love is not eternal, neither is it exclusive.

3

4

5

child while foraging for food. “If a woman was carrying the equivalent of a 20-lb. bowling ball in one arm and a pile of sticks in the other, it was ecologically critical to pair up with a mate to rear the young,” explains anthropologist Helen Fisher, author of Anatomy of Love.

While Western culture holds fast to the idea that true love flames forever (the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula has the Count carrying the torch beyond the grave), na- ture apparently meant passions to sputter out in some- thing like four years. Primitive pairs stayed together just “long enough to rear one child through infancy,” says Fisher. Then each would find a new partner and start all over again.

What Fisher calls the “four-year itch” shows up unmistakably in today’s divorce statistics. In most of the 62 cultures she has studied, divorce rates peak around the fourth year of marriage. Additional young- sters help keep pairs together longer. If, say, a couple have another child three years after the first, as often occurs, then their union can be expected to last about four more years. That makes them ripe for the more familiar phenomenon portrayed in the Marilyn Monroe classic The Seven-Year Itch.

If, in nature’s design, romantic love is not eternal, neither is it exclusive. Less than 5 of mammals form

rigorously faithful pairs. From the earliest days, contends Fisher, the human pattern has been “monog- amy with clandestine adultery.” Occasional flings upped the

chances that new combinations of genes would be passed on to the next generation. Men who sought new partners had more children. Contrary to common as- sumptions, women were just as likely to stray. “As long as prehistoric females were secretive about their extra- marital affairs,” argues Fisher, “they could garner extra resources, life insurance, better genes and more varied DNA for their biological futures. . . .”

Lovers often claim that they feel as if they are being swept away. They’re not mistaken; they are liter- ally flooded by chemicals, research suggests. A meeting of eyes, a touch of hands or a whiff of scent sets off a flood that starts in the brain and races along the nerves and through the blood. The results are familiar: flushed

6

7

8

9

– stand her rather technical explanation?

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 130

skin, sweaty palms, heavy breathing. If love looks suspi- ciously like stress, the reason is simple: the chemical pathways are identical.

Above all, there is the sheer euphoria of falling in love — a not-so-surprising reaction, considering that many of the substances swamping the newly smitten are chemical cousins of amphetamines. They include dopamine, norepinephrine and especially phenylethyl- amine (PEA). Cole Porter knew what he was talking about when he wrote, “I get a kick out of you.” “Love is a natural high,” observes Anthony Walsh, author of The Science of Love: Understanding Love and Its Effects on Mind and Body. “PEA gives you that silly smile that you flash at strangers. When we meet someone who is attractive to us, the whistle blows at the PEA factory.”

But phenylethylamine highs don’t last forever, a fact that lends support to arguments that passionate romantic love is short-lived. As with any amphetamine, the body

10

11

builds up a tolerance to PEA; thus it takes more and more of the substance to produce love’s special kick. After two to three years, the body simply can’t crank up the needed amount of PEA. And chewing on chocolate doesn’t help, despite popular belief. The candy is high in PEA, but it fails to boost the body’s supply.

Fizzling chemicals spell the end of delirious pas- sion; for many people that marks the end of the liaison as well. It is particularly true for those whom Dr. Michael Liebowitz of the New York State Psychiatric Institute terms “attraction junkies.” They crave the intoxication of falling in love so much that they move frantically from affair to affair just as soon as the first rush of infatuation fades.

Still, many romances clearly endure beyond the first years. What accounts for that? Another set of chemicals, of course. The continued presence of a part- ner gradually steps up production in the brain of endor- phins. Unlike the fizzy amphetamines, these are

12

13

131GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Toufexis Love: The Right Chemistry

soothing substances. Natural pain-killers, they give lov- ers a sense of security, peace and calm. “That is one reason why it feels so horrible when we’re abandoned or a lover dies,” notes Fisher. “We don’t have our daily hit of narcotics.”

Researchers see a contrast between the heated in- fatuation induced by PEA, along with other amphetamine-like chemicals, and the more intimate at- tachment fostered and prolonged by endorphins. “Early love is when you love the way the other person makes you feel,” explains psychiatrist Mark Goulston of the University of California, Los Angeles. “Mature love is when you love the person as he or she is.” It is the dif- ference between passionate and compassionate love, observes Walsh, a psychobiologist at Boise State University in Idaho. “It’s Bon Jovi vs. Beethoven.”

Oxytocin is another chemical that has recently been implicated in love. Produced by the brain, it sensi- tizes nerves and stimulates muscle contraction. In women it helps uterine contractions during childbirth as well as production of breast milk, and seems to in- spire mothers to nuzzle their infants. Scientists specu- late that oxytocin might encourage similar cuddling between adult women and men. The versatile chemical may also enhance orgasms. In one study of men, oxyto- cin increased to three to five times its normal level dur- ing climax, and it may soar even higher in women.

Chemicals may help explain (at least to scientists) the feelings of passion and compassion, but why do peo- ple tend to fall in love with one partner rather than a myriad of others? Once again, it’s partly a function of evolution and biology. “Men are looking for maximal fertility in a mate,” says Loyola Marymount’s Mills. “That is in large part why females in the prime childbear- ing ages of 17 to 28 are so desirable.” Men can size up youth and vitality in a glance, and studies indeed show

14

15

16

that men fall in love quite rapidly. Women tumble more slowly, to a large degree because their requirements are more complex; they need more time to check the guy out. “Age is not vital,” notes Mills, “but the ability to provide security, father children, share resources and hold a high status in society are all key factors.”

Still, that does not explain why the way Mary walks and laughs makes Bill dizzy with desire while Marcia’s gait and giggle leave him cold. “Nature has wired us for one special person,” suggests Walsh, ro- mantically. He rejects the idea that a woman or a man can be in love with two people at the same time. Each person carries in his or her mind a unique subliminal guide to the ideal partner, a “love map,” to borrow a term coined by sexologist John Money of Johns Hopkins University.

Drawn from the people and experiences of child- hood, the map is a record of whatever we found entic- ing and exciting — or disturbing and disgusting. Small feet, curly hair. The way our mothers patted our head or how our fathers told a joke. A fireman’s uniform, a doc- tor’s stethoscope. All the information gathered while growing up is imprinted in the brain’s circuitry by ado- lescence. Partners never meet each and every require- ment, but a sufficient number of matches can light up the wires and signal, “It’s love.” Not every partner will be like the last one, since lovers may have different com- binations of the characteristics favored by the map.

O.K., that’s the scientific point of view. Satisfied? Probably not. To most people — with or without Ph.D.s — love will always be more than the sum of its natural parts. It’s a commingling of body and soul, real- ity and imagination, poetry and phenylethylamine. In our deepest hearts, most of us harbor the hope that love will never fully yield up its secrets, that it will always elude our grasp.

17

18

19

Make connections: How love works. The chemistry of love is easily summarized: Amphetamines fuel romance; endor- phins and oxytocin sustain lasting relationships. As Toufexis makes clear, however, these chemical reactions do not explain why people are attracted to each other in the first place. Rather, she claims that an attraction occurs because each of us carries a “unique subliminal guide,” or “love map” (par. 17), that leads us unerringly to a partner.

REFLECT

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 132

Make a short list of the qualities in a partner that would appear on your “love map,” and then consider Toufexis’s explanation. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

What role do factors such as family, friends, community, the media, and advertis- ing play in constructing your love map?

Why do you think Toufexis ignores the topic of sexual orientation?

According to Toufexis, men typically look for “maximal fertility,” whereas women look for security, resources, status, and a willingness to father children (par. 16). Does this explanation seem convincing to you? Why or why not?

Use the basic features.

A FOCUSED EXPLANATION: EXCLUDING OTHER TOPICS

In writing about a concept as broad as love, Toufexis has to find a way to narrow her focus. Writers choose a focus in part by considering the rhetorical situation — the pur- pose, audience, and genre — in which they are writing. Student Patricia Lyu is limited by the fact that she is writing in response to her instructor’s assignment. As a science writer for Time magazine, Toufexis probably also had an assignment to report on current scientific research. The question is, though, how does she make the science interesting to her readers?

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing how Toufexis focuses her explanation:

1 What is the focus or main point of Toufexis’s essay? How do you think she answers readers’ potential “So what?” question?

2 How do the title, epigraph, and opening paragraphs help you identify this focus or main point?

3 How do you think Toufexis’s purpose, audience, and genre (an article for a popular newsmagazine) affected the focus she was assigned or chose?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: CUEING THE READER

Experienced writers know that readers often have trouble making their way through new and difficult material. To avoid having them give up in frustration, writers strive to construct a reader-friendly organization: They include a thesis statement that asserts the focus or main point — the answer to the “So what?” question. In addition writers sometimes include a forecasting statement, which alerts readers to the main topics to be discussed, and include transitional words and phrases to guide readers from topic to topic.

ANALYZE

133GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Toufexis Love: The Right Chemistry

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing the strategies Toufexis uses to organize her essay for readers:

1 Skim the essay, and note in the margin where she announces her concept and forecasts the topics she uses to organize her explanation. Then highlight the passage where she discusses each topic. How well does her forecast work to make her essay readable?

2 Study how Toufexis connects the topic of “love maps” (pars. 17–18) to the topics she discussed earlier in the essay. Identify any sentences that connect the two parts of the article, and assess how well they work.

APPROPRIATE EXPLANATORY STRATEGIES: USING VISUALS

Patricia Lyu, like Toufexis, uses a flowchart to show the stages of a process she is describing in her essay. In Lyu’s case, the visual comes from one of her sources. In contrast, Toufexis’s visual was most likely created after her article was written, by the magazine’s art editor, Nigel Holmes. Notice also that whereas Lyu, following a con- vention of academic writing, refers in the text of her essay to her visuals, labels them “Fig. 1” and “Fig. 2,” and includes captions, Toufexis does not refer to the visual in her text, and the visual does not have a caption.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing Toufexis’s use of the visual:

1 Analyze the visual included in Toufexis’s Time magazine article. Consider it apart from the rest of the article. What can you learn from the visual itself? What makes it easy or hard to read?

2 Skim Toufexis’s essay to mark where she discusses each of the stages in the process described in the flowchart. Considering her original audience, how well does the flowchart work as a map to help readers navigate through the somewhat technical content of her explanation? Would it have been helpful had Toufexis referred to and labeled the visual?

SMOOTH INTEGRATION OF SOURCES: ESTABLISHING CREDIBILITY

To establish their authority on the subject, writers need to convince readers that the information they are using is authoritative. They can do this in a number of ways, but giving the professional credentials of their sources is a conventional strategy.

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 134

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing how Toufexis establishes the credentials of her sources:

1 Skim the essay, underlining the name of each source she mentions. Then go back through the essay to highlight each source’s credentials. When Toufexis provides credentials, what kinds of information does she include?

2 Consider the effectiveness of Toufexis’s strategies for letting readers know the qualifi- cations of her sources. Given her original audience (Time magazine readers), how well do you think she establishes her sources’ credentials? If she were writing for an academic audience (for example, for your class), what would she have to add?

Consider possible topics: Examining other aspects of love. Like Toufexis, you could write an essay about love or romance, but you could choose a different focus—for example, the history of romantic love (how did the concept of romantic love develop in the West, and when did it become the basis of marriage?), love’s cultural characteristics (how is love regarded by different American ethnic groups or in world cultures?), its excesses or extremes (what is sex addiction?), or the phases of falling in and out of love (what is infatuation?). You could also consider writing about other concepts involving personal relationships, such as jealousy, code- pendency, stereotyping, or homophobia.

RESPOND

Dan Hurley Can You Make Yourself Smarter?

DAN HURLEY writes books and articles on science for both special- ists and general readers. His books include Diabetes Rising: How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic and What to Do About It (2010) and Natural Causes: Death, Lies, and Politics in America’s Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry (2006). Among the medical newspapers he contrib- utes to are General Surgery News and Neurology Today. In 1995, he won an award for investigative journalism for an article he published in Psychology Today on the violent mentally ill. He is currently working on a book on intelligence. The article below was published in the New York

Times in 2011. Although Hurley did not include references (as is customary when writing in popular periodicals like newspapers and magazines), we have added them so readers in- terested in this topic can explore it in greater depth. As you read, consider the following:

passages where the tone seems conversational, stuffy, stiff, sarcastic, angry, amused, or anything else?

he is writing? How might he have modified his tone if the article was intended not for the general public, but for either an academic audience of researchers or for a group of students concerned about their test scores?

135GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Hurley Can You Make Yourself Smarter?

Early on a drab afternoon in January, a dozen third graders from the working-class suburb of Chicago Heights, Ill., burst into the Mac Lab on the ground floor of Washington-McKinley School in a blur of blue pants, blue vests and white shirts. Minutes later, they were hunkered down in front of the Apple computers lining the room’s perimeter, hoping to do what was, until re- cently, considered impossible: increase their intelligence through training.

“Can somebody raise their hand,” asked Kate Wulfson, the instructor, “and explain to me how you get points?” On each of the children’s monitors, there was a cartoon image of a haunted house, with bats and a cres- cent moon in a midnight blue sky. Every few seconds, a black cat appeared in one of the house’s five windows, then vanished. The exercise was divided into levels. On Level 1, the children earned a point by remembering which window the cat was just in. Easy. But the game is progressive: the cats keep coming, and the kids have to keep watching and remembering. “And here’s where it gets confusing,” Wulfson continued. “If you get to Level 2, you have to remember where the cat was two windows ago. The time before last. For Level 3, you have to remem- ber where it was three times ago. Level 4 is four times ago. That’s hard. You have to keep track. O.K., ready? Once we start, anyone who talks loses a star.”

So began 10 minutes of a remarkably demanding concentration game. At Level 2, even adults find the task somewhat taxing. Almost no one gets past Level 3 without training. But most people who stick with the game do get better with practice. This isn’t surprising: practice improves performance on almost every task humans engage in, whether it’s learning to read or play- ing horseshoes.

What is surprising is what else it improved. In a 2008 study, Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl, now of the University of Maryland, found that young adults who practiced a stripped-down, less cartoonish version of the game also showed improvement in a fun- damental cognitive ability known as “fluid” intelli- gence: the capacity to solve novel problems, to learn, to reason, to see connections and to get to the bottom of things (Jaeggi et al.). The implication was that playing the game literally makes people smarter.

Psychologists have long regarded intelligence as com- ing in two flavors: crystallized intelligence, the treasure trove of stored-up information and how-to knowledge (the

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sort of thing tested on “Jeopardy ” or put to use when you ride a bicycle); and fluid intelligence. Crystallized intelli- gence grows as you age; fluid intelligence has long been known to peak in early adulthood, around college age, and then to decline gradually. And unlike physical condition- ing, which can transform 98-pound weaklings into hunks, fluid intelligence has always been considered impervious to training. That, after all, is the premise of I. . tests, or at least the portion that measures fluid intelligence: we can test you now and predict all sorts of things in the future, because fluid intelligence supposedly sets in early and is fairly immutable. While parents, teachers and others play an essential role in establishing an environment in which a child’s intellect can grow, even Tiger Mothers generally expect only higher grades will come from their children’s diligence — not better brains.

How, then, could watching black cats in a haunted house possibly increase something as profound as fluid intelligence? Because the deceptively simple game, it turns out, targets the most elemental of cognitive skills: “working” memory. What long-term memory is to crystallized intelligence, working memory is to fluid in- telligence. Working memory is more than just the abil- ity to remember a telephone number long enough to dial it; it’s the capacity to manipulate the information you’re holding in your head — to add or subtract those numbers, place them in reverse order or sort them from high to low. Understanding a metaphor or an analogy is equally dependent on working memory; you can’t fol- low even a simple statement like “See Jane run” if you can’t put together how “see” and “Jane” connect with “run.” Without it, you can’t make sense of anything.

Over the past three decades, theorists and research- ers alike have made significant headway in understand- ing how working memory functions. They have developed a variety of sensitive tests to measure it and determine its relationship to fluid intelligence. Then, in 2008, Jaeggi turned one of these tests of working mem- ory into a training task for building it up, in the same way that push-ups can be used both as a measure of physical fitness and as a strength-building task. “We see attention and working memory as the cardiovascular function of the brain,” Jaeggi says. “If you train your attention and working memory, you increase your basic cognitive skills that help you for many different complex tasks.”

Jaeggi’s study has been widely influential. Since its publication, others have achieved results similar to

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Jaeggi’s not only in elementary-school children but also in preschoolers, college students and the elderly. The training tasks generally require only 15 to 25 minutes of work per day, five days a week, and have been found to improve scores on tests of fluid intelligence in as little as four weeks. Follow-up studies linking that improve- ment to real-world gains in schooling and job perfor- mance are just getting under way. But already, people with disorders including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.) and traumatic brain injury have seen benefits from training. Gains can persist for up to eight months after treatment.

In a town like Chicago Heights, where only 16 per- cent of high schoolers met the Illinois version of the No Child Left Behind standards in 2011, finding a clear way to increase cognitive abilities has obvious appeal. But it has other uses too, at all ages and aptitudes. Even high-level professionals have begun training their working memory in hopes of boosting their fluid intelligence — and, with it, their job performance. If the effect is real — if fluid intelligence can be raised in just a few minutes a day, even by a bit, and not just on a test but in real life — then it would seem to offer, as Jaeggi’s 2008 study concluded with Spock-like understatement, “a wide range of applications.” (Jaeggi et al. 1)

Since the first reliable intelligence test was created just over a hundred years ago, researchers have searched for a way to increase scores meaningfully, with little suc- cess. The track record was so dismal that by 2002, when Jaeggi and her research partner (and now her husband), Martin Buschkuehl, came across a study claiming to have done so, they simply didn’t believe it. The study, by a Swedish neuroscientist named Torkel Klingberg, in- volved just 14 children, all with A.D.H.D. (Klingberg). Half participated in computerized tasks designed to strengthen their working memory, while the other half played less challenging computer games. After just five weeks, Klingberg found that those who played the working-memory games fidgeted less and moved about less. More remarkable, they also scored higher on one of the single best measures of fluid intelligence, the Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Improvement in working memory, in other words, transferred to improvement on a task the children weren’t training for. . . .

“At that time there was pretty much no evidence whatsoever that you can train on one particular task and get transfer to another task that was totally different,”

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Jaeggi says. That is, while most skills improve with practice, the improvement is generally domain-specific: you don’t get better at Sudoku by doing crosswords. And fluid intelligence was not just another skill; it was the ultimate cognitive ability underlying all mental skills, and supposedly immune from the usual benefits of practice. To find that training on a working-memory task could result in an increase in fluid intelligence would be cognitive psychology’s equivalent of discover- ing particles traveling faster than light.

Together, Jaeggi and Buschkuehl decided to see if they could replicate the Klingberg transfer effect. To do so, they used the N-back test as the basis of a training regimen. As seen in the game played by the children at Washington-McKinley, N-back challenges users to re- member something — the location of a cat or the sound of a particular letter — that is presented immediately before (1-back), the time before last (2-back), the time before that (3-back), and so on. If you do well at 2-back, the computer moves you up to 3-back. Do well at that, and you’ll jump to 4-back. On the other hand, if you do poorly at any level, you’re nudged down a level. The point is to keep the game just challenging enough that you stay fully engaged.

To make it harder, Jaeggi and Buschkuehl used what’s called the dual N-back task. As a random se- quence of letters is heard over earphones, a square appears on a computer screen moving, apparently at random, among eight possible spots on a grid. Your mission is to keep track of both the letters and the squares. (See figure 1.) So, for example, at the 3-back level, you would press one button on the keyboard if you recall that a spoken letter is the same one that was spoken three times ago, while simultaneously pressing another key if the square on the screen is in the same place as it was three times ago. The point of making the task more difficult is to overwhelm the usual task- specific strategies that people develop with games like chess and Scrabble. “We wanted to train underlying at- tention and working-memory skills,” Jaeggi says. Jaeggi and Buschkuehl gave progressive matrix tests to students at Bern and then asked them to practice the dual N-back for 20 to 25 minutes a day. When they retested them at the end of a few weeks, they were surprised and de- lighted to find significant improvement. Jaeggi and Buschkuehl later expanded the study as postdoctoral fel- lows at the University of Michigan, in the laboratory of John Jonides, professor of psychology and neuroscience.

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“Those two things, working memory and cognitive control, I think, are at the heart of intellectual function- ing,” Jonides told me when I met with him, Jaeggi and Buschkuehl in their basement office. “They are part of what differentiates us from other species. They allow us to selectively process information from the environ- ment, and to use that information to do all kinds of problem-solving and reasoning.”

When they finally published their study, in a May 2008 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the results were striking (Jaeggi et al., “Improving”). Before training, participants were able to correctly answer between 9 and 10 of the matrix ques- tions. Afterward, the 34 young adults who participated in dual N-back training for 12 weeks correctly answered approximately one extra matrix item, while those who trained for 17 weeks were able to answer about three more correctly. After 19 weeks, the improvement was 4.4 additional matrix questions. “It’s not just a little bit higher,” Jaeggi says. “It’s a large effect.”

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Even so, accompanying the paper’s publication in Proceedings was a commentary titled, “Increasing Fluid Intelligence Is Possible After All,” in which the senior psychologist Robert J. Sternberg (now provost at Oklahoma State University) called Jaeggi’s and Buschkuehl’s research “pioneering” (Sternberg 6792). The study, he wrote, “seems, in some measure, to re- solve the debate over whether fluid intelligence is, in at least some meaningful measure, trainable.”

For some, the debate is far from settled. Randall Engle, a leading intelligence researcher at the Georgia Tech School of Psychology, views the proposition that I. . can be increased through training with a skepticism verging on disdain. . . . The most prominent takedown of I. . training came in June 2010, when the neurosci- entist Adrian Owen published the results of an experi- ment conducted in coordination with the BBC television show “Bang Goes the Theory.” After inviting British viewers to participate, Owen recruited 11,430 of them to take a battery of I. . tests before and after a six-week online program designed to replicate commercially available “brain building” software. (The N-back was not among the tasks offered.) “Although improvements were observed in every one of the cognitive tasks that were trained,” he concluded in the journal Nature, “no evidence was found for transfer effects to untrained tasks, even when those tasks were cognitively closely related” (775).

But even Owen, reached by telephone, told me that he respects Jaeggi’s studies and looks forward to seeing others like it. If before Jaeggi’s study, scientists’ attempts to raise I. . were largely unsuccessful, other lines of evidence have long supported the view that intelligence is far from immutable. While studies of twins suggest that intelligence has a fixed genetic component, at least 20 to 50 percent of the variation in I. . is due to other factors, whether social, school or family-based. Even more telling, average I. .’s have been rising steadily for a century as access to schooling and technology expands, a phenomenon known as the Flynn Effect. As Jaeggi and others see it, the genetic com- ponent of intelligence is undeniable, but it functions less like the genes that control for eye color and more like the complex of interacting genes that affect weight and height (both of which have also been rising, on average, for de- cades). . . .

Torkel Klingberg, meanwhile, has continued studying the effects of training children with his own variety of

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The study did have its shortcomings. “We used just one reasoning task to measure their performance,” she says. “We showed improvements in this one fluid- reasoning task, which is usually highly correlated with other measures as well.” Whether the improved scores on the Raven’s would translate into school grades, job performance and real-world gains remained to be seen.

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The N-Back Game

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Fig. 1. Games based on N-back tests require players to remember the location of a symbol or the sound of a par- ticular letter presented just be- fore (1-back), the time before last (2-back), the time before that (3-back) and so on. Some researchers say that playing games like this may actually make us smarter. (To play a free, online version of the N-back game, go to http:// www.soakyourhead.com /dual-n-back.aspx)

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 138

working-memory tasks. In October 2010, a company he founded to offer those tasks as a package through psycholo- gists and other training professionals, was bought by Pearson Education, the world’s largest provider of educa- tional assessment tools (Cogmed). Despite continuing aca- demic debates, other commercial enterprises are rushing in to offer an array of “brain building” games that make bold promises to improve all kinds of cognitive abilities. Within a block of each other in downtown San Francisco are two of the best known. Posit Science, among the oldest in the field, remains relatively small, giving special attention to those with cognitive disorders. Lumosity began in 2007 and is now by far the biggest of the services, with more than 20 million subscribers. Its games include a sleeker, more enter- taining version of the N-back task.

In Chicago Heights, the magic was definitely not hap- pening for one boy staring blankly at the black cats in the Mac Lab. Sipping from a juice box he held in one hand, jabbing at a computer key over and over with the other, he periodically sneaked a peak at his instructor, a look of abject boredom on his freckled face. “That’s the biggest challenge we have as researchers in this field,” Jaeggi told me, “to get people engaged and motivated to play our working-memory game and to really stick with it. Some people say it’s hard and really frustrating and really challenging and tiring.”

In a follow-up to their 2008 study in young adults, Jaeggi, Buschkuehl and their colleagues published a paper last year that described the effects of N-back training in 76 elementary- and middle-school children from a broad range of social and economic backgrounds (Jaeggi et al., “Short- and Long-Term”). Only those children who im- proved substantially on the N-back training had gains in fluid intelligence. But their improvement wasn’t linked to how high they originally scored on Raven’s; children at all levels of cognitive ability improved. And those gains persisted for three months after the training ended, a heart- ening sign of possible long-term benefits. Although it’s unknown how much longer the improvement in fluid intelligence will last, Jaeggi doubts the effects will be per- manent without continued practice. “Do we think they’re now smarter for the rest of their lives by just four weeks of training?” she asks. “We probably don’t think so. We think of it like physical training: if you go running for a month, you increase your fitness. But does it stay like that for the rest of your life? Probably not.”. . .

Of course, in order to improve, you need to do the training. For some, whether brilliant or not so much,

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training may simply be too hard — or too boring. To in- crease motivation, the study in Chicago Heights offers third graders a chance to win a 10 prepaid Visa card each week. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Chicago’s Initiative on Chicago Price Theory (directed by Steven D. Levitt, of “Freakonomics” fame), the study pits the kids against one another, some- times one on one, sometimes in groups, to see if competi- tion will spur them to try harder. Each week, whichever group receives more points on the N-back is rewarded with the Visa cards. To isolate the motivating effects of the cash prizes, a group of fourth graders is undergoing N-back training with the same black-cats-in-haunted- house program, but with no Visa cards, only inexpensive prizes — plastic sunglasses, inflatable globes — as a reward for not talking and staying in their seats.

The boy tapping randomly at his computer without even paying attention to the game? He was in the fourth- grade class. Although the study is not yet complete, per- haps it will show that the opportunity to increase intelligence is not motivation enough. Just like physical exercise, cognitive exercises may prove to be up against something even more resistant to training than fluid intel- ligence: human nature.

Works Cited

Cogmed Working Memory Training. Torkel Klingberg, Pearson Assessments. 2011. Web. 14 Aug. 2012.

Engle, Randall. Personal interview. N.d. Jaeggi, Susanne M. Personal interview. N.d. Jaeggi, Susanne M., Buschkuehl, Martin, Jonides,

John, and Perrig, Walter J. “Improving Fluid Intelligence with Training on Working Memory.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105.19 (2008): 6829–33. Web. 14, Aug. 2012.

Jaeggi, Susanne M., Buschkuehl, Martin, Jonides, John, and Priti Shah. “Short- and long-term benefits of cognitive training.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108:25 (2011): 10081-86. Web. 14, Aug. 2012.

Klingberg, Torkel, Forssberg, Hans, and Westerberg, Helena. “Training of Working Memory in Children with ADHD.” Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 24.6 (2002): 781–91. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Aug. 2012.

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Make connections: Brain training games. The N-back game is only one of many kinds of so-called brain training games that test your memory, reflexes, concentration, and problem-solving skills. In What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning, sociolinguist James Paul Gee argues that video games provide a hands-on, customized learning environment in which players devel- op skills and teach themselves how to be more adept, independent learners. Think about your experience playing video games or other games (Risk, poker), and consider whether they helped you develop your memory or thinking abilities. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

Can you think of at least one way in which a game you played has helped you, in Jaeggi’s words, develop “the capacity to solve novel problems, to learn, to reason, to see connections” (par. 4)?

How important do you think “working” memory (“the capacity to manipulate the information you’re holding in your head — to add or subtract . . . numbers, place them in reverse order or sort them from high to low” par. 6 ) is in master- ing the brain training games with which you are familiar?

What other abilities seem important — such as creativity, logical reasoning, or sustained attention?

Use the basic features.

A FOCUSED EXPLANATION: USING AN EXAMPLE

Examples often play a central role in writing about concepts because concepts are gen- eral and abstract, and examples help to make them specific and concrete. Examples can also be very useful tools for focusing an explanation. Patricia Lyu, for instance, uses the examples of three researchers — John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, and Harry Harlow — in addition to the example of Henry Dobbins from The Things They Carried to explain the concept of attachment.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing Hurley’s use of the example introduced in the opening paragraphs describing Susanne Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl’s N-back game research to focus his explanation and illustrate the concept of fluid intelligence:

1 Skim paragraphs 2, 12, and 13, look at Figure 1, and read the caption accompanying the figure. How does this text and the figure, which was a sidebar included in the original New York Times article, help readers understand the N-back game and its significance?

2 Consider how N-back game research answers the “So what?” question readers of concept explanations inevitably ask. In other words, how does it provide a focus for Hurley’s explanation of the concept and help readers grasp why the concept is important?

3 Reread paragraphs 15–20, where Hurley acknowledges the controversy surrounding research of this kind. Why do you imagine Hurley includes information about the “debate” in his explanation (par. 15)?

REFLECT

ANALYZE

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 140

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: USING REPETITION TO CREATE COHESION

Cohesive devices help readers move from paragraph to paragraph and section to sec- tion without losing the thread. The most familiar cohesive device is probably the transi- tional word or phrase (however, next), which alerts readers to the logical relationship among ideas. A less familiar, but equally effective strategy, is to repeat key terms and their synonyms or to use pronouns (it, they) to refer to the key term. A third strategy is to provide cohesion through referring back to earlier examples, often bringing a selec- tion full circle by referring to an opening example at the end of the essay. Lyu, for ex- ample, introduces Tim O’Brien’s character Henry Dobbins in her introduction and comes back to him in her conclusion.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing how Hurley creates cohesion in “Can You Make Yourself Smarter?”

1 Reread paragraphs 1–4, 9, and 19–22. How does Hurley use the example of Chicago Heights to lend cohesion to his essay? How effectively does this strategy help readers navigate this essay and understand its main point?

2 Select a series of 3–4 paragraphs and analyze how Hurley knits the paragraphs together. Can you identify any repeated words or concepts or any pronouns that refer back to terms in the preceding paragraph? Did he use transitional words or phrases to link one paragraph to the next?

APPROPRIATE EXPLANATORY STRATEGIES: USING A VARIETY OF STRATEGIES

Writers typically use several different kinds of strategies to explain a concept. Patricia Lyu, for example, defines the concept of attachment, classifies children’s behavior into groups to delineate the types of attachment shown in the “strange situation,” narrates the process of the experiments Ainsworth and Harlow conducted, and shows the cause-effect relationship between fear and the need for attachment. Here are examples of sentence patterns Lyu uses to present these types of explanatory strategies:

DEFINITION He saw that “separation anxiety” — being physically apart from the caregiver or perceiving the “threat” of separation . . . (Kobak and Madsen 30). (par. 3)

CLASSIFICATION Ainsworth identified three basic types of attachment . . . secure, anxious (or anxious-resistant), and avoidant (Fraley 4). (par. 4)

PROCESS Harlow conducted a series of famous and rather disturbing experi- NARRATION ments with infant monkeys. The infant monkeys were separated from

their biological mothers and raised by a surrogate mother . . . made from uncovered heavy wire. (par. 7)

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CAUSE-EFFECT In other experiments, he also showed that fear is a strong motivator REASONING of attachment, leading the infant monkeys to seek consolation from

the surrogate. (par. 9)

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing how Hurley uses definition, classification, process narration, and cause-effect reasoning to explain fluid intelligence:

1 Skim Hurley’s essay looking for and highlighting an example of each of these explana- tory strategies.

2 Select one strategy that you think is particularly effective and explain why you think it works so well. What does the strategy contribute to the explanation of fluid intelligence?

SMOOTH INTEGRATION OF SOURCES: CITING SOURCES FOR ACADEMIC CONTEXTS

Writers of concept explanations nearly always conduct research, incorporate infor- mation from sources (summaries, paraphrases, and quotations) into their writing, and identify their sources so that readers can identify them as experts. Toufexis, for example, identifies Michael Mills as “a psychology professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles” and quotes him as saying “Love is our ancestors whis- pering in our ears” (par. 2).

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing the kinds of material Dan Hurley incorporates from sources and how he identifies his sources so that his readers know that they can be trusted:

1 Skim the essay, highlighting places where Hurley quotes, paraphrases, or summarizes information from sources, and consider the information Hurley provides to identify those sources. What information does he provide, and how does this information help readers know the source is trustworthy?

2 Now skim the essay looking for places where Hurley quotes the researchers. Pay particular attention to the quotations in paragraphs 2, 7, 9, 11, 13–16, and 19–20. Why do you think Hurley decided to use their exact words in these places, rather than merely summarizing their ideas? Can you determine which of the quotations come from published sources and which come from interviews? Can you tell from the text itself or from the citations we added? Consider whether it is important to know if the quotations come from published sources or from the interviews the writer conducted himself.

3 What do you think is the purpose of citing sources—including interviews— particularly for academic audiences? Why is simply identifying sources with a word or two in the text generally sufficient for nonacademic situations? Given your experience reading online, do you think hyperlinks serve a similar purpose to formal citations? Why or why not?

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 142

Consider possible topics: Examining other aspects of intelligence. Because behavioral research can help us understand ourselves in new ways, essays that shed light on psychological phenomena can be fascinating to readers. A writer could explore other aspects of intelligence, such as emotional intelligence, ambient intelligence, or chunking. Related concepts include the theory of mind, self-concept, and identity. Consider entering the concept you are seeking to explain into the search field of a database in the social sciences, like PsycArticles or Social Sciences Full Text, to find an interesting topic you might never have thought of on your own.

RESPOND

Susan Cain Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?

SUSAN CAIN is the author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012). She also writes a popular blog about introversion and has contributed to the magazine Psychology Today on this topic. The selection that appears here was originally pub- lished in the New York Times. As you read, consider these questions:

do these titles lead you to expect? How accurate is your prediction?

consider how effective the opening paragraph is as a hook to catch readers’ attention.

A beautiful woman lowers her eyes demurely be-neath a hat. In an earlier era, her gaze might have signaled a mysterious allure. But this is a 2003 adver- tisement for Zoloft, a selective serotonin reuptake in- hibitor (SSRI) approved by the FDA to treat social anxiety disorder. “Is she just shy? Or is it Social Anxiety Disorder?” reads the caption, suggesting that the young woman is not alluring at all. She is sick.

But is she? It is possible that the lovely young woman has a

life-wrecking form of social anxiety. There are people too afraid of disapproval to ven- ture out for a job interview, a date or even a meal in public. Despite the risk of serious side effects — nausea, loss of sex drive, seizures — drugs like Zoloft can be a godsend for this group.

But the ad’s insinuation aside, it’s also possible the young woman is “just shy,” or introverted — traits our

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society disfavors. One way we manifest this bias is by encouraging perfectly healthy shy people to see themselves as ill.

This does us all a grave disservice, because shyness and introversion — or more precisely, the careful, sensi- tive temperament from which both often spring — are not just normal. They are valuable. And they may be essential to the survival of our species.

Theoretically, shyness and social anxiety disorder are easily distinguishable. But a blurry line divides the two. Imagine that the woman in the ad enjoys a steady pay-

check, a strong marriage and a small circle of close friends — a good life by most measures — except that she avoids a needed promotion because she’s nervous about leading meet- ings. She often criticizes herself for feeling too shy to speak up.

What do you think now? Is she ill, or does she sim- ply need public-speaking training?

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Shyness and introversion . . . are not just normal. They are valuable. And they may be essential to the survival of our species.

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Before 1980, this would have seemed a strange question. Social anxiety disorder did not officially exist until it appeared in that year’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM-III, the psychiatrist’s bible of mental disorders, under the name “social phobia.” It was not widely known until the 1990s, when pharma- ceutical companies received FDA approval to treat so- cial anxiety with SSRI’s and poured tens of millions of dollars into advertising its existence. The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM-IV, acknowledges that stage fright (and shyness in social situations) is common and not necessarily a sign of illness. But it also says that diagnosis is war- ranted when anxiety “interferes significantly” with work performance or if the sufferer shows “marked distress” about it. According to this definition, the an- swer to our question is clear: the young woman in the ad is indeed sick.

The DSM inevitably reflects cultural attitudes; it used to identify homosexuality as a disease, too. Though the DSM did not set out to pathologize shy- ness, it risks doing so, and has twice come close to iden- tifying introversion as a disorder, too. (Shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Shy people fear negative judgment; introverts simply prefer quiet, mini- mally stimulating environments.)

But shyness and introversion share an undervalued status in a world that prizes extroversion. Children’s classroom desks are now often arranged in pods, be- cause group participation supposedly leads to better learning; in one school I visited, a sign announcing “Rules for Group Work” included, “You can’t ask a teacher for help unless everyone in your group has the same question.” Many adults work for organizations that now assign work in teams, in offices without walls, for supervisors who value “people skills” above all. As a society, we prefer action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. Studies show that we rank fast and frequent talkers as more competent, likable and even smarter than slow ones. As the psychologists William Hart and Dolores Albarracin point out, phrases like “get active,” “get moving,” “do something” and similar calls to action surface repeatedly in recent books.

Yet shy and introverted people have been part of our species for a very long time, often in leadership po- sitions. We find them in the Bible (“Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh?” asked Moses, whom the

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Book of Numbers describes as “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”) We find them in recent history, in figures like Charles Darwin, Marcel Proust and Albert Einstein, and, in contemporary times: think of Google’s Larry Page, or Harry Potter’s creator, J. K. Rowling.

In the science journalist Winifred Gallagher’s words: “The glory of the disposition that stops to con- sider stimuli rather than rushing to engage with them is its long association with intellectual and artistic achieve- ment. Neither E mc2 nor Paradise Lost was dashed off by a party animal.”

We even find “introverts” in the animal kingdom, where 15 percent to 20 percent of many species are watch- ful, slow-to-warm-up types who stick to the sidelines (sometimes called “sitters”) while the other 80 percent are “rovers” who sally forth without paying much attention to their surroundings. Sitters and rovers favor different sur- vival strategies, which could be summed up as the sitter’s “Look before you leap” versus the rover’s inclination to “Just do it ” Each strategy reaps different rewards.

In an illustrative experiment, David Sloan Wilson, a Binghamton evolutionary biologist, dropped metal traps into a pond of pumpkinseed sunfish. The “rover” fish couldn’t help but investigate — and were immedi- ately caught. But the “sitter” fish stayed back, making it impossible for Professor Wilson to capture them. Had Professor Wilson’s traps posed a real threat, only the sitters would have survived. But had the sitters taken Zoloft and become more like bold rovers, the entire family of pumpkinseed sunfish would have been wiped out. “Anxiety” about the trap saved the fishes’ lives.

Next, Professor Wilson used fishing nets to catch both types of fish; when he carried them back to his lab, he noted that the rovers quickly acclimated to their new environment and started eating a full five days earlier than their sitter brethren. In this situation, the rovers were the likely survivors. “There is no single best . . . animal personality,” Professor Wilson concludes in

his book, Evolution for Everyone, “but rather a diversity of personalities maintained by natural selection.”

The same might be said of humans, 15 percent to 20 percent of whom are also born with sitter-like tem- peraments that predispose them to shyness and intro- version. (The overall incidence of shyness and introversion is higher — 40 percent of the population for shyness, according to the psychology professor

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CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 144

Jonathan Cheek, and 50 percent for introversion. Conversely, some born sitters never become shy or in- troverted at all.)

Once you know about sitters and rovers, you see them everywhere, especially among young children. Drop in on your local Mommy and Me music class: there are the sitters, intently watching the action from their mothers’ laps, while the rovers march around the room banging their drums and shaking their maracas.

Relaxed and exploratory, the rovers have fun, make friends and will take risks, both rewarding and danger- ous ones, as they grow. According to Daniel Nettle, a Newcastle University evolutionary psychologist, extro- verts are more likely than introverts to be hospitalized as a result of an injury, have affairs (men) and change relationships (women). One study of bus drivers even found that accidents are more likely to occur when ex- troverts are at the wheel.

In contrast, sitter children are careful and astute, and tend to learn by observing instead of by acting. They notice scary things more than other children do, but they also notice more things in general. Studies dat- ing all the way back to the 1960s by the psychologists Jerome Kagan and Ellen Siegelman found that cau- tious, solitary children playing matching games spent more time considering all the alternatives than impul- sive children did, actually using more eye movements to make decisions. Recent studies by a group of scientists at Stony Brook University and at Chinese universities using functional MRI technology echoed this research, finding that adults with sitter-like temperaments looked longer at pairs of photos with subtle differences and showed more activity in brain regions that make asso- ciations between the photos and other stored informa- tion in the brain.

Once they reach school age, many sitter children use such traits to great effect. Introverts, who tend to digest information thoroughly, stay on task, and work accurately, earn disproportionate numbers of National Merit Scholarship finalist positions and Phi Beta Kappa keys, according to the Center for Applications of Psychological Type, a research arm for the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator — even though their I scores are no higher than those of extroverts. Another study, by the psychologists Eric Rolfhus and Philip Ackerman, tested 141 college students’ knowledge of 20 different subjects, from art to astronomy to statistics, and found

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that the introverts knew more than the extroverts about 19 subjects — presumably, the researchers concluded, because the more time people spend socializing, the less time they have for learning.

The psychologist Gregory Feist found that many of the most creative people in a range of fields are intro- verts who are comfortable working in solitary condi- tions in which they can focus attention inward. Steve Wozniak, the engineer who founded Apple with Steve Jobs, is a prime example: Mr. Wozniak describes his creative process as an exercise in solitude. “Most inven- tors and engineers I’ve met are like me,” he writes in “iWoz,” his autobiography. “They’re shy and they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone. . . . Not on a committee. Not on a team.”

Sitters’ temperaments also confer more subtle ad- vantages. Anxiety, it seems, can serve an important so- cial purpose; for example, it plays a key role in the development of some children’s consciences. When caregivers rebuke them for acting up, they become anxious, and since anxiety is unpleasant, they tend to develop pro-social behaviors. Shy children are often easier to socialize and more conscientious, according to the developmental psychologist Grazyna Kochanska. By six they’re less likely than their peers to cheat or break rules, even when they think they can’t be caught, according to one study. By seven they’re more likely to be described by their parents as having high levels of moral traits such as empathy.

When I shared this information with the mother of a “sitter” daughter, her reaction was mixed. “That is all very nice,” she said, “but how will it help her in the tough real world?” But sensitivity, if it is not excessive and is properly nurtured, can be a catalyst for empathy and even leadership. Eleanor Roosevelt, for example, was a courageous leader who was very likely a sitter. Painfully shy and serious as a child, she grew up to be a woman who could not look away from other people’s suffering — and who urged her husband, the constitu- tionally buoyant F.D.R., to do the same; the man who had nothing to fear but fear itself relied, paradoxically, on a woman deeply acquainted with it.

Another advantage sitters bring to leadership is a willingness to listen to and implement other people’s ideas. A groundbreaking study led by the Wharton management professor Adam Grant, to be published

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Cain Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?

this month in The Academy of Management Journal, found that introverts outperform extroverts when lead- ing teams of proactive workers — the kinds of employ- ees who take initiative and are disposed to dream up better ways of doing things. Professor Grant notes that business self-help guides often suggest that introverted leaders practice their communication skills and smile more. But, he told me, it may be extrovert leaders who need to change, to listen more and say less.

What would the world look like if all our sitters chose to medicate themselves? The day may come when we have pills that “cure” shyness and turn intro- verts into social butterflies — without the side effects and other drawbacks of today’s medications. (A recent study suggests that today’s SSRI’s not only relieve social anxiety but also induce extroverted behavior.) The day may come — and might be here already — when people are as comfortable changing their psyches as the color of their hair. If we continue to confuse shyness with

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sickness, we may find ourselves in a world of all rovers and no sitters, of all yang and no yin.

As a sitter who enjoys an engaged, productive life, and a professional speaking career, but still experiences the occasional knock-kneed moment, I can understand why caring physicians prescribe available medicine and encourage effective non-pharmaceutical treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

But even non-medical treatments emphasize what is wrong with the people who use them. They don’t focus on what is right. Perhaps we need to rethink our approach to social anxiety: to address the pain, but to respect the temperament that underlies it. The act of treating shyness as an illness obscures the value of that temperament. Ridding people of social unease need not involve pathologizing their fundamental nature, but rather urging them to use its gifts.

It’s time for the young woman in the Zoloft ad to rediscover her allure.

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Make connections: What’s wrong with being quiet? Cain asserts that “shyness and introversion share an undervalued status in a world that prizes extroversion. . . . As a society, we prefer action to contemplation, risk- taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt” (par. 10). To explore these categories of in- troversion and extroversion and to test Cain’s assertion about society’s valuing one personality type over the other, think of someone you would describe as introverted and someone else who seems to be extroverted. (Include yourself, if you like.) What in particular leads you to classify these individuals as introverts or extroverts? Consider whether personality type has any effect on how other people react to them or whether they are more or less successful in school or in social or work contexts. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get you started:

What do you think are the defining characteristics of these two personality types?

Which, if any, of these characteristics seem to be overvalued or devalued? By whom and in what contexts? Why?

Cain raises a question about the way psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical indus- try may be pathologizing shyness or introversion — in other words, “encouraging perfectly healthy shy people to see themselves as ill” (par. 4). What do you think about this issue?

REFLECT

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 146

Use the basic features.

A FOCUSED EXPLANATION: PRESENTING ESTABLISHED INFORMATION AND YOUR OWN IDEAS

Writing for her instructor and classmates in an English class, Patricia Lyu can assume that the psychological concept she is explaining is unfamiliar to her audience, and be- cause it is a topic in her Introduction to Psychology textbook, she can be confident that it is widely accepted and a basic building block of the field. However, when she applies the concept to a book her readers know well and uses the concept to interpret Henry Dobbins’s “peculiar habit” in The Things They Carried (par. 10), Lyu’s purpose becomes more complicated. She is not only reporting established information about a concept but also presenting her own ideas. Her readers are not likely to question the concept, as long as she provides authoritative sources to back it up, but they may very well question her application of the concept. Therefore, Lyu needs to provide evidence, quoting from The Things They Carried to convince readers that her use of the concept makes sense and that it helps to explain Dobbins’s behavior. Concept explanations nearly always entail this kind of shift from reporting established information to presenting the writer’s own ideas about the concept and offering supportive evidence.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing how Cain reports information and also presents her own ideas:

1 Reread paragraph 5, in which Cain states her thesis. How does the phrase between dashes in the first sentence (“or more precisely, the careful, sensitive temperament from which both often spring”) help to unify the different phenomena she describes in this article?

2 Consider the second and third sentences in paragraph 5. How do these sentences help convey Cain’s purpose?

3 Skim the rest of the article, looking for places where Cain restates the ideas she conveys in sentences 2 and 3 of paragraph 5. Highlight the words and phrases that restate this theme.

4 Consider how effective Cain’s tactics are: After reading the article, do you know what shyness is? Are you persuaded that it is underrated? Why or why not?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: CREATING CLOSURE

Patricia Lyu refers to British psychologist John Bowlby near the beginning and the end of her paper. In paragraph 2, she introduces the concept of attachment as a survival strategy, and then in paragraph 10, she notes Bowlby’s assessment of attachment as “intertwined” with fear. With these two references to Bowlby, Lyu creates a sense of closure, a sense that readers have come full circle. Cain also uses this strategy.

ANALYZE

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Cain Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing how Cain creates a sense of closure in her article:

1 Skim paragraphs 1–8 and 25–28 to remind yourself of how Cain begins and ends the reading selection. What image does she start with? What image does she end with? How does she make sense of this image for her readers? What context does she put it in?

2 Notice the pronouns she uses: she, we, us, they, I. How does the shift—from talking about the shy, the introverted, the “sitters,” in the third person (she/he/they) to talking about them in the first person (I/we)—change the context in which the Zoloft ad is presented? How does this shift in the pronouns Cain uses add or detract from the sense of closure?

APPROPRIATE EXPLANATORY STRATEGIES: USING COMPARISON-CONTRAST

Writers explaining concepts often use comparison and contrast. Research has shown that seeing how unfamiliar concepts are similar to or different from concepts we already know facilitates the learning of new concepts. Even when both concepts are unfamiliar, comparing foregrounds commonalities, while contrasting makes visible inconsistencies we might not otherwise notice.

Writers employ many strategies to signal comparisons and contrasts, including words that emphasize similarity or difference, and repeating sentence patterns to high- light the differences:

COMPARISONS . . . in the same way that push-ups can be used both as a measure of physical fitness and as a strength-building task. (Hurley, par. 7)

CONTRASTS “ Early love is when you love the way the other person makes you feel.” . . . “ Mature love is when you love the person as he or she is.” It is the difference between passionate and compassionate love. . . . “It’s Bon Jovi vs . Beethoven.” (Toufexis, par. 14)

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing Cain’s strategies for showing contrast:

1 Find and highlight two or three of the sentence patterns Cain uses for cueing contrast in paragraphs 3–4, 9, 10, 13, 18, and 19.

2 Analyze what is being contrasted and how each contrast works.

3 Why do you think Cain uses contrast so often in this essay?

SMOOTH INTEGRATION OF SOURCES: USING EVIDENCE FROM A SOURCE TO SUPPORT A CLAIM

Cain’s article first appeared in the New York Times. So, like Toufexis and Hurley, whose articles were originally published in popular periodicals, Cain names her sources and mentions their credentials but does not cite them as you must do when writing a paper

In the same way: words emphasizing similarity

Repeated sentence pattern highlights the contrast

To learn more about comparing and contrasting, see Chapter 18.

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 148

for a class. While Cain does not cite her sources formally, as academic writing requires, she does integrate her sources effectively by

Making a claim of her own

Showing how the evidence she provides supports her claim

Naming her source author(s) in a signal phrase (name plus an appropriate verb) and mentioning his, her, or their credentials

Providing appropriate, relevant supporting evidence

Look at how Cain achieves these goals:

As a society, we prefer action to contemplation, risk-taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. Studies show that we rank fast and frequent talkers as more competent, likable and even smarter than slow ones. As the psychologists William Hart and Dolores Albarracin point out, phrases like “get active,” “get moving,” “do something” and similar calls to action surface repeatedly in recent books. (par. 10)

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing how Cain integrates source material elsewhere in her article:

1 Examine paragraphs 18–19 or 20–21 to see how Cain uses a pattern similar to the one described above.

2 Find and mark the elements: Cain’s idea; the name(s) and credentials of the source or sources; what the source found; text linking the source’s findings to the original idea or extending the idea in some way.

3 When writers use information from sources, why do you think they often begin by stating their own idea (even if they got the idea from a source)? What do you think would be the effect on readers if the opening sentence of paragraph 18 or 20 began with the source instead of with Cain’s topic sentence?

Consider possible topics: Correcting a misunderstood concept. Cain writes in this article about a concept she thinks has been misunderstood or mis- used. Consider other concepts that you think need clarification. For example, you might consider concepts such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum, or transgender. Alternatively, you might consider contested political concepts such as liberal, conservative, corporate personhood, American exceptionalism, or regime change.

Cain’s idea

Research findings supporting Cain’s idea

Author credentials and signal phrase

Links Cain’s idea and research findings

RESPOND

For more concept explanations, including a multimodal selection, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/epages.

Concept explanations may appear in textbooks or magazines, but they also appear in a variety of other contexts. You can fi nd podcasts that explain concepts on iTunes University, or Web tutorials that explain concepts on sites from Microsoft.com to the National Library of Medicine (nlm.nih.gov). Infographics, like the example below from National Geographic Online, are used frequently to explain complex concepts.

PLAYING WITH GENRE

Infographics and Other Concept

Explanations Online

For an interactive version of this feature,

plus activities, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/epages.

149

In the next section of this chapter, we ask you to explain a concept. Consider how you can best engage your readers’ attention and make the explanation clear to your audience (and possibly yourself). What explanatory strategies will capture your readers’ attention? Should you include visuals, or would conveying your explanation in a different medium (in a graphic or an online tutorial) help engage your readers and enable them to understand the concept more readily? (Consider, too, whether using visuals or conveying your concept explanation in a different medium would be acceptable to your instructor.)

GUIDE TO WRITING

The Writing Assignment Write an essay explaining an important and interesting concept, one you already know well or are just learning about. Consider what your readers are likely to know and think about the concept, what you might want them to learn about it, and whether you can research it suffi ciently in the time you have.

tion and apply what you have learned from reading other concept explanations. This Starting Points chart will help you fi nd answers to questions you might have about explaining a concept. Use it to fi nd the guidance you need, when you need it.

The Writing Assignment

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research,

Planning, and Composing

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading

Improving the Draft: Revising,

Formatting, Editing, and

Proofreading

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• Consider Possible Topics (pp. 134, 142, 148) • Choose a concept to write about. (p. 152) • Test Your Choice (p. 153)

• Assess the genre’s basic features: A focused explanation. (pp. 119–20)

• Conduct initial research on the concept. (p. 153) • Focus your explanation of the concept. (p. 154) • Test Your Choice (p. 155) • Conduct further research on your focused concept. (p. 155)

STARTING POINTS: EXPLAINING A CONCEPT

How do I come up with a concept to write about?

• A Focused Explanation: Using an Example (p. 139) • A Focused Explanation: Presenting Established

Information and Your Own Ideas (p. 146) • Focus your explanation of the concept. (pp. 154–55) • Test Your Choice (p. 155) • Draft your working thesis. (pp. 155–56) • Write the opening sentences. (p. 161) • A Troubleshooting Guide: A Focused Explanation

(p. 163)

How can I make my concept interesting to my readers?

How can I decide on a focus for my concept?

A Focused Explanation

Assess the genre’s basic features: A clear, logical organiza tion. (p. 120) A Clear, Logical Organization: Creating Closure (pp. 146–47) Organize your concept explanation effectively for your readers. (p. 156) A Troubleshooting Guide: A Clear, Logical Organization (p. 164)

Assess the genre’s basic features: A clear, logical organization. (p. 120) A Clear, Logical Organization: Cueing the Reader (pp. 132–33)

Cohesion (p. 140) Draft your working thesis. (pp. 155–56)

A Clear, Logical Organization

How should I organize my explanation so that it’s logical and easy to read?

What kinds of cues should I provide?

Th e Writing Assignment 151GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Assess the genre’s basic features: Smooth integration of sources. (pp. 121–22)

mation from sources. (p. 160) A Troubleshooting Guide: Smooth Integration of Sources (p. 166)

Smooth Integration of Sources

How should I integrate sources so that they support my argument?

Assess the genre’s basic features: Appropriate explanatory strategies. (pp. 120–21)

Strategies (p. 140)

Contrast (p. 147) Consider the explanatory strategies you should use. (pp. 157–58)

to support your points. (p. 158)

explanation. (pp. 158–59) A Troubleshooting Guide: Appropriate Explanatory Strategies (p. 165)

Appropriate Explanatory Strategies

What’s the best way to explain my concept? What writing strategies should I use?

To learn about using the Guide and drafting, go to bedfordstmartins.com/theguide.

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 152

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing The activities in this section will help you choose a concept and develop an explana- tion that will appeal to your readers, using appropriate explanatory strategies as well as photographs, tables, charts, and other illustrations. Do the activities in any order that makes sense to you (and your instructor), and return to them as needed as you revise. They are easy to complete and should take only a few minutes each. Spreading them out over several days will stimulate your creativity, enabling you to find a con- cept and strategies for explaining it that work for you and your readers. Remember to keep good notes: You’ll need them when you draft and revise.

Choose a concept to write about. Come up with a list of possible concepts you might write about. For the best results, your concept should be one that

you understand well or feel eager to learn more about;

you think is important and will interest your readers;

you can research sufficiently in the allotted time;

you can explain clearly in the length prescribed by your instructor.

To get your juices flowing, review the Consider Possible Topics activities on pages 134, 142, and 148 or reread notes you made in response to those suggestions. The fol- lowing list suggests some good concepts:

College Courses

Literature and cultural studies: irony, semiotics, dystopia, canon, postmodern- ism, realism, genre, connotation

Psychology and sociology: assimilation/accommodation, social cognition, emo- tional intelligence, the Stroop effect, trauma, theory of mind, deviance, ethnocen- trism, social stratification, acculturation, cultural relativism, patriarchy

Biology, nursing, and the physical sciences: morphogenesis, electron transport, phagocytosis, homozygosity, diffusion, mass, energy, gravity, entropy, communi- cable diseases, epidemiology, toxicology, holistic medicine, pathogen

Community

Identity and community: multiculturalism, racism, social contract, community policing, social Darwinism, identity politics, public space

Environment: fracking, toxic waste, endangered species, sustainability

Workplace and Business Management

Work: private and public sector, minimum wage, affirmative action, glass ceiling, downsizing, collective bargaining, robotics

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Writing a Draft

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Management and finance: risk management, leveraged buyout, deregulation, branding, economy of scale, monopoly capitalism, socially conscious investing

TEST YOUR CHOICE

To decide whether to proceed with this concept, ask yourself the following questions:

Can I answer my readers’ inevitable “So what?” question and make the concept seem interesting and worth knowing about?

Am I interested in the concept and can I focus my explanation?

Do I know enough about the concept now, or can I research it in the time I have?

Conduct initial research on the concept. You will need to research your concept in three stages:

1. Gain an overview of the concept.

2. Identify an aspect of the concept to focus on.

3. Conduct enough research to learn about this aspect of the concept.

The following activities will help you begin putting your ideas into words that you may be able to use as you draft.

WHAT DO I NEED TO LEARN?

Conduct a search on your concept using a reference database such as the Gale Virtual Reference Library or Web of Science. After reading several articles, list the following:

Names of experts on your subject

Terms, phrases, or synonyms that you might use as search terms later

Interesting aspects of the concept that you might want to focus on

Conduct a search for relevant books on your topic, and then click on each library record to find additional subject terms.

Enter the word overview or definition with the name of your concept into a search engine, and skim the top ten search results to get a general sense of your topic. Bookmark use- ful links, or save a copy (.edu, .gov, or .org sites are more likely to be reliable than .com sites).

WHAT DO I ALREADY KNOW?

Describe what you already know about the concept, reviewing textbooks and lecture notes as needed.

Why have you chosen the concept and why do you find it interesting?

My concept is important/useful for the study of because .

Explain the concept briefly, using as a start- ing point the sentence strategies below.

My concept can be divided into categories: , , .

Examples of my concept include , , and .

My concept is a [member of a larger category] that is/does/has [defining characteristics].

My concept is [similar to/different from] in these ways: .

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 154

Focus your explanation of the concept. You cannot realistically explain every aspect of your concept thoroughly in a short writing project. Instead, focus on an aspect of the concept that interests you and will interest your readers. The following activities will help you choose a tentative focus, which you will likely refine as you do further research and writing.

WAYS IN WHAT MAKES THE CONCEPT INTERESTING TO ME AND MY READERS?

List two or three aspects of your concept that interest you, and then answer these questions:

like to learn about it?

Ask yourself questions about your concept:

Write for five minutes about your concept, focusing on what you already know.

Analyze your audience by brainstorming answers to the following questions:

your explanation? What aspects of the concept do you think they would want to know about?

one aspect of the concept that is relevant to their life, family, community, work, or studies.

or about the subject in general? How can you build on what they already know?

– ings, or outdated ideas about the concept (or about the subject in general), how can you clarify the concept for them?

After completing the activities above, choose an aspect of your concept on which to focus, and write a sentence explaining why it interests you and why it will interest your audience.

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Writing a Draft

If you find that you don’t have enough to write about, return to the previous section (pp. 153–54) to conduct additional research, broaden your concept by adding cultural or historical contexts, or check sources or class readings to look for broader concepts of which your concept is a part.

TEST YOUR CHOICE

Get together with two or three other students to test your choice:

Presenters Briefly describe your intended audience, identify the aspect of the concept that you will focus on, and explain what you find interesting or relevant about it and what you think your readers will find interesting or relevant. (If your listeners do not find your focus appropriate or interesting, consider returning to your list of possible concepts and repeating the activities above.)

Listeners Briefly tell the presenter whether the focus sounds appropriate and interesting for the intended audience. Share what you think readers are likely to know about the concept and what information might be especially interesting to them.

Conduct further research on your focused concept. Your instructor may expect you to do in-depth research or may limit the number and type of sources you can use. Readers will want to be sure that your sources are reli- able and perhaps read your sources for themselves.

Draft your working thesis. An essay explaining a concept is made up of three basic parts:

An attempt to engage readers’ interest

A thesis statement, announcing the concept and its focus, and forecasting the main topics

Information about the concept, organized by topic

You may want to draft a working thesis statement and other parts of your explana- tion before deciding on an opening that will engage readers’ attention. If, however, you prefer to sketch out an opening first, turn to the section “Write the opening sen- tences” (p. 161), and return to this section later.

The thesis statement in a concept explanation announces the concept to be ex- plained and identifies the aspect of the concept that the writer will focus on. It may also forecast the topics to be explored. Here’s an example of a thesis statement from “Love: The Right Chemistry” (pp. 129–31):

O.K., let’s cut out all this nonsense about romantic love. Let’s bring some scientific precision to the party. Let’s put love under a microscope.

Concept

Focus

To learn more about finding and developing sources, see Chapter 24, pp. 674–82; evaluating your sources, see Chapter 25; citing sources, see Chapter 27 (MLA style) or Chapter 28 (APA style).

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 156

When rigorous people with Ph.D.s after their names do that, what they see is not some silly, senseless thing. No, their probe reveals that love rests firmly on the foundations of evolution, biology and chemistry. (Toufexis, pars. 1–2)

To draft your thesis statement, consider using some of your writing from the Ways In activities in the section “Focus your explanation of the concept” (pp. 154–55). Alternatively, simply state directly the concept you will explain and the approach you will take. You may also want to forecast the topics you will cover.

Organize your concept explanation effectively for your readers. Once you have drafted a working thesis, you may want to devise a tentative outline drawing on your invention and research notes. An effective outline for a concept ex- planation should be divided into separate topics that are conceptually parallel. Patricia Lyu, for example, forecasts her topics in two rhetorical questions: “How does that bond develop and how does it affect romantic relationships later in life?” (par. 1) From this sentence, readers know what she will focus on. Toufexis focuses on the scientific foundations of love, and so she divides the topics she will cover into evolu- tion, biology, and chemistry. Once you have decided on your topics, present them in a logical order (for example, from most familiar to least familiar).

Below is a simple scratch outline for an essay explaining a concept, which you may use as a starting point:

Forecast topics

Use your outline to guide your drafting, but do not feel tied to it. You may figure out a better way to sequence your topics as you write.

I. Introduction: Attempts to gain readers’ interest in the concept, but may not name the concept immediately.

II. Thesis: This part is usually a single sentence that identifies the concept. But it may be several sentences, including a brief definition, an example, or another strategy to clarify the focus. It may also include a forecast listing the topics that will be addressed later.

III. Topic 1: For each topic, note the explanatory strategies you will use, the source materials you will include, and any visuals you already have or need to find.

IV. Topic 2:

V. Topic 3 (etc.):

VI. Conclusion: Might summarize information, give advice about how to use or apply the information, or speculate about the future of the concept.

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Writing a Draft

Design your writing project. Consider whether you want to use headings to indicate the topic to be discussed; bullets or numbers to highlight lists; and tables, graphics, or other visuals to make your explanation clearer.

Consider the explanatory strategies you should use. To explain your concept, consider how you would define it, examples you can pro- vide to help readers understand it, how it is similar to or different from other relat- ed concepts, how it happens or gets done, and what its causes or effects are. Keep in mind that your goal is not only to inform your readers but also to engage their interest. The following activities provide sentence strategies you may use to explore the best ways to explain your concept, and they may also get you started drafting your essay.

To learn more about designing documents, see Chapter 21.

WHAT WRITING STRATEGIES CAN I USE TO EXPLAIN MY FOCUSED CONCEPT?

What are the concept’s defining characteristics? What broader class does it belong to, and how does it differ from other members of its class? (definition)

[Concept] is a in which [list defining characteristics].

What examples or anecdotes can make the concept less abstract and more under- standable? (example)

[Experts/scientists/etc.] first became aware of [concept] in [year], when (citation).

Interest in [concept] has been [rising/declining/steady] [because of/in spite of] [recent examples/a shortage of recent examples] like , , and .

How is this concept like or unlike related concepts with which your readers may be more familiar? (comparison and contrast)

Many people think the term [concept] means , but it might be more accurate to say it means .

[Concept] is similar in some ways to [similar concept]: [list areas of similarity]. However, unlike [similar concept], it [list areas of difference].

[Concept], a kind of [grown-up, children’s, bigger, smaller, local, international, or other adjective] version of [similar concept], [is/does/has] .

How can an explanation of this concept be divided into parts to make it easier for readers to understand? (classification)

Experts like [name of expert] say there are [number] [categories, types, subtypes, versions] of [concept], ranging from to (citation).

WAYS IN

(continued)

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 158

How does this concept happen, or how does one go about doing it? (process narration)

To perform [concept or task related to concept], a [person, performer, participant, etc.] starts by . Then [he/she/it] must [verb], [verb], and [verb]. [Insert or remove sections as necessary.] The process ends when [he/she/it] [verb].

What are this concept’s known causes or effects? (cause and effect)

[Concept or concept-related result] happens because .

Before [concept or concept-related result] can [happen/take place/occur], [identify a condition that has to be met first]. However, [that condition] isn’t enough by itself: [second condition] must also [happen/take place/be established].

Experts disagree over the causes of [concept]. Some, like [name 1], believe (citation). Others, like [name 2], contend that (citation).

Use summaries, paraphrases, and quotations from sources to support your points. Summaries, paraphrases, and quotations from sources are frequently used to explain concepts or reinforce an explanation. Chapter 26 (in Part 4, “Research Strategies”), explains how to write an effective summary or paraphrase and to decide when to summarize, paraphrase, or quote from a source. But keep the following in mind:

Use summary to give the gist of a research report or other information.

Use paraphrase to provide specific details or examples when the language of the source is not especially memorable.

Use quotation to emphasize source material that is particularly vivid or clear, to convey an expert’s voice, or to discuss the source’s choice of words.

In academic writing projects, you will need to cite the sources of all summaries, para- phrases, and quotations.

Also remember that your readers will want you to explain how the ideas from the sources you cite reinforce the points you are making. So make sure you comment on sources, making the relationship between your own ideas and the supporting in- formation from sources absolutely clear. (For help with integrating information from sources, see p. 159.)

Use visuals or multimedia illustrations to enhance your explanation. Concept explanations do not require illustrations, but they can be an effective tool. The medium in which your concept explanation appears will determine the types of illus- trations you can use. For example, papers can include visual images such as photographs

159GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

and flowcharts. Web pages can include music, film clips, and animated graphs. Oral presentations can use the Web or presentation slides (such as PowerPoint).

When deciding whether to include illustrations, consider whether you can create your own graphics (for example, using spreadsheet software to create bar graphs or pie charts) or whether you will need to borrow materials that others have created (for example, downloading materials from the Internet, taking screenshots from Web sites or DVDs, or scanning visuals from books or magazines). Borrowed material must be cited, including the sources of data you use to create graphs and tables. If your writ- ing is going to be published on a Web site that is not password protected, you also need to obtain permission from the source.

Use appositives to integrate sources. When you write your essay, you’ll have to tell readers about the credentials of experts you quote, paraphrase, and summarize. Instead of providing this information in sep- arate sentences, you can use an appositive to embed this information smoothly and clearly into another sentence.

An appositive is a noun or pronoun that, along with modifiers, gives more infor- mation about another noun or pronoun. Here is an example from one of the reading selections earlier in the chapter:

“Love is a natural high,” observes Anthony Walsh, author of The Science of Love: Understanding Love and Its Effects on Mind and Body. (Toufexis, par. 10)

By placing the credentials right after the expert’s name, these sentences provide read- ers with the information they need, exactly where they need it.

Appositives can also be used for many different purposes, as these examples suggest:

TO DEFINE A KEY TERM Each person carries in his or her mind a unique subliminal guide to the ideal partner, a “love map.” (Toufexis, par. 17)

TO IDENTIFY PEOPLE Randall Engle, a leading intelligence researcher at the Georgia AND THINGS Tech School of Psychology, views the proposition that I. . can

be increased through training with a skepticism verging on disdain. (Hurley, par. 16)

TO GIVE EXAMPLES Despite the risk of serious side effects — nausea, loss of sex drive, seizures — drugs like Zoloft can be a godsend for this group. (Cain, par. 3)

Notice that the last example uses dashes instead of commas to set off the apposi- tive from the rest of the sentence. Although commas are more common, dashes are often used if the writer wants to give the appositive more emphasis or if the apposi- tive itself contains commas, as in the last example above.

Noun

Appositive

For more on appositives, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide and type “Appositives” in the search box.

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 160

Use descriptive verbs in signal phrases to introduce information from sources. When introducing quotations, paraphrases, or summaries, writers often use a signal phrase — the source author’s name plus an appropriate verb — to alert readers to the fact that they are borrowing someone else’s words or ideas. Often the verb is neutral, as with the following two examples (the verbs are italicized):

“That is one reason why it feels so horrible when we’re abandoned or a lover dies,” notes Fisher. (Toufexis, par. 13)

“It’s not just a little bit higher,” Jaeggi says. “It’s a large effect.” (Hurley, par. 14)

Sometimes, however, the verb may be more descriptive — even evaluative:

“As long as prehistoric females were secretive about their extramarital affairs,” argues Fisher, “they could garner extra resources, life insurance, better genes and more varied DNA for their biological futures. . . .” (Toufexis, par. 8)

The verb argues emphasizes the fact that what is being reported is an interpreta- tion that others may disagree with. As you refer to sources in your concept explana- tion, choose carefully among a wide variety of precise verbs to introduce your sources. Here are a number of possibilities: suggests, reveals, questions, brings into focus, finds, notices, observes, underscores.

In academic writing, merely mentioning the author’s name in a signal phrase is not sufficient. In most cases, you must also include in-text citations that provide the page number from which the borrowed material is taken and include full bibliographic information in a list of works cited or references, so readers can trace the source for themselves. Writers may also include the source author’s name in a signal phrase. But often the information provided in parentheses following the borrowed passage is suf- ficient, particularly if the source author has already been identified or if the source’s identity is not relevant (as when citing facts):

The original research on attachment, plus Harlow’s monkey experiments, under- lines the idea that “the attachment and fear systems are intertwined” (Cassidy 8). During a time of war, fear obviously is intensified, especially for soldiers in harm’s way. Therefore, we can see how applying the concept of attachment to The Things They Carried can be illuminating. It is especially helpful in understanding Henry Dobbins’s peculiar habit of wearing “his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck before heading out on ambush” (O’Brien 117). Fear triggers Dobbins’s attach- ment behavior. Like Harlow’s monkey, he seeks comfort from his attachment figure. (Lyu, par. 10)

Signal phrase

Parenthetical citation

For more about integrating sources into your sentences and constructing signal phrases, see Chapter 26.

161GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Evaluating the Draft

Write the opening sentences. Review your invention writing to see if you have already written something that would work to launch your essay, or try out one or two ways of beginning your essay — possibly from the list that follows:

A surprising or provocative quotation (like Toufexis and Lyu)

An anecdote illustrating the concept (like Hurley)

A concrete example (like Cain)

A paradox or surprising aspect of the concept

A comparison or contrast that relates the concept to something readers know

Your goal should be to engage your readers’ interest from the start, but do not ago- nize over the first sentences, because you are likely to discover the best way to begin only after you have written a rough draft.

Draft your explanation. By this point, you have done a lot of research and writing to

focus your explanation and develop a working thesis statement;

try out writing strategies that can help you explain your concept;

create an outline for presenting that information;

come up with ways to smoothly integrate your sources;

consider opening sentences.

Now stitch that material together to create a draft. As you do so, you will notice that some of the sentences you have written based on the sentence strategies in this chapter feel awkward or forced. If so, revise them, retaining the content but experimenting with new ways to present them. The next two parts of this Guide to Writing will help you evaluate and improve your draft.

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading Your instructor may arrange a peer review session in class or online, where you can exchange drafts with your classmates and give one another a thoughtful critical read- ing, pointing out what works well and suggesting ways to improve the draft. A good critical reading does three things:

1. It lets the writer know how well the reader understands the point of the essay.

2. It praises what works best.

3. It indicates where the draft could be improved and makes suggestions on how to improve it.

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 162

Summarize: Tell the writer, in one sentence, what you understand the concept to mean and why it is important or useful.

Praise: Give an example of something in the draft that you think will especially interest the intended readers.

Critique: Tell the writer about any confusion or uncertainty you have about the concept’s meaning, importance, or usefulness. Indicate if the focus could be clearer or more appro priate for the intended readers or if the explanation could have a more interesting focus.

Is the explanation focused?

A Focused Explanation

A CRITICAL READING GUIDE

Summarize: Look at the way the essay is organized by making a scratch outline.

Praise: Give an example of where the essay succeeds in being readable—for instance, in its overall organization, forecast of topics, or use of transitions.

Critique: Identify places where readability could be improved—for example, the beginning made more appealing, a topic sentence made clearer, or transitions or headings added.

Summarize: Note which explanatory strategies the writer uses, such as definition, com

Praise: Point to an explanatory strategy that is especially effective, and highlight research that is particularly helpful in explaining the concept.

Critique: Point to any places where a definition is needed, where more (or better) exam ples might help, or where another explanatory strategy could be improved or added. Note where a visual (such as a flowchart or graph) would make the explanation clearer.

Summarize: Note each source mentioned in the text, and check to make sure it appears

identify appositives used to provide experts’ credentials.

Praise: Give an example of the effective use of sources— quotation, paraphrase, or summary that supports and illustrates the point. Note any especially descriptive verbs used to introduce information.

Critique: Point out where experts’ credentials are needed. Indicate quotations, paraphrases, or summaries that could be more smoothly integrated or more fully interpreted or explained. Suggest verbs in signal phrases that may be more appropriate.

Is the explanation easy to follow?

Is the concept explained effectively?

Are the sources incorporated into the essay effectively?

A Clear, Logical Organization

Appropriate Explanatory Strategies

Smooth Integration of Sources

163GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Improving the Draft

Before concluding your review, be sure to address any of the writer’s concerns that have not already been addressed.

Making Comments Electronically that allow you to insert comments directly into the text of someone else’s document.

than writing on hard copy, and space is virtually unlimited; it also eliminates the pro cess of deciphering handwritten comments. Where such features are not available, simply typing comments directly into a document in a contrasting color can provide the same advantages.

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading Start improving your draft by refl ecting on what you have written thus far:

Review critical reading comments from your classmates, instructor, or writing center tutor. What are your readers getting at?

Take another look at the notes from your earlier research and writing activities. What else should you consider?

Review your draft. What else can you do to make your explanation effective?

Revise your draft. If your readers are having diffi culty with your draft, or if you think there is room for improvement, try some of the strategies listed in the Troubleshooting Guide that

For a printable version of this Critical Reading Guide, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide.

A Focused Explanation

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

larger concepts that include it. overview or definition

the Advanced Search feature to focus on sites with an .edu, .gov, or .org domain.

lecture notes for broader, related topics.

I don’t have enough to write about. (The focus is too narrow.)

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 164

interest to your readers.

haps, how they could use the concept; build on their interests or what they already know; or clarify their mistaken, faulty, or outdated assumptions or ideas.

If it is, ask yourself how you can communicate your enthusiasm to your readers— perhaps with anecdotes, examples, or illustrations.

Readers don’t find my focus interesting.

your focus.

relates to your readers’ interests.

The beginning does not draw readers in.

sion. Reread the end of each major part and the beginning of the next to make sure you have provided transitional cues (for example, the strategic repetition of words or phrases; use of synonyms; rhetorical questions). If there are none, add some.

The essay doesn’t flow smoothly from one part to the next.

be redefined, for example.

a comparison.

The ending falls flat.

A Clear, Logical Organization

casts the topics in the order they appear in the essay.

ally parallel and presented in a logical order.

reader will, too.) Clarify where necessary.

The organization is not clear and logical.

A Focused Explanation

165GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Improving the Draft

Appropriate Explanatory Strategies

Consider whether you have used the most appropriate writing strategies for your topic—defining, classifying, comparing and contrasting, narrating, illustrating, describing, or explaining cause and effect. Recheck your definitions for clarity. Be sure that you have explicitly defined any key terms your readers might not know. Consider forecasting the topics you will cover explicitly. Add transitional cues (transitional words and phrases, strategic repetition, rhetorical questions, etc.). Add headings and bulleted or numbered lists to help readers follow the discussion.

Expand or clarify definitions by adding examples or using appositives. Add examples or comparisons and contrasts to relate the concept to something readers already know. Conduct additional research on your topic, and cite it in your essay.

Readers don’t understand my explanation.

Readers want more information about certain aspects of the concept.

Check whether your sources use visuals (tables, graphs, drawings, photographs, and the like) that might be appropriate for your explanation. (If you are publishing your concept explanation online, consider video clips, audio files, and animated graphics as well.) Consider drafting your own charts, tables, or graphs, or adding your own photographs or illustrations.

Check to be sure that you have appropriately commented on all cited material, making its relation to your own ideas absolutely clear. Expand or clarify accounts of research that your readers find unconvincing on grounds apart from the credibility of the source.

Revise the summaries to emphasize a single key idea. Restate the paraphrases more succinctly, omitting irrelevant details. Consider quoting important words.

Readers want visuals to help them understand certain aspects of the concept.

Readers aren’t sure how source information supports my explanation of the concept.

Summaries lack oomph; paraphrases are too complicated; quotations are too long or uninteresting.

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 166

Smooth Integration of Sources

Reread all passages where you quote outside sources. Ask yourself whether you provide enough context for the quotation or establish clearly enough the credentials of the source author.

signal phrases to give your readers more information about what your source is saying and why you are referring to it.

Quotes, summaries, and/or paraphrases don’t flow smoothly with the rest of the essay.

Clearly identify all sources, and fully state the credentials of all cited authorities, using appositives where appropriate. Eliminate sources that are clearly identified and well integrated but not considered relevant, credible, or otherwise appropriate.

My readers wonder whether my sources are credible.

Do additional research to balance your list, taking particular care that you have an adequate number of scholarly sources. If you have difficulty finding appropriate material, ask your instructor or a reference librarian for help.

Readers are concerned that my list of sources is too limited.

Think about design. When formatting your concept explanation, consider the design that is appropriate to your context and genre, and follow the formatting requirements that your readers

For an electronic version of this Troubleshooting Guide, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide.

Harlow’s research

this way:

In one experiment, both types of surrogates were present in the

1” 1/2”

Include last name and page number 1/2 inch from the top of the page

on all sides

1”

1”

Indent block quotations 1 inch from the margin

1”

167GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Improving the Draft

Edit and proofread your draft. Two kinds of errors occur often in concept explanations: mixed constructions and missing or unnecessary commas around adjective clauses. The following guidelines will help you check your essay for these common errors.

Avoiding Mixed Constructions

What Is a Mixed Construction? A mixed construction in a sentence is a combina tion of structures that don’t work together properly according to the rules of logic or

tion to a source, defi nes a term, or provides an explanation. In particular, watch out for defi nitions that include is when or is where and explanations that include the reason . . . is because, which are likely to be both illogical and ungrammatical.

The Problem Sentences are logically or grammatically incoherent.

The Correction Replace when or where with a noun that renames the subject or with an adjective that describes the subject.

Depression is where people feel sad, guilty, or worthless, and lack energy or focus.

Delete either the reason . . . is or because.

The reasons ponds become meadows is because plant life collects in the bottom.

Check subjects and predicates to make sure they are logically and grammatically matched, and delete any redundant expressions.

a disorder in which

^

P

^

For more practice correcting mixed construction errors, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide/ exercisecentral and click on Effective Sentences in the Handbook section.

A Note on Grammar and Spelling Checkers

These tools can be helpful, but don’t rely on them exclusively to catch errors in your text: Spelling checkers cannot catch misspellings that are themselves words, such as to or too. Grammar checkers miss some problems, sometimes give faulty advice for fixing problems, and can flag correct items as wrong.

second line of defense after your own (and, ideally, another reader’s) proofreading and editing efforts.

back on the wire surrogate with the bottle.

Label and number all figures, and include a caption

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 168

According to Eleanor Smith,/ she said that the best movie of the year was Queen Margot.

According to Eleanor Smith, she said that the best movie of the year was Queen Margot.

Using Punctuation with Adjective Clauses

What Is an Adjective Clause? An adjective clause includes both a subject and a verb, gives information about a noun or a pronoun and often begins with who, which, or that:

It is common for schizophrenics to have delusions that they are being persecuted.

Because adjective clauses add information about the nouns they follow — defining, illustrating, or explaining — they can be useful in writing that explains a concept.

The Problem Adjective clauses may or may not need to be set off with a comma or commas. To decide, determine whether the clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence. Essential clauses should not be set off with commas; nonessential clauses must be set off with commas.

The Correction Mentally delete the clause. If taking out the clause does not change the basic meaning of the sentence or make it unclear, add a comma or commas.

Postpartum neurosis which can last for two weeks or longer can adversely affect a mother’s ability to care for her infant.

If the clause follows a proper noun, add a comma or commas.

Nanotechnologists defer to K. Eric Drexler who speculates imaginatively about the use of nonmachines.

If taking out the clause changes the basic meaning of the sentence or makes it unclear, do not add a comma or commas.

Seasonal affective disorders are mood disturbances,/ that occur in fall/winter.

adjective clause

subj. verb

,̂,̂

For more practice correct- ing comma problems, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Punctuation in the Handbook section.

A WRITER AT WORK

Patricia Lyu’s Use of Sources This section describes how student writer Patricia Lyu selected information from a source and integrated it into one part of her explanation of attachment. The follow- ing excerpt from Lyu’s essay illustrates a sound strategy for integrating sources into your essay, relying on them fully — as you nearly always must do in explanatory writing — and yet making them your own. Most of the information Lyu uses in this passage comes from an online report by psychologist R. Chris Fraley at the University of Illinois. Given her purpose — to identify the three types of attachment delineated by psychologist Mary Ainsworth — Lyu selects only a limited amount of information from Fraley’s publication.

. . . From this research, Ainsworth identified three basic types (“attachment styles”) of attachment bond that children form with their primary caregiver: secure, anx- ious (or anxious-resistant), and avoidant (Fraley 4).

The secure child cries when the caregiver leaves but goes to the caregiver and calms down when he or she returns. According to Ainsworth, these children feel secure because their primary caregiver has been reliably responsive to their needs over the course of their short lives.

Ainsworth classifies the other two styles of attach- ment as insecure compared to the first attachment style. Anxious children may be clingy, get very upset when the caregiver leaves, and seem afraid of the stranger. They do not calm down when the caregiver returns, crying incon- solably and seeming very mad at the caregiver. Avoidant children ignore the caregiver when he or she returns. They seem emotionally distant and may even move away from him or her to play with toys.

In the strange situation, most children (i.e., about 60%) behave in the way implied by Bowlby’s “norma- tive” theory. They become upset when the parent leaves the room, but, when he or she returns, they actively seek the parent and are easily comforted by him or her. Children who exhibit this pattern of behavior are often called secure. Other children (about 20% or less) are ill- at-ease initially, and, upon separation, become extremely distressed. Importantly, when reunited with their parents, these children have a difficult time being soothed, and often exhibit conflicting behaviors that suggest they want to be comforted, but that they also want to “punish” the parent for leaving. These children are often called anxious-resistant. The third pattern of attachment that Ainsworth and her colleagues docu- mented is called avoidant. Avoidant children (about 20%) don’t appear too distressed by the separation, and, upon reunion, actively avoid seeking contact with their parent, sometimes turning their attention to play objects on the laboratory floor.

Patricia Lyu R. Chris Fraley

Lyu relies on paraphrase to present the information she learned primarily from Fraley’s publication. When you paraphrase, you construct your own sentences but rely necessarily on the key words in your source. In the following comparison, the paraphrased sections are highlighted in yellow and key words are underlined:

169

Lyu’s writing illustrates a careful balance between a writer’s ideas and information gleaned from her source; she is careful not to let the sources take over the explana- tion. For the material cited from Fraley, she includes a parenthetical citation. Because

THINKING CRITICALLY

To think critically means to use all of the knowledge you have acquired from the information in this chapter, your own writing, the writing and responses of other students, and class discussions to reflect deeply on your work for this assignment and the genre (or type) of writing you have produced. The benefit of thinking criti- cally is proven and important: Thinking critically about what you have learned will help you remember it longer, ensuring that you will be able to put it to good use well beyond this writing course.

Reflecting on What You Have Learned In this chapter, you have learned a great deal about this genre from reading several explanations of a concept and writing a concept explanation of your own. To con- solidate your learning, reflect not only on what you learned but also on how you learned it.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a blog post, a letter to your instructor or a classmate, or an e-mail message to a student who will take this course next term, using the writing prompt that seems most productive for you:

Explain how your purpose and audience—what you wanted your readers to learn from reading your concept explanation—influenced one of your decisions as a writer, such as how you focused the concept, how you organized your explanation, how you used writing strategies to convey information, or how you integrated sources into your essay.

If you were to give advice to a fellow student who was about to write a concept explanation, what would you say?

Which of the readings in this chapter influenced your essay? Explain the influence, citing specific examples from your essay and the reading.

If you got good advice from a critical reader, explain exactly how the person helped you—perhaps by questioning your definitions, your use of visuals, the way you began or ended your essay, or the kinds of sources you used.

CHAPTER 4 Explaining a Concept 170

Fraley is reporting information about Ainsworth’s experiment that is widely known and reported, Lyu uses Ainsworth’s name in the text — “According to Ainsworth” — and does not need to cite Fraley.

Discuss what you learned about yourself as a writer in the process of writing this essay. For example, what part of the process did you find most challenging? Did you try anything new like getting a critical reading of your draft or outlining your draft in order to revise it?

Reflecting on the Genre Writers explaining concepts typically present knowledge as established and uncon- tested. They presume to be unbiased and objective, and they assume that readers will not doubt or challenge the truth or the value of the knowledge they present. This stance encourages readers to feel confident about the validity of the explanation. But should explanatory writing always be accepted at face value? Textbooks and reference materials, in particular, sometimes present a simplified or limited view of knowledge in an academic discipline. Because they must be highly selective, they necessarily leave out certain sources of information and types of knowledge.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a page or two considering how concept explanations may distort knowledge. In your discussion, you might consider one or more of the following:

1 Consider the claim that concept explanations attempt to present their informa- tion as uncontested truths. Identify a reading in this chapter that particularly seems to support this claim, and then think about how it does so. Do the same for a chapter or section in a textbook you are reading for another course.

2 Write a page or two explaining your initial assumptions about the knowledge or information you presented about the concept in your essay. When you were doing research on the concept, did you discover that some of the information was being challenged by experts? Or did the body of knowledge seem settled and established? Did you at any point think that your readers might question any of the information you were presenting? How did you decide what information might seem new or even surprising to readers? Did you feel comfortable in your roles as the selector and giver of knowledge?

171GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Ref lecting on the Genre

IN COLLEGE COURSES For a course in scientific research ethics, a biology major writes a paper on the debate over stem cell research. She explains that groups with seemingly irreconcilable differences have agreed to a compromise drafted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) limiting research to stem cells from embryos that would have been destroyed because they are no longer needed for in vitro fertilization. The student points out that there are still serious disagreements: for example, some scientists argue that banning techniques like therapeutic cloning or somatic cell nuclear transfer is a major impediment to research, and the National Right to Life Committee opposes the new guidelines as “part of an incremental strategy to desensitize the public.” Nevertheless, she concludes, the fact that many people support the guidelines represents a path toward an eventual resolution of the issue.

5 Finding Common Ground Common ground essays analyze

opposing arguments to identify

potential areas of agreement based

on shared concerns and values as

well as overlapping interests and

priorities. Taking an impartial view

of an ongoing debate, writers strive

not only to understand why people

disagree but also to find points on

which they may agree. Whether

written for a college course, for the

community, or for the workplace,

common ground essays avoid the

trap of thinking in terms of winners

and losers. Instead, they try to bridge

differences by forging constructive

answers to challenging issues.

172

173

IN THE WORKPLACE Population growth and haphazard development threaten a watershed that supplies local communities and supports endangered species. Longtime residents, developers, and county planning officials agree to hire a consulting firm to write a report that analyzes the positions of the stakeholders and outlines a plan for development. The consulting firm analyzes the competing needs and recommends changes to the developer’s original proposal, calling for higher-density development that would be situated away from the endangered watershed, cost less to build, and be easier to support with transportation and utilities.

IN THE COMMUNITY The chair of the School Uniform Committee of a middle school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) writes a blog post reporting on a recent meeting about whether to adopt school uniforms. She begins by summarizing the inconsistent findings of published research. Then she explains that although disagreement continues on the advantages and disadvantages of school uniforms, there was agreement that reducing distinctions of social class and forestalling gang violence are worthy goals. She reports that a compromise — substituting ordinary casual clothes for expensive formal uniforms while also banning gang colors — was proposed and appeared to win support from people on different sides of the issue.

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 174

In this chapter, we ask you to analyze the points of disagreement and potential agree- ment in opposing arguments on a controversial issue. From reading and examining the selections in the Guide to Reading that follows, you will learn how writers pre- sent an issue and the opposing positions with fairness and accuracy, how they ana- lyze the opposing arguments, and how they organize their analyses clearly and logi- cally. The Guide to Writing later in the chapter will show you ways to write your own impartial analysis of opposing positions.

PRACTICING THE GENRE

Finding Common Ground To get a sense of what is involved in trying to find common ground on a controversial issue, get together with two or three students to explore the possibilities for agreement among those who argue about an issue.

Part 1. As a group, choose a controversial issue with which you are all familiar, such as whether there should be a community service requirement for graduation, whether college athletes should be paid, or whether a college education, like kindergarten through twelfth grade, should be free to everyone who qualifies. Then discuss why people usually disagree about the issue and the aspects of the issue on which they might agree. Consider, for example, whether any basic values, needs, interests, or concerns are likely to be shared by people with otherwise opposing viewpoints. (You do not need to have an opinion on this issue yourself; you simply need to recall or guess what others have said or would say.)

Part 2. Discuss what you learned about analyzing opposing arguments and trying to find common ground:

Was it easier to think of points of disagreement or points of potential agreement?

Why do you think that when people debate controversial issues such as the one you analyzed, they tend to emphasize the disagreement and ignore what people hold in common?

What benefits, if any, would result from people spending time looking for areas on which they could agree (or building agreement through compromise), rather than focusing so much of their attention on areas of disagreement?

175

GUIDE TO READING

Analyzing Opposing Positions to Find Common Ground As you read the selections in this chapter, you will see how different authors fi nd common ground. Analyzing how these writers lay out the opposing positions for their readers, dissect the arguments to identify priorities and common values, maintain their impartiality, and organize their writing will help you see how you can employ similar strategies to make your own common ground analysis clear and compelling for your readers.

Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. College courses throughout the curriculum require students to analyze and synthesize opposing points of view because these are essential critical thinking skills necessary for research, reading, and writing. Still, common ground essays may be written for a variety of purposes and audiences. As you read the common ground essays in this chapter, ask yourself the following questions:

What seems to be the writer’s main purpose—for example, to inform readers about a controversial issue, to clarify different points of view on the issue and the kinds of arguments people typically use to support their position, to analyze the important points of disagreement, or to suggest where there may be potential for compromise based on shared values or interests?

What does the author assume about the audience—for example, that audience members will be unfamiliar with the issue, meaning that the essay will serve as an introduction; that they will know something about the arguments typically made on the issue but will think agreement is impossible; or that they will have strong opinions themselves on the issue?

Assess the genre’s basic features. Use the following to help you analyze and evaluate how writers seeking common ground employ the genre’s basic features. The strategies they typically use to make their essays insightful and impartial are illustrated below with examples from the readings in this chapter as well as sentence strategies you can experiment with later as you write your own common ground essay.

AN INFORMATIVE INTRODUCTION TO THE ISSUE AND OPPOSING POSITIONS

Read fi rst to see how the writer presents the issue. Consider, for example, whether the writer assumes that readers are already well informed about the issue or need back ground information, and whether they will be interested in the issue or will need to have their interest piqued. To inform and interest readers, writers often provide the historical context, using a simple sentence strategy like this:

In [year(s)], when [describe events or provide historical context], [name authors] voiced strong opinions about [name controversy].

175

Basic Features An Informative Introduction

A Probing Analysis

A Fair and Impartial Presentation

A Clear, Logical Organization

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 176

In the following example, Jeremy Bernard provides the historical context for the contro- versy over the use of steroids in Major League Baseball. Notice how Bernard introduces the two authors whose texts his common ground essay analyzes.

The age of innocence in baseball seems to have ended in the 1990s when “the Steroid Era” began and players from Mark McGwire to Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez were identified as using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). . . . In 2006, the concern was so great that George Mitchell, the former Senate Majority Leader and peace negotiator, was enlisted to investigate . . . . An opposing position has been presented by respected baseball authority Eric Walker on his Web site Steroids, Other “Drugs,” and Baseball. (Bernard, pars. 1–3)

To grab readers’ attention, notice that Bernard includes the names of some of the most famous baseball players who were caught up in the steroids scandal: sluggers Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, award-winning pitcher Roger Clemens, and one of the best all-around players, Alex Rodriguez.

A PROBING ANALYSIS

Look for passages where the opposing arguments are presented. To present the arguments clearly and accurately, writers of common ground analyses usually rely heavily on quotation, although they may also use summary (giving the gist of the writer’s argument) and paraphrase (putting the writer’s argument into their own words), as we can see in this ex- ample where student Betsy Samson uses all three strategies:

Chua’s main argument is that children of Chinese immigrants usually are high- achieving because their parents are proud to be helicopter parents intensely involved in every aspect of their children’s lives. More importantly, as Chua’s anecdote about her daughter Lulu’s effort to learn to play a difficult piano piece demonstrates. . . . A s Chua explains at the end of her article: “the Chinese believe that the best way

to protect their children is . . . letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence” (par. 35). (Samson, par. 5)

Examine the analysis of the points of disagreement and potential agreement in the common ground essays that follow, and ask yourself how well the analysis helps you understand the motivating factors underlying the arguments. For example, see if basic values are discussed, and look for words that indicate an opposing or contrast- ing view, a concession, or a rebuttal:

You’d think anyone interested in sports would value fairness. But fairness turns out to be rather complicated, at least for Walker. For Mitchell, it’s pretty straightfor- ward. As I explained earlier, Mitchell claims performance enhancing substances are wrong simply because . . . Walker concedes this point . . . However , Walker disagrees . . . . (Bernard, pars. 8–9)

Or look at the explanation of the writers’ priorities, as in this example that highlights Betsy Samson’s cueing words:

While Chua’s goal is to raise children who are “successful” (par. 1), Rosin believes “happiness” is more important than success (par. 12). In fact, Rosin claims that “success will not make you happy” (par. 12). (Samson, par. 9)

Credentials

Publication

Historical context

Paraphrase

Quotation

Cue: opposing view, concession, or rebuttal

Basic value

Authors’ names

Summary

177GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Remember that although writers search for common ground, they do not always find it. Determine whether the potential agreement the writer identifies seems likely, and note whether the writer adds qualifying words to soften any claims, as in these examples:

Indeed, they appear to prepare the way for a potentially productive common- ground-building discussion when they conclude . . . (Mae, par. 9)

The fact that Rosin seems to accept Chua’s justification provides a basis for potential compromise between their opposing viewpoints.

Another basis for possible compromise is . . . (Samson, pars. 10–11)

A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL PRESENTATION

Determine whether the writer comes across as fair and impartial in presenting the opposing points of view. To win and hold readers’ confidence, the writer normally does the following:

Represents the opposing sides fairly and accurately

Refrains from taking a position on the issue

Avoids judging either side’s arguments

Gives roughly equal attention to the opposing viewpoints

One strategy writers use to maintain their impartiality is to use quotations to present criticism, rather than presenting criticism in their own words. For example, Bernard quotes the Mitchell Report directly rather than paraphrasing the report:

“The minority of players who used [performance enhancing] substances were wrong,” the Mitchell Report concludes. (Bernard, par. 2)

He also quotes ethicist Dr. Norman Fost, critiquing Mitchell’s argument about unfairness:

Fost asserts in “Steroid Hysteria: Unpacking the Claims” that “even if steroids did have . . . dire effects, it wouldn’t follow that a competent adult should be prohibited from assuming those risks in exchange for the possible benefits. We allow adults to do things that are far riskier than even the most extreme claims about steroids, such as race car driving, and even playing football.” (Bernard, par. 6)

Writers also maintain an impartial stance by using neutral language to describe the views they are analyzing and the proponents of those views. Betsy Samson, for example, describes Chua simply as a “Yale law professor” and Rosin as “a contributing editor for the Atlantic” (par. 3), avoiding any terms that could be perceived as critical or dismissive. She uses neutral verbs such as outlines, believes, and claims when describing the views espoused by the writers of the articles she is analyzing.

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION

Examine the strategies the writer uses to make the points of agreement and disagreement clear and easy to follow, such as providing a clear thesis and forecasting statement announcing the areas of agreement and disagreement that the essay will focus on, as in this example from Bernard’s essay:

Qualifying words

Quotation

For a complete list of motivating factors, turn to Analyze the Opposing Argument Essays on pp. 199–201.

Analyzing Opposing Positions to Find Common Ground

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 178

Jeremy Bernard Lost Innocence AS AN AVID BASEBALL FAN, Jeremy Bernard has closely followed the many steroid scandals, so he asked his instructor if he could write about the issue. He planned to use as his two main texts George Mitchell’s report and a Web site written in response to it. Even though these two texts were too long and complex for Bernard to cover in depth, his instructor gave him permission to use them if he met two criteria: his essay stayed within the page limit, and he refrained from stating his own position on the issue. (His instructor gave Bernard the opportunity to argue for one position or the other in his next essay, a position paper.) As you read, consider the following:

Bernard successfully keep his opinion to himself in this essay? Point to any places where you think he reveals his own position.

ow effective do you think Bernard is in finding common ground between Mitchell and Walker?

Readings

They agree that the medical evidence is inconclusive. More importantly, they agree that there is a risk of side effects from PEDs. They agree that the medical risks to adolescents are, as Walker puts it, “substantial and potentially grave.” But they disagree on the significance of the risks to adults, and they disagree on who should decide whether the risks are worth taking. (Bernard, par. 4)

Check to see whether the key terms used in the thesis and forecasting statement (or synonyms) are used again in topic sentences or headings. For example, Bernard uses the key term health risk both in a heading and in the topic sentence used to introduce the discussion of that risk:

HEADING Should PEDs Be Banned from Baseball Because They Consti- tute a Significant Health Risk?

TOPIC SENTENCE The health risks of using PEDs . . . (Bernard, par. 4)

(He used “medical risks” earlier.) Because common ground analyses are usually orga- nized as a comparison and contrast between two opposing points of view, writers typically use the author’s name to identify each viewpoint. In addition, they use logical transitions indicating comparison (like, similarly, as well as) and contrast (whereas, but, although) to make clear to readers the important similarities and differences between the two au- thors’ positions on the issue.

Announces agreement

Transition signaling shift

Announces disagreement

Links to Bernard’s key sources are available online at bedfordstmartins.com /theguide.

Key term

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1

2

3

4

Why is this information worth presenting to readers?

Why does Bernard begin with the epigraph and quotes by Whitman and Hamill?

How does Bernard frame the debate in pars. 2 and 3? How fair does he seem?

Skim the essay to see how Bernard uses key terms to forecast his main points.

How do the repeated words and sentence structure help readers understand the two positions?

In a nation committed to better living through chemistry —

— the national pastime has a problem of illicit

chemical enhancement.

— George Will

Many American writers have waxed poetic about baseball. Walt Whitman, the great

novelist,

to Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez were identified as using performance

are a concern in other sports as well, but the steroid scandal has been especially painful in

In 2006, the concern was so great that

Leader and peace negotiator, was enlisted to investigate.

used [performance enhancing] substances were wrong,” the Mitchell Report concludes.

Walker on his Web site Steroids, Other “Drugs,” and Baseball. Walker concedes that

I will focus here on two of

Health Risk?

health risks

should be able to agree. Mitchell and Walker do agree, but not on everything.

agree that the medical evidence is inconclusive. More importantly, they agree that

Bernard Lost Innocence

Basic Features An Informative Introduction

A Probing Analysis

A Fair and lmpartial Presentation

A Clear, Logical Organization

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 180

5

6

7

8

the medical risks to adolescents

But they disagree on the

significance of the risks to adults, and they disagree on who should decide whether the

risks are worth taking.

by no means guaranteed harmless,” he argues that the side effects tend to be mild and

conclude that there is an association between steroid abuse and significant adverse side

Nevertheless, it is notable that when discussing each of the possible side

effects, he is careful to use hedging words like can and may and to acknowledge that

clinical trial data is limited.

health risks than their arguments suggest.

However,

of who should decide whether the risks are worth taking. Walker argues that adults ought

to have the responsibility to decide for themselves. support this ethical argument,

tent

adult should be prohibited from assuming those risks in exchange for the possible

benefits. We allow adults to do things that are far riskier than even the most extreme

claims about steroids, such as race car driving, and even playing football.”

not to have considered the ethics of who should decide whether the risks are worth

taking. Perhaps he and Walker would be able to find common ground if they discussed

What do these highlighted transitions signal?

How does Bernard avoid taking a position here?

How do the headings help you as a reader?

How does citing Fost get at a potential basis for agreement between Walker and Mitchell?

How effectively does Bernard transition to and introduce his second point?

Where does Bernard choose to quote and paraphrase? Are these choices appropriate?

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10

11

As I explained earlier, Mitchell claims performance enhancing substances are wrong simply

However,

According to Walker, Mitchell makes a false distinction between what is

natural and unnatural. Whereas certain aids to performance — such as better bats,

— are considered

natural and therefore allowable, other aids — — are deemed unnatural

performance is unfair. If it were, we should ban coaching and training. Competition can

In other words,

that there is a level playing field. Mitchell puts his finger on it when he explains that

of those who illegally use these substances or falling short of their ambition to

because

Walker has a

example —

Mitchell, on the other hand,

League Baseball to set rules that protect the athletes and protect the sport. He

How effectively does Bernard analyze the argument about fairness?

Why does Bernard indent this quotation?

Bernard Lost Innocence

How do the highlighted transitions help you as a reader?

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 182

encourages individuals to sign a pledge to remain free of performance enhancing

shares some responsibility for its future well being, Mitchell appears also to be

reaching out to critics like Walker who share a common love of the sport. It seems

that they may not really be that far apart after all.

Works Cited

Andr Pete’s Baseball Quotes

Bleacher Report.

Virtual Mentor

Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation

into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by

Players in Major League Baseball

25 Apr. 2009.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. National Baseball

Steroids, Other “Drugs,” and Baseball

Apr. 2009.

The Baseball Almanac. Baseball Almanac, 2009. Web.

25 Apr. 2009.

How effective is this way of ending the essay?

What can you learn from these citations for your own essay?

183GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Betsy Samson Does Mother Know Best?

A PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR with an interest in child development, Betsy Samson wanted to analyze two controversial articles about parenting that were published in the Wall Street Journal. In addition to focusing her analysis on these two articles, by Amy Chua and Hanna Rosin, Samson draws on several other sources about “helicopter parenting”— a parenting style that includes close interaction between parents and children, even as the “child” enters adulthood. As you read, consider these questions:

• According to Samson’s quote from College Parents of America, “Many parents ‘ virtually walk through the day with their [child] (via cell phone, texting, Twitter, or Facebook)’” (par. 2). In your experience, how common is this phenomenon?

• What do you think are the advantages and/or disadvantages of such close contact

Samson Does Mother Know Best?

Samson’s key sources appear on pp. 219–27.

When we are infants, we are completely dependent on our parents. We need them

to make every decision for us. But as we grow older, we want to become independent,

rule) apparently begins in earnest in what is commonly called “the terrible twos” and

often reaches a high point in adolescent rebellion. By the time we go to college, most

of us expect to be treated like adults.

ents. According to College Parents of America, many parents “virtually walk through the

day with their [child] (via cell phone, texting, Twitter, or Facebook)” (“Affirming” 1). These

parents are often called “helicopter parents,” using a term made popular by Foster Cline

and Jim Fay in their 1990 book Parenting with Love and Logic. They describe helicopter

parents as “[hovering] over and [rescuing] their children whenever trouble arises” (23).

Hovering is seen by social historian Barbara Dafoe Whitehead as a positive characteristic of

helicopter parenting: she says that this “high level of oversight and supervision, keeping

rearing” (qtd. in Aucoin). Rescuing, however, is considered a

negative characteristic because, as Whitehead explains, it does not allow “kids the freedom

to make a decision and live with its consequences.”

How much influence should parents have in their children’s decision making as kids

1

2

3

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 184

stantly, which is perhaps part of the reason their answers can provoke such intense

the Wall Street

Journal Battle Hymn of the

Tiger Mother , including

one in the Wall Street Journal by Hanna Rosin, a contributing editor for the Atlantic.

,

approach to parenting, but their goals may be closer than they think. Both can be

categorized as helicopter parents who are trying in their own way to help their children

become happy, fulfilled adults.

that these terms are broad generalizations, even stereotypes”

(par. 2 . Putting aside

are tons of studies . . .

and Westerners” regarding parenting , although she

and Western viewpoints are represented by herself and her husband respectively.

achieving because their parents are proud to be helicopter parents intensely involved

demonstrates,

children raised the Chinese way succeed because their parents force them to drill until

involves hovering but does

is the opposite, as Chua explains at the end of

. . .

and inner confidence” (par. 35

Rosin begins her article by describing her own parenting style as the opposite

4

5

6

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Samson Does Mother Know Best?

pathetic Western parent

that Ms. Chua describes,” Rosin argues assertively for her nurturing approach to parent

hovering—apparently spent playing with her children and driving them to extracurricu

Also like Chua, Rosin does not appear to rescue her children, possibly because she

less of whether they are raised in the traditional Chinese or contemporary American way,

good, incapable of proper childhood

childhood

discouraged, surely separates Rosin from Chua. Chua speculates that the Chinese tra

s

Ms. Chua has the diagnosis of American childhood exactly backward. What privileged

lighten up and roam free, to express themselves in ways not dictated by their uptight,

about what is

In fact, Rosin claims that

7

8

9

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 186

is aligning herself with Chinese American immigrant mothers who responded to a survey.

. . . parents ‘were not

” According to Chua, t

70% of the Western mothers said either that ‘stressing academic success is not good for

roughly 0% of the

Chinese mothers felt the same way”

it is better to have a happy, moderately

Although Rosin sets up an opposition between happiness and success, she

on the observation that children inevitably want to avoid hard work and the corollary

compromise between their opposing viewpoints.

—and perhaps also more complex—than the

Wall Street Journal

behavior, whether tasking their children with math puzzles and piano practice or playing

opment. However, some research in developmental psychology — such as that reported

10

11

12

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Make connections: Parenting styles. According to social historian Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, “keeping tabs” on children even when they are in college is a characteristic of good parenting as long as children have “the freedom to make a decision and live with its consequences” (qtd. in Samson, par. 2). To think about parenting styles, refl ect on your own experience as well as your

your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

If you have experienced or witnessed helicopter parenting, what do you think are its defining characteristics?

Do you agree or disagree with Whitehead’s opinion that “hovering” is good as long as it does not interfere with children’s decision making, especially as they get older?

How do Chua’s and Rosin’s different parenting styles compare to your own experience?

REFLECT

Samson Does Mother Know Best?

s controversial book The Nurture Assumption—suggests that hered

ity and peer group interactions may play a role to, or perhaps even greater than,

that of parenting practices.

Works Cited Boston Globe. Boston

Wall Street Journal

Parenting with Love and Logic 1990. Print.

The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do. New

ree Press, 2009. Print. Wall Street Journal

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 188

Use the basic features.

AN INFORMATIVE INTRODUCTION TO THE ISSUE AND OPPOSING POSITIONS: PROVIDING BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Amy Chua’s Wall Street Journal article, with its challenging title and tone, helped popularize her memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. It fueled controversy, generat- ing many reviews and opinion pieces — including Rosin’s — in newspapers, on blogs, and on talk shows. Writing only a short time after Chua’s article was published, Samson could assume that many of her readers would be likely to know about the controversy. Nevertheless, she begins by providing some background infor- mation to help readers think about the issue.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing and evaluating how Samson introduces the issue:

1 How does discussing what she calls the child’s “process of seeking autonomy” (par. 1) help Samson engage readers’ interest in parenting styles? (You may assume that her audience includes both her instructor and other first-year writing students.)

2 Notice that in paragraph 2 Samson provides information about helicopter parenting from two different sources, Cline and Fay, and Whitehead (quoted in Aucoin). How effectively does this information contextualize the debate between Chua and Rosin?

A PROBING ANALYSIS: EXPLORING POINTS OF POSSIBLE AGREEMENT

In paragraphs 7 and 8, Samson focuses her analysis on Rosin’s and Chua’s different cultural traditions — what she calls “the crux” of their disagreement. But then, in paragraphs 9–11, Samson identifies points on which she thinks there may be the pos- sibility of agreement.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs evaluating how effectively Samson analyzes the potential for common ground between Chua’s and Rosin’s positions:

1 Reread paragraphs 9–10, in which Samson discusses the authors’ ideas about success and happiness. On what basis does Samson think there may be room here for agreement?

2 How does Samson’s analysis in paragraph 11 bolster her idea that there may be some potential for compromise between Rosin’s and Chua’s viewpoints?

A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL PRESENTATION: CHOICE OF VERBS

Writers of common ground essays try to use descriptive but unbiased language when they introduce quotations. For example, Jeremy Bernard uses verbs like concludes, argues, cites, expresses, and assumes. Melissa Mae, whose essay appears on pp. 190–93, uses writes, thinks, asserts, argues, and labels. With these descriptive verbs, Bernard and Mae do not reveal their attitude toward the authors or what they wrote. They express no judgments but act as impartial reporters.

ANALYZE

189GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing and assessing Samson’s fairness and impartiality:

1 Skim Samson’s essay, noting the verbs she uses to introduce quotations from Chua and Rosin.

2 Consider whether the verbs Samson uses present Chua’s and Rosin’s ideas fairly and impartially.

3 Where, if anywhere, do you think Samson implies her own opinion or evaluates the authors she’s analyzing? How can you tell?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: USING TRANSITIONS

To help readers track the points of agreement and disagreement, writers of common ground essays rely heavily on transitions that identify similarities and differences in the texts being analyzed.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing the effectiveness of Samson’s use of transitions to make her analysis clear and easy to follow:

1 Skim Samson’s essay, circling the transitions she uses to signal similarities and differences between Chua’s and Rosin’s arguments.

2 Assess how well these transitions work to keep you oriented as you read the essay. What would you change, if anything, to make the essay easier to follow?

Consider possible topics: Debates about cultural issues. According to Samson, the crux of the disagreement between Chua and Rosin on par- enting stems from their different cultural traditions. You might consider other debates that are affected by cultural values, such as same-sex marriage, abortion, and contra- ception.

RESPOND

Mae Laying Claim to a Higher Morality

CONCERNED ABOUT both terrorism and our treatment of terror suspects, Melissa Mae asked her instructor if she could analyze the controversy about the U.S. govern- ment’s treatment of detainees suspected of terrorism. She read two published essays on torture recommended by her instructor, one coauthored by law professor Mirko Bagaric and law lecturer Julie Clarke, the other by retired Army chaplain Kermit D. Johnson. Mae decided to focus her essay more on their commonalities than on the obvious differ- ences between them. As you read this essay, consider these questions:

the authors she is analyzing?

Melissa Mae Laying Claim to a Higher Morality Links to Mae’s key sources are available online at bedfordstmartins.com /theguide.

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 190

when the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib became known, many

Americans became concerned that the government was using torture as part of its inter

In 2005

heating

up. Bagaric and Clarke, professor and lecturer, respectively, in the law faculty at

should never be used for any reason whatsoever. Although their positions appear

to be diametrically opposed, some common ground exists, because the authors of

both essays share a goal—the preservation of human life—as well as a belief in the

importance of morality.

authors of both essays present their positions on torture as the surest way to save

lives. Bagaric and Clarke write specifically about the lives of innocent victims threatened by

underlying shared value—human life is precious—represents one important

aspect of common ground between the two positions. In addition to this, however, the

authors of both essays agree that torture is ultimately a moral issue, and that morality is

1

2

3

4

points of view on such a highly emotional issue? Point to any places where her position is evident, and indicate how you identified it.

191GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Mae Laying Claim to a Higher Morality

worth arguing about. For Bagaric and Clarke, torture is morally defensible under certain,

extreme circumstances when it “is the only means, due to the immediacy of the situation,

to save the life of an innocent person”; in effect, Bagaric and Clarke argue that the end

justifies the means. Johnson argues against this common claim, writing that “whenever

we torture or mistreat prisoners, we are capitulating morally to the enemy—in fact,

adopting the terrorist ethic that the end justifies the means” (26). Bagaric and Clarke,

in their turn, anticipate Johnson’s argument and refute it by arguing that those who

believe (as Johnson does) that “torture is always wrong” are “misguided.” Bagaric and

Clarke label Johnson’s kind of thinking “absolutist,” and claim it is a “distorted” moral

judgment.

It is not surprising that, as a chaplain, Johnson would adopt a religious

perspective on morality. Likewise, it should not be surprising that, as faculty at a law

school, Bagaric and Clarke would take a more pragmatic and legalistic perspective.

It is hard to imagine how they could bridge their differences when their moral

p

of their principles.

The authors of these essays refer to the kind of situation typically raised when a

justification for torture is debated: Bagaric and Clarke call it “the hostage scenario,”

and Johnson refers to it as the “scenario about a ticking time bomb” (26). As the

Parents Television Council has demonstrated (see fig. 1), scenes of torture dominated

television in the period the authors were writing about, and may have had a profound

influence on the persuasive power of the scenario.

Johnson rejects the scenario outright as an unrealistic “Hollywood drama” (26).

Bagaric and Clarke’s take on it is somewhat more complicated. First, Bagaric and Clarke

option is between torturing a wrongdoer or saving an innocent person?” They initially

rescued by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers.

At first glance, they seem to offer this example to refute Johnson’s claim that

such scenarios don’t occur in real life. However, a news report about the rescue of

5

6

7

8

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 192

Wood published in the Age,

rescuers appear to have acted on information they got from ordinary informants rather

than through torture.

By using this example, rather than one that fits the ticking time bomb scenario,

Bagaric and Clarke seem to be conceding that such scenarios are exceedingly rare.

9

8

19 95

19 96

19 97

19 98

19 99

20 00

20 01

20 02

20 03

20 04

20 05

0 0 1 4

42 55

127

228

146

123

Fig. 1. Parents Television Council, “Scenes of Torture on Primetime Network TV”; rpt. in “Primetime Torture,” Human Rights First (Human Rights First, 2009; web; n. pag.).

193GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Mae Laying Claim to a Higher Morality

circumstances needs to be made because it will encourage the community to think

Although Bagaric and Clarke continue to take a situational view of torture (consider

of their principles could allow them to find common ground. Because they all value the

preservation of life, they already have a basis for mutual respect and might be motivated

Works Cited

theage.com.au

2005. Web. 1 May 2009.

theage.com.au

Christian Century

Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 May 2009.

10

Make connections: Hollywood and the ticking time bomb scenario.

24 brought the ticking time bomb scenario into our homes weekly. Other popular programs such as Lost and Law & Order, as well as many fi lms, have also shown scenes of torture.

In her essay, Mae includes a bar graph she found on the Web site Human Rights First to show how prevalent scenes of torture became during the period her authors are writing about, and she asks us to think about whether the hostage and ticking

life situations. To judge Mae’s essay against your own experience, consider the fi lms and televi

sion shows you have seen where someone is tortured. Was the torturer the “good guy” or the “bad guy”? Was the torture quick and effective? Was it depicted as justifi

REFLECT

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 194

discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

Have your views on torture been influenced by the way torture has been portrayed on television and in film?

How do you think torture should be portrayed, if at all?

Use the basic features. AN INFORMATIVE INTRODUCTION TO THE ISSUE AND OPPOSING POSITIONS: PLACING THE ISSUE IN A HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Common ground essays often situate the issue in time, as Jeremy Bernard does when he locates the end of baseball’s “age of innocence” and the beginning of “the Steroid Era” in the 1990s and suggests that the issue came to a head in 2006 with the Mitchell Report. Common ground essays may also provide details about the historical context so readers can better understand the issue and the opposing positions.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing how Mae contextualizes her issue and opposing positions:

1 Reread paragraph 1. Why do you think Mae chose to mention Abu Ghraib? What, if anything, do you know about it? How does referring to Abu Ghraib help provide historical context for readers?

2 In paragraphs 2 and 5, Mae introduces the authors whose arguments she is analyzing. How does the information she provides contextualize the issue for readers and help them understand the different points of view?

A PROBING ANALYSIS: EXPLORING MORAL ARGUMENTS

Although common ground essays seek ways to bridge differences, sometimes the analysis does nothing more than reveal how deep the disagreement is because it is based on fundamentally different values or ways of thinking about the issue.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs examining Mae’s analysis:

1 What does Mae mean when she characterizes Johnson as “seeing torture in terms of moral absolutes” and Bagaric and Clarke as taking “a situational view of torture” (par. 10)? How does this characterization help explain why Mae cannot find common ground between her authors?

2 How does Mae use the news report about the Douglas Wood hostage situation and the ticking time bomb scenario to analyze the main differences in their points of view?

ANALYZE

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Mae Laying Claim to a Higher Morality

A FAIR AND IMPARTIAL PRESENTATION: USING AUTHORITIES

Writers try to adopt an impartial stance when analyzing opposing arguments. One method Jeremy Bernard uses is to quote an authority (for example, in pars. 9 and 10) to critique one of the authors he is analyzing, rather than doing so directly himself.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing and evaluating Mae’s stance:

1 Reread paragraphs 7–9, in which Mae presents information on the Douglas Wood hostage situation.

2 How does the Wood example help Mae remain impartial as she questions Bagaric and Clarke’s argument? How effective is this strategy?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: USING VISUALS

Writers of common ground essays usually try to make the analysis clear and direct. Fairly early in the essay, they typically state the essay’s thesis about the possibility of finding common ground and forecast the main points of disagreement and agreement. They may also include graphics to help convey data clearly and concisely.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing how clearly and logically Mae presents the issue to her readers:

1 Skim paragraph 2 and highlight Mae’s thesis statement. What are the two topics Mae plans to discuss in the essay?

2 Skim the rest of the essay and note where these two topics are brought up again.

3 Consider the ticking time bomb (or hostage) scenario in relation to the two topics Mae focuses on. How does this scenario help illuminate these two topics? How does the graph help convey information and illuminate these topics? What element(s) of Mae’s subject does the graph illuminate?

Consider possible topics: Debates about current political issues. To find issues that are currently under discussion, look at the op-ed, opinion and editorial pages of newspapers and blogs. For example, through your campus library, you might be able to use databases such as LexisNexis Academic to search for news- paper editorials.

RESPOND

For an additional student reading, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide/epages.

Efforts to find common ground require the full expression of opposing viewpoints. Perhaps the most familiar expression of opposing viewpoints comes from television talk shows like Washington Week, Real Time with Bill Maher, and The View, which explicitly present opposing views as context for a wide-ranging discussion of current issues. Online, sites such as Bloggingheads.tv and Opposing Views (www.opposingviews.com) offer commentary from experts with opposing perspectives on current issues.

While these media projects vary in their commitment to a “fair and unbiased” presentation, most of them do exhibit the other basic features common to searches for common ground: an introduction to the issue that highlights points of similarity and difference, a presentation of the views by the people who hold them, and a structure (of the show or site and the host’s commentary) that provides a perceptible, if not always logical, organization.

As you work on your own common ground analysis, you might want to consult some of these media projects, both for factual information and for inspiration. If the format in which you are working allows for it — if, for example, you are creating a poster, Web site, or video — consider taking advantage of the strategies available to those working in multime- dia. For example, you could embed videos of experts articulating their posi- tions or artifacts relevant to the positions you are explaining. (Always remember to document properly any material you might use that was created by someone else.)

PLAYING WITH GENRE

Talk Shows and Blogs

For an interactive version of this feature, plus activities, go to bedfordstmartins.com/theguide/epages.

196 CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground

Consider possible topics. (pp. 189, 195) Choose opposing argument essays to write about. (pp. 198–99) Test Your Choice (p. 201)

Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. (p. 175) Assess the genre’s basic features: An informative introduction to the issue and opposing positions. (pp. 175–76) An Informative Introduction to the Issue and Opposing Positions: Providing Background Information (p. 188) An Informative Introduction to the Issue and Opposing Positions: Placing the Issue in a Historical Context (p. 194) Think about your readers. (pp. 201–2) Research the issue. (p. 202) Write the opening sentences. (pp. 206–7)

GUIDE TO WRITING

The Writing Assignment Write an essay analyzing two or more essays taking different positions on an issue.

purpose is to analyze the position essays to understand their authors’ main points of disagreement and to suggest ways to build common ground based on shared values, concerns, needs, and interests.

This Guide to Writing is designed to help you compose your own common ground essay and apply what you have learned from reading other essays in the same genre. This Starting Points chart will help you fi nd answers to questions you might have about composing an essay fi nding common ground. Use the chart to fi nd the guidance you need, when you need it.

The Writing Assignment

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research,

Planning, and Composing

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading

Improving the Draft: Revising,

Formatting, Editing, and

Proofreading

197

198

207

209

STARTING POINTS: FINDING COMMON GROUND

How do I come up with an issue to write about?

How can I interest my readers in the issue?

197

Assess the genre’s basic features: An informative introduction to the issue and opposing positions. (pp. 175–76) Research the issue. (p. 202) Present the issue to your readers. (p. 202)

How can I give readers an overview of the debate?

An Informative Introduction to the Issue

and Opposing Positions

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 198

Assess the genre’s basic features: A probing analysis. (pp. 176–77) A Probing Analysis: Exploring Points of Possible Agreement (p. 188) A Probing Analysis: Exploring Moral Arguments (p. 194) Analyze the opposing argument essays. (pp. 199–201) Develop your analysis (pp. 202–3) Test Your Analysis (p. 203) Formulate a working thesis statement. (pp. 203–4)

A Probing Analysis

How do I identify the areas of disagreement and possible areas of common ground?

Assess the genre’s basic features: A fair and impartial presentation. (p. 177) A Fair and Impartial Presentation: Choice of Verbs (pp. 188–89) A Fair and Impartial Presentation: Using Authorities (p. 195) Consider your tone. (p. 204) Weave quoted material into your own sentences. (pp. 204–5)

How do I avoid entering the debate myself?

Assess the genre’s basic features: A clear, logical organization. (pp. 177–78) A Clear, Logical Organization: Using Transitions (p. 189) A Clear, Logical Organization: Using Visuals (p. 195) Create an outline that will organize your analysis effectively for your readers. (pp. 205–6)

A Fair and Impartial

Presentation

A Clear, Logical Organization

How can I make my essay clear?

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing The activities in this section will help you choose argument essays to write about and assist you in developing your analysis of the arguments. Do the activities in any order that makes sense to you (and your instructor), and return to them as needed as

draft that you will be able to improve after receiving feedback from your classmates and instructor.

Choose opposing argument essays to write about. appendix to this

chapter or from companion Web site for this book. If you are per mitted to fi nd your own opposing argument essays to write about, you could begin

For more on searching databases, see Chapter 24, pp. 674–79.

and Web site at bedfordstmartins.com /theguide.

199GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

WAYS IN

Writing a Draft

by reviewing the Consider Possible Topics activities following the readings (pp. 189, 195). Alternatively, you might search for op-ed articles in newspapers and blogs, us- ing LexisNexis Academic or other databases accessible through your college library. Your instructor also may invite you to survey such Web sites as procon.org or contro versialissues.org, or to find articles on the Room for Debate page on the New York Times’s Web site (nytimes.com

When choosing opposing argument essays, it can help if one writer is responding to the other (as in Samson’s choice of Chua and Rosin and Bernard’s choice of Mitchell and Walker). However, it is not a requirement that the arguments refer ex- plicitly to each other. What is necessary is that they both

address the same controversial issue;

take different positions on the issue and offer thoughtful arguments supporting their position;

articulate clear disagreements but also have the potential for common ground — possibly in shared values, priorities, or concerns; and

be interesting to you and your readers, and worth the time and effort you will need to invest.

Analyze the opposing argument essays. The following activities will help you identify the basic features of the opposing ar- guments you are analyzing and assist you in identifying motivating factors underly- ing the points of disagreement and potential agreement you find in the essays. Your instructor may ask you to use the first Ways In activity to annotate the essays as you read them, and then to complete the Annotations Chart, which will help you organize and draft your common ground analysis. Keep in mind that most writers need to reread parts of the opposing argument essays more than once.

HOW CAN I ANALYZE EACH ARGUMENT ESSAY?

1. Start by reading each essay, highlighting and labeling in the margin where you find the following basic features of the argument:

Issue Where the writer introduces the issue

Position Where the writer’s position or opinion on the issue is stated (thesis statement)

Support Where the writer offers supporting reasons and evidence for the position

Concession/Refutation Where, if anywhere, the writer concedes (accepts) or refutes (argues against) other points of view on the issue

2. Make a note on the essay where you detect any of these underlying motivating factors:

Values — moral, ethical, or religious principles (for example, fairness, justice, equality, “do unto others”)

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 200

Ideas and ideals (for example, ideas about democracy, such as every adult has the right to vote and to freedom of speech)

Needs and interests (for example, food, shelter, work, respect, privacy, choice)

Fears and concerns (for example, regarding safety, abuse of power, consequences of actions taken or not taken)

Goals and priorities about what is most important or urgent (for example, whether obedience to authority is more important than independent thinking, whether global warming ought to be a concern)

3. Fill in the Annotations Chart that follows by entering your notes and para- graph numbers for each essay you’ve analyzed. Creating a chart will make it easy for you to locate points of agreement and disagreement. (Remember that you may have to leave some sections blank because you may not find examples of all the features or motivating factors in each argument essay you analyze.)

An electronic version of the chart is available on the companion Web site at bedfordstmartins.com/theguide.

For an example of annotating and the annotations chart, see A Writer at Work, pp. 213-15.

Annotations Chart

Essay 1 Essay 2

Issue

Position (thesis)

Supporting reasons and evidence

Refutation and/or concession

Values

Ideas and ideals

Fe at

u re

s of

th e

ar g

u m

en t

M ot

iv at

in g

fa ct

or s

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Writing a Draft

TEST YOUR CHOICE

After analyzing the argument essays, ask yourself the following questions:

1 Do I understand the opposing positions and their supporting arguments?

2 Have I been able to find a potential basis for agreement in motivating factors such as basic values or ideals, shared interests or concerns, or common goals that drive the arguments?

If you cannot answer yes to both of these questions, you may want to consider choosing a different set of essays to write about, or discuss them with your instructor.

Think about your readers. Now that you have analyzed the opposing argument essays, take a few minutes to think about your readers. The following questions will help you identify them and develop a better understanding of whether the topic will interest them (or how diffi- cult it will be for you to interest them):

Who are my readers?

What are they likely to know about the issue and the arguments surrounding it?

Needs and interests

Fears and concerns

Goals and priorities

M ot

iv at

in g

fa ct

or s

O th

er fa

ct or

s

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 202

Develop your analysis. The following Ways In activity will help you develop your analysis of the points of agree- ment and disagreement. You may use the sentence strategies as a jumping-off point— you can always revise them later—or you can use language of your own from the start.

Research the issue. Researching the history of the issue and how people have written about it may help you introduce it in a way that will interest your readers in your analysis. To find back- ground information on your topic or authors, enter keywords or phrases related to the issue or the authors’ names into the search box of one of the following:

An all-purpose database, such as Academic OneFile (InfoTrac) or Academic Search Complete (EBSCOHost), to find relevant articles in magazines and journals. Ask a librarian if you need help selecting an appropriate database.

A search engine like Google

Your library’s catalog, to locate books on the issue or books written by the authors of the arguments you are analyzing

It may help to gather some background information about the issue and the authors, but do not spend too much time on research, because your essay should focus on your close analysis of the opposing argument essays.

Present the issue to your readers. Having thought about your readers and possibly having done some background re- search, write a sentence or two introducing the issue. For example, you could begin by giving the historical context of the issue, using a sentence strategy like this:

Prior to [date], [topic] was considered , but after [date or event], it became highly controversial.

Jeremy Bernard uses this strategy when he presents quotations describing baseball as “a game of innocence” and then writes:

The age of innocence in baseball seems to have ended in the 1990s when “the Steroid Era” began and players from Mark McGwire to Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez were identified as using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). (par. 1)

Another possible strategy is to pose rhetorical questions, like those Betsy Samson uses to present the issue of helicopter parenting:

How much influence should parents have in their children’s decision making as kids get older? When does parental influence cross the line and, however well-inten- tioned, become detrimental? These are questions that parents and children wrestle with constantly. (par. 3)

What do they need to know about the history or context of the issue?

How can I interest them in the issue — for example, by connecting it to their experience or concerns, or by citing statistics or relating vivid anecdotes?

To learn more about searching a database, a library catalog, or the Web, consult Chapter 24, pp. 674–82.

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Writing a Draft

HOW CAN I PRESENT MY ANALYSIS OF THE OPPOSING ARGUMENTS?

Write a paragraph presenting each important point of disagreement or agreement:

1. Summarize or paraphrase the disagreement or potential agreement.

[Author X] takes the position that because . [In contrast/ Similarly], [author Y] thinks because .

2. Choose quotations from each writer to analyze and compare their perspectives.

[Author X] claims: [quotation].

X’s use of [quoted word or phrase] shows that [name motivating factor] is central to [her/his] way of thinking about the issue.

[Author Y’s] argument that [quotation], [however/also], shows that [she/he] values more highly than .

3. Explain what you think are the different or similar motivating factors influencing the writers’ perspectives, and why you think so.

Whereas [author X’s] argument is based on [name motivating factor], [author Y’s] is primarily concerned with [name motivating factor].

Like [author X], [author Y] is primarily concerned about [motivating factor].

TEST YOUR ANALYSIS

Present to two other students the areas of agreement you have come up with:

Presenters. Briefly summarize the opposing views on the issue, and then explain the motivating factor (such as a shared value or common concern) that you think could be the basis for agreement. (You may use the sentence strategies you devised in the preceding Ways In activity to help you articulate your views, or you can use language of your own.)

Listeners. Tell the presenter whether the motivating factor seems to be a likely basis for agreement. If you have any questions, comments, or insights, share your thoughts with the presenter.

Formulate a working thesis statement. Write one or more sentences that could serve as a thesis statement for your essay. Although you will probably need to clarify your thesis statement as you draft your essay, trying to state it now will give you focus and direction as you plan and draft your essay. These sentences from the end of paragraph 3 in Betsy Samson’s essay assert her thesis:

Chua and Rosin take a very different approach to parenting, but their goals may be closer than they think. Both can be categorized as helicopter parents who are trying in their own way to help their children become happy, fulfilled adults.

WAYS IN

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 204

As you write your own tentative thesis statement, think about how you could help readers see the important ways the writers disagree and possibly the basis on which they might be able to agree. You may also need to qualify your thesis with words like often, sometimes, or in part.

Define your purpose for your readers. Given who your readers are and what they are likely to think about the issue and opposing arguments, try now to define your purpose in finding common ground for these particular readers by considering the following questions:

If my readers are likely to favor one side in the debate, how can I interest them in my effort to find possible areas of agreement? For example, what motivating factors are likely to influence their thinking?

If my readers are unfamiliar with the issue, how can I make my analysis of the potential for common ground interesting?

Consider your tone. To earn their readers’ confidence, writers of essays finding common ground must come across as impartial. To achieve this, writers should give roughly equal attention to both positions and avoid taking a position on the issue. In addition, they should carefully assess the words they use to describe the positions, their proponents, or the actions of the proponents. Consider the following sentence from paragraph 5 of Betsy Samson’s essay (pp. 183–87):

More importantly, as Chua’s anecdote about her daughter Lulu’s effort to learn to play a difficult piano piece demonstrates, children raised the Chinese way succeed because their parents force them to drill until they achieve mastery. (par. 5)

Except perhaps for “force,” Samson has carefully chosen words with neutral conno- tations; were the highlighted words in Samson’s sentence to be replaced by words that have a more negative connotation, the tone would become more critical of Chua:

More importantly, as Chua’s anecdote about her daughter Lulu’s painful struggle to learn to play a demanding piano piece demonstrates, children raised the Chinese way succeed because their parents force them to drill until they achieve mastery. (par. 5)

As you write (and revise) your common ground essay, consider the connotation of the words you use to describe the positions and the proponents of those positions, and make sure to choose neutral words.

Weave quoted material into your own sentences. Your essay seeking common ground is based on your analysis of sources: the opposing argument essays you are analyzing and your background research on the issue. In order to present the issue and the arguments fairly and impartially, you are likely to include

205GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

quotations throughout your common ground essay, and you have many options for integrating quotations smoothly into your analysis. Here are a few:

Create a clause beginning with that:

Johnson argues against this common claim, writing that “whenever we torture or mistreat prisoners, we are . . . ” (26). (Mae, par. 4)

But he insists that “Commissioners, club officials, the Players Association, and players” should . . . (311). (Bernard, par. 11)

Introduce the quotation with a colon:

Walt Whitman, the great nineteenth-century poet, sang its praises : “It’s our game — the American game.” (Bernard, par. 1)

Indeed, Rosin seems to be concerned that her children are, if anything, too obedient : “In my household, it’s a struggle to get my children to steal a cookie from the cookie jar without immediately confessing” (par. 10). (Samson, par. 7)

Weave quoted words or short phrases into your own sentence:

The idea that “childhood rebellion” is “proper” and ought to be encouraged, not discouraged, surely separates Rosin from Chua. (Samson, par. 8)

Johnson rejects the scenario outright as an unrealistic “Hollywood drama” (26). (Mae, par. 7)

Create an outline that will organize your analysis effectively for your readers. Whether you have rough notes or a complete draft, making an outline of what you have written can help you organize the essay effectively for your audience. Your outline will differ depending on your audience and purpose. Using headings in the form of ques- tions, Jeremy Bernard’s outline (at left) is organized around topics under which each author’s arguments are presented. Betsy Samson’s outline (at right) is organized around points of agreement and disagreement on the central question.

For more help on integrating sources in your writing, turn to Chapter 26.

Jeremy Bernard’s Outline (Emphasizes Topics)

I. Introduction of the issue: Should PEDs be banned by major league baseball?

II. Introduction of opposing positions: Should performance enhancing drugs be illegal/ banned?

Yes — George Mitchell, the MLB-sponsored Mitchell Report

Betsy Samson’s Outline (Emphasizes Points of Agreement and Disagreement)

I. Introduction: From dependence in infancy to independence as adults; definition and role of helicopter parenting

Issue: Should parents control their children’s decisions?

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 206

No — Eric Walker’s independent Web site, Steroids, Other “Drugs,” and Baseball

III. Heading 1: Should PEDs be banned because their health risk is significant?

Points of agreement:

Medical evidence inconclusive Risk of side effects exists Risk to adolescents particularly serious

Points of disagreement: Risk to adults — Mitchell: Grave; Walker: Not

grave Choice — Mitchell: Adults should be prohibited

from undergoing risk; Walker: Adults should be allowed to choose.

IV. Heading 2: Should PEDs be banned because players who take them have an unfair advantage?

Points of Agreement: Use of PEDs gives athletes an advantage Unequal access is unfair, not a level playing field

Points of Disagreement: Whose responsibility? — Mitchell: MLB should

set rules; Walker: Athletes should decide for themselves.

Distinction between “natural” and “unnat- ural”— Mitchell: Distinction is clear and should be maintained; Walker: Distinction is arbitrary and needs rethinking.

V. Conclusion: Possibility of common ground based on shared love of baseball

II. Introduction to Issue: Should parents control their children’s decisions?

Yes — Amy Chua, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” Wall Street Journal

No — Hanna Rosin, “Mother Inferior?” Wall Street Journal (response to Chua)

III. Points of agreement

Parents are influential in their children’s lives Parents want to do what’s best for their kids

IV. Points of disagreement Parents should

• make decisions for their children (Chua) • support their children as they learn to make

their own decisions (Rosin) Parents should make sure their children

• attain mastery (Chua) • find happiness and personal satisfaction

(Rosin)

V. Conclusion Summarize Chua’s argument for heavy paren-

tal involvement vs. Rosin’s argument for child- directed parental involvement

Common ground:

• Shared value of acting in the best interest of child

• Cultural/situational cues influencing parent- ing techniques

Write the opening sentences. You might want to review your invention writing to see whether you have already written something that would work to launch your essay, or you could try out one or two ways of beginning your essay from the list that follows. But do not agonize over the first sentences, because you are likely to discover the best way to begin only as you revise your rough draft.

The following opening strategies may help to engage your readers’ interest:

207GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Evaluating the Draft

An interesting and relevant quotation (like Bernard)

An assertion of the topic’s larger cultural relevance (like Bernard and Samson)

An assertion of the issue’s significance (like Mae)

An anecdote or statistic to show how the issue affects readers

Draft your essay finding common ground. By this point, you have done a lot of writing to

analyze the opposing arguments;

present those arguments to your readers;

formulate a working thesis; and

integrate quotations.

Now stitch that material together to create a draft. The next two parts of this Guide to Writing will help you evaluate and improve the draft you write.

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading

, where you can exchange drafts with your classmates and give each other a thoughtful critical read ing, pointing out what works well and suggesting ways to improve the draft. A good critical reading does three things:

1. It lets the writer know how well the reader understands the point of the essay.

2. It praises what works best.

3. It indicates where the draft could be improved and makes suggestions on how to improve it.

One strategy for evaluating a draft is to use the basic features of the common ground essay as a guide.

Summarize: Briefly tell the writer what you understand the issue to be and what the opposing positions are.

Praise: Indicate where the writer does a good job explaining the issue, introducing the authors, or engaging readers’ interest.

Critique: Describe any confusion or uncertainty you have about the issue, about why it is important, or about the positions the essays being analyzed take on it.

Has the writer explained the issue and opposing positions clearly and in a way that will engage readers’ interest?

A CRITICAL READING GUIDE

An Informative Introduction to the Issue

and Opposing Positions

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 208

Summarize: Circle the words used to describe the proponents, and underline the words used to describe their views.

Praise: Note any passages where the writer comes across as being especially fair and impartial.

Critique: Tell the writer if the authors and their positions are presented unfairly or if one side seems to be favored over the other. Identify passages that seem critical of the proponents or their views, and suggest ways the writer could make the point less negatively, such as by using quotations to state criticisms or replacing negative words with neutral ones.

Summarize: Underline the thesis, and circle key terms that forecast the topics the essay will focus on. Then circle those key terms when they appear elsewhere in the essay.

Praise: Pick one or two places where the essay is especially clear and easy to follow— for example, where the writer has repeated key terms or synonyms for them effectively, or where the writer has used comparative transitions, such as both or as well as to signal similarity and whereas or although to signal differences.

Critique: Let the writer know where the readability could be improved—for example, where a topic sentence could be clearer or where a transition is needed. Suggest a better beginning or a more effective ending.

Has the writer represented the opposing arguments in a balanced, unbiased way?

Is the essay clear and readable?

A Fair and Impartial

Presentation

A Clear, Logical Organization

Before concluding your review, be sure to address any of the writer’s concerns that have not been addressed already.

For a printable version of this Critical Reading Guide, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide.

Summarize: Tell the writer what you understand to be the points of disagreement and the areas of potential agreement.

Praise: Identify one or two passages where the analysis seems especially effective—for example, where the opposing arguments are shown to be based on similar motivating factors, such as a shared value or common concern.

Critique: Identify places where additional details, an example or illustration, or more explanation would make the analysis clearer. Let the writer know if you detect any other motivating factors that might be used to establish common ground.

Is the writer’s analysis of the points of disagreement and potential agreement interesting and insightful?

A Probing Analysis

209GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Improving the Draft

Making Comments Electronically Most word processing software offers features that allow you to insert comments directly into the text of someone else’s document. Many readers prefer to make their comments this way because it tends to be faster than writing on hard copy and space is virtually unlimited; it also eliminates the process of decipher ing handwritten comments. Where such features are not available, simply typing com ments directly into a document in a contrasting color can provide the same advantages.

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading Start improving your draft by refl ecting on what you have written thus far:

Consider critical reading comments from your classmates, instructor, or writing center tutor: What basic problems do your readers identify?

Look back at your invention writing: What else could you add to the draft?

Review your draft: What can you do to present your analysis more clearly and to make it more penetrating?

Revise your draft. If your readers are having diffi culty with your draft, or if you think there is room for improvement, try some of the strategies listed in the Troubleshooting Guide that fol

your presentation of the genre’s basic features.

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

State the issue explicitly as a question. Explain the issue in more depth, perhaps providing an example to show why it’s important. Use a transition (such as whereas or although) to sharpen the contrast between the opposing positions. Consider adding a graph or other visual to represent the issue or opposing positions.

Add information showing the impact of the issue or how it affects people’s lives. Contextualize the issue in history, politics, or culture. Quote notable authorities to emphasize the issue’s importance. Cite polls or research studies, or use graphics to convey statistical information demonstrating the widespread impact of the issue.

My readers are not clear about the issue or the opposing positions.

My readers are not interested or do not appreciate the issue’s importance.

An Informative Introduction to the Issue

and Opposing Positions

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 210

A Probing Analysis Ask yourself why the writer makes a particular kind of argument rather than another

kind of argument. Consider how the writer’s profession or biography could explain why a particular motivating factor (such as a moral value or idea) has so much persuasive power. Think about the social and political situation in which each essay was originally written and how the writer was trying to appeal to readers. Examine the concessions and refutations of opposing views to see where there might be room for agreement.

My analysis seems more like a summary of the arguments than a probing analysis.

A Fair and Impartial

Presentation

A Clear, Logical Organization

Give equal space to both arguments. Make sure that you are representing each writer accurately and fairly by relying more on quoting than summarizing or paraphrasing. Consider your word choices, replacing judgmental words with neutral ones.

Consider adding a forecasting statement to preview the topics you discuss. Add topic sentences or repeat key terms in topic sentences. Add transitions to signal comparisons or contrasts.

My readers are confused by my essay or find it difficult to read.

My presentation is not impartial or balanced.

Determine whether you are trying to cover too many points. Explain in more detail the points that are harder for readers to grasp. Consider emphasizing the less obvious points of agreement.

My readers do not understand my analysis.

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Improving the Draft

Think about design. Because essays fi nding common ground must avoid the appearance of bias, they rely heavily on quotations to convey the positions of the proponents and to articulate crit icisms of those positions. Notice how Jeremy Bernard integrates longer and shorter quotations to articulate the positions and criticisms of those positions.

However,

natural and unnatural. Whereas certain aids to performance — such as better bats,

— are considered

natural and therefore allowable, other aids — — are deemed unnatural

performance is unfair. If it were, we should ban coaching and training. Competition can

In other words,

that there is a level playing field. Mitchell puts his finger on it when he explains that

of those who illegally use these substances or falling short of their ambition to

example —

9

10

Uses quotations to articulate positions and criticisms

Uses quotation marks and integrates shorter quotations into his own sentences

Omits quotation marks and indents longer quotations (over 4 lines in MLA style; over 40 words in APA style) a half inch from the left margin

1/2”

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 212

Edit and proofread your draft. Our research indicates that particular errors occur often in common ground essays: incorrect comma usage in sentences with interrupting phrases, and vague pronoun reference. The following guidelines will help you check your essay for these common errors.

Using Commas around Interrupting Phrases

What is an interrupting phrase? When writers are analyzing opposing positions, they need to supply a great deal of information precisely and accurately. They add much of this information in phrases that interrupt the flow of a sentence, as in the follow- ing example:

The concern was so great that George Mitchell, the former Senate Majority Leader and peace negotiator, was enlisted to investigate. (Bernard, par. 2)

Such interrupting phrases, as they are called, are typically set off with commas.

The Problem Forgetting to set off an interrupting phrase with commas can make sentences unclear or difficult to read.

How to Correct It Add a comma on either side of an interrupting phrase.

Live Nation without hesitating paid $350 million to buy HOB Entertainment, which owns the popular House of Blues clubs.

Virtual football to hold on to its fans and gain more soon has to move beyond solitary players to teams of players on the Internet.

Correcting Vague Pronoun Reference

The Problem Pronouns replace and refer to nouns, making writing more efficient and cohesive. If the reference is vague, however, this advantage is lost. A common problem is vague use of this, that, it, or which.

How to Correct It Scan your writing for pronouns, taking special note of places where you use this, that, it, or which. Check to be sure that what this, that, it, which, or another pronoun refers to is crystal clear. If it is not, revise your sentence.

Television evangelists seem to be perpetually raising money,/.º which makes some

viewers question their motives.

By the late 1960s, plate tectonics emerged as a new area of study. Tectonics was

based on the notion of the earth’s crust as a collection of plates or land masses

,̂ ,̂

,̂ ,̂

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For practice, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Commas around Interrupting Phrases.

A Note on Grammar and Spelling Checkers

These tools can be helpful, but do not rely on them exclusively to catch errors in your text: Spelling checkers cannot catch misspellings that are themselves words, such as to for too. Grammar checkers miss some problems, sometimes give faulty advice for fixing problems, and can flag correct items as wrong. Use these tools as a second line of defense after your own (and, ideally, another reader’s) proofreading and editing efforts.

This habit

GUIDE TO READING GUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

213Betsy Samson’s Analysis of Opposing Argument Essays

above and below sea level, constantly in motion. This took a while for most people to

accept.º because of its unexpected novelty.

Inside the Summit Tunnel, the Chinese laborers were using as much as

500 kegs a day of costly black powder to blast their way through the

solid rock. It was straining the Central Pacific’s budget.

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startling new geological theory

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The unexpected expense

For practice, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Vague Pronoun Reference.

A WRITER AT WORK

Betsy Samson’s Analysis of Opposing Argument Essays Betsy Samson’s common ground essay “Does Mother Know Best?” (pp. 183–87) analyzes the arguments in two essays taking opposing positions on parenting: Amy Chua’s “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” and Hanna Rosin’s response, “Mother Inferior?” (You can find these essays in the appendix at the end of this chapter on pp. 219–22 and 222–25.)

Using the Analyze the Opposing Argument Essays section of the Guide to Writ- ing (pp. 199–201), Samson read the two essays carefully. She annotated as she read, highlighting the text and making marginal notes that identify the basic features of the arguments and their motivating factors. Below is paragraph 5 from Chua’s essay with Samson’s annotations, followed by Samson’s annotations chart showing how she recorded the results of her analysis of Chua’s and Rosin’s essays.

Annotations

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it’s math, piano, pitching or ballet — he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more.

Chua’s position: virtuous circle strategy necessary

Can’t let children make their own choices

Virtuous not vicious circle: work ➞ success ➞ confidence ➞ more work

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 214

Charting the Annotations

Here you can see how Samson filled in the Annotations Chart based on her analysis of Chua’s and Rosin’s essays. Note that she doesn’t fill in every cell in the chart, nor does she devote the same amount of space to each element. To show students how people annotate differently, your instructor might invite you to compare your anno- tated text and annotations chart to those of other students.

Betsy Samson’s Annotations Chart

Essay 1: Chua Essay 2: Rosin

Features of the argument

Issue Chinese parenting techniques better than Western (pars. 1–4)

Examples show Chua’s “strict” parenting (2)

Western parenting techniques better than Chinese (pars. 1–4)

Examples show Rosin fits Chua’s stereotype of Western parent (1–3)

Position (thesis)

Chinese virtuous circle strategy: work ➞ success ➞ confidence ➞ willingness to “work even more” (5). This is “how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids.” (1)

“In fact, I think Ms. Chua has the diagnosis of American childhood exactly backward. What privileged American children need is not more skills and rules and math drills. They need to lighten up and roam free, to express themselves in ways not dictated by their uptight, over-invested parents.” (4)

Supporting reasons and evidence

Reason #1: Because Chinese parents assume child’s “strength,” they tell truth & demand hard work & success. Contrast: b/c Western parents anxious about child’s self-esteem, they give false praise & children settle for less (11–14)

Reason #2: Because “Chinese parents believe . . . kids owe them every- thing,” they demand their children make them proud. (15–16)

Reason #1: Because holding children to “impossibly high standards” is damaging. Evidence—“horror stories of child prodigies gone bad”; Chua’s admission that she’s “‘not good at enjoying life’” (5)

Reason #2: Because children forced to practice too hard on something that they have neither passion nor talent for grow to hate what they have mastered. Evidence: her friend & Andre Agassi (6–8)

Reason #3: Because “Chinese parents . . . know what is best,” they “override . . . children’s own desires and preferences.” (16)

Evidence: Anecdote about Lulu supports all three reasons (18–32)

215GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Betsy Samson’s Analysis of Opposing Argument Essays

Refutation and/or concession

Concedes she may have been wrong (Lulu anecdote: “even I began to have doubts”) (30)

Concedes that Western parenting style means well (“All decent parents want to do what’s best for their children. The Chinese just have a totally differ- ent idea of how to do that.”) (34)

Concedes parents should encourage/push kids to work at a goal, but also refutes Chua’s claim that parents know best what should be the goal (8)

Concedes “Chua’s most compelling argument is that happiness comes from mastery,” but also refutes Chua’s use of harsh criticism (9)

Refutes Chua’s claim that “‘Children on their own never want to work.’” (10)

Concedes Chua’s claim about Western parents’ “‘conflicted feelings about achievement’” (13)

Motivating factors

Values Studies comparing parents’ values: “Chinese mothers . . . believe . . . ‘ academic achievement reflects successful parenting.’” Contrast: Western parents think “‘stressing academic success is not good for children’” & “‘parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun.’” (4)

“Confucian filial piety” —kids owe parents (14)

Chinese parents “would give up anything for their children” (17)

Shares Chua’s “mother-in-law’s belief that childhood should be full of ‘spontaneity, freedom, discovery and experience’” (15)

Values “proper childhood rebellion” (4)

Rejects Chua’s goal to “perfect our children” (14)

Ideas and ideals

Needs and interests

Fears and concerns

Concern: children will not work hard enough to succeed (11–13)

Concern: children will not be happy (12)

Priorities and agendas

Priority: “best way to protect their chil- dren is . . . letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence” (35)

Priority: to help children “navigate” life’s difficulties (11)

THINKING CRITICALLY

To think critically means to use all of the knowledge you have acquired from the infor- mation in this chapter, your own writing, the writing of other students, and class discussions to reflect deeply on your work for this assignment and the genre (or type) of writing you have produced. The benefit of thinking critically is proven and impor- tant: Thinking critically about what you have learned will help you remember it longer, ensuring that you will be able to put it to good use well beyond this writing course.

Reflecting on What You Have Learned In this chapter, you have learned a great deal about this genre from reading several essays that find common ground and from writing a common ground essay of your own. To consolidate your learning, reflect not only on what you learned but also on how you learned it.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a blog post, a letter to your instructor, or an e-mail message to a student who will take this course next term, using the writing prompt below that seems most productive for you:

Explain how your purpose and audience influenced one of your decisions as a writer, such as how you presented the subject, the strategies you used in justifying your evaluation, or the ways in which you attempted to counter possible objections.

Discuss what you learned about yourself as a writer in the process of writing this essay. For example, what part of the process did you find most challenging? Did you try anything new, like getting a critical reading of your draft or outlining your draft in order to revise it?

If you were to give advice to a friend who was about to write an essay finding common ground, what would you say?

Which of the readings in this chapter influenced your essay? Explain the influence, citing specific examples from your essay and from the reading.

If you got good advice from a critical reader, explain exactly how the person helped you—perhaps by questioning the way you addressed your audience or the kinds of evidence you offered in support of your position.

Reflecting on the Genre Essays that analyze points of disagreement and possible agreement help us under- stand complex issues and discover ways to move forward constructively. They are especially important in a democracy because they enable us to perform our role as citizens conscientiously.

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217GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Reflecting on the Genre

One of the greatest challenges of analyzing opposing arguments is to represent each viewpoint accurately and fairly. Writers wrestle with the requirement that analy- sis be impartial. They often make a distinction between objectivity and impartiality: To be objective assumes that it is possible for a writer not only to be balanced but also to be detached, somehow removed from or raised above the controversy. To be impar- tial, in contrast, means to be fair or even-handed in presenting different views. While objectivity may not be possible, writers can strive to be fair in the way they represent different viewpoints, giving each side its voice and avoiding judgmental language.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a page or two about your own experience of analyzing an argument fairly and impartially. In your discussion, you might do either or both of the following:

1 Consider how challenging it was to make your analysis fair and impartial. As you were analyzing the arguments and writing your finding common ground essay, in what ways, if any, did you have difficulty maintaining your impartiality? How did you try to make sure you were being fair? What strategies did you use in your writing to come across to readers as a trustworthy analyst?

2 Think about the goal of trying to be fair and impartial as an analyst. Based on your own experience as a writer of a finding common ground essay (as well as other writing you may have done in the past), what have you learned about the goal of trying to be fair and impartial? Is it an achievable goal? Is it a worthwhile goal? Why or why not? Add to your discussion any ideas you have from your experience as a consumer of analytical writing and talk. How critical are you as a reader or listener? How important do you think it is for you as a citizen and student to feel confident that the analysis you are consuming is fair, unbiased, impartial, even objective? Be sure to distinguish between op-ed style commentary, intended to express opinions and judgments, and journalism or academic analysis, intended to be fair and impartial.

APPENDIX

Following are three clusters of essays taking positions on two different issues: parent- ing, helmet use among athletes, and compensating organ donors. These clusters in- clude two argument essays and one informative essay that may be used for back- ground. You may read the first cluster to compare the arguments by Chua and Rosin with Betsy Samson’s representation of them in her essay “Does Mother Know Best?” (pp. 183–87). You may select from the essays in this appendix, along with essays on several other debate topics that are available in the e-Pages or that you can link to from the book’s companion site.

Issue 1: Parenting Style

Amy Chua, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior 219

Hanna Rosin, Mother Inferior? 222

Don Aucoin, For Some, Helicopter Parenting Delivers Benefits 225

Issue 2: Sports Helmet Use

Nate Jackson, The NFL’s Head Cases 227

David Weisman, Disposable Heroes 229

Lane Wallace, Do Sports Helmets Help or Hurt? 231

Issue 3: Compensating Organ Donors

Sally Satel, Yuan a Kidney? 234

National Kidney Foundation, Financial Incentives for Organ Donation 236

Scott Carney, Inside the Business of Selling Human Body Parts 238

Understanding the Issue of Parenting Style With the publication of Amy Chua’s opinion essay “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” in the Wall Street Journal and the publicity surrounding the publication of her comic memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, the controversy over parenting styles reached a fever pitch in 2011. The debate over parenting styles, however, has a long history in developmental psychology. In the early 1970s, for example, developmental psycholo- gist Diana Baumrind identified three general parenting styles: authoritative, authori- tarian, and permissive. The term helicopter parenting, as Betsy Samson points out, was popularized by Foster Cline and Jim Fay’s 1990 book Parenting with Love and Logic. A Time magazine cover story in 2009 by Nancy Gibbs, “The Growing Backlash against Overparenting,” describes what she calls “a new revolution . . . rolling back the almost comical overprotectiveness and overinvestment of moms and dads.”

To access more debate clusters, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide.

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Amy Chua Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

AMY CHUA has a bachelor of arts and a doctorate in law from Harvard University, and she is the John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School, where she earned the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002–2003. She has written several books, including Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance — and Why They Fall (2007) and World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (2002). The following selection, excerpted from her comic memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011), appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

attend a sleepover have a playdate be in a school play complain about not being in a school play watch TV or play computer games choose their own extracurricular activities get any grade less than an A not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym

and drama

1 play any instrument other than the piano or violin not play the piano or violin.

I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the term “Western parents” loosely. Western parents come in all varieties.

All the same, even when Western parents think they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their chil- dren practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.

Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereo- types, there are tons of studies out there showing marked and quantifiable differences between Chinese and Westerners when it comes to parenting. In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immi- grant mothers, almost 70 of the Western mothers said either that “stressing academic success is not good for children” or that “parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun.” By contrast, roughly 0 of the Chinese mothers felt the same way. Instead, the vast majority of the Chinese mothers said that they believe their children can be “the best” students, that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting,” and that if children did not excel at school then there was “a problem” and parents “were not doing their job.” Other studies indicate that compared to Western parents, Chinese parents spend

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Chua at home with her daughters, Louisa (left) and Sophia (right)

Chua Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 220

approximately 10 times as long every day drilling aca- demic activities with their children. By contrast, Western kids are more likely to participate in sports teams.

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their prefer- ences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western par- ents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something — whether it’s math, piano, pitching or bal- let — he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun ac- tivity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more.

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done this at a dinner party, I was immediately ostracized. One guest named Marcy got so upset she broke down in tears and had to leave early. My friend Susan, the host, tried to rehabilitate me with the remaining guests.

The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable — even legally actionable — to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, “Hey fatty — lose some weight.” By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of “health” and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image. (I also once heard a Western father toast his adult daughter by calling her “beautiful and incredibly competent.” She later told me that made her feel like garbage.)

Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best. Chinese parents can say, “You’re lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you.” By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own con- flicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they’re not disappointed about how their kids turned out.

I’ve thought long and hard about how Chinese parents can get away with what they do. I think there are three big differences between the Chinese and Western parental mind-sets.

First, I’ve noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children’s self-esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at some- thing, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test or at a recital. In other words, Western parents are concerned about their children’s psyches. Chinese parents aren’t. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.

For example, if a child comes home with an A-minus on a test, a Western parent will most likely praise the child. The Chinese mother will gasp in horror and ask what went wrong. If the child comes home with a B on the test, some Western parents will still praise the child. Other Western parents will sit their child down and ex- press disapproval, but they will be careful not to make their child feel inadequate or insecure, and they will not call their child “stupid,” “worthless” or “a disgrace.” Privately, the Western parents may worry that their child does not test well or have aptitude in the subject or that

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“Mean me with Lulu in hotel room with score taped to the TV!”

Chinese parents can get away with things that Western parents can’t. Once when I was young — maybe more than once—when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me “garbage” in our native Hokkien dialect. It worked really well. I felt terri- ble and deeply ashamed of what I had done. But it didn’t damage my self-esteem or anything like that. I knew exactly how highly he thought of me. I didn’t actually think I was worthless or feel like a piece of garbage.

As an adult, I once did the same thing to Sophia, calling her garbage in English when she acted extremely disrespectfully toward me. When I mentioned that I had

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there is something wrong with the curriculum and possi- bly the whole school. If the child’s grades do not improve, they may eventually schedule a meeting with the school principal to challenge the way the subject is being taught or to call into question the teacher’s credentials.

If a Chinese child gets a B — which would never happen — there would first be a screaming, hair-tearing explosion. The devastated Chinese mother would then get dozens, maybe hundreds of practice tests and work through them with her child for as long as it takes to get the grade up to an A. Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child doesn’t get them, the Chinese parent assumes it’s because the child didn’t work hard enough. That’s why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child. The Chinese parent believes that their child will be strong enough to take the shaming and to improve from it. (And when Chinese kids do excel, there is plenty of ego-inflating parental praise lavished in the privacy of the home.)

Second, Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything. The reason for this is a little unclear, but it’s probably a combination of Confucian filial piety and the fact that the parents have sacrificed and done so much for their children. (And it’s true that Chinese mothers get in the trenches, putting in long grueling hours personally tutoring, training, interrogating and spying on their kids.) Anyway, the understanding is that Chinese children must spend their lives repaying their parents by obeying them and making them proud.

By contrast, I don’t think most Westerners have the same view of children being permanently indebted to their parents. My husband, Jed, actually has the oppo- site view. “Children don’t choose their parents,” he once said to me. “They don’t even choose to be born. It’s par- ents who foist life on their kids, so it’s the parents’ re- sponsibility to provide for them. Kids don’t owe their parents anything. Their duty will be to their own kids.” This strikes me as a terrible deal for the Western parent.

Third, Chinese parents believe that they know what is best for their children and therefore override all of their children’s own desires and preferences. That’s why Chinese daughters can’t have boyfriends in high school and why Chinese kids can’t go to sleepaway camp. It’s also why no Chinese kid would ever dare say to their mother, “I got a part in the school play I’m Villager

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Number Six. I’ll have to stay after school for rehearsal every day from 3:00 to 7:00, and I’ll also need a ride on weekends.” God help any Chinese kid who tried that one.

Don’t get me wrong: It’s not that Chinese parents don’t care about their children. Just the opposite. They would give up anything for their children. It’s just an entirely different parenting model.

Here’s a story in favor of coercion, Chinese- style. Lulu was about 7, still playing two instruments, and working on a piano piece called “The Little White Donkey” by the French composer Jacques Ibert. The piece is really cute — you can just imagine a little donkey ambling along a country road with its master — but it’s also incredibly difficult for young players because the two hands have to keep schizophrenically different rhythms.

Lulu couldn’t do it. We worked on it nonstop for a week, drilling each of her hands separately, over and over. But whenever we tried putting the hands together, one always morphed into the other, and everything fell apart. Finally, the day before her lesson, Lulu an- nounced in exasperation that she was giving up and stomped off.

“Get back to the piano now,” I ordered. “You can’t make me.” “Oh yes, I can.” Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She punched,

thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and en- cased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be de- stroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu’s dollhouse to the car and told her I’d donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn’t have “The Little White Donkey” per- fect by the next day. When Lulu said, “I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?” I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner, no Christmas or Hanukkah presents, no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn’t do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.

Jed took me aside. He told me to stop insulting Lulu — which I wasn’t even doing, I was just motivating her — and that he didn’t think threatening Lulu was helpful. Also, he said, maybe Lulu really just couldn’t do the technique — perhaps she didn’t have the coordina- tion yet — had I considered that possibility?

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Chua Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 222

“You just don’t believe in her,” I accused. “That’s ridiculous,” Jed said scornfully. “Of course

I do.” “Sophia could play the piece when she was this age.” “But Lulu and Sophia are different people,” Jed

pointed out. “Oh no, not this,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Everyone

is special in their special own way,” I mimicked sarcas- tically. “Even losers are special in their own special way. Well don’t worry, you don’t have to lift a finger. I’m willing to put in as long as it takes, and I’m happy to be the one hated. And you can be the one they adore because you make them pancakes and take them to Yankees games.”

I rolled up my sleeves and went back to Lulu. I used every weapon and tactic I could think of. We worked right through dinner into the night, and I wouldn’t let Lulu get up, not for water, not even to go to the bath- room. The house became a war zone, and I lost my voice yelling, but still there seemed to be only negative progress, and even I began to have doubts.

Then, out of the blue, Lulu did it. Her hands sud- denly came together — her right and left hands each doing their own imperturbable thing — just like that. Lulu real- ized it the same time I did. I held my breath. She tried it tentatively again. Then she played it more confidently and faster, and still the rhythm held. A moment later, she was beaming.

“Mommy, look—it’s easy ” After that, she wanted to play the piece over and over and wouldn’t leave the piano.

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That night, she came to sleep in my bed, and we snuggled and hugged, cracking each other up. When she performed “The Little White Donkey” at a recital a few weeks later, parents came up to me and said, “What a perfect piece for Lulu — it’s so spunky and so her.”

Even Jed gave me credit for that one. Western par- ents worry a lot about their children’s self-esteem. But as a parent, one of the worst things you can do for your child’s self-esteem is to let them give up. On the flip side, there’s nothing better for building confidence than learning you can do something you thought you couldn’t.

There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids’ true interests. For their part, many Chinese secretly believe that they care more about their children and are willing to sacrifice much more for them than Westerners, who seem perfectly content to let their children turn out badly. I think it’s a misunder- standing on both sides. All decent parents want to do what’s best for their children. The Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that.

Western parents try to respect their children’s indi- viduality, encouraging them to pursue their true pas- sions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. By con- trast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.

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Hanna Rosin Mother Inferior? HANNA ROSIN was born in Israel and raised in ueens, one of New York City’s five boroughs, by her taxi-driver father, about whom she wrote fondly in New York magazine. Rosin cofounded the women’s Web site DoubleX and is a senior editor at the Atlantic. In 2010, she delivered a presentation for TED, a nonprofit organization “devoted to ideas worth spreading,” on the “rise of women”— the theme of her ar- ticle “The End of Men,” which appeared in the Atlantic in 2010, and a forthcoming book. She has also appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Her book God’s Harvard: A Christian

College on a Mission to Save America (2007) profiles the evangelical Patrick Henry College. The article that follows is her response to Amy Chua’s “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”; it appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2011, a week after Ms. Chua’s article ran.

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T he other day I was playing a game called “Kids on Stage” with my 2-year-old. I had to act out “tiger,” so I got down on all fours and roared. He laughed, so I roared even louder, which only made him laugh more. Eventually he came up to me, patted my head and said “kitty kat” with benevolent condescen- sion. This perfectly sums up my status in the animal pack of mothers defined by Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. There are the fierce tigers who churn out child prodigies, and then there are the pussy- cats who waste their afternoons playing useless board games and get bested by their own toddlers.

1 crescendo of the Chua family story (although I would make sure to tell my other two children that they were fabulous in other ways ). But the chances that I would threaten to burn all her stuffed animals unless she played a piano piece perfectly, or to donate her favorite doll house to the Salvation Army piece by piece, as Ms. Chua did with her daughter, are exactly zero. It’s not merely that such vigilant attention to how my daughter spends every minute of her afternoon is time- consuming and exhausting; after all, it takes time to play “Kids on Stage” and to drive to drum lessons, too. It’s more that I don’t have it in me. I just don’t have the demented drive to pull it off.

Many American parents will read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and feel somewhat defensive and regretful. Well, I do make my Johnny practice his guitar twice a week! Or, Look, I have this nice discipline chart on my refrigerator with frowny faces for when he’s rude at dinner! But I don’t feel all that defensive. In fact, I think Ms. Chua has the diagnosis of American childhood exactly backward. What privileged American children need is not more skills and rules and math drills. They need to lighten up and roam free, to express themselves in ways not dictated by their uptight, over-invested parents. Like Ms. Chua, many American parents suffer from the delusion that, with careful enough control, a child can be made perfect. Ms. Chua does it with Suzuki piano books and insults, while many of my friends do it with organic baby food and playrooms filled with carefully curated wooden toys. In both cases, the result is the same: an excess of children who are dutiful proto-adults, always responsible and good, incapable of proper childhood rebellion.

In the days since Ms. Chua’s book has come out, the media have brought up horror stories of child prodi- gies gone bad, including [ a ] 16-year-old who stabbed her mother to death1 after complaining that her Chinese im- migrant parents held her to impossibly high standards. Most prodigy stories, I imagine, involve more compli- cated emotions. (The Amy Chua of the book, by the way, is more seductive than the distilled media version. She is remarkably self-aware. “The truth is, I’m not good at enjoying life,” she writes, and she never hesitates to tell stories that she knows make her look beastly. It’s worth noting that, in TV and radio interviews about the book, she’s been trending more pussycat).2

I have a good friend who was raised by a Chinese- style mother, although her parents were actually

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Hanna Rosin at home with Jacob (left), Gideon (on Rosin’s lap), and Noa (right).

In pretty much every way, I am the weak-willed, pathetic Western parent that Ms. Chua describes. My children go on playdates and sleepovers; in fact I wish they would go on more of them. When they give me lopsided, hastily drawn birthday cards, I praise them as if they were Matisse, sometimes with tears in my eyes. (Ms. Chua threw back one quickly scribbled birthday card, saying “I reject this,” and told her daughters they could do better.) My middle son is skilled at precisely the two extracurricular activities Ms. Chua most mocks: He just got a minor part in the school play as a fisher- man, and he is a master of the drums, the instrument that she claims leads directly to using drugs (I’m not sure if she is joking or not).

I would be thrilled, of course, if my eldest child made it to Carnegie Hall at 14, which is the great

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German. Her mother pushed her to practice the violin for eight hours a day, and she rarely saw other people her age. Now she is my age, and she does not hate her mother or even resent her. She is grateful to her mother for instilling in her a drive and focus that she otherwise would have lacked. What she does hate is music, be- cause it carries for her associations of loneliness and torture. She hasn’t picked up the violin in a decade, and these days, she says, classical music leaves her cold. It’s not an uncommon sentiment among prodi- gies: “I hate tennis,” Andre Agassi says on the first page of his autobiography, Open, “hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always have.”

The oddest part of Ms. Chua’s parenting prescrip- tion is that it exists wholly apart from any passion or innate talent. The Chua women rarely express pure love of music; instead they express joy at having mastered it. Ms. Chua writes that she listened to CDs of Itzhak Perlman to figure out “why he sounded so good.” This conception of child prodigies is not just Chinese. It is the extreme expression of the modern egalitarian no- tion of genius, as described by Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers. Anyone can be a genius, if they just put in 10,000 hours of practice It doesn’t matter if they can carry a tune or have especially limber fingers. They don’t even have to like music.

But why not wait for your children to show some small spark of talent or interest in an activity before you force them to work at it for hours a day? What would be so bad if they followed their own interests and became an expert flutist, or a soccer star or even a master tight- rope walker? What’s so special about the violin and the piano?

Ms. Chua’s most compelling argument is that hap- piness comes from mastery. “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it.” There is some truth to this, of course. But there is no reason to believe that calling your child “lazy” or “stupid” or “worthless” is a better way to motivate her to be good than some other more gentle but persistent mode. There is a vast world between perfection and loserdom. With her own children, Ms. Chua does not just want them to be good at what they do; she wants them to be better than everyone else.

“Children on their own never want to work,” Ms. Chua writes, but in my experience this is not at all true. Left to their own devices, many children of this

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generation still have giant superegos and a mad drive to succeed. They want to run faster than their siblings, be smarter than their classmates and save the world from environmental disaster. In my household, it’s a struggle to get my children to steal a cookie from the cookie jar without immediately confessing.

Before I had children, I worried about all the wrong things. I was raised by (immigrant) parents who did not have a lot of money, and so I spent my childhood roam- ing the streets of ueens looking for an open handball court. My children, by contrast, have been raised by rela- tively well-off parents who can afford to send them to good schools and drum lessons. I wanted them to be coddled and never to experience hardship. But child- hood, like life, doesn’t work that way. Privilege does not shield a child from being painfully shy or awkward around peers or generally ostracized. There are a thou- sand ways a child’s life can be difficult, and it’s a parent’s job to help them navigate through them.

Because Ms. Chua really likes bullet points, I will offer some of my own:

Success will not make you happy. Happiness is the great human quest. Children have to find happiness themselves. It is better to have a happy, moderately successful

child than a miserable high-achiever.

“Western parents,” Ms. Chua writes, “have to strug- gle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try and persuade themselves that they’re not disap- pointed about how their kids turned out.” With that, she really has our number. At the present moment in Western parenting, we believe that our children are special and entitled, but we do not have the guts or the tools to make that reality true for them. This explains, I think, a large part of the fascination with Ms. Chua’s book.

But Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother will lead us down the wrong path. The answer is not to aim for more effective child-perfecting techniques; it is to give up altogether on trying to perfect our children. Now I look upon those aimless days wandering the streets of

ueens with fondness, because my life since then, start- ing the moment I entered a competitive high school, has been one ladder rung after another.

In her book, Ms. Chua refers, with some disdain, to her mother-in-law’s belief that childhood should be full of “spontaneity, freedom, discovery and experience.”

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My mother-in-law believes that, too, and she is espe- cially gifted at facilitating it with whatever tools are at hand: a cardboard box, some pots and pans, torn enve- lopes. One afternoon I watched her play with my then 2-year-old daughter for hours with some elephant tooth- pick holders and Play-Doh. I suppose that I could quan- tify what my daughter learned in those few hours: the letter E, the meaning of “pachyderm,” who Hannibal was and how to love her grandmother 2 more. But the real point is that they earned themselves knee scabs

marching across those imaginary Alps, and pretty soon it was time for a nap.

Links

1. Greene, Richard Allen. “Killer Daughter Case Ignites US Debate.” BBC News. BBC, 3 May 2006. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.

2. “Parenting Today: Raising Successful Kids ‘The Chinese Way.’ ” Today.com. MSNBC.com, 11 Jan. 2011. Web. 26 Apr. 2012.

Don Aucoin For Some, Helicopter Parenting Delivers Benefits

DON AUCOIN is the chief theater critic of the Boston Globe and a coauthor of Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy. He has been a TV critic, a political reporter, and a feature writer. In 2000, Aucoin was one of twelve U.S. journalists selected to be a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He wrote this article for the Globe in 2009.

According to the image cemented in the public mind, helicopter parents hover over their children (hence the name). All through high school and even after the “kids” have turned 18, 19, 20, and beyond, heli- copter parents try to micromanage their lives. Eyebrow- raising stories abound of the mother who accompanies her 24-year-old son to a job fair or the father who writes a college essay for his 19-year-old daughter.

But wait. Beyond such undeniable excesses, a quiet reappraisal of helicopter parents is underway. Some re- searchers have begun to argue that late adolescence and young adulthood are such minefields today — emotional, social, sexual, logistical, psychological — that there are valid reasons for parents to remain deeply involved in their children’s lives even after the kids are, technically speaking, adults. Moreover, they say, with the economy in a deep swoon, helicopter parents may have a vital role to play as career counselors or even as providers of finan- cial aid to their offspring.

“There is this stereotypical, oversensationalized, negative portrait, where they use ‘over-parenting’ and ‘helicopter parenting’ synonymously,” says Barbara

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Dafoe Whitehead, a social historian and author who studies family issues. “Over-parenting is not letting your kids take the consequences of their actions, swooping down to rescue them, and the result would be a spoiled brat. But helicopter parenting is entirely different, and I think it is a positive style of child-rearing.”

Pattie Knight concurs. Even though Knight’s twin daughters, Symphony and Kymberlee, are 19 and at- tending college, Knight remains deeply involved in their day-to-day lives. She goes shopping with them. She gives them advice about their relationships. She weighs in when they are worried about an upcoming test or wondering which class to take. She helps decorate their dorm rooms. One night a week, when Symphony gets off work from her part-time job, Knight drives from her Newton home to downtown Boston, picks her up, and transports her back to Pine Manor College.

Some of Knight’s friends roll their eyes at how much she does for her daughters, and she acknowledges it can be excessive at times. For example, by her count she and Symphony spoke on the phone 144 times in January, though she notes her daughter did most of the

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tended to be involved in active learning, collaborative learning, more often than their peers,” Kinzie says. “I have to admit I was surprised. I had the same negative ideas about helicopter parenting. But perhaps these are students who needed a little support to get over a hurdle, and their parents intervened, and perhaps helped those students stay in college.

“Perhaps I’m less concerned about these helicopter parents than I used to be.”

Still, there is far from a consensus that helicopter parenting is a plus, especially when it involves older children. Whitehead defines helicopter parenting as a “high level of oversight and supervision, keeping tabs on the kids but not interfering in every activity or deci- sion,” and she defines over-parenting as “intrusive in- volvement, never allowing the kids the freedom to make a decision and live with its consequences.” Inevitably, that means the line between helicopter parenting and over-parenting is a porous one, often crossed.

Susan Newman, the author of Nobody’s Baby Now: Reinventing Your Adult Relationship with Your Mother and Father, maintains that helicopter parents “do their chil- dren an extreme disservice. . . . When parents are mak- ing decisions for their children all the time and protecting them, when they get out on their own they don’t know a thing about disappointment,” Newman says. “I’ve seen a lot of these children who are parented in the helicopter manner who can’t make a decision. They are calling home constantly: ‘I don’t get along with my roommate, what should I do? My roommate ate my food, what should I do?’” In one case, Newman says, the college-age daughter of a helicopter parent she knows called home to ask her mother whether she should have sex with a particular young man.

Such extremes are easy to find and hard to defend. But changing economic circumstances — namely, the recession — may give helicopter parenting more legiti- macy. Financial independence will become even harder for young adults, especially since so many of them are leaving college burdened by tens of thousands of dol- lars in debt. So they may increasingly rely on their par- ents for monetary support or a temporary place to live, or both. “Younger generations have always been poor, but rarely have they been so much in debt at 21 as this generation,” observes Whitehead.

Sara Christie of Swampscott does not necessarily embrace the term “helicopter parent,” and says she tries to give her 16-year-old son Steve space, privacy, and room to

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Pattie Knight with her twin daughters, Symphony and Kymberlee

calling. “Even their boyfriends call me, Lord have mercy,” Knight says with a laugh. But the bottom line to Knight is that her style is helping her to forge a close and lasting bond with her daughters. “The thing that I like about our relationship is that whenever they’re ner- vous or unsure about a decision they’re about to make, that’s when they need me,” she says.

That reflects what Stephanie Coontz, director of research at the Council on Contemporary Families, sees as an unacknowledged dividend to helicopter par- enting that is becoming more apparent: namely, the en- during friendship often forged between the generations, in contrast to the “generation gap” of old. “Obviously, there are horrible extremes that helicopter parents can go to, where they don’t allow their children to succeed or fail on their own,” Coontz says. “But in the majority of cases, this increased closeness between parents and kids is found among healthy students, not unhealthy ones.” That was what Jillian Kinzie found — to her astonishment — when she helped conduct a national survey in 2007 at 750 colleges and universities.

When Kinzie, the associate director of Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research, first saw the results of a question about helicopter parenting on the survey, her immediate reaction was: “This can’t be right. We have to go back and look at this again.” The survey found that college students whose parents fit the survey’s definition of helicopter parents — they had met frequently with campus officials to discuss issues involving their children — were more engaged in learning and reported greater satisfaction with their colleges, even though they had slightly lower grades than other students. “They tended to have more interactions with the faculty, they

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grow. But she makes no apologies for her close and vigi- lant relationship with him. They are “friends” on Facebook; she still makes sure that he wears a helmet while bicycling and skateboarding; and if she thinks it necessary she will text him in school to find out “what class he’s in, how’s it going, does he need a ride later.”

And when Steve goes to college in two years? “I want to be very involved,” Christie answers, then pauses before acknowledging: “I just learned something, answering that question. . . . I feel confident that I can and will be in- volved with my son on a daily basis, even if he goes to college far away,” Christie says. “That means a lot to me.”

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Nate Jackson The NFL’s Head Cases

NATE JACKSON played professional football from 2003 to 2009, first as a wide receiver and then as a tight end for the Denver Broncos. He contributes regularly to Slate’s Sports Nut column and writes for Deadspin, a site covering “sports gossip, athlete culture, and other things you won’t find on any other sports-oriented site.” The article reprinted here appeared in the New York Times’s Opinion section in October 2010, just as the issue of helmet-to-helmet collisions was gaining traction.

A fter an unusually large number of brain-jarring tackles last week, the National Football League1 went on the offensive against players. Commissioner Roger Goodell doled out a total of 175,000 in fines to three players and threatened future suspensions 2 for what a league official called “devastating” hits to the head.

1 As someone who played in the NFL for six years, I’m all for reducing reckless play as much as possible. But the league’s effort to police particular kinds of hits raises plenty of questions. For instance, what if I lead with my head to make a tackle and knock myself out? Do I get suspended for that? What if I lead with my

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Understanding the Issue of Sports Helmet Use Concern about the damaging effects of concussions and the efficacy of sports helmets has been growing in recent years. In 2011, the American Journal of Sports Medicine published a study that found an annual increase of 15.5 percent in concussions for high school sports over the eleven-year period from 1997–1998 to 2007–2008. For boys, football was responsible for more than half of the concussions, and for girls, it was soccer. In professional football, the National Football League (NFL) issued its first guidelines regarding concussions in 2009 and has revised those guidelines periodically — banning blindside hits to the head, imposing large fines on players responsible for helmet-to-helmet hits, mandating baseline neurological testing, and requiring players with concussion symptoms during a game to be examined by a doctor. Research indicates that although helmets reduce skull fractures and head- injury fatalities, they do not do much to prevent concussions from small as well as big hits. In 2012, former players sued the NFL for fraud and negligence, charging that the NFL downplayed the risks of multiple concussions and discredited valid research linking concussions with brain injury and dementia.

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head and no one gets hurt? What if I hit an opponent with my shoulder and knock him out? What if I hit him in the rib cage and puncture his lung? What if we’re both going for the ball and I catch him under the chin with my helmet? What if he dies?

The truth is that NFL players have been using their heads as weapons since they first donned pads as chil- dren. It’s the nature of the sport. Sure, coaches tell you to wrap up an opponent with your arms, to keep your head up, to see what you hit. But when a player is mov- ing forward, his knees are bent and his body is leaning forward. The head leads no matter what.

Some say players should block and tackle with the shoulder pads instead. Doing that means choosing a side, trying to hit an opponent with the left or right shoulder. That technique will get you cut by any professional team before you can begin to perfect it. It uses only half of your body and half of your strength, and it removes your arms from the equation. In a head-first hit, the arms are free to follow the first contact with a bear hug that brings the opponent to the ground.

In my first two seasons in the NFL, I played wide receiver, so I rarely had to concern myself with block- ing or tackling. Then I was moved to tight end, where I quickly learned that to have any chance of containing the large men across the line of scrimmage, I had to hit them square in the face with my helmet. “Put a hat on him,” coaches implore.

I felt woozy or “saw stars” plenty of times, but that didn’t stop me, because using my head was the only effective technique. It was either lead with my head or get trampled. On kickoff returns, I had to sprint back 30 yards, whip around, size up the man I was assigned to block and take his helmet directly in my face. Avoid that contact and your manhood is questioned. The brain cells I lost on plays like that were of less concern to me than being called out in meetings by coaches.

While only the most violent, dramatic and egre- gious hits make the highlights, there are probably six or seven helmet-to-helmet hits on every play in the NFL The offensive and defensive linemen are smacking heads, running backs are colliding with linebackers, tight ends are blocking defensive ends, safeties are flying in to make tackles.

Before the 1950s, when they wore soft helmets without face masks, players didn’t lead with their heads. They dived at opponents’ legs and corralled them with

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their arms. Leading with the head meant facial disfig- urement and lots of stitches. But once leather was re- placed by hard plastic, enclosing the head in protective armor, all bets were off. Couple that with the size of today’s players and the speed of the modern game, and you have a recipe for cerebellum custard.

I understand the NFL’s desire to protect “defense- less” players. But how do we define defenseless? Someone who isn’t paying attention? Someone who doesn’t see you? There are instances where it’s obvious, like a player jogging on the opposite side of the field from the action. The NFL already does a good job of penalizing those types of hits.

But when a receiver is trying to catch a ball or avoid being tackled, the height of his head is constantly chang- ing, often making it impossible for a defensive player to judge the point of impact. One of the players fined by the NFL last week, James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was right to say that the penalties handicap his playing style. Maybe a new helmet design would help, something that would better protect the skull and brain but also offer a more forgiving outer surface. The NFL could also try educating coaches, who now believe that a headless hit is an ineffectual one, about the perils of head-first tackling, in hopes that over time safer tech- niques would become the norm. Or maybe the league should do away with helmets altogether and return to its early “rag days,” bloody noses and all.

But stiffer on-field penalties, fines, suspensions, seminars, summit meetings, press releases — these are knee-jerk public-relations reactions that will do little. The only way to prevent head injuries in football is no more football. It is a violent game by design. The use of hel- mets plays a critical role in creating that violence. The players understand the risks, and the fans enjoy watching them take those risks. Changing the rules enough to truly safeguard against head injuries would change the game beyond recognition. It wouldn’t be football anymore.

Links

1. “National Football League Labor Dispute.” New York Times. New York Times, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

2. National Football League. “Goodell Issues Memo Enforcing Player Safety Rules.” NFL.com. NFL Enterprises, LLC, 20 Oct. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

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David Weisman Disposable Heroes

DAVID WEISMAN is a neurologist in Pennsylvania. He contributes to Seed magazine on issues related to the brain. This article appeared on seedmagazine.com in January 2011, just before the close of the regular football season.

I n an ancient Aztec cultural practice, priests would choose a man to represent one of their gods, Tezcatlipoca. The man would be worshiped as a god for a year, but at a preordained date, the priests would sacrifice him, sometimes cannibalizing his body. Each year the priests turned from the sacrifice to select a new “god,” repeating the cycle of reverence and destruction.

I wonder what the Aztecs would make of the view in front of me. I am in a sports bar with my family, eating after a walk around town. The other patrons’ eyes mostly rest, enthralled, on the many football games televised before them.

One can’t avoid watching the flatscreens that hang off every wall, or the brutal athleticism they capture. Throughout each play, the players’ heads can be seen as shells traveling at a certain vector, pinballing with oth- ers, sometimes whipping to sudden impacts with the ground. Force equals mass times acceleration. Masses hit each other with high velocities, creating sudden and twisting accelerations, and the forces proportionally rise. No human rule trumps physics.

The high-definition flatscreen TVs show it all, but don’t provide a deeper, more physiological look. Inside a football helmet is a skull, and inside each skull is a free- floating brain. Inside the brain are billions of neurons, chattering with each other in a code we scarcely under- stand, wired to each other with long and slender projec- tions called axons. An internal scaffolding structure holds each axon in place. The axons crisscross the brain, side to side, forwards and backwards, up and down.

As force is applied to the brain, a shockwave rip- ples through. If large enough, the shock tears the axons and can result in catastrophic injury. Smaller forces stun the neurons, their electrical firing decreases, and symptoms of concussion occur. The player may go limp, or stumble and appear unfocused. He is usually amnestic of the event. If the force is milder, none of

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these symptoms may manifest, but the changes are still felt in the long and slender axons. Their supporting scaffolds, on a human scale akin to bridges from San Francisco to Taipei and Perth to Cape Town, experi- ence an earthquake.

Over and over, every head blow stresses the scaf- folding. A protein called tau normally stabilizes the scaffolds, but the tau proteins become dysfunctional, pathologic, then malignant. The tau binds together, twists in on itself, assembles into sharp aggregates that poke holes in the fragile cell wall and kill the neuron. A neuron goes silent, its axonal bridge crumbles. As the brain digests the dead neuron, it leaves behind the twisted skeleton of the tau aggregate, a “tangle.”

Other than the injuries that are so obvious they leave the player unconscious, impaired, or dead, we do not know exactly how harmful low-velocity impacts are. We see the ice above the water — in the form of a stunned and staggering player — but we’re starting to realize how deep the risk extends. Emerging data shows low-force head blows produce tau pathologies. Over time the minor head injuries combine and the tau can turn malig- nant. When enough cells die, symptoms begin. It is now known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). It was “dementia pugilistica” when I was in med school, falsely implying a restriction to boxers, as in the later Rocky movies. Before that it was called “punch drunk.” Just as “shell-shock” came before “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” these are different names for the same prob- lem. It leaves victims with cognitive and emotional derangements, prone to odd behaviors, suicide, and de- mentia. There is no treatment. In the parlance of the announcers, you can’t unring the bell.

Knowing all this, I can hardly watch the game, but I can’t stop myself from watching either. The plays on the bar’s screens are a thrilling combination of grace, toughness, and skill, and the sport is easily seen as a

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metaphor for all that is great in humans. But within this escapism it’s easy to forget that football is only a game, albeit one with real-world sacrifices and consequences.

Consider the case of Owen Thomas, a University of Pennsylvania football player who committed suicide, and whose parents afterward came forward to expose the truth behind the tragedy. Thomas’s brain carried an amount of skeleton tangles that would be expected in mild dementia. His impact burden was small, and he may never have even suffered a concussion, yet at only 21 years of age, his brain showed tangles, which have become the signature injury from repetitive head trau- mas. Tangles are a signature for which football carries a pen full of ink.

From junior-high football and even earlier, boys are told to hit hard. Even though they may never suffer a concussion, they do suffer head blow after head blow. It seems no one is safe, and the level of risk is unknown. Mr. Thomas did not have unique neuropathology; there are other deceased players who have displayed similar symptoms: Chris Henry, John Glenn Grimsley, and Justin Strzelczyk, to name just a few. There are likely to be many more still unrecognized and, judging from the bizarre behavior of others still living, more to come. As of now, the young- est case was an 18-year-old player. It seems the more football players’ brains come under neuropathologists’ microscopes, the more pathology they display.

Perhaps it is wrong to directly compare football to a dead religion that sacrificed young men and ate them. But it is easy to do partially because the Aztecs were honest: one year as an enslaved god, then death. We don’t have the data, so we can’t offer a timeline, or a reasonable cap on concussions, or guess at the probabili- ties of a player losing his mind in the next year, three years, or three decades.

Why not? There is something sacrosanct about the game itself.

It celebrates our ideals of battle and victory. It touches the divine, and not in just the inhuman abilities and sizes of the players. The numbers of fans bear this out. They not only find entertainment; they invest their passions in it. Many fans, in all outward appearances, worship the

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players, and treat the teams as a personal, religious, and tribal brand. Better than discussions with in-laws over Thanksgiving dinner, where all these aphasic dogmas compete, in the matter of football, one clearly wins. Religion, ethnicity, and team are even explicitly linked in some colleges: Go Irish

A touch of the divine may explain why Mr. Thomas’s death and neuropathology have been met with words of no consequence, no change, and certainly no moratorium. Currently the NFL takes “no position” on low-velocity head impacts — impacts that, though they do not cause concussions, can cause CTE. Proposals so far have been designed around a single desire: Do not upset the boat. “Better helmets” are a laughable solution, as if any helmet could eliminate the full inertial force of a charging offensive lineman. Who knows, it might be

paradoxically more sensible to have worse helmets, so the players routinely feel the impact’s force as nature intended, and consequently

modulate their play. Sensors to measure helmet force and accelerations are the best start in a good-faith effort to collect data, but without medical outcomes, the numbers have no context. One NFL study will compare 120 re- tired players with 60 players with no game time. The study’s design is telling: a “placebo” group with nearly the same exposure, chosen to deliver negative results.

There is a “head, neck, and spine committee” that tries to keep things as safe as possible, akin to making a playground safe without getting rid of the hungry Grizzly bears. There is a new, moderately sensible pol- icy about visible concussions: When symptoms surface in a player, that player cannot get on the field for one day, and the player must be examined and cleared by a neurologist before suiting up again.

How like theology it all is. With no effects on low- impact injuries, these words, studies, and positions allow fans to feel better about their revered amusement. The thousands of coaches, vendors, journalists, and merchan- disers turn to their next tasks. Among all those who don’t wear the helmets, there is a serious moral hazard.

In my business, medicine, if a product caused a brain disease or death, then we would immediately work to define the risk. We would get the numbers, quantifying

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A reference to the Fighting Irish, the football team of the Catholic University of Notre Dame. [Editor’s note]

“Better helmets” are a laughable solution.

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how many individuals are harmed compared to how many are exposed or treated. We would quantitatively define any resulting neurological damage and deficits, and try to define safe behavioral thresholds. Finally, we would perform a calculation: Do the risks of the product or behavior in question outweigh its benefits? Medicine is hardly perfect in this regard, and in the places it fails to quantify risk, faith-based reasoning reigns: witness herbal supplements.

But risk can be downplayed, especially if the cul- ture doesn’t want to hear it. Adherents assign infinite benefit to something seen as divine. In relation, any evil can be permitted. Outright denial is the chief danger and most common tactic in the face of anything that might disrupt wishful thinking. A perceived immunity to risk is rarely an actual immunity to risk.

It is temporal distance from the human- sacrificing Aztecs that allows us to find their practice abhorrent, an example of a culture worshiping death and false celebrity. They were unable to elevate their culture out of Stone-Age technologies, unable to address their problems. Because they could not improve themselves with new medicines and new technolo- gies, or put an end to their puny internecine wars, their empire came to an end. Yet they found their behavior reasonable. They were invested in their religion and culture, and found themselves as normal as we find ourselves.

We also declare ourselves different and more civilized than those today who watch dogs fight to the death, and those who in the ancient world watched gladiator death matches. We like to imagine there is a comfortable margin. After all, most of us watch these

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events via divine technology, each of us a modern Zeus, removed from visceral immediacy in the Olympus of our living rooms. But our view is suspect. The TV’s divine eye feeds an unchanged, insatiable, human lust for blood sport, death, and celebrity. When considering the victims, Owen Thomas and others like him, it is difficult to distinguish between their game and those we pretend to be so different.

What is the good? And where does it lie? I do not know. I am not a moral philosopher. Nor am I a fan, nor one whose salary depends upon not understanding football’s risks. I am a neurologist. Perhaps I place too great a value on brains, not enough on selling cars and beer, and not enough on divine amusements.

Other societies display barbarism, which is sup- ported by seemingly sacrosanct cultural inertias. People fight cocks, kill albinos, or mutilate genitals. You can usually find internal efforts to stop these abominations. The efforts seem a far fringe and minority view. This isn’t, however, such a far fringe view for football. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ guideline on concus- sions has this to say, “When in doubt, sit it out.” Most see the wisdom when applied to concussed individuals. Current data introduces doubt into the perceived safety of multiple low-velocity impacts. It is reasonable to apply the same guideline to football in general, from junior high to college and beyond.

I don’t anticipate action, even to sit out developing brains until we know more. Nor do I predict a ban on tackles, a weight limit, or an upper limit of traumatic exposure. What does it say about a society without sup- port for a moratorium or limitations on this game? The silence is unflattering, as millions turn to their TVs.

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Lane Wallace Do Sports Helmets Help or Hurt?

LANE WALLACE is an adventure writer and pilot, who contributes regularly to Sport Aviation magazine and is an honorary member of the United States Air Force Society of Wild Weasels. She has written a number of books, including Flights of Discovery (2006) and Wild Blue Wonders: Exploring the Magic of Flight (2001). Her latest book is Unforgettable: My 10 Best Flights (2009). The following article appeared in the Atlantic in February 2011.

Wallace Do Sports Helmets Help or Hurt?

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 232

After years of too little attention, the subject of head injuries in sports, and how to prevent them, is now what Twitter would call a “trending topic.” First came the turnaround in attitudes toward NFL player head injuries, and the helmet-to-helmet tackles and hits that increase the risk of those injuries. Then came the discus- sion about skier Lindsey Vonn’s continued participation in the World Cup last week, despite clear indications and admissions on her part that she was still skiing behind the course and “in a fog” after suffering a concussion in a training accident. And now, there’s the U.S. lacrosse league debating whether or not the girls — who now only have to wear protective eye gear — should be required to wear helmets as well.

Girls’ lacrosse has dramatically different rules than the boys’ game: body checks are illegal, as are certain stick checks, and there is a regulated safety zone around each girl’s head. Nevertheless, research quoted in a New York Times article1 today concluded that when it comes to concussions, lacrosse ranks third in female sports (behind basketball and soccer). In addition, despite the less- aggressive nature and rules of the girls’ game, girls’ lacrosse has an in-game concussion rate only 15 percent lower than the boys.

Improving safety has had more to do with chang- ing a group’s culture and attitudes about high-risk ac- tivities than with any technological advance. So if concussions are an issue in girls’ lacrosse, the argument goes, we should require girls to wear more protective headgear. After all, the boys’ helmets, intended to reduce skull fracture and in- tracranial bleeding, are thought to reduce the number of concussions, as well.

But does the addition of extra safety gear actually reduce the risk of the injuries it is designed to prevent? Well, yes . . . and no. Which is what fuels the debate on the issue. Taken by itself, it’s easy enough to prove that wearing a helmet, like wearing a seat belt, decreases the chance or severity of injury in an impact. But humans are far more complex creatures than crash test dummies. And so the true impact of safety equipment becomes far more complex, as well.

In his 1995 book Risk,2 British researcher John Adams spelled out several reasons why safety equipment does not always increase safety the way its designers or

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legislators think it will. The first is a phenomenon called “risk compensation,” in which humans respond to additional safety equipment by taking greater risks than they did when they felt less protected. For example, Adams said, while seat belts unquestionably gave a person better protection if they were in a collision, the chances of being in a collision went up in places with seat belt laws, because seat-belted drivers took more risks in how they drove.

For all the time and discussion space we devote to the goal of eliminating accidents or injuries, Adams suggests that people have “risk thermostats,” and that we all adjust our behavior to maintain the level of risk in our lives that we find acceptable. We all compensate for the extra margin provided by safety equipment to some degree, and some of us will push the new boundaries further than others. All of which means that safety equip- ment often doesn’t make as much of a difference as its proponents believe it will.

Indeed, there are many who argue that mandatory helmets, and increasingly strong helmets, have actually exacerbated the problem of head injury in sports rang- ing from boys’ lacrosse and ice hockey to professional football. So perhaps helmets for female lacrosse players really are a bad idea, as U.S. Lacrosse (the sport’s gov- erning body) argues.

So what’s the solution? In many cases, improving safety has had more to do with changing a group’s culture and attitudes about high-risk activities than it does any specific techno- logical advance — especially in in- dividual sports or hobbies.

A prominent example is the Cirrus Design company (a company profiled by James Fallows in his Atlantic article 3 and subsequent book 4 Free Flight). In an effort to build a safer aircraft, Cirrus included a full-airplane para- chute and vastly improved “glass” cockpit displays in its Cirrus airplane. But when the airplane was first intro- duced, it actually had a significantly higher-than-average fatality rate, because pilots — comforted by the extra tech- nology and safety systems — “compensated” by pushing the aircraft into weather they wouldn’t otherwise have undertaken. In the end, the company was able to bring its accident rates down by requiring additional training and working to change the culture of its buyers — at least to some degree.

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Improving safety has had more to do with changing a group’s culture and attitudes about high-risk activities than with any technological advance.

233Understanding the Issue of Compensating Organ Donation

The field of SCUBA diving also vastly reduced its accident rate over several decades by changing its group attitudes toward risk. Once upon a time, diving was a macho sport where the toughest regularly pushed the limits. Today, attitudes about pushing the limits have changed. Dive without a buddy, push your depth or time limits, and a diver today is likely to be seen as stupid, not brave.

Notably, the NFL is now taking a similar approach toward head injuries. Instead of simply improving the cushioning in players’ helmets, the NFL is trying to change the league’s culture, rules and consequences re- lated to hits to the head, or tackles “leading” with a play- er’s helmet. How well that works remains to be seen, of course. But the popular image and standard for what’s “admirable” and “acceptable” in tackling technique has already changed dramatically, even in the breathtakingly short span of a single season.

But girls’ lacrosse already has a restrictive set of rules regarding contact. And most of the concussions its players suffer come from accidental contact and falls, not intentionally aggressive maneuvering. So is it a different case? Could helmets actually make it safer?

“I think helmets encourage you to push the limits of whatever the rules are,” one high school athlete responded, when I asked the question. “If you’re only allowed one

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kind of hit, you’ll hit as hard as you can in that one way. But given that girls’ lacrosse has so many rules restricting contact, [helmets] might actually help.”

Of course, given the complexities of how humans assess and respond to risk, and the fact that lacrosse players are unlikely to be timid or risk-adverse by nature, it’s also a fair bet that whatever safety margin helmets provide would — at best — be narrowed by some amount by compensating behavior on the part of the players. Which means at some point in the future, U.S. Lacrosse, like Cirrus and the NFL, may find itself compensating for that compensation through more complex solutions than the seemingly simple answer of a helmet.

Links

1. Schwarz, Alan. “A Case against Helmets in Lacrosse.” New York Times. New York Times, 16 Feb. 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

2. Adams, John. Risk. London: Routledge, 1995. Print.

3. Fallows, James. “Discouraging News Out of Oshkosh.” Atlantic. The Atlantic Monthly Group, 31 July 2009. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

4. Fallows, James. Free Flight: From Airline Hell to a New Age of Travel. New York: PublicAffairs, 2001. Print.

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Understanding the Issue of Compensating Organ Donors The issue of compensating organ donors is fraught ethically, geopolitically, and economically. Obviously, one needs to have died to donate certain organs, such as the heart, but for other organs, like kidneys, healthy individuals can apparently live a long life after donating. Throughout the world, demand for organs far exceeds the supply. The shortage of organs has led to an international organ trade, sometimes called transplant tourism. A number of nations — including India, Pakistan, and Peru — are commonly known as organ-exporting countries, whereas the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Australia are some of the major organ-importing countries. The ques- tion of whether organ donors should be compensated — and, if so, how — has be- come increasingly heated. In 1999, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, an anthropology profes- sor at the University of California, Berkeley, helped launch Organs Watch, which tracks the global organ market. She also coedited the essay collection Commodifying

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 234

Sally Satel Yuan a Kidney?

SALLY SATEL received a donor kidney in 2006, after living with renal failure for two years. She wrote about her experience in an article published in the New York Times. A psychiatrist, Satel publishes regularly on health care. Her books include When Altruism Isn’t Enough: The Case for Compensating Kidney Donors (2009), The Health Disparity Myth (2006), and One Nation under Therapy (2005). She is a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. The follow- ing article appeared in Slate magazine in 2011.

Bodies (2003), which examines global attitudes and practices about organ donation. There have been several public debates on the issue, such as one aired in 2008 on Na- tional Public Radio and another printed in 2010 in the New York Times Room for De- bate series.

China’s record on organ trafficking is by now a well-known international horror story. The vast majority of organs transplanted each year in Chinese hospitals are taken from executed criminals — and alleg- edly from political detainees, such as members of the Falun Gong; charges that are currently under investiga- tion1 by the U.N. Human Rights Council and Amnesty International. Now, paradoxically, China is proposing forward-thinking transplant policies; commendable laws that, if properly carried out, challenge the status quo and major international health organizations.

China’s black market is why paying patients — citizens as well as foreigners — can get a new kidney or liver in a matter of days or weeks. Such lightning speed is unheard of in countries without black markets in organs; in countries that rely solely on altruistic giving, the wait for a deceased-donor organ is years long. In major cities in the United States, for example, it is not unusual for patients on dialysis to wait eight or 10 years before a kidney becomes available — a wait that only about half can survive.

Last winter, a 26-year-old migrant worker from Hunan made headlines in the Chinese press because he wanted to sell a kidney to pay off gambling debts. A black-market broker promised him 40,000 yuan (about 6,000), but at the last minute the migrant worker got

cold feet. According to the man’s story, the broker then

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took him to a small hospital2 and bound him to an op- erating table, where a nurse sedated him and surgeons removed his left kidney. Authorities are now investigat- ing, but China’s thriving kidney trade makes accounts like these sound quite plausible.

In 2007, China began licensing transplant centers in an effort to raise standards of practice and regulate performance. Only 163 of the more than 600 centers qualified and are now authorized to perform trans- plants, the vice minister of health, Huang Jiefu, told the Lancet in an article published earlier this month.3 Huang, who is regarded as uncommonly open about his aversion to using prisoners as the major source of trans- plantable organs, still acknowledges that the market is far from moribund. Indeed, the same Lancet article notes that transplant specialists in the United States and Europe say they still occasionally see patients who re- port having purchased their transplants in China.

Meanwhile, the need for organs remains vast. The Chinese population itself drives a demand because the country has virtually no culture of altruistic deceased organ donation. Last year, roughly 1.5 million Chinese needed kidneys, livers, lungs, and hearts, but only 10,000 received them — the vast majority through illicit means.

Even in countries with much better records of de- ceased organ donation, the shortfalls are dramatic. In desperation, patients go underground. The World Health

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as nephrologist Gabriel Danovitch of the University of California at Los Angeles has claimed. Prostitution and child pornography — legal or not — debase everyone involved. Organs, by contrast, are the rare trafficked good that saves lives. And if the vendors were able to engage in licit, safe, transparent, and regulated transac- tions, they too could improve their welfare.

But alas, this sensible vision runs afoul of ideology. “Altruism is the bioethical foundation [for obtaining organs],” affirmed a 2009 report by Council of Europe and the United Nations. “Organs should not give rise to financial gain.”

Why not? It is all too easy to romanticize altruism. The “gift of life” is indeed precious. I received it from a friend in 2006. But I am not so naive about my good fortune as to ignore the reality that altruism is not pro- ducing enough organs. Government-sponsored com-

pensation of healthy individuals who are willing to give one of their kidneys to save the life of a dying stranger is the best solution.

In-kind benefits such as those China is consider- ing, paired with lengthy medical screening, would be unattractive to desperate people (who might otherwise rush to donate for a large sum of instant cash). This should allay concerns that poorer citizens would be effectively forced to donate.

But coming from a government that has legiti- mized organ harvesting from detained individuals, China’s proposals may be rejected out of hand by the international medical community. Understandably so. After all, China’s transplant practices are profoundly opaque, with few details on clinical protocols or out- comes published in the medical literature except in the breach.

If China is serious about creating an incentive pro- gram, transparency and accountability will be vital to its integrity and safety. Transactions on a black market are dangerous because they are illicit, not because they are transactions.

A number of countries recognize this and have care- fully modified their laws to permit donor enrichment. Singapore, for example, helps cover health insurance costs for living kidney donors. In Manila, a major transplant center offered business grants and home-improvement packages to donors. That government-approved program lasted four years until 2008, when it was dismantled by

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Organization estimates that 5 to 10 percent of the roughly 60,000 kidney transplant operations performed worldwide each year are obtained in the shady organ bazaars of Northern Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America.

Thus, we face a dual tragedy: On one side, thou- sands of patients who die each year waiting for a kidney; on the other, a human rights fiasco in which corrupt brokers deceive indigent donors about the nature of sur- gery, cheat them out of payment, and ignore their post-surgical needs.

Last month, China’s health ministry announced a proposal that could expand the pool of organs available for transplant surgeries. Huang told the Chinese press that his office was considering several possible incen- tives. These include tax rebates, deduction of transplant- related hospital fees, medical insurance, tuition waivers for donors’ family members, or de- duction of burial fees for people who donated in death.

Unfortunately, much of the international transplant establishment — including the World Health Organization, the Transplantation Society, and the World Medical Association — focuses exclusively on obliterating illicit organ sales. While this may seem like a reasonable approach to abhorrent practices, in reality it is a lethal prescription.

Efforts to stamp out corruption either drive it fur- ther underground or cause unauthorized markets to pop up elsewhere. And the organ trade, like a vampire, is hard to kill. When the Turkish authorities clamped down on illicit sales about six years ago, patients from the Middle East who had traveled there for kidneys re- routed to the Philippines. Then in 2008, the president of the Philippines banned foreigners from receiving transplants. Fewer transplants were conducted with the tragic and predictable trade-off that patients either died or went elsewhere, perhaps to Lima, Peru; Cairo; or Pristina, Kosovo.

Paying for organs is not “opportunistic human cannibalism,”4 as Jeremy Chapman, the past president of the international, Montreal-based Transplantation Society, puts it. The patient is no predator; he is as des- perate to save his life as an impoverished donor is to salvage his own.

Nor are organ sales “a filthy business in the same subcategory as the sex trade and child pornography,”5

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Paying for organs is not “oppor- tunistic human cannibalism.”

Satel Yuan a Kidney?

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 236

the Philippine government under pressure from the World Health Organization.

In Israel, citizens who register to become posthu- mous donors get slight priority on the waiting list for organs, if they ever need one. Israeli families may also now accept up to 13,400 to “memorialize” the de- ceased donor with, for example, a scholarship in his name. More controversially, Iran pays cash to kidney donors. China’s initiative, should it be undertaken with requisite oversight, would be unprecedented in scope and in range of benefits offered to donors.

These countries’ efforts are being studied by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a British ethics think tank that’s pondering how the United Kingdom can in- crease organ donation. It’s considering a broad range of potential actions, from the innocuous (an official “thank you” to the donor) to the audacious (creating a free market in body parts). The council will release its report in the fall.

No one seriously thinks the council will opt for unfettered sales, but the bottom line of any serious consideration is inescapably this: The only way to save lives and starve underground markets abroad is to pro- vide more transplants at home. And the only way to do that is to break radically — and ethically — with a

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status quo that forbids an informed donor to be rewarded for saving the life of a stranger.

Links

1. Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group, “United Nations Human Rights Special Rapporteurs Reiterate Findings on China’s Organ Harvesting from Falun Gong Practitioners.” Information Daily. Egovmonitor.com, 9 May 2008. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

2. Aihua, Wang, Yuchen, Lai, and Di, Wu. “Illegal Organ Deals Strike Fear into Hearts of Chinese.” English.news.cn, inhua, 8 June 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

3. Alcorn, Ted. “China’s Organ Transplant System in Transition.” Lancet. Elsevier Limited, 4 June

6736(11)60794-0 4. Satel, Sally. “Is It Ever Right to Buy or Sell Human

Organs?” New Internationalist. New Internationist, Oct. 2010. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

5. Smith, Michael. “Desperate Americans Buy Kidneys from Peru Poor in Fatal Trade.” Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Bloomberg LP, 12 May 2011. Web. 25 Apr. 2012.

THE NONPROFIT National Kidney Foundation works to prevent kidney disease, pro- mote research and education related to kidney disease, and fund services for those people affected by kidney disease. It publishes the American Journal of Kidney Diseases among other journals and newspapers. The position statement that follows was adopted in 2003 and is posted to the National Kidney Foundation’s Web site.

National Kidney Financial Incentives Foundation for Organ Donation

T he National Kidney Foundation opposes all efforts to legalize payments for human organs for use in transplantation and urges the federal government to retain the prohibition against the purchase of organs that is codified in Title III of the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984.

1 Offering direct or indirect economic benefits in exchange for organ donation is inconsistent with our values as a society. Any attempt to assign a monetary value to the human body, or body parts, either arbi- trarily, or through market forces, diminishes human dignity. By treating the body as property, in the hope of

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increasing organ supply, we risk devaluating the very human life we seek to save. Providing any form of compensation for organs may be an affront to the thou- sands of donor families and living donors who have already made an altruistic gift of life and it could alien- ate Americans who are prepared to donate life-saving organs out of humanitarian concern. In addition, it dis- regards families who are unable to donate organs but do consent to tissue donation.

Offering money for organs can be viewed as an at- tempt to coerce economically disadvantaged Americans to participate in organ donation. Furthermore, since the economically disadvantaged have been shown to be less likely to be organ transplant candidates, financial incentives for organ donation could be characterized as exploitation.

While payment for organs has real potential to undermine the transplant system in this country, its ability to increase the supply of organs for transplantation is questionable. In a recent survey of families who refused to do- nate organs of their loved ones who have died, 92 said that payment would not have persuaded them to donate. Public opinion polls and focus groups have disclosed that many Americans are not inclined to be organ do- nors because they distrust the U.S. health care system, in general, and, in particular, because they are con- cerned that the health care of potential organ donors might be compromised if their donor status were known. A program of financial incentives for organ donation is not likely to change these perceptions and, indeed, may aggravate mistrust. This is true even with the suggested subterfuge of paying the money to fu- neral homes. That strategy would most likely simply raise the price of a funeral without benefiting the fam- ily at all. Making financial incentives available at the time of death opens the possibility of creating new sources of tension and dissension between family members who are faced with the option of organ

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donation. Finally, a program of financial incentives for organ donation could expose transplant recipients to unnecessary risks because living donors and donor families would have an incentive to withhold informa- tion concerning the donor’s health status so that they can be assured a financial benefit.

Proponents of financial incentives for organ dona- tion assert that a demonstration project is necessary to confirm or refute the types of concerns mentioned above. The American Medical Association, the United Network for Organ Sharing and the Ethics Committee of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons have called for pilot studies of financial incentives. Conversely, the National Kidney Foundation maintains that it would not be feasible to design a pilot project that would definitively demonstrate the efficacy of financial incen- tives for organ donation. Moreover, the implementation of a pilot project would have the same corrosive effect

on the ethical, moral and social fabric of this country that a formal change in policy would have. Finally, a demonstration project is objectionable because it will be difficult to revert to an altruistic

system once payment is initiated, even if it becomes evi- dent that financial incentives don’t have a positive im- pact on organ donation.

The National Kidney Foundation believes that payment for organs is wrong. Such a practice should not be started or tested since its negative message could not be undone if, as research indicates, it will not work. The headline “Local Family Offered Money for Loved One’s Organs” should never appear.

The National Kidney Foundation remains com- mitted to doing everything that can rightly be done to alleviate the critical organ shortage. However, better understanding by the public, better practices from med- ical and procurement professionals, better organ preserving-care for post-transplant patients and in- creased living donation will help, not money. Any at- tempt to pay families to say yes is wrong.

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The National Kidney Foundation believes that payment for organs is wrong.

National Kidney Foundation Financial Incentives for Organ Donation

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 238

Scott Carney Inside the Business of Selling Human Body Parts

SCOTT CARNEY, an investigative journalist, has published articles in publications from Mother Jones to Foreign Policy. His work often focuses on South Asia, including India, which he first visited as a college student in 1998. The following information, which appeared in more visual form in Wired magazine, is based on research for his book The Red Market (2011).

I s the human body sacred? Or is it a commodity ready to be chopped up and exposed to the forces of supply and demand? The answer is a matter of perspec- tive. Our own body is a temple. But when we need a spare part, suddenly we’re surprisingly open to a transaction. To a person looking for a kidney, a scientist trying to learn anatomy, a beauty parlor customer looking for the perfect ’do, there’s no substitute for a piece of someone else.

The problem is, demand for replacement flesh grossly outstrips supply. In the US and like-minded coun- tries, it’s illegal to sell body parts1 — they can be taken only from those who filled out a donor card before they died or who are willing to give up an organ out of sheer benevolence. This means there isn’t enough tissue to go around. So, as with any outlawed or heavily regulated resource, a bustling underground trade has formed.

Sometimes the market in body parts is exploitive: Desperate people are paid tiny sums for huge dona- tions. Other times it is ghoulish: Pieces are stolen from the recently dead. And every so often, the resource grab is lethal — people are simply killed for their organs. Welcome to the red market.

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BLOOD

Price India (per pint) 25

U.S. (per pint) 337

Source Legal Blood donors

Illegal Paid blood donors, blood farmers

Description: Until the 1970s, for-profit blood- collection centers were located in almost every poor neighborhood, somewhat like payday loan centers are today. This changed after a study showed that paid donations encourage lax standards. As a result, the rules were modified and blood and organs can no longer be sold. At least not here. In the developing world, there are still profits to be made. In 2008, blood thieves in India were busted for keeping people prisoner and milking their blood up to three times a week. Some captives had been held for more than two years.

1 Major, Rupert W. L. “Paying Kidney Donors: Time to Follow Iran?” McGill Journal of Medicine. 11 (1): 67–69. Web.

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HAIR

Price 308

Average U.S. retail (for a set of extensions)

Source Legal Indian temples, donations, direct sales

Illegal

Description: Every year, millions of pounds of hair are given to the Lord Venkateswara at the Tirumala temple in South India. The temple sells these donations to the West, where they become raw material for the US hair-extension industry. Indian hair is valued for its length and the fact that the average Indian doesn’t use damaging products. The temple makes about 12 million a year in sales, which translates to hundreds of millions at the salon level. There are also secondary markets for human hair. Lesser manes, for example, are sent to factories and boiled down into enzymes that help soften the dough of many baked goods.

CORNEAS

Price 24,400

Implanted (in the U.S.)

Source Legal Deceased donors

Illegal Mortuaries

Description: Corneas are relatively easy to transplant and easy to ship. This makes for a brisk international market, and cryo packages zip across the globe to needy eyeballs everywhere. Donation rates exceed demand in the US, so we are actually a net exporter of corneas. But overseas, the market is far from orderly. In 2001, a former Chinese surgeon testified before the US Congress that he had harvested hundreds of corneas (along with kidneys and skin) from more than a hundred executed Chinese prisoners. The United Nations has discussed trying to put an end to interna- tional organ brokering, but so far the global market remains unregulated.

2 Edwards, Steven. “Adult Stem Cells Regenerate Liver Tissue.” Wired. Condé Nast, 27 Mar. 2007. Web. 26 June 2012.

HEARTS

Price Legal 997,700

Illegal 119,000

Source Legal Deceased donors

Illegal Chinese prisoners

Description: Black-market heart transplants are extremely rare, if only because putting in a new ticker requires a state-of-the-art medical facility, and these tend to be highly fastidious about organ donation. While one hospital manager in Saudi Arabia told Wired that there’s a black market for transplants in that country, there is no evidence of an actual operation ever taking place. The few known nonconsensual donations that do occur once again tend to come from Chinese prisoners and Falun Gong practitioners, according to the UN.

LIVERS

Price Legal 557,100

Illegal 157,000

Source Legal Living donors, deceased donors

Illegal Executed prisoners, Filipino slum dwellers

Description: The liver is amazingly resilient;2 even a badly damaged one can fully regenerate on its own. But when there’s an excessive buildup of scar tissue, a person will need a transplant. The good news is that a patient may not need a whole new organ: Because of the liver’s fortitude, just a healthy lobe may be enough. This means living donors are possible. The bad news is that, for the living donor, recovery can be excruciating, so donors aren’t com- mon. Executed Chinese prisoners are one source of black-market livers. Or organ brokers can set you up in the Philippines, where illicit donations likely come from those desperate for cash.

Carney Inside the Business of Selling Human Body Parts

CHAPTER 5 Finding Common Ground 240

KIDNEYS

Price India 15,000

China 62,000

U.S. 262,900

Source Legal Living donors, deceased donors

Illegal Paid donors, executed prisoners

Description: Don’t have years to wait for a kidney in the US? Finding an international source is easy. In fact, two US insurance companies will some- times even pay for you to go abroad. Outside the US, however, a kidney’s origin can be difficult to discern. According to a Council of Europe report, for example, a clinic with ties to senior Kosovo offi- cials engaged in an organ harvesting ring as recently as 2008. And in China, an investigation found that people on death row are routinely tested, typed, and held for on-demand “donations.” Then there are India, Pakistan, and Indonesia, where slum dwell- ers are lured into selling their innards for a pittance.

WOMB RENTALS

Price India 20,000–30,000

U.S. 80,000–150,000

Source Legal Fertility clinics

Illegal Fertility clinics

Description: India — the outsourcing capital of the world — is the go-to place for getting someone else to grow you a child. Tucked away in an industrial dairy town in Gujarat, for example, the Akanksha Infertility Clinic offers a complete surrogacy pro- gram for just 23,000 — a fraction of what people pay in the West. The clinic achieves a surprisingly high success rate by transferring five or six embryos to women who sign up for the program (sometimes resulting in sets of twins and the prenatal develop- mental complications they entail) and by keeping the surrogates on lockdown for the nine months that they gestate.

PLASTINATES

Price 45,730–77,560 per body

Source Legal Donated cadavers

Illegal Chinese prisoners

Description: In the late 1970s, Gunther von Hagens revolutionized the study of anatomy by changing the way specimens were prepared. Instead of immersing dead bodies in a preservative, he replaced their fat and water with polymer, turning corpses into plastic statues. Plastination exposed the body’s internal structures and greatly enhanced researchers’ ability to study them. It also led to several traveling exhibition shows. An inves- tigation into those shows revealed that many bodies were likely coming from executed prisoners.

EGGS

Price U.S. 12,400 per IVF cycle (in the U.S.)

Source Legal Egg donors

Illegal Egg sellers

Description: Egg donation is legal in the US, but getting one (or more) is going to cost you in fees and hospital charges. That said, would-be buyers can also look abroad for deals. The Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus is one destination with a burgeoning illegal trade in human eggs. Clinics there have flown in impoverished women from Russia and Ukraine for aggressive egg harvesting, returning them before complications can arise. The deal can save a client up to 40 percent on in vitro fertilization services. Other egg-harvesting programs in Romania, Spain, and Israel offer similar deals.

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SKIN

Price 10 per square inch

Source Legal Deceased donors

Illegal Mortuaries

Description: If a burn or an ulcer leaves a hole in your body that’s too big to stitch, the best option is to patch it up with extra skin — preferably your own. In a pinch, however, someone else’s will do. There aren’t a lot of people willing to donate living skin, so most grafts are taken from dead bodies — either legally from organ donors or, like ligaments and bone, illegally from funeral parlors. The danger of cadaver harvesting is that the skin is not always as sanitary as it should be. In the Biomedical Tissue Services case, workers hacked at body after body without washing their hands, sending poten- tially infected samples to tissue banks.

SKELETONS

Price 2,993–5,500

Source Legal Donated cadavers

Illegal Indian graves

Description: There was a time when every doctor in training received a full set of human bones along with their first-year textbooks. These bones usually came from Calcutta, which produced almost 60,000 skeletons a year. But in 1985 the practice of exporting human parts was banned, and there aren’t a lot of good, legal sources of medical skele- tons anymore. Today, black-market skeletons pilfered from graves in India are cleaned in acid baths, smuggled out of the country, and sold at a premium through brokers in Canada.

LIGAMENTS AND BONES

Price 5,465 for an ACL reconstruction

Source Legal Deceased donors

Illegal Mortuaries

Description: Most organs become useless soon after the owner dies. The key exceptions are liga- ments and bone. Funeral parlors in the US have been implicated in stealing these less perishable body parts and selling them without permission to tissue banks. According to a recent criminal investi- gation, for example, between 2004 and 2005 a com- pany named Bio medical Tissue Services illicitly harvested 244 bodies from Philadelphia mortuaries. Since tissue banks are not set up to monitor whether parts come from fraudulent sources, it is difficult to know how many donation recipients carry contraband inside their bodies.

Carney Inside the Business of Selling Human Body Parts

242

IN COLLEGE COURSES For a law and society course, a student writes an essay analyzing racial discrep- ancies in sentencing, especially in death-penalty cases. She cites studies that have found, surprisingly, that the race of the murder victim, not the perpetrator, is the crucial factor: If the victim is white, the defendant is more likely to receive the death sentence. Based on her research, she argues that the main reason for this disparity is due not to the decision of the jury but to the decision of prosecutors who seek the death penalty more often when the murder victim is white. She concludes that although there is no evidence that sentencing decisions are racially discriminatory, outcomes often are, and this fact makes people think the justice system is unjust.

6 Arguing a Position Because of the in-your-face kind of

arguing in blogs and on talk shows,

you may associate arguing to support

your position on a controversial issue

with quarreling. Although this kind

of “argument” lets people vent strong

feelings, it seldom leads them to consider

seriously other points of view or to think

critically about their own reasons or

underlying values. A more thoughtful,

deliberative kind of position argument,

one that depends on a critical analysis

of an issue, on giving logical reasons

rather than raising voices, is more likely

to convince others in the workplace,

in the community, and especially in

college courses to accept—or even to take

seriously—a controversial position.

243

IN THE WORKPLACE At a business conference, a consultant makes a presentation arguing that adopting sustainable business practices is good for business. He displays poll results showing that two-thirds of businesses see sustainability as a necessity to compete in the global marketplace — up more than 50 percent from the previous year — and that a third increased profits as a direct result of their sustainability efforts. Citing several examples, he shows how companies can develop a strategic sustainability plan such as by changing performance reviews or compensation packages to reward employees who implement sustainability practices and achieve goals. He concludes by urging audience members to log on to his blog to read inspiring examples and to add their own.

IN THE COMMUNITY In an open letter, a group of parents asks the school board to institute a Peacemakers program at the local middle school. The group’s impassioned letter begins with anecdotal reports of bullying at the school to underscore the need for action and to appeal to board members’ compassion. It then describes the Peacemakers program and details the negotiation procedure children are taught. It acknowledges that the program will add to the school’s budget, but it claims that the negotiation skills the children will learn will help them now and throughout their lives.

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 244

In this chapter, we ask you to write about your position on a controversial issue for the purpose of convincing readers to adopt your point of view or at least to consider it seriously. Analyzing the selections in the Guide to Reading that follows, you will learn how writers engage their readers’ attention and make a compelling argument. As you read, consider whether visuals would help readers more fully grasp the issue or accept the position.

PRACTICING THE GENRE

Debating a Position To get a sense of what’s involved in arguing a position, get together with two or three students to discuss an issue you have strong feelings about. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Part 1. As a group, think of a college issue you all know and care about, or choose one from the following list:

Should admission to college be based solely on high school grade point average?

Should there be a community service requirement for graduation from college?

Should college students be required to take courses outside of their major?

Should the federal government subsidize everyone’s college education?

Should drinking alcohol on college campuses be permitted?

Should college athletes be paid?

First, identify your purpose and audience: Is your goal to convince readers to change their minds, confirm their opinions, or move them to action? Who constitutes your audience— college administrators, parents, or fellow students—and what values or interests do you think they will find most important? What values or interests are most important to you?

Second, divide into two teams—those in favor and those opposed (at least, for this activity)—and take a few minutes to think of reasons why your audience should accept your position.

Third, take turns presenting your argument.

Part 2. Reflect on what you learned, and discuss these questions in your group:

How did clarifying your purpose and knowing whether you were addressing adminis- trators, parents, or students affect which reasons you used and how you presented them?

Why did you expect your audience to find these particular reasons convincing?

Your instructor may ask you to write about what you learned and present your conclusions to the rest of the class.

245

GUIDE TO READING

Analyzing Position Arguments

ing views, and organize their writing will also help you see how you can employ these techniques to make your own position argument clear and compelling for your readers.

Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. Although arguing a position helps writers clarify their own reasons for taking that

tion arguments that follow, ask yourself these questions about the writer’s purpose and audience:

What seems to be the writer’s main purpose in arguing for a position — for example, to change readers’ minds by convincing them to look at the issue in a

guments, to move readers to take action by stressing the urgency or seriousness of the issue, or to remind readers what is at stake and establish common ground on which people might be able to agree?

What does the writer assume about the audience — for example, that audience members are already knowledgeable about the issue, that they will be only mildly interested and need to be inspired to care about the issue, or that they have strong convictions and are likely to have serious objections to the writer’s position?

Assess the genre’s basic features.

ments use the genre’s basic features. The strategies position writers typically use to make a convincing case are illustrated below with examples from the readings in this chapter as well as sentence strategies you can experiment with later, as you write your own position argument.

Read fi rst to see how the issue is presented and to determine whether it is clearly focused and well presented, given the writer’s purpose and original audience. To identify the issue, look at the title and the opening paragraphs. The title of Daniel J. Solove’s position argument (pp. 266–67), for example, identifi es both the topic and his position:

Why Privacy Matters Even If You Have “Nothing to Hide”

For current, hotly debated issues, the title may be enough to identify the issue for readers, and writers may use their opening paragraphs merely to remind readers

tence pattern like this:

When [issue/event] happens, most people think , but I think .

Topic

Position

245

Basic Features A Focused, W Issue

A W Position

An Effective Response to Opposing Views

A C Logical O

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 246

For example, Solove uses this strategy in his position paper about privacy:

When the government gathers or analyzes personal information, many people say . . . (par. 1)

His “but I think . . .” response to the common view takes up the bulk of the essay. When writers know the issue will be unfamiliar to their audience, they need to

establish its significance, as student Jessica Statsky does in her position essay:

“Organized sports for young people have become an institution in North America,” reports sports journalist Steve Silverman, attracting more than 44 million youngsters according to a recent survey by the National Council of Youth Sports (“History”). (par. 1)

To establish the significance of the issue, Statsky quotes a respected authority and also cites statistics.

To present their positions effectively, writers must focus on a specific aspect of their issue, one they can address fully in the space allowed. An issue like the death penalty, for example, is too complex to be tackled fully in a relatively brief space. So writers must focus on one aspect of the issue. A writer taking a position on the death penalty might address the more specific question of whether race influences prosecu- tors to seek the death penalty, as does the student in the In College Courses scenario on page 242. Similarly, Richard Estrada addresses the complex issue of racial stereo- typing by focusing on sports mascots (pp. 255–57).

Also consider how the writer frames the issue. Framing an issue is like cropping and resizing a photograph to focus the viewer’s eye on one part of the picture (see Figure 6.1). Writers typically frame the issue in a way that sets the stage for their argu- ment and promotes their point of view, usually by suggesting that particular values are at stake or by raising in readers’ minds certain concerns. As you read, notice how each writer frames the issue, asking yourself questions like these:

Who does the writer associate with each position, and how does the writer charac- terize their views? For example, does one side appear thoughtful, moderate, and knowledgeable, and the other side extreme, unreasonable, or self-interested? What does the writer suggest is really at stake, and for whom?

How does the way the writer frames the issue affect your own thinking about it? If the issue was unfamiliar to you before read- ing the essay, what did the writer lead you to think and feel about it? If you were already familiar with the issue, which of your preconceptions were reinforced and which were challenged by the writer’s way of framing the issue?

FIGURE 6.1 Framing an issue. By cropping this photo- graph of a protest march to focus on the little boy, the photographer’s message is softened when framed in terms of saving the planet for this child.

247GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Analyzing Position Arguments

A WELL-SUPPORTED POSITION

To argue effectively, writers need to assert an arguable position — that is, an opinion, not a fact that can be proved or disproved or a belief taken on faith — that can be supported with convincing reasons and trustworthy evidence. Read first to identify the position, usually declared in a thesis statement early in the essay. Then determine whether the position is clear and appropriately qualified (for example, using words like may and specifying conditions). Notice, for example, how Jessica Statsky states her thesis:

When overzealous parents and coaches impose adult standards on children’s sports, the result can be activities that are neither satisfying nor beneficial to children.

I am concerned about all organized sports activities for children between the ages of six and twelve. (pars. 1–2)

Then examine the main reasons and the evidence the writer provides, making sure that the reasons clearly support the writer’s position and that the evidence (such as statistics, research studies, or authorities) is credible. (Writers of position argu- ments often forecast the reasons they will develop; to see how Statsky does this, see the section that follows on organization.) Look for sentence strategies like these that in- troduce supporting reasons:

What makes [problematic/praiseworthy] is .

EXAMPLE What makes naming teams after ethnic groups . . . reprehensible is that politically impotent groups continue to be targeted, while politically powerful ones who bite back are left alone. (Estrada, par. 11)

Because , I [support/oppose] .

EXAMPLE This statistic illustrates another reason I oppose competitive sports for children: because they are so highly selective, very few children get to participate. (Statsky, par. 7)

The following examples demonstrate some approaches to introducing supporting evidence:

24 percent . . . worked . . . five to seven days. . . . There is just no way such amounts of work will not interfere with school work, especially homework. In an informal survey . . . , 58 percent of seniors acknowledged that their jobs interfere with their school work. (Etzioni, par. 13)

Leonard Koppett in Sports Illusion, Sports Reality claims that . . . , sometimes resulting in lifelong injuries (294). (Statsky, par. 3)

Position arguments are most convincing when writers are able to appeal to read- ers on three levels:

Logos: Appeal to readers’ intellect, presenting them with logical reasoning and reliable evidence.

Ethos: Appeal to readers’ perception of the writer’s credibility and fairness. Pathos: Appeal to readers’ values and feelings.

Qualifying terms

Position

Reason

Position

Reason

Statistics

Reason

Authority

Reason

To learn more about evaluating sources, see Chapter 12.

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 248

When reading a position argument (or writing your own), consider how well the writer has used these appeals. Ask yourself questions like these: Is the argument logi- cal and reasonable (logos)? Does the writer appear credible and trustworthy (pathos)? Are the values and feelings sincere or manipulative (ethos)?

AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO OPPOSING VIEWS

An effective argument anticipates readers’ objections and opposing arguments and refutes or concedes them. Writers refute (argue against) opposing views when they can show that the opposing view is weak or flawed. A typical refutation states the problem with the opposing view and then explains why the view is problematic, us- ing sentence strategies like these:

One problem with [opposing view] is that .

Some claim [opposing view], but in reality .

Notice that writers often introduce the refutation with a transition that indicates con- trast, such as but, although, nevertheless, or however:

Yet another problem with government gathering and use of personal data is distortion. Although personal information can reveal quite a lot about people’s personalities and activities, it often fails to reflect the whole person. It can paint a distorted picture. (Solove, par. 14)

Writers may also concede (accept) valid objections, concerns, or reasons. A typical way of conceding is to use sentence strategies like these:

I agree that .

is certainly an important factor.

Here is an example from Jessica Statsky’s essay (pp. 250–55):

Some children want to play competitive sports; they are not being forced to play. These children are eager to learn skills, to enjoy the camaraderie of the team, and earn self-respect by trying hard to benefit their team. I acknowledge that some children may benefit from playing competitive sports. (par. 12)

Conceding a strong opposing view reassures readers that the writer shares their val- ues and builds a bridge of common concerns.

Frequently, though, writers reach out to readers by making a concession but then go on to point out where they differ. We call this the concession-refutation move. Writers making the concession-refutation move often employ sentence patterns like these, which include transitions that indicate contrast, like but, although, nevertheless, or however, to indicate that an exception or refinement is coming.

may be true for , but not for .

Although , I think .

insists that . Nevertheless, in spite of her good intentions, .

Transition

Refutation

Concession

To learn more about constructing an argument, see Chapter 19.

249GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Analyzing Position Arguments

Here’s an example:

By no means were such names originally meant to disparage Native Americans. The noble symbols of the Redskins or college football’s Florida State Seminoles or the Illinois Illini are meant to be strong and proud. Yet, ultimately, the practice of using a people as mascots is dehumanizing. (Estrada, par. 4)

While reading position arguments, assess the effectiveness of the responses:

Do the concessions seem significant or trivial, genuine or insincere? Do they add to or detract from the writer’s credibility (ethos)?

Do the refutations appeal to shared values (pathos) or question readers’ priori- ties? Do they offer compelling reasons and credible evidence (logos) or simply make unsubstantiated assertions? Do they draw on authorities whose expertise is established (ethos) or merely refer vaguely to “some” or “many” people with whom they agree? Do they misrepresent the opposition (committing a straw man fallacy) or attack people personally (committing an ad hominem fallacy)?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION

When reading a position argument, first look for a thesis statement that directly asserts the writer’s position. For example, Amitai Etzioni begins with an alarming sentence that states in a surprising way what he goes on to clarify in the next sentence:

McDonald’s is bad for your kids. I do not mean the flat patties and the white-flour buns; I refer to the jobs teen-agers undertake, mass-producing these choice items. (par. 1)

In addition to asserting the thesis, writers sometimes preview the reasons in the same order they will bring them up later in the essay, as in this example of a forecasting state- ment by Jessica Statsky:

. . . too often played to adult standards, which are developmentally inappropriate for children and can be both physically and psychologically harmful. Furthermore, because they . . . , they are actually counterproductive for developing either future players or fans. Finally, because they . . . provide occasions for some parents and coaches to place their own fantasies and needs ahead of children’s welfare. (par. 2)

Notice also where the writer uses logical transitions: to indicate supporting evidence (because), exceptions (however), concessions (admittedly), refutations (on the other hand), or conclusions (therefore) as well as to list reasons (first, finally). Transitions may be useful in a forecasting statement, as in the preceding example, or in the topic sentence of a paragraph or group of paragraphs, as in the following examples from Solove’s position argument:

One such harm, for example, . . . Another potential problem with . . . is . . . A related problem involves. . . . Yet another problem. . . . (pars. 11–14)

Finally, check for logical fallacies — such as oversimplifying, personal attack (ad hominem), slanting, and false analogy.

Concession

Refutation

Transition

Reason 1

Reason 2

Reason 3

To learn more about logical fallacies, see Chapter 19, pp. 620–21.

To learn more about these cues, see Chapter 13, pp. 555–58.

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 250

THIS ESSAY by Jessica Statsky about children’s competitive sports was written for a col lege composition course. When you were a child, you may have had experience playing competitive sports, in or out of school, for example in Peewee Football, Little League Baseball, American Youth Soccer, or some other organization. Or you may have had rela tives or friends who were deeply involved in sports. As you read, consider the following:

value placed on having a good time, learning to get along with others, developing athletic skills, or something else altogether?

class blog or discussion board or to bring them to class.

Jessica Statsky Children Need to Play, Not Compete

Readings

To see how Jessica Statsky developed her response to readers’ likely objections, see A Writer at Work on pp. 292–94. If you could have given Statsky advice in a peer review of her drafts, what objections would you have advised her to respond to, and how do you think she could have responded?

“Organized sports for young people have become an institution in North

America,” reports sports journalist Steve Silverman, attracting more than 44 million

youngsters according to a recent survey by the National Council of Youth Sports

(“History”). Though many adults regard Little League Baseball and Peewee Football

as a basic part of childhood, the games are not always joyous ones. When

overzealous parents and coaches impose adult standards on children’s sports, the

result can be activities that are neither satisfying nor beneficial to children.

I am concerned about all organized sports activities for children between the

ages of six and twelve. The damage I see results from noncontact as well as contact

sports, from sports organized locally as well as those organized nationally. Highly

organized competitive sports such as Peewee Football and Little League Baseball

are too often played to adult standards, which are developmentally inappropriate

for children and can be both physically and psychologically harmful. Furthermore,

because they eliminate many children from organized sports before they are ready to

compete, they are actually counterproductive for developing either future players or

fans. Finally, because they emphasize competition and winning, they unfortunately

provide occasions for some parents and coaches to place their own fantasies and

needs ahead of children’s welfare.

1

2

Basic Features A Focused,

An Effective Response to Opposing Views

A Clear, Logical Organization

How does Statsky present the issue in a way that prepares readers for her argument?

What reasons does she forecast here, and in which paragraphs does she dis cuss each reason? Do her reasons appeal primarily to readers’ intellect (logos), to their sense of fairness and what’s credible (pathos), or to their feelings (ethos)?

How does she qualify her position in par. 2?

251GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Statsky Children Need to Play, Not Compete

One readily understandable danger of overly competitive sports is that they

entice children into physical actions that are bad for growing bodies. “There is a

growing epidemic of preventable youth sports injuries,” according to the STOP

Sports Injuries campaign. “Among athletes ages 5 to 14, 28 percent of football

players, 25 percent of baseball players, 22 percent of soccer players, 15 percent of

basketball players, and 12 percent of softball players were injured while playing their

respective sports.” Although the official Little League Web site acknowledges that

children do risk injury playing baseball, it insists that “severe injuries . . .

are infrequent,” the risk “far less than the risk of riding a skateboard, a bicycle, or

even the school bus” (“What about My Child?”). Nevertheless, Leonard Koppett in

Sports Illusion, Sports Reality

ball, for example, may put abnormal strain on developing arm and shoulder muscles,

sometimes resulting in lifelong injuries (294). Contact sports like football can be

even more hazardous. Thomas Tutko, a psychology professor at San Jose State

University and coauthor of the book Winning Is Everything and Other American Myths,

writes:

I am strongly opposed to young kids playing tackle football. It is not the

right stage of development for them to be taught to crash into other kids.

Kids under the age of fourteen are not by nature physical. Their main

into each other. But tackle football absolutely requires that they try to hit

each other as hard as they can. And it is too traumatic for young kids.

(qtd. in Tosches A1)

As Tutko indicates, even when children are not injured, fear of being hurt

detracts from their enjoyment of the sport. The Little League Web site ranks fear

of injury as the seventh of seven reasons children quit (“What about My Child?”).

explained, “The kids get so

scared. They get hit once and they don’t want anything to do with football anymore.

They’ll sit on the bench and pretend their leg hurts . . . ” (qtd. in Tosches A1). Some

children are driven to even more desperate measures. For example, in one Peewee

Football game, a reporter watched the following scene as a player took himself out

of the game:

3

4

Why do you think she uses block quotations instead of integrating these quotes into her own sentences?

How does Statsky try to establish the credibility of her sources in pars. 3–5 (ethos)?

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 252

“Coach, my tummy hurts. I can’t play,” he said. The coach told the player

to get back onto the field. “There’s nothing wrong with your stomach,” he

his throat and made himself vomit. When the coach turned back, the boy

pointed to the ground and told him, “Yes there is, coach. See?” (Tosches A33)

Besides physical hazards and anxieties, competitive sports pose psychological

dangers for children. Martin Rablovsky, a former sports editor for the New York Times,

says that in all his years of watching young children play organized sports, he has

practice scrimmage become somber and serious when the coach’s whistle blows,”

Rablovsky says. “The spirit of play suddenly disappears, and sport becomes joblike”

(qtd. in Coakley 94). The primary goal of a professional athlete — winning — is not

appropriate for children. Their goals should be having fun, learning, and being with

friends. Although winning does add to the fun, too many adults lose sight of what

matters and make winning the most important goal. Several studies have shown

that when children are asked whether they would rather be warming the bench on

a winning team or playing regularly on a losing team, about 90 percent choose the

latter (Smith, Smith, and Smoll 11).

Winning and losing may be an inevitable part of adult life, but they should

not be part of childhood. Too much competition too early in life can affect a child’s

development. Children are easily influenced, and when they sense that their compe

tence and worth are based on their ability to live up to their parents’ and coaches’

high expectations — and on their ability to win — they can become discouraged and

depressed. Little League advises parents to “keep winning in perspective” (“Your

Role”), noting that the most common reasons children give for quitting, aside from

change in interest, are lack of playing time, failure and fear of failure, disapproval

by significant others, and psychological stress (“What about My Child?”). According

to Dr. Glyn C. Roberts, a professor of kinesiology at the Institute of Child Behavior

and Development at the University of Illinois, 80 to 90 percent of children who play

competitive sports at a young age drop out by sixteen (Kutner).

dren: because they are so highly selective, very few children get to participate. Far

5

6

7 How effective do you think Statsky’s argument in par. 7 is? Why?

How does Statsky try to refute this objection?

253GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Statsky Children Need to Play, Not Compete

too soon, a few children are singled out for their athletic promise, while many

others, who may be on the verge of developing the necessary strength and

ability, are screened out and discouraged from trying out again. Like adults,

children fear failure, and so even those with good physical skills may stay away

players who with some encouragement and experience might have become stars.

importance to having a winning team than to developing children’s physical skills

Indeed, it is no secret that too often scorekeeping, league standings, and the

drive to win bring out the worst in adults who are more absorbed in living out their

own fantasies than in enhancing the quality of the experience for children (Smith,

Smith, and Smoll 9). Recent newspaper articles on children’s sports contain plenty of

horror stories. Los Angeles Times reporter Rich Tosches, for example, tells the story

a result of the brawl, which began when a parent from one team confronted a player

from the other team, the teams are now thinking of hiring security guards for future

games. Another example is provided by a Los Angeles Times editorial about a Little

League manager who intimidated the opposing team by setting fire to one of their

team’s jerseys on the pitcher’s mound before the game began. As the editorial writer

commented, the manager showed his young team that “intimidation could substitute

for playing well” (“The Bad News”).

Although not all parents or coaches behave so inappropriately, the seriousness

of the problem is illustrated by the fact that Adelphi University in Garden City, New

York, offers a sports psychology workshop for Little League coaches, designed to

balance their “animal instincts” with “educational theory” in hopes of reducing the

“screaming and hollering,” in the words of Harold Weisman, manager of sixteen Little

ing workshop, coaches learn how to make practices more fun, treat injuries, deal

with irate parents, and be “more sensitive to their young players’ fears, emotional

frailties, and need for recognition.” Little League is to be credited with recognizing

the need for such workshops.

8

9

In criticizing some parents’ behavior in pars. 8–9, Statsky risks alienating her readers. How effective is this part of her argument?

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 254

Some parents would no doubt argue that children cannot start too soon prepar

After all, secondary schools and

colleges require students to compete for grades, and college admission is extremely

competitive. And it is perfectly obvious how important competitive skills are in

finding a job. Yet the ability to cooperate is also important for success in life.

Before children are psychologically ready for competition, maybe we should empha

size cooperation and individual performance in team sports rather than winning.

Many people are ready for such an emphasis. In 1988, one New York Little League

—but parents wouldn’t support him (Schmitt). An innovative

children’s sports program in New York City, City Sports for Kids, emphasizes fitness,

the floor, rather than ten feet, and a player can score a point just by hitting the rim

(Bloch). I believe this kind of local program should replace overly competitive programs

like Peewee Football and Little League Baseball. As one coach explains, significant

improvements can result from a few simple rule changes, such as including every player

in the batting order and giving every player, regardless of age or ability, the opportunity

to play at least four innings a game (Frank).

Some children want to play competitive sports; they are not being forced to

play. These children are eager to learn skills, to enjoy the camaraderie of the team,

children may benefit from playing competitive sports. While some children do benefit

from these programs, however, many more would benefit from programs that avoid

the excesses and dangers of many competitive sports programs and instead empha

size fitness, cooperation, sportsmanship, and individual performance.

Works Cited

“The Bad News Pyromaniacs?” Editorial. Los Angeles Times 16 June 1990: B6.

LexisNexis. Web. 16 May 2008.

Bloch, Gordon B. “Thrill of Victory Is Secondary to Fun.” New York Times 2 Apr. 1990,

late ed.: C12. LexisNexis. Web. 14 May 2008.

Coakley, Jay J. Sport in Society: Issues and Controversies. St. Louis: Mosby, 1982. Print.

10

11

12How effectively does Statsky conclude her argument?

Are Statsky’s sources adequate to support her position, in number and kind? Has she documented them clearly and accurately?

How effective is Statsky’s use of concession and refutation here?

255GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Estrada Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names

Frank, L. “Contributions from Parents and Coaches.” CYB Message Board. AOL, 8 July

1997. Web. 14 May 2008.

Koppett, Leonard. Sports Illusion, Sports Reality. Boston: Houghton, 1981. Print.

Kutner, Lawrence. “Athletics, through a Child’s Eyes.” New York Times 23 Mar. 1989,

late ed.: C8. LexisNexis. Web. 15 May 2008.

Schmitt, Eric. “Psychologists Take Seat on Little League Bench.” New York Times

14 Mar. 1988, late ed.: B2. LexisNexis. Web. 14 May 2008.

Silverman, Steve. “The History of Youth Sports.” Livestrong.com. Demand Media,

Inc., 26 May 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2011.

Smith, Nathan, Ronald Smith, and Frank Smoll. Kidsports: A Survival Guide for

Parents. Reading: Addison, 1983. Print.

STOPSportsInjuries.org. American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, n.d. Web.

10 Dec. 2011.

Tosches, Rich. “Peewee Football: Is It Time to Blow the Whistle?” Los Angeles Times 3

Dec. 1988: A1+. LexisNexis. Web. 22 May 2008.

“What about My Child?” Little League Online. Little League Baseball, Incorporated,

1999. Web. 30 May 2008.

“Your Role as a Little League Parent.” Little League Online. Little League Baseball,

Incorporated, 1999. Web. 30 May 2008.

For an additional student reading, go to

bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/epages.

RICHARD ESTRADA minded commentator on immigration and social issues. He was the associate editor of the Dallas Morning News editorial page and a syndi cated columnist whose essays appeared regularly in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and other major newspapers. Before joining the Dallas Morning News in 1988, Estrada worked as a congressional staff member and as a researcher at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C. In the 1990s, he was appointed to the U.S.

Richard Estrada Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 256

Commission on Immigration Reform. The Richard Estrada Fellowship in Immigration Studies was established in his honor following his death in 1999.

In this essay, Estrada addresses the issue of whether sports teams should use names and images associated with Native Americans. Some schools (like Stanford) changed their team’s name voluntarily. In 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) required colleges to evaluate the potential offensiveness of their team name, symbol, or mascot and to get permission from the affected group. But in some regions the issue remains controversial: In North Dakota, for example, the state university tried to drop its Fighting Sioux moniker; in 2011 the state legislature blocked the move and then repealed the deci- sion; and finally in 2012 voters decided the issue, supporting the university’s decision by an overwhelming 67 percent. As you read, consider the following questions:

common ground that could potentially bring different readers together?

readers or with you?

When I was a kid living in Baltimore in the late 1950s, there was only one professional sports team worth following. Anyone who ever saw the movie Diner knows which one it was. Back when we liked Ike, the Colts were the gods of the gridiron and Memorial Stadium was their Mount Olympus.

Ah, yes: The Colts. The Lions. Da Bears. Back when defensive tackle Big Daddy Lipscomb was let- ting running backs know exactly what time it was, a young fan could easily forget that in a game where men were men, the teams they played on were not invariably named after animals. Among others, the Packers, the Steelers and the distant 49ers were cases in point. But in the roll call of pro teams, one name in particular always discomfited me: the Washington Redskins. Still, however willing I may have been to go along with the name as a kid, as an adult I have concluded that using an ethnic group essentially as a sports mascot is wrong.

The Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs, along with baseball teams like the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians, should find other names that avoid highlighting ethnicity.

By no means were such names originally meant to disparage Native Americans. The noble symbols of the Redskins or college football’s Florida State Seminoles or the Illinois Illini are meant to be strong

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and proud. Yet, ultimately, the practice of using a people as mascots is dehumanizing. It sets them apart from the rest of society. It promotes the politics of racial aggrievement at a moment when our storehouse is running over with it.

The World Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves re-ignited the debate. In the chill night air of October, tomahawk chops and war chants suddenly became far more familiar to millions of fans, along with the ridiculous and offensive car- toon logo of Cleveland’s “Chief Wahoo.”

The defenders of team names that use variations on the Indian theme argue that tradition should not be sacrificed at the altar of political correctness. In

truth, the nation’s No. 1 P.C. [po- litically correct] school, Stanford University, helped matters some when it changed its team nick-

name from “the Indians” to “the Cardinals.” To be sure, Stanford did the right thing, but the school’s status as P.C. without peer tainted the decision for those who still need to do the right thing.

Another argument is that ethnic group leaders are too inclined to cry wolf in alleging racial insensitivity. Often, this is the case. But no one should overlook genuine cases of political insensitivity in an attempt to avoid accusations of hypersensitivity and political correctness.

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The practice of using a people as mascots is dehumanizing.

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Estrada Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names

The real world is different from the world of sports entertainment. I recently heard a father who happened to be a Native American complain on the radio that his child was being pressured into partici- pating in celebrations of Braves baseball. At his kid’s school, certain days are set aside on which all children are told to dress in Indian garb and celebrate with tomahawk chops and the like.

That father should be forgiven for not wanting his family to serve as somebody’s mascot. The desire to avoid ridicule is legitimate and understandable. Nobody likes to be trivialized or deprived of their dig- nity. This has nothing to do with political correctness and the provocations of militant leaders.

Against this backdrop, the decision by news- papers in Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland to ban references to Native American nicknames is more reasonable than some might think.

What makes naming teams after ethnic groups, particularly minorities, reprehensible is that politically

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impotent groups continue to be targeted, while po- litically powerful ones who bite back are left alone. How long does anyone think the name “Washington Blackskins” would last? Or how about “the New York Jews”?

With no fewer than 10 Latino ballplayers on the Cleveland Indians’ roster, the team could change its name to “the Banditos.” The trouble is, they would be missing the point: Latinos would correctly ob- ject to that stereotype, just as they rightly protested against Frito-Lay’s use of the “Frito Bandito” char- acter years ago.

It seems to me that what Native Americans are saying is that what would be intolerable for Jews, blacks, Latinos and others is no less offensive to them. Theirs is a request not only for dignified treat- ment, but for fair treatment as well. For America to ignore the complaints of a numerically small seg- ment of the population because it is small is neither dignified nor fair.

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Make connections: The power of naming. As children, we may say, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Most children, however, recognize the power of naming, especially when that naming is intended to make them feel different or inferior.

To judge Estrada’s argument, reflect on your own observation of and personal experience with name-calling. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get you started:

Make a list of words sometimes used to refer to groups with which you identify — for example, words associated with your ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or geographic region.

Which of these words are potentially hurtful or demeaning? How does the iden- tity of the person who uses the word or the situation in which the word is used affect its power?

How does name-calling compare to what Estrada calls “the practice of using a people as mascots,” a practice he calls “dehumanizing” (par. 4)?

REFLECT

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 258

Use the basic features.

A FOCUSED, WELL-PRESENTED ISSUE: FRAMING AN ARGUMENT FOR YOUR AUDIENCE

Disagreement over controversial issues often depends on a difference of values and concerns. To argue effectively, writers must anticipate what their readers are likely to think about the issue, and they must frame (or reframe) the issue to influence how their readers think about it. In “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names,” Estrada refers in paragraph 6 to the way in which the issue of sports teams’ names has al- ready been framed by political conservatives, who use the label “political correct- ness” to belittle concerns about the issue. This label makes it sound as though those who object are just being overly sensitive. Estrada reframes the issue, changing it from a story about oversensitivity to a story about bullying.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing more fully how Estrada frames the issue of sports team names for his readers:

1 What does Estrada do to construct a story about bullying? For example, how does the title, Estrada’s remembered experience (pars. 1–2), the anecdote (par. 8), or another aspect of the argument tell this story?

2 Why do you think Estrada thought making the issue about bullying, instead of oversen- sitivity, would be likely to make his readers more receptive to his argument?

3 If you were arguing your own position on this issue, how would you frame it to induce your classmates to be receptive to your argument? Why do you think this way of framing the issue would appeal to your classmates?

A WELL-SUPPORTED POSITION: USING ANECDOTES AND EXAMPLES

Anecdotes (brief stories) and examples can be especially effective as evidence because they appeal to readers’ values and feelings. Jessica Statsky, for instance, relates an anecdote about a seven-year-old Peewee Football player who made himself vomit to avoid playing. This anecdote delivers the message powerfully, but it also runs the risk of being perceived by readers as exaggerated or emotionally manipulative. Examples can also bring home the writer’s claims, making them more concrete, graphic, and convincing, as Statsky does when she reports “a brawl among seventy-five parents following a Peewee Football game” (par. 8). Because examples are isolated instances, however, they do not necessarily prove the general rule. To get around this, Statsky introduces this example as one of many “horror stories” to suggest that it is not all that unusual, but a fairly typical incident that should be taken seriously as evidence to support her position.

For more on recognizing emotional manipulation, see Chapter 12, pp. 541–42.

ANALYZE

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Estrada Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing and evaluating Estrada’s use of anecdotes and examples:

1 Highlight the anecdotes and examples—both real and hypothetical—Estrada uses to support his position.

2 Why do you think, given his original newspaper readers, that Estrada thought these anecdotes and examples would be compelling? How effective are they for you?

AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE: CONCEDING AND/OR REFUTING

Writers of position essays try to anticipate other widely held positions on the issue as well as objections and questions readers might raises, because doing so enhances the writer’s credibility (or ethos) and strengthens the argument. They may concede, refute, or combine the two strategies in a concession-refutation move. To review examples of these response strategies and criteria to assess their effectiveness, look back at pp. 248– 49 in the Guide to Reading.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing and evaluating how Estrada concedes and refutes criticism:

1 Skim Estrada’s essay, marking where he uses either concession or refutation, or where he makes the concession-refutation move. How can you identify which strategy he is using?

2 Analyze and evaluate one of the examples you found: What values does Estrada assume underlie his readers’ point of view? How does his way of responding attempt to bridge the gap between his readers’ and his own points of view?

3 How do you think you would respond if you were arguing your own position on this issue?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: USING KEY WORDS

One of the strategies Jessica Statsky uses to make her argument coherent is to intro- duce key words in the thesis and forecasting statement, and to repeat them or their synonyms when they reappear later in the essay. For example, in paragraph 2, Statsky identifies one of her main reasons for opposing competitive sports for young children — namely, that they can be “physically and psychologically harmful.” In paragraphs 3–5, Statsky discusses first the risk of actual physical injury and then the psychological fear of being hurt. In these paragraphs, Statsky repeats the key words physical and psychological, as well as synonyms for harm such as injury and hurt. The repetition of these key words and synonyms makes it easy for readers to follow this part of her argument.

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 260

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness with which Estrada repeats key words or their synonyms:

1 Reread paragraph 2, in which Estrada first states his thesis. What key words does he use to assert his moral opposition to the practice of using ethnic group names and images for sports teams?

2 Find other places in the essay where Estrada uses synonyms or related words for these key words to indicate why he thinks the practice is morally wrong.

3 How do these strategies work to make the essay clear and coherent?

Consider possible topics: Issues concerning fairness. List some issues that involve what you believe to be unfair treatment of any group. For example, should a law be passed to make English the official language in this country, requiring that election ballots and drivers’ tests be printed only in English? Should teenagers be required to get their parents’ permission to obtain birth-control information and contraception? What is affirmative action, and should it be used in college admissions for underrepresented groups? Should schools create and enforce guidelines to protect individuals from bullying and discrimination? Should every- one, regardless of their sexual orientation, be allowed to marry?

RESPOND

Amitai Etzioni Working at McDonald’s

AMITAI ETZIONI is a sociologist who has taught at Columbia, Harvard, and George Washington Universities, where he currently directs the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies. He has written numerous articles and more than two dozen books reflecting his com- mitment to peace in a nuclear age — for example, Winning without War (1964); overcoming excessive individualism through communitarian- ism — for example, The Spirit of Community: The Reinvention of American Society (1983); limiting the erosion of privacy in an age of technological surveillance — for example, The Limits of Privacy (2004); and, most re-

cently, rethinking foreign policy in an age of terrorism — for example, Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy (2007). The following reading was originally published on the opinion page of the Miami Herald newspaper. As you read, consider the following:

contributed?

held?

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Etzioni Working at McDonald’s

McDonald’s is bad for your kids. I do not mean the flat patties and the white-flour buns; I refer to the jobs teen-agers undertake, mass-producing these choice items.

As many as two-thirds of America’s high school juniors and seniors now hold down part-time paying jobs, according to studies. Many of these are in fast- food chains, of which McDonald’s is the pioneer, trend-setter and symbol.

At first, such jobs may seem right out of the Founding Fathers’ educational manual for how to bring up self-reliant, work-ethic-driven, productive youngsters. But in fact, these jobs undermine school attendance and involvement, impart few skills that will be useful in later life, and simultaneously skew the values of teen-agers — especially their ideas about the worth of a dollar.

It has been a longstanding American tradition that youngsters ought to get paying jobs. In folklore, few pursuits are more deeply revered than the news- paper route and the sidewalk lemonade stand. Here the youngsters are to learn how sweet are the fruits of labor and self-discipline (papers are delivered early in the morning, rain or shine), and the ways of trade (if you price your lemonade too high or too low . . . ).

Roy Rogers, Baskin Robbins, Kentucky Fried Chicken, et al. may at first seem nothing but a vast extension of the lemonade stand. They provide very large numbers of teen jobs, provide regular employment, pay quite well compared to many other teen jobs and, in the mod- ern equivalent of toiling over a hot stove, test one’s stamina.

Closer examination, however, finds the McDonald’s kind of job highly uneducational in several ways. Far from providing opportunities for en- trepreneurship (the lemonade stand) or self-discipline, self-supervision and self-scheduling (the paper route), most teen jobs these days are highly structured — what social scientists call “highly routinized.”

True, you still have to have the gumption to get yourself over to the hamburger stand, but once you don the prescribed uniform, your task is spelled out in minute detail. The franchise prescribes the shape of

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the coffee cups; the weight, size, shape and color of the patties; and the texture of the napkins (if any). Fresh coffee is to be made every eight minutes. And so on. There is no room for initiative, creativity, or even ele- mentary rearrangements. These are breeding grounds for robots working for yesterday’s assembly lines, not tomorrow’s high-tech posts.

There are very few studies on the matter. One of the few is a 1984 study by Ivan Charper and Bryan Shore Fraser. The study relies mainly on what teen- agers write in response to questionnaires rather than actual observations of fast-food jobs. The authors argue that the employees develop many skills such as how to operate a food-preparation machine and a cash register. However, little attention is paid to how long it takes to acquire such a skill, or what its significance is.

What does it matter if you spend 20 minutes to learn to use a cash register, and then — “operate” it? What “skill” have you acquired? It is a long way from learning to work with a lathe or carpenter tools in the olden days or to program computers in the modern age.

A 1980 study by A. V. Harrell and P. W. Wirtz found that, among those students who worked at least 25 hours per week while in school, their unemployment rate four years later was half of that of seniors who did not work. This is an im- pressive statistic. It must be seen, though, together with the finding

that many who begin as part-time employees in fast- food chains drop out of high school and are gobbled up in the world of low-skill jobs.

Some say that while these jobs are rather unsuited for college-bound, white, middle-class youngsters, they are “ideal” for lower-class, “non-academic,” minority youngsters. Indeed, minorities are “over-represented” in these jobs (21 percent of fast-food employees). While it is true that these places provide income, work and even some training to such youngsters, they also tend to perpetuate their disadvantaged status. They provide no career ladders, few marketable skills, and undermine school attendance and involvement.

The hours are often long. Among those 14 to 17, a third of fast-food employees (including some school

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Far from providing opportunities for entrepreneurship . . . most teen jobs these days are highly structured.

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 262

dropouts) labor more than 30 hours per week, accord- ing to the Charper-Fraser study. Only 20 percent work 15 hours or less. The rest: between 15 and 30 hours.

Often the stores close late, and after closing one must clean up and tally up. In affluent Montgomery County, Md., where child labor would not seem to be a widespread economic necessity, 24 percent of the seniors at one high school in 1985 worked as much as five to seven days a week; 27 percent, three to five. There is just no way such amounts of work will not in- terfere with school work, especially homework. In an informal survey published in the most recent yearbook of the high school, 58 percent of seniors acknowl- edged that their jobs interfere with their school work.

The Charper-Fraser study sees merit in learn- ing teamwork and working under supervision. The authors have a point here. However, it must be noted that such learning is not automatically educational or wholesome. For example, much of the supervision in fast-food places leans toward teaching one the wrong kinds of compliance: blind obedience, or shared alien- ation with the “boss.”

Supervision is often both tight and woefully in- appropriate. Today, fast-food chains and other such places of work (record shops, bowling alleys) keep costs down by having teens supervise teens with often no adult on the premises.

There is no father or mother figure with which to identify, to emulate, to provide a role model and guidance. The work-culture varies from one place to another: Sometimes it is a tightly run shop (must keep the cash registers ringing); sometimes a rather loose pot party interrupted by customers. However, only rarely is there a master to learn from, or much worth learning. Indeed, far from being places where solid adult work values are being transmitted, these are places where all too often delinquent teen values dominate. Typically, when my son Oren was dishing out ice cream for Baskin Robbins in upper Manhattan, his fellow teen-workers considered him a sucker for not helping himself to the till. Most youngsters felt they were entitled to 50 severance “pay” on their last day on the job.

The pay, oddly, is the part of the teen work-world that is most difficult to evaluate. The lemonade stand

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or paper route money was for your allowance. In the old days, apprentices learning a trade from a master contributed most, if not all, of their income to their parents’ household. Today, the teen pay may be low by adult standards, but it is often, especially in the middle class, spent largely or wholly by the teens. That is, the youngsters live free at home (“after all, they are high school kids”) and are left with very substantial sums of money.

Where this money goes is not quite clear. Some use it to support themselves, especially among the poor. More middle-class kids set some money aside to help pay for college, or save it for a major purchase — often a car. But large amounts seem to flow to pay for an early introduction into the most trite aspects of American consumerism: flimsy punk clothes, trinkets and what- ever else is the last fast-moving teen craze.

One may say that this is only fair and square; they are being good American consumers and spend their money on what turns them on. At least, a cynic might add, these funds do not go into illicit drugs and booze. On the other hand, an educator might bemoan that these young, yet unformed individuals, so early in life driven to buy objects of no intrinsic educational, cultural or social merit, learn so quickly the dubious merit of keeping up with the Joneses in ever-changing fads, promoted by mass merchandising.

Many teens find the instant reward of money, and the youth status symbols it buys, much more alluring than credits in calculus courses, European history or foreign languages. No wonder quite a few would rather skip school — and certainly homework — and instead work longer at a Burger King. Thus, most teen work these days is not providing early lessons in the work ethic; it fosters escape from school and responsibilities, quick gratification and a short cut to the consumeristic aspects of adult life.

Thus, parents should look at teen employment not as automatically educational. It is an activity — like sports — that can be turned into an educational op- portunity. But it can also easily be abused. Youngsters must learn to balance the quest for income with the needs to keep growing and pursue other endeavors that do not pay off instantly — above all education.

Go back to school.

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Etzioni Working at McDonald’s

Make connections: useful job skills. Etzioni argues that fast-food jobs do not qualify as meaningful work experience because they do not teach young people the skills and habits they will need for fulfilling careers: “entrepreneurship . . . or self-discipline, self-supervision and self-scheduling” (par. 6).

To judge Etzioni’s argument against your own experience, consider what you have learned from your own summer and after-school jobs, either paid or volunteer. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

Which, if any, of the skills and habits Etzioni lists as important did you practice at your job or through the activities in which you participated?

Why do you think these skills and habits are worth learning? If you think other skills and habits are as important or even more important, explain what they are and why you think so.

Use the basic features.

A FOCUSED, WELL-PRESENTED ISSUE: FRAMING AN ARGUMENT FOR A DIVERSE GROUP OF READERS

When Jessica Statsky wrote “Children Need to Play, Not Compete,” she knew she would be addressing her classmates. But writers of position essays do not always have such a homogeneous audience. Often, they have to direct their argument to a diverse group of readers, many of whom do not share their concerns or values. From the first sentence, it is clear that Etzioni’s primary audience is the parents of teenagers, but his concluding sentence is a direct address to the teenagers them- selves: “Go back to school.”

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph or two analyzing and evaluating how Etzioni presents the issue to a diverse group of readers:

1 Reread paragraphs 1–7, highlighting the qualities—values and skills—associated with traditional jobs (the newspaper route and lemonade stand of yesteryear) and with today’s McDonald’s-type jobs, at least according to Etzioni. How does Etzioni use these values and skills to lead parents to reconsider their assumption that McDonald’s-type jobs are good for their kids?

2 As we point out in the headnote, Etzioni’s teenage son Dari helped him write the essay. Skim the essay looking for places where Etzioni appeals to teenagers them- selves. Notice, for example, how he represents teenagers’ experience and values. Explain how effective you think Etzioni’s appeal would be to teenage readers and how effective you think it would be for you and your classmates.

ANALYZE

REFLECT

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 264

A WELL-SUPPORTED POSITION: USING STATISTICS

Statistics — numerical data about a given population sample — are often used to support position arguments because readers tend to find statistical evidence espe- cially convincing. Numbers can seem impressive — as, for example, when Jessica Statsky refers to the research finding that about 90 percent of children would choose to play regularly on a losing team rather than sit on the bench of a winning team (par. 5). Readers are likely to accept such a high percentage at face value because they would probably share the preference for playing over watching. However, with- out knowing the size of the sample (90 percent of 10 people, 100 people, or 10,000 people?), it is impossible to judge the significance of the statistic. Moreover, without knowing who the researchers are and how their research was funded and conducted, it is also difficult to judge the credibility of the statistic. That’s why most critical readers want to know the source of statistics to see whether the research is peer-re- viewed — that is, whether it has been evaluated by other researchers knowledgeable about the subject and able to judge the reliability of its findings.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing and evaluating Etzioni’s use of statistics, and write a paragraph explaining how you could use statistics to enhance your credibility with readers:

1 Reread paragraphs 8–14, and highlight the statistics Etzioni uses. What is each statistic being used to illustrate or prove?

2 Identify what you would need to know about these research studies before you could accept their statistics as credible. Consider also what you would need to know about Etzioni himself before you could decide whether to rely on statistics he calls “impressive” (par. 10). How does your personal experience and observation influence your decision?

3 Based on this analysis, explain how you think you should present statistics that you want your readers to accept as trustworthy.

AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE: PRESENTING AND REINTERPRETING EVIDENCE TO UNDERMINE OBJECTIONS

At key points throughout his essay, Etzioni acknowledges readers’ likely objections and then responds to them. One strategy Etzioni uses is to cite research that appears to undermine his claim and then offer a new interpretation of that evidence. For example, he cites a study by Harrell and Wirtz (par. 10) that links work as a student with greater likelihood of employment later on. He then reinterprets the data from this study to show that the high likelihood of future employment could be an indication that work- ers in fast-food restaurants are more likely to drop out of school rather than an indica- tion that workers are learning important employment skills. This strategy of presenting and reinterpreting evidence can be especially effective in academic writing, as Etzioni (a professor of sociology) well knows.

265GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Etzioni Working at McDonald’s

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing and evaluating Etzioni’s use of this strategy else- where in his essay:

1 Reread paragraphs 8–9, in which Etzioni responds to the claim that employees in McDonald’s-type jobs develop many useful skills.

2 Reread paragraphs 14–16, in which Etzioni discusses the benefits and shortcomings of various kinds of on-the-job supervision.

3 Identify the claim that appears in the research Etzioni cites, point out how Etzioni reinterprets it, and explain whether you find his reinterpretation persuasive.

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: PROVIDING CUES FOR READERS

Writers of position arguments generally try to make their writing logical and easy to follow. Providing cues, or road signs — for example, by forecasting their reasons in a thesis statement early in the argument, using topic sentences to announce each reason as it is supported, and employing transitions (such as furthermore, in addition, and finally) to guide readers from one point to another — can be helpful, especially in newspaper articles, the readers of which do not want to spend a lot of time deciphering arguments.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing and evaluating the cueing strategies Etzioni uses to help his readers follow his argument:

1 Find and highlight his thesis statement, the cues forecasting his reasons, the transi- tions he provides, and any other cueing devices Etzioni uses.

2 Identify the paragraphs in which Etzioni develops each of his reasons.

3 Explain how Etzioni helps readers track his reasons and how effective his cues are.

Consider possible topics: Issues facing students. Etzioni focuses on a single kind of part-time work, takes a position on how worth- while it is, and recommends against it. You could write a similar kind of essay. For example, you could take a position for or against students’ participating in other kinds of part-time work or recreation during the high school or college academic year or over the summer — for example, playing on a sports team, volunteering, completing an internship, studying a musical instrument or a foreign language, or taking an elective class. If you work to support yourself and pay for college, you could focus on why the job either strengthens or weakens you as a person, given your life and career goals. Writing for other students, you would either recommend the job or activity to them or discourage them from pursuing it, giving reasons and support for your position.

RESPOND

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 266

Daniel J. Solove Why Privacy Matters Even If You Have “Nothing to Hide”

DANIEL J. SOLOVE is the John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. In addition to writing numerous books and articles on issues of privacy and the Internet, Solove is the founder of a company that provides privacy and data security training to corporations and universities. Among his books are The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet (2007), which won Fordham University’s McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Policy Research, and Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security (2011). An

earlier and longer version of this essay in a law review journal included citations that had to be eliminated for publication in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2011, but we have re- stored them so that you can see how Solove uses a variety of sources to support his position. As you read, consider the following:

– standing of why many people think privacy is not something they should be con- cerned about?

your privacy on social networking and other Web sites?

When the government gathers or analyzes personal information, many people say they’re not wor- ried. “I’ve got nothing to hide,” they declare. “Only if you’re doing something wrong should you worry, and then you don’t deserve to keep it private.” The nothing- to-hide argument pervades discussions about privacy. The data-security expert Bruce Schneier calls it the “most common retort against privacy advocates.” The legal scholar Geoffrey Stone refers to it as an “all-too- common refrain.” In its most compelling form, it is an argument that the privacy interest is generally minimal, thus making the contest with security concerns a foreor- dained victory for security.

The nothing-to-hide argument is everywhere. In Britain, for example, the government has installed mil- lions of public-surveillance cameras in cities and towns, which are watched by officials via closed-circuit televi- sion. In a campaign slogan for the program, the govern- ment declares: “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear” (Rosen 36). Variations of nothing- to-hide arguments frequently appear in blogs, letters to the editor, television news interviews, and other forums.

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One blogger in the United States, in reference to profil- ing people for national-security purposes, declares: “I don’t mind people wanting to find out things about me, I’ve got nothing to hide Which is why I support [the government’s] efforts to find terrorists by monitoring our phone calls ” (greatcarrieoakey).

On the surface, it seems easy to dismiss the nothing- to-hide argument. Everybody probably has something to hide from somebody. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn de- clared, “Everyone is guilty of something or has some- thing to conceal. All one has to do is look hard enough to find what it is” (192). . . . One can usually think of something that even the most open person would want to hide. As a commenter to my blog post noted, “If you have nothing to hide, then that quite literally means you are willing to let me photograph you naked? And I get full rights to that photograph — so I can show it to your neighbors?” (Andrew) . . .

But such responses attack the nothing-to-hide argu- ment only in its most extreme form, which isn’t particu- larly strong. In a less extreme form, the nothing-to-hide argument refers not to all personal information but only

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Solove Why Privacy Matters Even If You Have “Nothing to Hide”

to the type of data the government is likely to collect. Retorts to the nothing-to-hide argument about exposing people’s naked bodies or their deepest secrets are rele- vant only if the government is likely to gather this kind of information. In many instances, hardly anyone will see the information, and it won’t be disclosed to the public. Thus, some might argue, the privacy interest is minimal, and the security interest in preventing terror- ism is much more important. In this less extreme form, the nothing-to-hide argument is a formidable one. However, it stems from certain faulty assumptions about privacy and its value. . . .

Most attempts to understand privacy do so by at- tempting to locate its essence — its core characteristics or the common denominator that links together the various things we classify under the rubric of “privacy.” Privacy, however, is too complex a concept to be reduced to a sin- gular essence. It is a plurality of different things that do not share any one element but nevertheless bear a resem- blance to one another. For exam- ple, privacy can be invaded by the disclosure of your deepest secrets. It might also be invaded if you’re watched by a peeping Tom, even if no secrets are ever revealed. With the disclosure of secrets, the harm is that your concealed information is spread to oth- ers. With the peeping Tom, the harm is that you’re being watched. You’d probably find that creepy regardless of whether the peeper finds out anything sensitive or dis- closes any information to others. There are many other forms of invasion of privacy, such as blackmail and the improper use of your personal data. Your privacy can also be invaded if the government compiles an extensive dossier about you. Privacy, in other words, involves so many things that it is impossible to reduce them all to one simple idea. And we need not do so. . . .

To describe the problems created by the collection and use of personal data, many commentators use a metaphor based on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty- Four. Orwell depicted a harrowing totalitarian society ruled by a government called Big Brother that watches its citizens obsessively and demands strict discipline. The Orwell metaphor, which focuses on the harms of surveil- lance (such as inhibition and social control), might be apt to describe government monitoring of citizens. But much of the data gathered in computer databases, such

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as one’s race, birth date, gender, address, or marital sta- tus, isn’t particularly sensitive. Many people don’t care about concealing the hotels they stay at, the cars they own, or the kind of beverages they drink. Frequently, though not always, people wouldn’t be inhibited or em- barrassed if others knew this information.

Another metaphor better captures the problems: Franz Kafka’s The Trial. Kafka’s novel centers around a man who is arrested but not informed why. He desper- ately tries to find out what triggered his arrest and what’s in store for him. He finds out that a mysterious court system has a dossier on him and is investigating him, but he’s unable to learn much more. The Trial depicts a bureaucracy with inscrutable purposes that uses people’s information to make important decisions about them, yet denies the people the ability to participate in how their information is used.

The problems portrayed by the Kafkaesque meta- phor are of a different sort than the problems caused by

surveillance. They often do not re- sult in inhibition. Instead they are problems of information process- ing — the storage, use, or analysis of data — rather than of informa- tion collection. They affect the power relationships between peo-

ple and the institutions of the modern state. They not only frustrate the individual by creating a sense of help- lessness and powerlessness, but also affect social struc- ture by altering the kind of relationships people have with the institutions that make important decisions about their lives.

Legal and policy solutions focus too much on the problems under the Orwellian metaphor — those of surveillance — and aren’t adequately addressing the Kafkaesque problems — those of information process- ing. The difficulty is that commentators are trying to conceive of the problems caused by databases in terms of surveillance when, in fact, those problems are differ- ent. Commentators often attempt to refute the nothing- to-hide argument by pointing to things people want to hide. But the problem with the nothing-to-hide argu- ment is the underlying assumption that privacy is about hiding bad things. By accepting this assumption, we con- cede far too much ground and invite an unproductive discussion about information that people would very likely want to hide. As the computer-security specialist

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The problem with the nothing-to- hide argument is the underlying assumption that privacy is about hiding bad things.

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Schneier aptly notes, the nothing-to-hide argument stems from a faulty “premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong.” Surveillance, for example, can inhibit such lawful activities as free speech, free association, and other First Amendment rights essential for democracy.

The deeper problem with the nothing-to-hide argu- ment is that it myopically views privacy as a form of se- crecy. In contrast, understanding privacy as a plurality of related issues demonstrates that the disclosure of bad things is just one among many difficulties caused by gov- ernment security measures. To return to my discussion of literary metaphors, the problems are not just Orwellian but Kafkaesque. Government information-gathering pro- grams are problematic even if no information that peo- ple want to hide is uncovered. In The Trial, the problem is not inhibited behavior but rather a suffocating power- lessness and vulnerability created by the court system’s use of personal data and its denial to the protagonist of any knowledge of or participation in the process. The harms are bureaucratic ones — indifference, error, abuse, frustration, and lack of transparency and accountability.

One such harm, for example, which I call aggrega- tion, emerges from the fusion of small bits of seemingly innocuous data. When combined, the information be- comes much more telling. By joining pieces of informa- tion we might not take pains to guard, the government can glean information about us that we might indeed wish to conceal. For example, suppose you bought a book about cancer. This purchase isn’t very revealing on its own, for it indicates just an interest in the disease. Suppose you bought a wig. The purchase of a wig, by itself, could be for a number of reasons. But combine those two pieces of information, and now the inference can be made that you have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy. That might be a fact you wouldn’t mind sharing, but you’d certainly want to have the choice.

Another potential problem with the government’s harvest of personal data is one I call exclusion. Exclusion occurs when people are prevented from hav- ing knowledge about how information about them is being used, and when they are barred from accessing and correcting errors in that data. Many government national-security measures involve maintaining a huge database of information that individuals cannot access. Indeed, because they involve national security, the very existence of these programs is often kept secret. This kind of information processing, which blocks subjects’

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knowledge and involvement, is a kind of due-process problem. It is a structural problem, involving the way people are treated by government institutions and creat- ing a power imbalance between people and the govern- ment. To what extent should government officials have such a significant power over citizens? This issue isn’t about what information people want to hide but about the power and the structure of government.

A related problem involves secondary use. Secondary use is the exploitation of data obtained for one purpose for an unrelated purpose without the sub- ject’s consent. How long will personal data be stored? How will the information be used? What could it be used for in the future? The potential uses of any piece of personal information are vast. Without limits on or accountability for how that information is used, it is hard for people to assess the dangers of the data’s being in the government’s control.

Yet another problem with government gathering and use of personal data is distortion. Although per- sonal information can reveal quite a lot about people’s personalities and activities, it often fails to reflect the whole person. It can paint a distorted picture, especially since records are reductive — they often capture infor- mation in a standardized format with many details omitted. For example, suppose government officials learn that a person has bought a number of books on how to manufacture methamphetamine. That informa- tion makes them suspect that he’s building a meth lab. What is missing from the records is the full story: The person is writing a novel about a character who makes meth. When he bought the books, he didn’t consider how suspicious the purchase might appear to govern- ment officials, and his records didn’t reveal the reason for the purchases. Should he have to worry about gov- ernment scrutiny of all his purchases and actions? Should he have to be concerned that he’ll wind up on a suspicious-persons list? Even if he isn’t doing anything wrong, he may want to keep his records away from gov- ernment officials who might make faulty inferences from them. He might not want to have to worry about how everything he does will be perceived by officials nervously monitoring for criminal activity. He might not want to have a computer flag him as suspicious be- cause he has an unusual pattern of behavior. . . .

Privacy is rarely lost in one fell swoop. It is usually eroded over time, little bits dissolving almost imperceptibly

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Solove Why Privacy Matters Even If You Have “Nothing to Hide”

until we finally begin to notice how much is gone. When the government starts monitoring the phone numbers people call, many may shrug their shoulders and say, “Ah, it’s just numbers, that’s all.” Then the government might start monitoring some phone calls. “It’s just a few phone calls, nothing more.” The government might install more video cameras in public places. “So what? Some more cameras watching in a few more places. No big deal.” The increase in cameras might lead to a more elaborate network of video surveillance. Satellite surveillance might be added to help track people’s movements. The government might start analyzing people’s bank records. “It’s just my deposits and some of the bills I pay — no problem.” The government may then start combing through credit-card records, then expand to Internet-service pro- viders’ records, health records, employment records, and more. Each step may seem incremental, but after a while, the government will be watching and knowing everything about us.

“My life’s an open book,” people might say. “I’ve got nothing to hide.” But now the government has large dossiers of everyone’s activities, interests, reading hab- its, finances, and health. What if the government leaks the information to the public? What if the government mistakenly determines that based on your pattern of

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activities, you’re likely to engage in a criminal act? What if it de- nies you the right to fly? What if the government thinks your finan- cial transactions look odd — even if you’ve done nothing wrong — and freezes your accounts? What if the government doesn’t protect

your information with adequate security, and an iden- tity thief obtains it and uses it to defraud you? Even if you have nothing to hide, the government can cause you a lot of harm. . . .

Works Cited

Andrew. Weblog comment. Concurring Opinions. 16 Oct. 2006. Web. 24 May 2012.

greatcarrieoakey. “Reach For The Stars ” Blogspot.com. 14 May 2006. Web. 24 May 2012.

Rosen, Jeffrey. The Naked Crowd: Reclaiming Security and Freedom in an Anxious Age. New York: Random House, 2004. Print.

Schneier, Bruce. “The Eternal Value of Privacy.” Wired. 18 May 2006. Web. 24 May 2012.

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. Cancer Ward. Trans. Nicholas Bethell and David Burg. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1969. Print.

Stone, Geoffrey R. “Freedom and Public Responsibility.” Chicago Tribune 21 May 2006: 11. Print.

Privacy is rarely lost in one fell swoop. It is usually eroded over time, little bits dissolving almost imperceptibly until we finally begin to notice how much is gone.

Make connections: Privacy concerns on the Internet. Whereas Solove’s position argument focuses on concerns about government collec- tion and use of personal information, many people today are concerned as well about corporate collection and use of personal information. For example, students about to graduate from college have been surprised to discover that potential employ- ers search blogs and social media Web sites to gather information about job candi- dates and to check their résumés. Corporations also use data mining to personalize advertising, sending diaper coupons, for example, to women in their thirties who have recently bought diaper bags or baby monitors online. (You may recall the talk- ing billboards depicted in the film Minority Report: “John Anderton You could use a Guinness right about now.”)

Think about the implications of corporate data mining, and reflect on how this could affect your own sense of online privacy. Your instructor may ask you to post

REFLECT

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your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these questions to get started:

How, if at all, do you manage the privacy preferences or settings on sites you use? Do you ever de-friend people or click the “do not track” tool when you have the opportunity to do so? Would you untag photos or delete comments on social networking sites like Facebook that you didn’t want potential employers to see?

Do you think you should be concerned or learn more about privacy problems, such as identity theft, cyberstalking, or personalized advertising?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of corporate data mining? Have targeted advertisements been a boon to you, or are you distressed about a corpo- ration’s knowing so much about you?

Use the basic features.

A FOCUSED, WELL-PRESENTED ISSUE: REFRAMING THROUGH CONTRAST

Writers sometimes have to remind their readers why an issue is controversial. Beginning with the title, Solove works to undermine the widely held assumption that the erosion of privacy should not be a concern. He does this primarily by con- trasting two different ways of thinking about threats to privacy, which he calls Or- wellian and Kafkaesque, based on the novels 1984, by George Orwell, and The Trial, by Franz Kafka. To present this contrast, Solove uses sentence patterns like these:

Not , but .

focus on , which is characterized by , and they don’t even notice , which is characterized by .

Here are a couple of examples from Solove’s position argument:

The problems are not just Orwellian but Kafkaesque. (par. 10)

Legal and policy solutions focus too much on the problems under the Orwellian metaphor — those of surveillance — and aren’t adequately addressing the Kafkaesque problems — those of information processing. (par. 9)

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of Solove’s use of contrast to reframe the issue for readers:

1 Notice how Solove uses sources in his first two paragraphs. Given his purpose to reframe a commonly held view of privacy, why do you think he begins this way?

2 Reread paragraphs 6–7 to see how Solove explains the two contrasting metaphors. Then skim paragraphs 8–10, highlighting any sentence patterns used to mark the contrast.

3 Has Solove’s reframing of the discussion affected your understanding of privacy and your concerns about its loss? Why or why not?

ANALYZE

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Solove Why Privacy Matters Even If You Have “Nothing to Hide”

A WELL-SUPPORTED POSITION: USING SOURCES

Writers of position arguments often quote, paraphrase, and summarize sources. Usually, they use sources to support their positions, as Jessica Statsky does in her argument about children’s sports. Sometimes, however, they use sources to highlight opposing positions to which they will respond, as Solove does on occasion in this essay.

In the following example, Solove signals his opinion through the words he chooses to characterize the source:

As the computer-security specialist Schneier aptly notes, the nothing-to-hide argument stems from a faulty “premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong.” (par. 9)

Elsewhere, readers have to work a little harder to determine how Solove is using the source.

Solove also uses what we might call hypothetical quotations — sentences that quote not what someone actually said but what they might have said:

Many people say they’re not worried. “I’ve got nothing to hide,” they declare. “Only if you’re doing something wrong should you worry, and then you don’t deserve to keep it private.” (par. 1)

“My life’s an open book,” people might say. “I’ve got nothing to hide.” (par. 16)

You can tell from a signal phrase like “people might say” or “many people say” that no actual person made the statement, but Solove does not always supply such cues.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing and evaluating Solove’s use of quotations:

1 Find and mark the quotations, noting which actually quote someone and which are hypothetical.

2 Identify the quotations—real or hypothetical—that Solove agrees with and those that represent an opposing view.

3 Consider how effective Solove’s quoting strategy was likely to have been, given his purpose and audience. (Remember that this article appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a weekly newspaper for college faculty and administrators.) How effective did you find his quoting strategy?

AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE: REFUTING BY DEMONSTRATING THE EFFECTS

As his title suggests, Solove refutes the claim that privacy does not matter “if you have ‘nothing to hide.’” His primary way of refuting the nothing-to-hide argument is to ar- gue that the collection and use of personal information (the cause) has negative effects, which he sometimes calls “problems” and sometimes calls “harms” (pars. 5 and 6).

Signal phrase

Hypothetical quotation

To learn more about using patterns of opposition to read critically, see Chapter 12, pp. 537–38.

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 272

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing and evaluating Solove’s use of cause and effect reasoning to refute the claim that privacy only matters if you have something to hide:

1 Reread paragraphs 6–14, noting where Solove discusses potential problems or harms that could result from the collection of personal data.

2 Choose one of these harms, and examine Solove’s argument more closely. How does he support this part of the argument—for example, what are his reasons, his evidence, the values and beliefs he uses to appeal to his audience?

3 How effective are Solove’s reasons and evidence for you? How effective might they have been for his original audience?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: USING CUEING DEVICES

Solove uses a number of cueing devices to help readers keep track of his argument. Perhaps the most obvious and helpful cues are the topic sentences that begin each paragraph and the logical transitions (“One such harm . . . ,” “Another potential problem . . . ,” “A related problem . . . ,” “Yet another problem . . .” [pars. 11–14]) that signal connections between and within paragraphs. In addition, Solove uses rhe- torical questions, such as the series of “What if ” questions in the final paragraph.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of Solove’s use of cueing devices to help readers follow his argument:

1 Choose a couple of paragraphs that seem to you to use topic sentences and logical transitions effectively. Look closely at the way Solove uses these cueing devices, and determine what makes them so effective.

2 Highlight the rhetorical questions posed in paragraphs 12–14 and 16. Why do you imagine Solove uses so many of them, especially in the final paragraph? Given his purpose and audience, how effective do you think these rhetorical questions were likely to have been? How effective do you find them?

Consider possible topics: Issues concerning privacy. Solove focuses on one concern about the erosion of privacy. You could write a simi- lar type of essay, taking a position on issues such as state laws requiring women to have ultrasounds before terminating a pregnancy; airport security requiring passen- gers either to go through a full-body scanner or to submit to a “pat-down” before boarding a flight; cell phones making it possible for individuals to be located and tracked without their consent or knowledge; or houses, offices, and even people on the street being depicted on Google Maps without their knowledge or consent.

RESPOND

For more reading selections, including a

multimodal selection, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/epages.

Reasoned arguments about controversial issues appear every day in classrooms, but they also appear in newspaper editorials, blogs, and sometimes even in advertisements. Consider, for example, the public service announcement (PSA) reproduced here.

Using a single image and relatively few words, this PSA makes a surprisingly effective argument: Even a couple of beers can be a recipe for disaster, given the right conditions, so don’t drink and drive. The appealing visual, the familiar recipe format, and the use of realistic language expressing a seemingly moderate perspective (“It’s only another beer”; “just a few”) reach out to average adults, who likely do not think of themselves as reckless or irresponsible, and remind them that it can be a short step from an ordinary evening relaxing with coworkers to a catastrophic accident.

In this chapter, we ask you to argue for a controversial position. As you compose your argument, consider how you can most effectively capture your readers’ attention and convince them to take your point of view seriously. Consider, too, whether using visual or multimedia support or the conventions of another genre would help your readers more fully grasp and more immediately accept your position.

PLAYING WITH GENRE

Public Service Announcements

273

For an interactive version of this feature, plus activities, go to bedfordstmartins.com/theguide/epages.

(pp. 276–77)

GUIDE TO WRITING

The Writing Assignment Write an essay arguing a controversial position: Start by learning more about the is sue and the debate surrounding it, and then take a position. Present the issue so read

that will confi rm, challenge, or change your readers’ views.

This Guide to Writing is designed to help you compose your own position argument and apply what you have learned from reading other position arguments. This Start ing Points chart will help you fi nd answers to questions you might have about com posing a position argument. Use the chart to fi nd the guidance you need, when you need it.

The Writing Assignment

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research,

Composing

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading

Improving the Draft: Revising,

Formatting, Editing, and

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276

286

288

STARTING POINTS: ARGUING A POSITION

274

How do I come up with an issue to write about?

presented issue. (pp. 245–46)

for your Audience (p. 258)

for a Diverse Group of Readers (p. 263)

Contrast. (p. 270) Frame the issue for your readers. (pp. 277–79)

Issue (p. 288)

How can I effectively frame the issue for my readers?A Focused,

Presented Issue

Th e Writing Assignment 275GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

opposing views. (pp. 248–49) An Effective Response: Conceding and/or Refuting (p. 259) Identify and respond to your readers’ likely reasons and objections. (pp. 282–84)

opposing views (pp. 248–49) An Effective Response: Conceding and/or Refuting (p. 259)

Evidence to Undermine Objections (pp. 264–65)

Effects (pp. 271–72)

objections. (pp. 282–84)

An Effective Response to

Opposing Views

How do I respond to possible objections to my position?

How do I respond to possible alternative positions?

position. (pp. 247–48)

Examples (pp. 258–59)

A Supported Position

How do I come up with a plausible position?

How do I come up with reasons and evidence supporting my position?

(continued)

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 276

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing The activities in this section will help you choose and research an issue as well as devel op and organize an argument for your position. Do the activities in any order that makes sense to you (and your instructor), and return to them as needed as you revise. Your writing in response to many of these activities can be used in a rough draft that you will be able to improve after receiving feedback from your classmates and instructor.

Choose a controversial issue on which to take a position. When choosing an issue, keep in mind that the issue must be

controversial—an issue that people disagree about;

arguable—a matter of opinion on which there is no absolute proof or authority;

one that you can research, as necessary, in the time you have; and

one that you care about.

Choosing an issue about which you have special interest or knowledge usually works best. For example, if you are thinking of addressing an issue of national concern, fo cus on a local or at least a specifi c aspect of it: For example, instead of addressing censorship in general, write about a recent lawmaker’s effort to propose a law censor ing the Internet, a city council attempt to block access to Internet sites at the public library, or a school board’s ban on certain textbooks.

You may already have an issue in mind. If you do, skip to Test Your Choice (p. 277). If you do not, the topics that follow, in addition to those following the read ings (pp. 260, 265, 272), may suggest an issue you can make your own:

Issues Related to School

Should particular courses, community service, or an internship be a graduation requirement at your high school or college?

Assess the genre’s basic features: A clear, logical organization. (p. 249) A Clear, Logical Organization: Using Key Words (pp. 259–60)

(p. 265) A Clear, Logical Organization: Using Cueing Devices (p. 272)

for your readers. (p. 284) A Troubleshooting Guide: A Clear, Logical Organization (p. 289) Think about design (pp. 289–90)

A Clear, Logical Organization

How can I help my readers follow my argument?

277GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

Should students attending public colleges be required to pay higher tuition fees if they have been full-time students but have not graduated within four years?

Should your large lecture or online courses have frequent (weekly or biweekly) exams instead of only a midterm and final?

Issues Related to Your Community

Should children raised in this country whose parents entered illegally be given an opportunity to become citizens upon finishing college or serving in the military?

Should the racial, ethnic, or gender makeup of the police force resemble the makeup of the community it serves?

Should the football conference your school (or another school in the area) participates in be allowed to expand?

Issues Related to Work

Should you look primarily for a job that is well paid or for a job that is personally fulfilling or socially responsible?

Should public employees be allowed to unionize and to bargain collectively for improved working conditions, pay, or pensions?

Should the state or federal government provide job training for those who are unemployed but able to work?

TEST YOUR CHOICE

Ask yourself the following questions:

Does the issue matter to me and to my readers? If the issue is not currently one of widespread concern, would I be able to argue convincingly at the beginning of my essay that it ought to be of concern?

Do I know enough about the issue to take a position that I can support effectively, or can I learn what I need to know in the time I have?

Have I begun to understand the issue well enough to frame or reframe it in a way that might open readers to my point of view?

What can I realistically hope to achieve with my readers—convince them to adopt my point of view; get them to reconsider what’s at stake; show them that arguments they trust are unfair, inaccurate, or logically flawed?

As you plan and draft your argument, you will probably want to consider these questions. If at any point you cannot answer them with a confident yes, you may want to consider modifying your position on the issue or choosing a different issue to write about. If you have serious doubts, discuss them with your instructor.

Frame the issue for your readers. Once you have made a preliminary choice of an issue, consider how you can frame (or reframe) it so that readers who support opposing positions will listen to your argu- ment. To do this, consider how the issue has been debated in the past and what your readers are likely to think. Use the following questions and sentence strategies to help you put your ideas in writing.

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 278

WHAT DO MY READERS THINK?

What values and concerns do I and my readers share regarding the issue?

Concern about leads many of us to oppose . We worry that

will happen if .

is a basic human right that needs to be protected. But what does it mean in everyday practice when ?

What fundamental differences in worldview or experience might keep me and my read- ers from agreeing?

Those who disagree about often see it as a choice between and

. But both are important. We don’t have to choose between them because .

While others may view it as a matter of , for me, the issue hinges on .

According to , what’s at stake in this issue is . For me, however, what is most important is .

WAYS IN HOW CAN I EXPLORE THE ISSUE?

What groups or notable individuals have shaped the debate on this issue? What posi- tions have they taken?

It may surprise you that is a controversial issue. Although many people take for granted, [individuals/ groups] oppose it on the grounds that

.

Whereas supporters of have argued that , opponents such as [list individuals/groups] contend that

.

How has the issue, or people’s opinions about the issue, changed? What makes the issue important now?

[Recent research reports/incidents reported in the news] have changed some people’s minds on this issue. Instead of assuming

, many people now think .

The debate over whether should was initially concerned with , but now the main concern

seems to be that .

HOW CAN I FRAME THE ISSUE EFFECTIVELY?

Once you have a good idea of how the issue has been debated and what your readers think, use these sentence strategies to frame the issue for your readers.

What is the issue, and why should my readers be concerned about it?

I’m concerned about because .

EXAMPLE I’m concerned about the high cost of tuition at state colleges like ours because students are having to borrow more money to pay for their education than they will be able to repay.

Why are popular approaches or attitudes inappropriate or inadequate?

Although some argue , I think because .

EXAMPLE Although some argue that college football players should be paid, I think the current system should be maintained because it is only the money earned from football that enables our school to fund other, less lucrative sports programs.

279GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

TEST YOUR CHOICE

Ask two or three other students to consider the way you have framed your issue.

Presenters. Briefly explain the values and concerns you think are at stake. (The sentence strategies in the Ways In section can help you articulate your position and approach.)

Listeners. Tell the presenter what response this way of framing the issue elicits from you and why. Use language that follows as a model for structuring your response, or use language of your own.

I’m [also/not] concerned about the high cost of tuition because .

I [agree/disagree] that college football players should not be paid because .

Formulate a working thesis stating your position. You may already have a position on the issue; if so, try drafting a working thesis statement now. (Alternatively, if you prefer to conduct research or develop your argu- ment before trying to formulate a thesis, skip this activity and return to it when you’re ready.) As you develop your argument, rework this assertion to make it a compelling thesis statement by sharpening the language and perhaps forecasting your reasons. You may also need to qualify it, with words like often, sometimes, or in part.

HOW CAN I DEVISE AN ARGUABLE THESIS?

A good strategy is to begin by describing the issue, possibly indicating where others stand on it or what’s at stake, and then saying what you think. These sentence strategies may help you get started:

On this issue, X and Y say . Although I understand and to some degree sympathize with their point of view, this is ultimately a question of . What’s at stake is not but . Therefore, we must .

This issue is dividing our community. Some people argue . Others contend . And still others believe . It is in all of our interests to ,

however, because .

Conventional wisdom is that . But I take a different view: .

WAYS IN

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 280

HOW CAN I COME UP WITH REASONS THAT SUPPORT MY POSITION?

One way to generate ideas is to write steadily for at least five minutes exploring your reasons. Ask yourself questions like these:

How can I show readers that my reasons lead logically to my position?

In addition to appealing to readers’ intellect (logos), how can I convince my readers that I am trustworthy (ethos) or appeal to their feelings (pathos)?

At this point, don’t worry about the exact language you will use in your final draft. Instead, just write the reasons you hold your position and the evidence (such as anecdotes, examples, statistics, expert testimony) that supports it. Keep your read- ers in mind — what would they find most convincing?

If you prefer to brainstorm a list of reasons, try this:

Start by writing your position at the top of the page.

List as many potential reasons as you can think of to support your position. (Don’t judge at this point.).

Make notes about the kinds of evidence you would need to show how each reason supports your position. You may be able to use this list and you notes as a starting point for further research and drafting.

WAYS IN

Research your position. Do some research to find out how others have argued in support of your position:

Try entering keywords or phrases related to the issue or your position in the search box of an all-purpose database, such as Academic OneFile (InfoTrac) or Academic Search Complete (EBSCOHost), to find relevant articles in magazines and journals, or use the database Lexis/Nexis to find articles in newspapers. For example, Jessica Statsky could have tried a combination of keywords, such as children’s sports, or variations on her terms (youth sports) to find relevant articles. A similar search of your library’s catalog could also be conducted to locate books and other resources on your topic.

If you think your issue has been dealt with by a government agency, explore the state, local, or tribal sections of USA.gov — the U.S. government’s official Web portal — or visit the Library of Congress page on state government information (www.loc.gov/rr/news/stategov/stategov.html) and follow the links.

To learn more about search- ing a database or catalog, consult Chapter 24, pp. 674–79.

To learn more about finding government documents, consult Chapter 24, p. 679.

Develop the reasons supporting your position. The following activities will help you find plausible reasons and evidence for your position. Begin by writing down what you already know. You can do some focused research later to fill in the details, or skip ahead to conduct research now.

For more idea-generating strategies, see Chapter 11.

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Remember to bookmark promising sites and to record the URL and information you will need to cite and document any sources or visuals you use.

Use sources to reinforce your credibility. How you represent your sources can quickly establish your credibility (ethos) — or the reverse. For example, by briefly describing the author’s credentials the first time you summarize, paraphrase, or quote from a source, you establish the source’s authority and demonstrate that you have selected sources appropriately:

Martin Rablovsky, a former sports editor for the New York Times, says that in all his years of watching young children play organized sports, he has noticed very few of them smiling . “ I’ve seen children enjoying a spontaneous pre-practice scrimmage become somber and serious when the coach’s whistle blows, ” Rablovsky says . . . (qtd. in Coakley 94).

uotations can also reinforce the accuracy of your summary or paraphrase and establish your fairness to opposing points of view. In the following sentence, Jessica Statsky demonstrates her fairness by quoting from the Web site of the Little League, a well-known organization, and she establishes her credibility by demonstrating that even those who disagree with her recognize that injuries occur:

Although the official Little League Web site acknowledges that children do risk injury playing baseball, it insists that “ severe injuries . . . are infrequent, ” the risk “ far less than the risk of riding a skateboard, a bicycle, or even the school bus ” (“What about My Child?”).

In both of these examples from “Children Need to Play, Not Compete” (pars. 5 and 3, respectively), Statsky introduces the source to her readers, explaining the relevance of the source material, including the author’s credentials, for readers rather than leaving them to figure out its relevance for themselves.

Whenever you borrow information from sources, be sure to double check that you are summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting accurately and fairly. Compare Statsky’s sentence with the source passage (that follows). (The portions she uses are highlighted.) Notice that she has inserted ellipsis ( . . . ) to indicate that she has left out words from her source’s second sentence.

Source

Injuries seem to be inevitable in any rigorous activity, especially if players are new to the sport and unfamiliar with its demands. But because of the safety precautions taken in Little League, severe injuries such as bone fractures are infrequent. Most injuries are sprains and strains, abrasions and cuts and bruises. The risk of serious injury in Little League Baseball is far less than the risk of riding a skateboard, a bicycle, or even the school bus.

Signal phrase & author’s credentials

Source summary

In-text citation follows quotation

Statsky’s introduction: Summarizes source

In-text citation follows quotation

To learn more about docu- menting sources, consult Chapter 27, pp. 709–38, or Chapter 28, pp. 739–50.

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 282

In both of the preceding examples, Statsky uses quotation marks to indicate that she is borrowing the words of a source and provides an in-text citation so that readers can locate the sources in her list of works cited. Doing both is essential to avoiding plagia- rism; one or the other is not enough.

For more on integrating language from sources into your own sentences and avoiding plagiarism, see Chapter 26, pp. 698–708; for additional help avoiding plagiarism, go to bedford- stmartins.com/theguide and click on the Avoiding Plagiarism Tutorial.

HOW CAN I FIGURE OUT WHAT MY READERS WILL BE CONCERNED ABOUT?

1. Start by listing the reasons you expect your readers to have for their position and the objections (including those based on logical fallacies) you expect them to raise to your argument. To think of readers’ concerns, consider how you dif- fer on values, beliefs, and priorities.

2. Analyze your list of readers’ likely reasons and objections. Which can you refute, and how? Which may you need to concede?

WAYS IN

For more logical fallacies see Chapter 19, pp. 620–21.

HOW CAN I RESPOND TO READERS’ REASONS AND OBJECTIONS?

Now, choose a reason or objection, and try out a response:

1. Summarize it accurately and fairly. (Do not commit the “straw man” fallacy of knocking down something that no one really takes seriously.)

2. Decide whether you can refute it, need to concede it, or can refute part and concede part.

Try sentence strategies like these to refute, concede, or concede and refute reasons supporting readers’ arguments or their objections to your argument:

To Refute

Reason or Objection Lacks Credible Support

My opponents cite research to support their [reason/objection], but the credibility of that research is questionable because . In contrast, reliable research by shows .

Identify and respond to your readers’ likely reasons and objections. The following activity will help you anticipate reasons your readers may use to support their argument or objections they may have. You may want to return to this activity as you do additional research and learn more about the issue and the arguments people make. Use the research strategies on pp. 280–81 or consult Chapter 24, “Finding Sources and Conducting Field Research.”

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This [reason/objection] seems plausible because it is consistent with our precon- ceptions. Nevertheless, evidence shows .

Readers’ Values and Concerns Are Better Served by Your Position

Some insist . Still, in spite of their good intentions, would [take away a basic right/make things even worse].

X and Y think this issue is about . But what is really at stake here is .

Reasoning Is Flawed

Proponents object to my argument on the grounds that . However, they are confusing results with causes. What I am arguing is .

Polls show that most people favor , but an opinion’s popularity does not make it true or right.

While most would agree that , it does not necessarily follow that .

Times Have Changed

One common complaint is . In recent years, however, .

To Concede

Accept an Objection Well Taken

To be sure, is true.

Granted, must be taken into consideration.

Qualify on Common Ground

Some people argue that . I understand this reservation, and therefore, I think we should .

Refocus Your Argument

A common concern about this issue is . That’s why my argument focuses on [a different aspect of the issue].

To Concede and Refute

And Instead of Or

I agree that is important, and so is .

Yes, But

I agree that is important, but my opponents also need to consider .

(continued)

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 284

On the One Hand . . . On the Other Hand

On the one hand, I accept X’s argument that , but on the other hand, I still think is ultimately more important because .

Note: If a reason or an objection seems so damaging that you cannot refute it convincingly or concede it without undermining your own argument, discuss with your instructor how you could modify your position or whether you should choose a new issue to write about. If you do not know enough about readers’ views to anticipate their reasons or likely objections to your argument, do more research.

Create an outline that will organize your argument effectively for your readers. Whether you have rough notes or a complete draft, making an outline of what you have written can help you organize the essay effectively for your audience. Compare the possible outlines that follow to see how you might organize your essay depending on whether your readers primarily agree or disagree with you.

Readers Primarily Agree with You

Strengthen their convictions by organizing your argument around a series of reasons backed by supporting evidence or by refuting opposing arguments point by point:

I. Presentation of the issue

II. Thesis statement: A direct statement of your position

III. Your most plausible reasons and evidence

IV. Concession or refutation of opposing reasons or objections to your argument

V. Conclusion: Reaffirmation of your position

Readers Primarily Disagree with You

Begin by emphasizing common ground, and make a concession to show that you have considered the opposing position carefully and with an open mind:

I. Presentation of the issue: Reframe the issue in terms of common values

II. Concession: Acknowledge the wisdom of an aspect of the opposing position

III. Thesis statement: A direct statement of your position, qualified as necessary

IV. Your most plausible reasons and evidence

V. Conclusion: Reiteration of shared values

For more on outlining, see Chapter 11, pp. 510–14.

Whatever organizational strategy you adopt, do not hesitate to change your outline as necessary while drafting and revising. For instance, you might find it more effec- tive to hold back on presenting your own position until you have discussed unaccept- able alternatives. Or you might find a more powerful way to order the reasons for supporting your position. The purpose of an outline is to identify the basic compo- nents of your argument and to help you organize them effectively, not to lock you into a particular structure.

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Consider document design. Think about whether visual or audio elements — photographs, graphics, snippets of interviews with experts — would strengthen your position argument. If you can recall position arguments you’ve read in newspapers (op-eds and editorials generally argue for positions), on Web pages, and on blogs, what visual or audio elements were used to establish the writer’s credibility and to appeal to the reader logically, ethically, or emotionally? Position arguments do not require visual or audio examples to be effec- tive, but these elements can be helpful.

Note: Be sure to cite the source of visual or audio elements you didn’t create, and get permission from the source if your essay is going to be published on a Web site that will be accessible outside of your class or college.

Consider also whether your readers might benefit from design features such as headings, bulleted or numbered lists, or other typographic elements that can make your argument easier to follow.

Write the opening sentences. Notice how the writers of the selections in this chapter have used their opening sen- tences to frame or reframe the issue for their readers while also grabbing their attention:

Jessica Statsky provides statistics to help readers understand the importance of her topic:

“Organized sports for young people have become an institution in North Ameri- ca,” reports sports journalist Steve Silverman, attracting more than 44 million youngsters according to a recent survey by the National Council of Youth Sports (“History”). (p. 250)

Richard Estrada uses personal reminiscence to make the issue less abstract and more tangible:

When I was a kid living in Baltimore in the late 1950s . . . (p. 256)

Amitai Etzioni uses a surprising statement to capture readers’ attention:

McDonald’s is bad for your kids. (p. 261)

Daniel J. Solove uses a hypothetical quotation to indicate how people typically think about the issue:

When the government gathers or analyzes personal information, many people say they’re not worried. “I’ve got nothing to hide,” they declare. (p. 266)

Additional strategies you could try include comparing your issue to a different issue about which your readers may agree or using a rhetorical question to arouse your read- ers’ concerns about the issue. To engage your readers and set the stage for your position, try reworking your framing sentences (p. 278) and using them to open your essay, but

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 286

do not agonize over the fi rst sentences because you are likely to discover the best way to begin only after you have written a rough draft.

Draft your position argument. By this point, you have done a lot of writing to

De

Frame your issue so that readers will be open to your argument

Support your position with reasons and evidence your readers will find persuasive

Refute or concede alternative viewpoints on the issue

Organize your ideas to make them clear, logical, and effective for readers

Now stitch that material together to create a draft. The next two parts of this Guide to Writing will help you evaluate and improve that draft.

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading Your instructor may arrange a peer review session in class or online, where you can

ing — pointing out what works well and suggesting ways to improve the draft. A good critical reading does three things:

1. It lets the writer know how the reader understands the point of the argument.

2. It praises what works best.

3. It indicates where the draft could be improved and makes suggestions how to improve it.

One strategy for evaluating a draft is to use the basic features of a position argument as a guide.

Summarize: Tell the writer what you understand the issue to be. If you were already familiar with it and understand it differently, briefly explain.

Praise: Give an example from the essay where the issue and its significance come across effectively.

Critique: Tell the writer where more information about the issue is needed, where more might be done to establish its seriousness, or how the issue could be framed or reframed in a way that would better prepare readers for the argument.

How well does the writer present the issue?

A Focused,

Issue

A CRITICAL READING GUIDE

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Evaluating the Draft

Summarize: Underline the thesis statement and the main reasons.

Praise: Give an example in the essay where the argument is especially effective; for example, indicate which reason is especially convincing or which supporting evidence is particularly compelling.

Critique: Tell the writer where the argument could be strengthened; for example, indicate how the thesis statement could be made clearer or more appropriately qualified, how the argument could be developed, or where additional support is needed.

Summarize: Identify where the writer responds to a reason others use to support their argument or an objection they have to the writer’s argument.

Praise: Give an example in the essay where a concession seems particularly well done or a refutation is convincing.

Critique: Tell the writer how a concession or refutation could be made more effective, a reason or objection the writer should respond to, or where common ground could be found.

Summarize: Find the sentence(s) in which the writer states the thesis and forecasts supporting reasons, as well as transitions or repeated key words and phrases.

Praise: Give an example of how or where the essay succeeds in being especially easy to read, perhaps in its overall organization, clear presentation of the thesis, clear transitions, or effective opening or closing.

Critique: Tell the writer where the readability could be improved. Can you, for example, suggest better forecasting or clearer transitions? If the overall organization of the essay needs work, make suggestions for rearranging parts or strengthening connections.

How well does the writer argue in support of the position?

How effectively has the writer responded to others’ reasons and likely objections?

How clearly and logically has the writer organized the argument?

A Supported Position

An Effective Response to

Opposing Views

A Clear, Logical Organization

Before concluding your peer review, be sure to address any of the writer’s concerns that have not been discussed already.

Making Comments Electronically Most word processing software offers features that allow you to insert comments directly into the text of someone else’s document. Many readers prefer to make their comments this way because it tends to be faster than writing on hard copy and space is virtually unlimited; it also eliminates the pro cess of deciphering handwritten comments. Where such features are not available, simply typing comments directly into a document in a contrasting color can provide the same advantages.

For a printable version of this Critical Reading Guide, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide.

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 288

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading Start improving your draft by refl ecting on what you have written thus far:

Review critical reading comments from your classmates, instructor, or writing center tutor: What problems are your readers identifying?

Consider your invention writing: What else should you consider?

Review your draft: What can you do to support your position more effectively?

Revise your draft. If your readers are having diffi culty with your draft, or if you think there is room for improvement, try some of the strategies listed in the Troubleshooting Guide that

A Focused, Presented Issue

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

readers understand what’s at stake.

you share with readers.

the issue as you see it.

My readers don’t get the point.

A Supported Position

strategies are not working, try reorganizing the material, adding transitional words and phrases, or repeating key words strategically.

My readers do not find my argument clear and/or persuasive.

My readers have a different perspective on the issue than I do.

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Improving the Draft

Think about design. Formatting and design requirements differ depending on the context and genre in which

munity organization, or your workplace, though, you may want to consider including graphics that will help your readers grasp evidence or a key point immediately. The pie chart below is from the project highlighted in the In College Courses scenario on p. 242.

An Effective Response to

Opposing Views sometimes often

A Clear, Logical Organization

bedfordstmartins .com/theguide

Race of Defendants Executed Race of Victims in Death Penalty Cases

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 290

The writer included this graphic to bring home starkly to her readers — her instructor and classmates — the racial disparity in death penalty cases. A graphic like this one will appeal to readers logically, but it may also make an ethical appeal (appeal to readers’ sense of fairness).

Edit and proofread your draft. Students frequently struggle to maintain a neutral tone when arguing a position they hold dearly. Our research also indicates that incorrect comma usage in sentences with coordinating conjunctions and punctuation errors in sentences that use conjunctive ad- verbs are common in position arguments. The following guidelines will help you check your essay for these common errors.

Editing for Tone

To demonstrate that you are treating alternative viewpoints fairly, use words with a positive or neutral connotation (emotional resonance) and avoid name-calling.

Too often . . . the drive to win turns parents into monsters threatening umpires.

As you edit your position argument, also watch out for language that is puffed up or pompous:

A coach who had attended the Adelphi workshop tried to operationalize what he had

learned there, but the players’ progenitors would not support him.

Using Commas before Coordinating Conjunctions

In essays that argue a position, writers often use coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, or, nor, so, and yet) to join related independent clauses — groups of words that can stand alone as complete sentences — to create compound sentences. Consider this ex- ample from Jessica Statsky’s essay:

Winning and losing may be an inevitable part of adult life , but they should not be part

of childhood. (par. 6)

In this sentence, Statsky links two complete ideas of equal importance with the coor- dinating conjunction but to emphasize contrast.

The Problem Two common errors occur in sentences like these:

1. A comma may be left out when two independent clauses are linked by a coordi- nating conjunction.

2. A comma may be inserted before the coordinating conjunction when one of the sentence parts is not an independent clause.

to threaten

^

encourages

^

put into practice

^ parents

^

independent clause 1 independent clause 2 coord. conj.

comma

Compound sentence: two independent clauses linked by a coordinating conjunction

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Improving the Draft

The Correction Add a comma before coordinating conjunctions that join two inde- pendent clauses, as in the following example:

The new immigration laws will bring in more skilled people but their presence will take jobs away from other Americans.

Omit the comma when coordinating conjunctions join phrases that are not indepen- dent clauses:

We need people with special talents,/ and diverse skills to make the United States a stronger nation.

Avoiding Comma Splices When Using Conjunctive Adverbs to Link Independent Clauses

Conjunctive adverbs (such as consequently, furthermore, however, moreover, therefore, and thus) indicate the logical relationships among ideas. For example, words like thus and therefore are used to alert readers that a conclusion is coming, and words like furthermore and moreover are used to alert readers to expect additional ideas on the same topic. When writers take a position, they often use conjunctive adverbs to link independent clauses.

Consider this example:

Children watching television recognize violence but not its intention ; thus, they

become desensitized to violence.

In this sentence, the writer uses the word thus to indicate that he is drawing a conclusion.

The Problem A comma splice is one error that often occurs when writers use a com- ma before a conjunctive adverb linking two independent clauses.

The Correction Use a semicolon before and a comma after a conjunctive adverb when it links two independent clauses:

The recent vote on increasing student fees produced a disappointing turnout,/ moreover

the presence of campaign literature on ballot tables violated voting procedures.

Make sure that both parts of the sentence are independent clauses before inserting a semicolon, a conjunctive adverb, and a comma to link them. If one or both parts cannot stand alone, add a subject, a verb, or both as needed to avoid a sentence fragment:

Children watching television recognize violence; however, not its intention.

Alternatively, you may replace the semicolon, conjunctive adverb, and comma with a coordinating conjunction:

Children watching television recognize violence;/ however, not its intention.

;̂ ,̂

they do not recognize

^

but

^

For practice, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Semicolons in the Handbook section.

A Note on Grammar and Spelling Checkers

These tools can be helpful, but do not rely on them exclusively to catch errors in your text: Spelling checkers cannot catch misspellings that are themselves words, such as to for too. Grammar checkers miss some problems, sometimes give faulty advice for fixing problems, and can flag correct items as wrong. Use these tools as a second line of defense after your own (and, ideally, another reader’s) editing and proofreading efforts.

independent clause 1

independent clause 2

conj. adv.

semicolon comma

For practice, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Coordinating Ideas with Semicolons and Conjunctive Adverbs.

A Common Problem for Multilingual Writers: Subtle Differences in Meaning

Because the distinctions in meaning among some common conjunctive adverbs are subtle, nonnative speakers often have difficulty using them accurately. For example, the difference between however and nevertheless is small; each is used to introduce a contrasting statement. But nevertheless emphasizes the contrast, whereas however soft- ens it. Check usage of such terms in an English dictionary rather than a bilingual one. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language has special usage notes to help distinguish frequently confused words.

For practice, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/exercisecentral and click on Word Choice in the Handbook section.

A WRITER AT WORK

Jessica Statsky’s Response to Opposing Positions In this section, we look at how Jessica Statsky tried to anticipate opposing positions and respond to them. To understand Statsky’s thinking about possible opposing posi- tions, look first at the invention writing she did while analyzing her potential readers.

I think I will write mainly to parents who are considering letting their children get involved in competitive sports and to those whose children are already on teams and who don’t know about the possible dangers. Parents who are really into competition and winning probably couldn’t be swayed by my arguments anyway. I don’t know how to reach coaches (but aren’t they also parents?) or league organizers. I’ll tell parents some horror stories and present solid evidence from psychologists that competitive sports can really harm children under the age of twelve. I think they’ll be impressed with this scien- tific evidence.

I share with parents one important value: the best interests of children. Competition really works against children’s best interests. Maybe parents’ magazines (don’t know of any specific ones) publish essays like mine.

Notice that Statsky lists three potential groups of readers here, but she is already leaning toward making parents her primary audience. Moreover, she divides these parents into two camps: those who are new to organized sports and unaware of the adverse effects of competition, and those who are really into winning. Statsky decides early on against trying to change the minds of parents who place great value on win- ning. But as you will see in the next excerpt from her invention writing, Statsky gave a lot of thought to the position these parents would likely favor.

Three potential groups of readers

Two groups of parents

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Listing Reasons for the Opposing Position In continuing her invention writing, Statsky listed the following reasons she thought others might have for their position that organized competitive sports teach young children valuable skills:

–because competition teaches children how to succeed in later life –because competition–especially winning–is fun –because competition boosts children’s self-esteem –because competition gives children an incentive to excel

This list appears to pose serious challenges to Statsky’s argument, but she benefited by considering the reasons her readers might give for opposing her position before she drafted her essay. By preparing this list, she gained insight into how she had to develop her own argument in light of these predictable arguments, and she could begin thinking about which reasons she might concede and which she had to refute. Her essay ulti- mately gained authority because she could demonstrate a good understanding of the opposing arguments that might be offered by her primary readers —parents who have not considered the dangers of competition for young children.

Conceding a Plausible Reason Looking over her list of reasons, Statsky decided that she could accommodate read- ers by conceding that competitive sports can sometimes be fun for children — at least for those who win. Here are her invention notes:

It is true that children do sometimes enjoy getting prizes and being recognized as winners in competitions adults set up for them. I remember feeling very excited when our sixth-grade relay team won a race at our school’s sports day. And I felt really good when I would occasionally win the candy bar for being the last one standing in classroom spell- ing contests. But when I think about these events, it’s the activity itself I remember as the main fun, not the winning. I think I can concede that winning is exciting to six- to twelve-year-olds, while arguing that it’s not as important as adults might think. I hope this will win me some friends among readers who are undecided about my position.

We can see this concession in paragraph 5 of Statsky’s revised essay (p. 252), in which she concedes that sports should be fun but quotes an authority who argues that even fun is jeopardized when competition becomes intense.

Refuting an Implausible Reason Statsky recognized that she had to attempt to refute the other objections in her list. She chose the first reason in her list and tried out the following refutation:

It irritates me that adults are so eager to make first and second graders go into training for getting and keeping jobs as adults. I don’t see why the pressures on adults need to be put on children. Anyway, both my parents tell me that in their jobs,

CHAPTER 6 Arguing a Position 294

cooperation and teamwork are keys to success. You can’t get ahead unless you’re effec- tive in working with others. Maybe we should be training children and even high school and college students in the skills necessary for cooperation, rather than competition. Sports and physical activity are important for children, but elementary schools should emphasize achievement rather than competition–race against the clock rather than against each other. Rewards could be given for gains in speed or strength instead of for defeating somebody in a competition.

This brief invention activity led to the argument in paragraph 10 of the revised essay (p. 254), in which Statsky acknowledges the importance of competition for success in school and work, but goes on to argue that cooperation is also important. To support this part of her argument, she gives examples in paragraph 11 of sports programs that emphasize cooperation over competition.

You can see from Statsky’s revised essay that her refutation of this opposing ar- gument runs through her entire essay. The invention activities Statsky did advanced her thinking about her readers and purpose; they also brought an early, productive focus to her research on competition in children’s sports.

To think critically means to use all of the knowledge you have acquired from the infor- mation in this chapter, your own writing, the writing of other students, and class dis- cussions to reflect deeply on your work for this assignment and the genre (or type) of writing you have produced. The benefit of thinking critically is proven and important: Thinking critically about what you have learned will help you remember it longer, en- suring that you will be able to put it to good use well beyond this writing course.

Reflecting on What You Have Learned In this chapter, you have learned a great deal about arguing for a position from reading several position arguments and from writing one of your own. To consolidate your learning, reflect not only on what you learned but also on how you learned it.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a blog post to classmates, a letter to your instructor, or an e-mail message to a student who will take this course next term, using the writing prompt that seems most productive for you:

Explain how your purpose and audience influenced one of your decisions as a writer, such as how you presented the issue, the strategies you used in arguing your position, or the ways in which you attempted to counter possible objections.

THINKING CRITICALLY

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Reflecting on the Genre

Discuss what you learned about yourself as a writer in the process of writing this essay. For example, what part of the process did you find most challenging? Did you try anything new, like getting a critical reading of your draft or outlining your draft in order to revise it?

Choose one of the readings in this chapter and explain how it influenced your essay. Be sure to cite specific examples from your essay and the reading.

If you got good advice from a critical reader, explain exactly how the person helped you—perhaps by questioning the way you addressed your audience or the kinds of evidence you offered in support of your position.

Reflecting on the Genre While you were writing your position argument, we encouraged you to frame your posi- tion in terms of values you share with your readers and to provide logical reasons and evi- dence in support of your position. However, some critics argue that privileging reasoned argument over other ways of arguing is merely a means to control dissent. Instead of ex- pressing what may be legitimate outrage and inciting public concern through passionate language, dissenters are urged to be dispassionate and reasonable even though they are ar- guing with people whose views they find repugnant. In the end, trying to present a well- reasoned, well-supported argument may serve to maintain the status quo by silencing the more radical voices within the community. What do you think about this controversy?

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a page or two explaining your ideas about whether the genre’s requirement that writ- ers give reasons and support suppresses dissent. Connect your ideas to your own position argument and to the readings in this chapter. In your discussion, you might consider one or more of the following questions:

1 In your own experience of arguing a position on a controversial issue, did having to give reasons and support discourage you from choosing any particular issue or from expressing strong feelings? Reflect on the issues you listed as possible subjects for your essay and how you made your choice. Did you reject any issues because you could not come up with reasons and support for your position? When you made your choice, did you think about whether you could be dispassionate and reasonable about it?

2 Consider the readings in this chapter and the position arguments you read by other students in the class. Do you think any of these writers felt limited by the need to give reasons and support for their position? Which of the essays you read, if any, seemed to you to express strong feelings about the issue? Which, if any, seemed dispassionate?

3 Consider the kind of arguing you typically witness in the media—radio, television, newspapers, magazines, the Internet. In the media, have giving reasons and support and anticipating readers’ objections been replaced with a more conten- tious, in-your-face style of arguing? Think of media examples of these two different ways of arguing. What do these examples lead you to conclude about the contention that reasoned argument can stifle dissent?

296

IN COLLEGE COURSES For an early childhood education class, a student writes a proposal that Congress require broadcast networks to provide programming to help preschool children learn English. He establishes the need for such regulation by citing statistics showing that the children of non-English-speaking parents are less likely than the children of English speakers to attend preschool. To lend credibility to his proposal, he cites a researcher specializing in the impact of media on children’s language acquisition and interviews via e-mail the program- ming coordinator for a national network. He counters possible objections of impracticality by citing two model programs, public television’s Sesame Street and cable’s Mi Casita (My Little House). He concludes by reminding his readers — not only his instructor but also his local Congressional representative — that those who use publicly owned airwaves are required by law to serve the public interest.

7 Proposing a Solution A proposal urges readers to take action

to solve a problem. To be convincing,

proposals need to demonstrate that the

problem must be solved and that the

proposed solution is the best available

option. In college, proposals may be

written to solve campus problems, such

as residence hall noise, or they may

be more specialized, such as research

proposals to seek funding to investigate

how to preserve indigenous languages.

Workplace proposals may be addressed to

the company’s management (such as the

need for investment in new technology)

or to another company seeking a contract

to perform certain services. In the

community, proposals seek to get things

done, from a neighborhood proposal for

a traffic signal at a dangerous intersection

to a congressional recommendation to

improve the health care system.

297

IN THE WORKPLACE A truck driver notices that her employer is unable to find enough short-haul drivers for deliveries. To solve this problem, she suggests in an e-mail message to her boss that the company initiate a training program to bring more women into the workforce. By interview- ing other female truck drivers, she had learned that women tend to be turned off by the male-dominated truck-driving schools, so she proposes that qualified recruits be placed with experienced drivers serving as paid mentors. She recognizes that the program must not adversely affect the company’s bottom line, so she suggests that the cost of the mentorship be offset by a rookie-driver tuition fee. She concludes by pointing out that the company would not only get the skilled drivers it needs at no cost but also create an incentive (additional income) for experienced drivers to remain with the company.

IN THE COMMUNITY A social services administrator in a large city becomes concerned about a rise in the number of adolescents in jail. To help solve this problem, he proposes that his department intervene at the first sign of delinquent behavior in eight- to twelve-year-olds. He describes the conse- quences of jailing young criminals, focusing on the cost of incarceration and the high rate of recidivism (the return to criminal activity), and he provides statistics and case histories showing the positive effects of inter- vention for very young first offenders. He then discusses the major compo- nents of his program: finding mentors for struggling adolescents and placing social workers with troubled families. The administrator acknowledges the costs of the program but points to savings if incarceration rates are lowered.

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 298

In this chapter, we ask you to identify a problem you care about and write a proposal to solve it. Analyzing the reading selections that follow will help you learn how to make a convincing case for the solution you propose. The Guide to Writing later in the chapter will show you ways to use the basic features of the genre to make your proposal inventive as well as practical.

PRACTICING THE GENRE

Arguing That a Solution Is Feasible Proposals often succeed or fail on the strength of the argument that the proposed solution is feasible. To practice making a feasibility argument, get together with two or three other students and follow these guidelines:

Part 1. Begin by identifying a problem you face as a student in one of your college courses (this course or a different one). Next, discuss the problem in your group, and choose one of the following solutions (or think of another solution). The instructor should:

drop one of the assigned books;

offer special study sessions;

post study sheets on the readings.

Then discuss the following questions to determine how you could demonstrate to the instructor that your solution is feasible:

Is it doable? List specific steps that the instructor would need to take.

Is it worth doing? Identify what implementing the solution would cost the instructor (in terms of time, for example) compared to how much it would benefit the students (in terms of learning, for example).

Would it work? To prove it would actually help solve the problem, you could show that it eliminates a cause of the problem or that it has worked elsewhere, for example.

Part 2. As a group, discuss what you learned from this activity.

Which part of the argument—identifying a problem, finding a solution, or arguing that the solution is doable, is worth doing, and would work—was easiest? hardest?

If the instructor objected that your proposed solution would be unfair to those students who are doing well in the course, how could you respond in a way that assures the instructor that it would be fair?

Imagine that you were writing this proposal to a different audience—for example, a group of professors at a conference about undergraduate teaching or an administrator who controls the budget or schedule. How might you change your argument or the way you present it for a different audience?

Analyzing Proposals As you read the selections in this chapter, you will see how different authors propose

tions, respond to opposing views, and organize their writing will help you see how you can use these techniques to make your own proposals clear and compelling for your readers.

Determine the writer’s purpose and audience. When reading the proposals in this chapter, ask yourself the following questions about the writer’s purpose and audience:

What seems to be the writer’s main purpose — for example, to convince readers that the problem truly exists and needs immediate action; to persuade readers

What does the writer assume about the audience — for example, that readers will be unaware of the problem; that they will recognize the existence of the problem but fail to take it seriously; that they will think the problem has already been

Assess the genre’s basic features. Use the following to help you analyze and evaluate how proposal writers use the genre’s basic features. The writing strategies they typically use to convince readers to adopt the proposed solution are illustrated below with examples from the readings in this chapter as well as sentence strategies you can experiment with later, as you write your own proposal.

DEFINED PROBLEM

Read fi rst to see how the writer defi nes or frames the problem. Framing a problem is a way of preparing readers for the proposed solution by focusing on the aspect of the problem the proposal tries to solve. In “More Testing, More Learning,” for example, student

exams on students’ learning. If O’Malley were writing to students instead of their teachers, he might have framed the problem in terms of students’ poor study habits or procrastination. By framing the problem as he did, he indicates that teachers, rather than students, have the ability to solve the problem and tries to convince readers that it is real and serious. Consider, for example, how (and how well) the writer frames the problem

by recounting anecdotes or constructing scenarios to show how the problem affects people

EXAMPLE It’s late at night. The final’s tomorrow. (O’Malley, par. 1)

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Basic Features A Focused, W Problem

A W Solution

An E Response to Objections and A Solutions

A Clear, Logical Organization

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 300

by giving examples to make the problem less abstract

EXAMPLE [Tyler Clementi was] a victim of cyber-bullying. (Bornstein, par. 1)

by listing the negative effects of the problem

EXAMPLE As a result of the unaffordable and low quality nature of child care in this country, a disturbing number of today’s children are left home alone. (Kornbluh, par. 13)

by describing the ongoing discussion of the problem and debate over solutions

EXAMPLE The obesity epidemic has inspired calls for public health measures to prevent diet-related diseases. (Brownell and Frieden, par. 1)

Probably the most convincing strategy writers use to demonstrate the severity of the problem is to cite research studies and statistics. As you read, look for source material, and notice whether the writer emphasizes the credibility of the research by including the expert’s name and credentials or by identifying the publication in which the study appeared at the beginning of the sentence in which the study is mentioned:

A study published in [name of journal or university press] shows that .

EXAMPLE A 2006 study reported in the journal Psychological Science concluded that “taking repeated tests . . . leads to better . . . retention” . . . according to the study’s coauthors, Henry L. Roediger and Jeffrey Karpicke (ScienceWatch. com, 2008). (O’Malley, par. 4)

[Name], [title] at [institution], has found that .

EXAMPLE Ervin Staub, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, has studied . . . and found that . . . (“Biographical Note”). (Bornstein, par. 9)

Alternatively, the writer may emphasize the source material by putting the informa- tion about the study up front and identifying the source later in the sentence or in the parenthetical citation, as in the following:

percent of [group studied] [believe/work/struggle] .

EXAMPLE Fifty-nine percent of these caregivers either work or have worked while providing care (“Caregiving”). (Kornbluh, par. 8)

[Research findings] show that (source).

EXAMPLE Moreover, many employees . . . lack the ability to take a day off to care for a family member (Lovell). (Kornbluh, par. 2)

Then assess whether the problem is focused enough to have been treated in the depth needed to achieve the writer’s purpose with the original audience. To make their proposal manageable, writers concentrate on one aspect of a broad problem — for example, Brownell and Frieden focus on sugar-sweetened beverages, which they claim “may be the single largest driver of the obesity epidemic” (par. 2).

Cause

Transition

Effect

Placement emphasizes credibility of expert/publication

Placement emphasizes study

301GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Analyzing Proposals

A WELL-ARGUED SOLUTION

To argue convincingly for a solution to a problem, writers need to make clear exactly what is being proposed and offer supporting reasons and evidence showing that the proposed solution

will help solve the problem;

can be implemented;

is worth the expense, time, and effort to do so.

Read first to find the proposed solution, usually declared in a thesis statement early in the essay. Typically, the thesis describes the proposed solution briefly and indicates how it would solve the problem, as in this example, which contrasts the problem’s disadvantages with the solution’s benefits:

So, not only do high-stakes exams discourage frequent study and undermine students’ performance, they also do long-term damage to students’ cognitive development. If professors gave brief exams at frequent intervals, students would be spurred to learn more and worry less. They would study more regularly, perform better on tests, and enhance their cognitive functioning. (O’Malley, par. 2)

Then check to see how the writer presents the supporting reasons and evidence, and consider how compelling the argument is likely to be, given the writer’s purpose and audience. The following sentence strategies and accompanying examples suggest the kinds of reasons and evidence proposal writers often employ to present their argu- ment, as well as the writing strategies they represent:

The proposed solution would reduce or eliminate a major cause of the problem and would (or could) have beneficial effects:

As research shows, [the proposed solution] would [stop something harmful, change habits, reverse a decline] and would [lead to/encourage] .

EXAMPLE A review conducted by Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity suggested that . . . a tax on sugared beverages would encourage consumers to switch to more healthful beverages, which would lead to reduced caloric intake and less weight gain. (Brownell and Frieden, par. 3)

A similar solution has worked elsewhere:

[Solution X] has worked for [problem Y], so it could work for this problem as well.

EXAMPLE Taxes on tobacco products have been highly effective in reducing consump- tion, and data indicate that higher prices also reduce soda consumption. (Brownell and Frieden, par. 3)

Research shows that [program Y] has been effective in [solving/causing] .

Problem and its disadvantages

Thesis proposing solution and its benefits

Cause/effect

Comparison

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 302

EXAMPLE It seems that it’s not only possible to make people kinder, it’s possible to do it systematically at scale—at least with school children. That’s what one organization based in Toronto called Roots of Empathy has done. (Bornstein, par. 4)

The necessary steps to put the solution into practice can be taken without exces- sive cost or inconvenience:

[The solution] is easy to implement: first do and then do .

EXAMPLE Ideally, a professor would give an in-class test or quiz after each unit. . . . These exams should be given weekly or at least twice monthly. . . . Exams should take no more than 15 or 20 minutes. (O’Malley, par. 3)

Stakeholders could come together behind the proposal:

Statistical surveys suggest that [the solution] will appeal to those who are concerned about as well as those worried about because [it would alleviate both groups’ concerns/ is in the best interests of everyone].

EXAMPLE This should be a popular priority. A recent poll found that 77 percent of likely voters feel . . . Eighty-four percent of voters agree that . . . (Kornbluh, par. 15)

AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO OBJECTIONS AND ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS

Writers proposing solutions need to anticipate and respond to readers’ likely objections and to the alternative solutions readers may prefer. Writers typically respond in one or more of the following ways:

By conceding (accepting) a valid objection and modifying the argument to accommodate it

By refuting (arguing against) criticism — for example, by demonstrating that an objection is without merit or arguing that an alternative solution would be more costly or less likely to solve the problem than the proposed solution

A typical way of conceding is to use a sentence strategy like this:

To accommodate [critic A’s concern], instead of doing , you could do .

Before writing his proposal, student Patrick O’Malley interviewed professors so that he could respond to their objections. Notice how his concession is really a compro- mise designed to convince readers of his proposal’s flexibility:

If weekly exams still seem too time-consuming to some professors, their frequency could be reduced to every other week or their length to 5 or 10 minutes. In courses where multiple-choice exams are appropriate, several questions could be designed to take only a few minutes to answer. (O’Malley, par. 9)

A typical refutation summarizes the objection or alternative solution and then explains why the criticism is problematic. Proposal writers refute objections and

Process analysis

Statistics

303GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

alternative solutions more often than they concede. Following are common sentence strategies used to refute objections and alternative solutions:

Some object that the proposed solution would [cost too much/cause too much disruption]. However, when you take into consideration the fact that [inaction would cost even more/cause more disruption than doing nothing], you have to conclude that

.

Although X and Y prefer [alternative approach], my solution would be [less expensive/ easier to implement] because .

Here are a few examples showing how the proposals in this chapter refute objections or alternative solutions. Notice that proposal writers often introduce the refutation with a transition that indicates contrast, such as but, although, nevertheless, or however:

Some believe that . . . From the student’s perspective, however, this time is well spent. (O’Malley, par. 9)

Some argue that . . . , but several considerations support . . . The first is . . . The second consideration is . . . A third consideration is . . . (Brownell and Frieden, par. 5)

The typical institutional response to bullying is to get tough. . . . But programs like the one I want to discuss today show the potential of augmenting our innate impulses to care for one another instead of just falling back on punishment as a deterrent. (Bornstein, par. 2)

When reading a proposal, consider whether the writer presents others’ views fairly and accurately and whether the writer’s rebuttal is likely to be convincing to readers. Pay special attention to the writer’s tone in responding to other views, noting any place the tone seems sarcastic or dismissive and considering whether such a tone would be effective given the writer’s purpose and audience.

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION

Look for cues or signposts that help readers identify the parts of the proposal. Identify the topic and find the thesis, which in a proposal asserts the solution. Bornstein identifies the topic in his title — “Fighting Bullying with Babies” — and asserts his thesis in paragraph 4:

It seems that it’s not only possible to make people kinder, it’s possible to do it systematically at scale — at least with school children.

Look also for topic sentences, particularly those that announce the parts of the pro- posal argument. Notice also any transitions and how they function. For example, all of the transitions in the following topic sentences (another, moreover, still, and further- more) indicate items in a list. Other transitions you can expect in proposals signal causes or effects (because, as a result), exceptions (but), concessions (although), refuta- tions (however), emphasis (more important), conclusions (then, therefore), and enumer- ations ( first, second). Here are the beginnings of several topic sentences from O’Malley’s essay:

Contrasts alternative and proposed solutions

To learn more about constructing arguments, see Chapter 19.

Analyzing Proposals

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 304

The main reason professors should give frequent exams is that . . . (par. 4)

Another, closely related argument in favor of multiple exams is that . . . (par. 6)

Moreover, professors object to frequent exams because . . . (par. 10)

Still another solution might be to . . . (par. 12)

Furthermore, professors could . . . (par. 13)

Finally, if headings or visuals (such as fl owcharts, graphs, tables, photographs, or cartoons) are included, determine how they contribute. Notice whether visuals are referred to in the text and whether they have titles or captions.

Readings

Transitions

FRUSTRATED BY

As you read, consider the questions in the margin. Y post your answers or bring them to class. Also consider the following:

Patrick O’Malley More Testing, More Learning

It’s late at night. The final’s tomorrow. You got a C on the midterm, so this one will

make or break you. Will it be like the midterm? Did you study enough? Did you study

the right things? It’s too late to drop the course. So what happens if you fail? No time

to worry about that now—you’ve got a ton of notes to go over.

familiar to most college students, many professors may not realize how such major,

psychologically and cognitively. They cause unnecessary amounts of stress, placing too

much importance on one or two days in the students’ entire term, judging ability on a How does framing the problem this way set up the solution?

What is the function of the opening paragraph?

1

2

Basic Features

Problem

An Effective Response to Objections and Alternative

A Clear, Logical Organization

To learn about how O’Malley responds to professors’ likely objections to his proposed solution and argues against their preferred solutions to the problem, look at A Writer at Work on pp. 347–48.

305GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

3

4

single or dual performance. Reporting on recent research at Cornell University Medical

School, Sian Beilock, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago, points out

to ‘choke under pressure’ or to score less well than they might otherwise score if the

stakes weren’t so high.” Moreover, Cornell’s research using fMRI brain scans shows that

—stunting the cognitive

systems that support the attention and memory skills every day” (Beilock 2010).

to learn more and worry less. They would study more regularly, perform better on tests,

and enhance their cognitive functioning.

or focus of study, depending on the type of class and course material. A physics class

might require a test on concepts after every chapter covered, while a history class

should be given weekly or at least twice monthly. Whenever possible, they should

no more than 15 or 20 minutes.

The main reason

when they provide feedback to students on how well they are doing, students learn more

that in a challenging course containing a great deal of material, students will learn more

which also helps them find out how much they are learning and what they need to go

over again. A 2006 study reported in the journal Psychological Science concluded that

studying,” according to the study’s coauthors, Henry L. Roediger and Jeffrey Karpicke

(ScienceWatch.com, 2008). When asked what the impact of this breakthrough research

would be, they responded: “We hope that this research may be picked up in educational

circles as a way to improve educational practices, both for students in the classroom

How does O’Malley use the key terms introduced here throughout the essay?

How does O’Malley introduce this reason? What kinds of support does he offer?

What does par. 3 contribute to the argument?

O’Malley More Testing, More Learning

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 306

and as a study strategy outside of class.” The new field of mind, brain, and education

research advocates the use of “retrieval testing.” research by Karpicke and

Blunt (2011) published in Science found that testing was more effective than other,

more traditional methods of studying both for comprehension and for analysis. Why

retrieval testing works is not known. UCLA psychologist Robert Bjork speculates that it

may be effective because “when we use our memories by retrieving things, we change our

access” to that information. “What we recall,” therefore, “becomes more recallable in the

future” (qtd. in Belluck, 2011).

Many students already recognize the value of frequent testing, but their reason is

that they need the professor’s feedback. A Harvard study notes students’ “strong pref

erence for frequent evaluation in a course.” Harvard students feel they learn least in

Students believe they learn most in courses with “many opportunities to see how they

are doing” (Light, 1990, p. 32). In a review of a number of studies of student learning,

Frederiksen (1984) reports that students who take weekly quizzes achieve higher scores

retention of material tested.

Another, closely related argument

encourage students to improve their study habits. Greater frequency in test taking

means greater frequency in studying for tests. Students prone to cramming will be

required—or at least strongly motivated—

often, making them less likely to resort to long, kamikaze nights of studying for major

frequent, careful study and review are highly beneficial. But students need motivation

all their courses, they would have to schedule study time each week and would gradu

ally develop a habit of frequent study. It might be argued that students are adults

who have to learn how to manage their own lives, but learning history or physics is

more complicated than learning to drive a car or balance a checkbook. Students need

coaching and practice in learning. The right way to learn new material needs to become

and learning. The Harvard study concludes that “tying regular evaluation to good course

How does O’Malley support this reason? Why does he include it?

How does O’Malley introduce and respond to this possible objection?

5

6

How does O’Malley integrate and cite sources in pars. 4 and 5?

307GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

7

8

9

10

How effectively does O’Malley use this source?

What is the purpose of this question?

How does O’Malley argue against possible objections in pars. 9 and 10?

organization enables students to plan their work more than a few days in advance.

If quizzes and homework are scheduled on specific days, students plan their work to

capitalize on them” (Light, 1990, p. 33).

psychiatric ward. Researchers at the University of Vermont found a strong relationship

less. The researchers found that even “low” procrastinators did not study regularly and

and increase achievement (Rothblum, Solomon, & Murakami, 1986, pp. 393–394).

Research supports my proposed solution to the problem I have described. Common

Why, then,

available to cover the material in the course. Most courses meet 150 minutes a

week—

the student’s perspective, however, this time is well spent. Better learning and greater

Moreover, time lost to lecturing or discussion could easily be made up in students’

reduced to every other week or their length to 5 or 10 minutes. In courses where

only a few minutes to answer.

they take too much time

two pages. A relatively small class of 30 students might then produce 60 pages, no small

amount of material to read each week. A large class of 100 or more students would

O’Malley More Testing, More Learning

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 308

11

12

produce an insurmountable pile of material. There are a number of responses to this

Instead of reading them closely, they could skim them quickly to see whether students

understand an idea or can apply it to an unfamiliar problem; and instead of numerical

responded to only every third or fourth week. Professors who have readers or teaching

could be given in place of

however, it is reasonable to consider alternative ways to achieve the same goals.

One alternative solution is to implement a program that would improve study skills.

One research

team

p. 134). This team, which also reviewed other research that reached the same

skills training was effective. This possible solution seems complicated, however,

effective to change the cause of the bad habit rather than treat the habit itself.

That is, it would make more sense to solve the problem at its root: the method of

learning and evaluation.

Still another solution might be to provide frequent study questions for students

to answer. These would no doubt be helpful in focusing students’ time studying, but

students would probably not actually write out the answers unless they were required

to. To get students to complete the questions in a timely way, professors would have

to collect and check the answers. In that case, however, they might as well devote

preferable to a set of study questions because it takes far less time to write in class,

compared to the time students would devote to responding to questions at home.

How do the highlighted words and phrases make the argument easy to follow?

How effectively does O’Malley present alternative solutions in pars. 11 and 12?

309GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

13

14

Furthermore,

From the evidence and from my talks with professors and students, I see frequent,

team would do as much to improve college life. Professors can’t do much about parking

frequently. It would make a difference.

References

beyond the test [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com

Belluck, P. (2011, January 20). To really learn, quit studying and take a test. The New

York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

The Journal of Counseling Psychology, 33,

131–135.

Frederiksen, N. (1984). The real test bias: Influences of testing on teaching and

learning. American Psychologist, 39, 193–202.

Karpicke, J. D., & Blunt, J. R. (2011, January 30). Retrieval practice produces more

learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping. Science Online

doi: 10.1126/science.1199327

How effective is this conclusion?

O’Malley More Testing, More Learning

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 310

Light, R. J. (1990). Explorations with students and faculty about teaching, learning,

and student life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Graduate School of Education

and Kennedy School of Government.

Rothblum, E. D., Solomon, L., & Murakami, J. (1986). Affective, cognitive, and behavioral

differences between high and low procrastinators. Journal of Counseling Psychology,

33, 387–394.

ScienceWatch.com (2008, February). Henry L. Roediger and Jeff Karpicke talk with

ScienceWatch.com and answer a few questions about this month’s fast breaking

paper in the field of psychiatry/psychology [Interview]. Retrieved from http://

sciencewatch.com/dr/fbp/2008/08febfbp/08febfbpRoedigerETAL

David Bornstein Fighting Bullying with Babies

DAVID problems, including How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas (2007) and Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know (2010). The recipient of several awards (for example, from D

To Our Credit and founded Dowser.org.

New York Times blog Fixes in November 2010.

Dowser Web site to

the following questions:

change or seems surprising.

New York Times blog audience, what do you imagine

For an additional student reading, go

to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide/epages.

311GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

parenting and family-literacy centers after having worked with neglectful and abusive parents (Toronto District School Board). Gordon had found many of them to be lacking in empathy for their children. They hadn’t developed the skill because they hadn’t experienced or witnessed it sufficiently themselves. She envisioned Roots as a seriously proactive parent education program — one that would begin when the mothers- and fathers-to-be were in kindergarten. Since then, Roots has worked with more than 12,600 classes across Canada, and in recent years, the program has expanded to the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States, where it currently operates in Seattle. Researchers have found that the program increases kindness and accep- tance of others and decreases negative aggression.

Here’s how it works: Roots arranges monthly class visits by a mother and her baby (who must be between two and four months old at the beginning of the school

year). Each month, for nine months, a trained instructor guides a classroom using a stan- dard curriculum that involves three 40-minute visits — a pre-

visit, a baby visit, and a post-visit. The program runs from kindergarten to seventh grade. During the baby vis- its, the children sit around the baby and mother (some- times it’s a father) on a green blanket (which represents new life and nature) and they try to understand the baby’s feelings. The instructor helps by labeling them. “It’s a launch pad for them to understand their own feelings and the feelings of others,” explains Gordon. “It carries over to the rest of class” (Gordon).

I have visited several public schools in low-income neighborhoods in Toronto to observe Roots of Empathy’s work. What I find most fascinating is how the baby actually changes the children’s behavior. Teachers have confirmed my impressions: tough kids smile, disruptive kids focus, shy kids open up. In a seventh grade class, I found 12-year-olds unabashedly singing nursery rhymes. The baby seems to act like a heart-softening magnet. No one fully understands why. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, an applied developmental psychologist who is a professor at the University of British Columbia, has evaluated Roots of Empathy in four studies. “Do kids become more

5

6

I magine there was a cure for meanness. Well, maybe there is. Lately, the issue of bullying has been in the news, sparked by the suicide of Tyler Clementi (“Tyler”), a gay college student who was a victim of cyber-bullying, and by a widely circulated New York Times article that focused on “mean girl” bullying in kindergarten (Paul). The federal government has identified bullying as a national problem. In August, it organized the first-ever “Bullying Prevention Summit,” and it is now rolling out an anti-bullying campaign aimed at 5- to 8-year old children (White House). This past month the Department of Education released a guidance letter (“Guidance”) urging schools, colleges and universities to take bullying seriously, or face potential legal consequences.

The typical institutional response to bullying is to get tough. In the Tyler Clementi case, prosecutors are considering bringing hate-crime charges (Dolnick).1 But programs like the one I want to discuss today show the potential of augmenting our in- nate impulses to care for one an- other instead of just falling back on punishment as a deterrent. And what’s the secret formula? A baby.

We know that humans are hardwired to be aggres- sive and selfish. But a growing body of research is dem- onstrating that there is also a biological basis for human compassion (Angier). Brain scans reveal that when we contemplate violence done to others we activate the same regions in our brains that fire up when mothers gaze at their children, suggesting that caring for strang- ers may be instinctual. When we help others, areas of the brain associated with pleasure also light up. Research by Felix Warneken and Michael Tomasello indicates that toddlers as young as 18 months behave altruisti- cally. (If you want to feel good, watch one of their 15-second video clips [Warneken]. . . .)

More important, we are beginning to understand how to nurture this biological potential. It seems that it’s not only possible to make people kinder, it’s possible to do it systematically at scale — at least with school chil- dren. That’s what one organization based in Toronto called Roots of Empathy has done. Roots of Empathy was founded in 1996 by Mary Gordon, an educator who had built Canada’s largest network of school-based

1

2

3

4

1Tyler Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, was found guilty in March 2010 of fifteen counts, in- cluding invasion of privacy, tampering with evidence, and bias intimidation. [Editor’s note]

Tough kids smile, disruptive kids focus, shy kids open up.

Bornstein Fighting Bullying with Babies

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 312

Photographs from the Roots of Empathy Web site showing the program in action

empathic and understanding? Do they become less aggressive and kinder to each other? The answer is yes and yes,” she explained. “The question is why?” (Schonert-Reichl).

C. Sue Carter, a neurobiologist based at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who has conducted pioneering research into the effects of oxytocin, a hormone that has been linked with caring and trusting behavior, suspects that biology is playing a role in the program’s impact (Angier). “This may be an oxytocin story,” Carter told me. “I believe that being around the baby is somehow putting the children in a biologically different place. We don’t know what that place is because we haven’t mea- sured it. However, if it works here as it does in other animals, we would guess that exposure to an infant would create a physiological state in which the children would be more social.”

To parent well, you must try to imagine what your baby is experiencing. So the kids do a lot of “perspec- tive taking.” When the baby is too small to raise its own head, for example, the instructor asks the children to lay their heads on the blanket and look around from there. Perspective taking is the cognitive dimension of empathy — and like any skill it takes practice to master. Children learn strategies for comforting a crying baby. They learn that one must never shake a baby. They dis- cover that everyone comes into the world with a differ- ent temperament, including themselves and their classmates. They see how hard it can be to be a parent, which helps them empathize with their own mothers and fathers. And they marvel at how capacity develops.

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Each month, the baby does something that it couldn’t do during its last visit: roll over, crawl, sit up, maybe even begin walking. Witnessing the baby’s triumphs — even something as small as picking up a rattle for the first time — the children will often cheer.

Ervin Staub, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, has studied altruism in children and found that the best way to create a caring climate is to engage children collectively in an activity that benefits another human being (“Biographical Note”). In Roots, children are enlisted in each class to do something to care for the baby, whether it is to sing a song, speak in a gentle voice, or make a “wishing tree.” The results can be dramatic. In a study of first- to third- grade classrooms, Schonert-Reichl focused on the subset of kids who exhibited “proactive aggression” — the deliberate and cold-blooded aggression of bullies who prey on vulnerable kids (Schonert-Reichl et al.). Of those who participated in the Roots program, 88 percent decreased this form of behavior over the school year, while in the control group, only 9 percent did, and many actually increased it. Schonert-Reichl has reproduced these findings with fourth to seventh grade children in a randomized controlled trial. She also found that Roots produced significant drops in “relational aggression” — things like gossiping, excluding others, and backstab- bing. Research also found a sharp increase in children’s parenting knowledge. “Empathy can’t be taught, but it can be caught,” Gordon often says — and not just by children. “Programmatically my biggest surprise was that not only did empathy increase in children, but it

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increased in their teachers,” she added. “And that, to me, was glorious, because teachers hold such sway over children.”

When the program was implemented on a large scale across the province of Manitoba — it’s now in 300 classrooms there — it achieved an “effect size” that Rob Santos, the scientific director of Healthy Child Manitoba, said translates to reducing the proportion of students who get into fights from 15 percent to 8 percent, close to a 50 percent reduction (Healthy Child Manitoba). “For a program that costs only hundreds of dollars per child, the cost-benefit of preventing later problems that cost thousands of dollars per child, is obvious,” said Santos. Follow up studies have found that outcomes are main- tained or enhanced three years after the program ends. “When you’ve got emotion and cognition happening at the same time, that’s deep learning,” explains Gordon. “That’s learning that will last.”

Links

Angier, Natalie. “The Biology Behind the Milk of Human Kindness.” New York Times. New York Times, 23 Nov. 2009. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

Carter, Sue C. Personal interview. N.d. Dolnick, Sam. “2 Linked to Suicide Case Withdraw

from Rutgers.” New York Times. New York Times, 29 Oct. 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

Gordon, Mary. Personal interview. N.d. Healthy Child Manitoba. “Putting Children and

Families First.” Province of Manitoba, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

Paul, Pamela. “The Playground Gets Even Tougher.” New York Times. New York Times, 8 Oct. 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

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“Roots of Empathy: From Research to Recognition.” Roots of Empathy. Roots of Empathy, 2012. 27 Mar. 2012.

Schonert-Reichl, Kimberly. Personal interview. N.d. Schonert-Reichl, Kimberly, et al. “Contextual Considera-

tions in the Evaluation of a School-Based Social Emotional Competence Program.” American Educational Research Association, April 2009. Print.

Staub, Ervin. “Biographical Note.” Ervinstaub.com. Ervinstaub.com, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

Toronto District School Board. “Parenting and Family Literacy Centres.” Toronto District School Board, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

“Tyler Clementi.” Times Topics. New York Times. New York Times, 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

United States. Dept. of Education. “Guidance Targeting Harassment Outlines Local and Federal Responsibility.” Ed.gov. Dept. of Education, 26 Oct. 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. . Dept. of Health and Human Services. “Stop

Bullying Now.” TFK Extra!. Health Resources and Services Administration, Dept. of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. . White House Conference on Bullying

Prevention. White House. White House, 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

Warneken, Felix. “Videoclips.” Dept. of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Max Planck Institute, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

Warneken, Felix, and Michael Tomasello. “Altruistic Helping in Human Infants and Young Chimpanzees.” Science 311.5765 (2006): 1301–3. Academic Search Complete. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

Make connections: Thinking about perspective taking. One of the ways of developing empathy seems to be through “perspective taking,” which Bornstein calls “the cognitive dimension of empathy” (par. 8). Think about your own observation and personal experience with perspective taking. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use the following suggestions to get started:

Think of a situation in which you conflicted with someone, such as a sibling, parent, coworker, teacher, or classmate. Reflect on how you felt at the time of the

REFLECT

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conflict. Then put yourself in the position of the other person and try to imagine how he or she may have felt.

Consider the insights, if any, you gained from perspective taking in this case. Do you think perspective taking could help while in the middle of a conflict, or do you need distance to empathize with someone else’s point of view?

Use the basic features.

A FOCUSED, WELL-DEFINED PROBLEM: ESTABLISHING THE PROBLEM

Every proposal begins with a problem. Student Patrick O’Malley (pp. 304–10) uses his title (“More Testing, More Learning”) to hint at both the problem he will identify and the solution he will offer and to capture his readers’ attention. He uses a scenario, dramatized by a series of rhetorical questions, to frame the problem, and he follows that with citations of research reports that help establish the problem’s seriousness. Bornstein’s title (“Fighting Bullying with Babies”) is designed to surprise readers, and his first two sentences serve as a hook, drawing readers in by his bold claim to find a “cure” for “meanness.”

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing the strategies Bornstein uses to frame the problem of bul- lying and establish its seriousness and to evaluate how effective these strategies would be for Bornstein’s readers:

1 Skim paragraph 1. In addition to referring to the Tyler Clementi case, with which his original New York Times readers would certainly have been familiar, why do you think Bornstein also refers to the article on the “mean girl” bullying in kindergarten? What do these two examples have in common?

2 Why do you think Bornstein refers to a White House summit and the Department of Education’s “guidance letter”? How do these references help him frame the problem and excite readers’ interest in the solution he describes?

3 Bornstein does not directly define bullying. Assuming that bullying is a rather wide and varied class of behaviors, how important is it that Bornstein clarify what he means by bullying? How does he give readers a sense of what bullying involves?

A WELL-ARGUED SOLUTION: PROVING IT WORKS

Arguing in support of a proposed solution requires evidence that the solution will help solve the problem and that it is feasible (doable and cost-effective). O’Malley cites a number of studies to support his claim that frequent testing reduces anxiety and increases learning.

ANALYZE

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ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing and evaluating Bornstein’s use of evidence, particularly his use of the Roots of Empathy program, to support his claim:

1 Skim paragraph 5. How does the Roots of Empathy program demonstrate that the proposed solution is feasible and easily implemented? What details about how the program works does Bornstein share with readers?

2 How effectively do you think the information Bornstein provides, including photographs, will convince readers that the Roots of Empathy program will work and that it can be implemented broadly, in a cost-effective way?

AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO OBJECTIONS AND ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS: REJECTING THE STANDARD SOLUTION

In addition to arguing for the proposed solution, proposal writers also need to show that their solution is preferable to alternatives their readers might favor. Patrick O’Malley, for example, identifies several alternative solutions his intended audience (instructors) might bring up, including implementing programs to improve students’ study skills, giving students study questions, and handing out possible exam topics to help students prepare. He concedes the benefits of some of these solutions, but he also points out their shortcomings, showing how his solution is better.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing and evaluating how Bornstein anticipates and responds to alternative solutions:

1 Reread the opening paragraphs to identify the actions that have been taken to address the problem of bullying. Consider the words Bornstein uses and the details he provides to describe these programs.

2 Now skim paragraphs 4–10, in which Bornstein describes the Roots of Empathy program. Consider the words he uses and the details he provides about that program. How does he contrast his solution to the alternatives?

3 Given your analysis of Bornstein’s choice of words and details, how evenhanded is he in his evaluation of alternative solutions? How persuasive is the solution he offers?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: USING TOPIC SENTENCES

Topic sentences can be especially helpful to readers trying to follow the logic of a pro- posal. O’Malley, for example, uses topic sentences to introduce the reasons in favor of frequent exams, to identify the reasons opponents offer against frequent exams, and to respond to alternative solutions. He uses transitions such as “The main reason” (par. 4), “Another, closely related argument” (par. 6), and “Moreover” (par. 10), and repeats the key words “frequent exams” and “solution” to guide readers.

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ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing and evaluating Bornstein’s use of topic sentences to help readers follow his argument:

1 Reread paragraphs 7–9 to see how Bornstein answers the rhetorical question “Why does the solution work?” Look particularly at each of the topic sentences in these paragraphs to see how Bornstein announces the answers.

2 Now review paragraph 3 to see how Bornstein previews two of these answers.

3 Given Bornstein’s purpose and audience, how clear and comprehensible is the logic of this proposal argument? If you were to give Bornstein advice on revising this proposal for an audience of college students, what, if anything, would you recommend?

Consider possible topics: Tweaking others’ solutions. The idea behind much of Bornstein’s work, as he explains on his Dowser Web site, is to show “Who’s solving what and how” with the aim of inspiring creative problem solving in others. Instead of beginning with a problem and then trying to come up with a solution, reflect on solutions with which you are familiar, and then consider how those solutions could be tweaked to help solve another problem. The Roots of Empathy program, for example, might suggest other problems that could be helped by giving people an opportunity to try out a different perspective. Another example featured on the Dowser site that could offer a model to solve problems is Community Spokes, an after-school program that teaches students to fix bicycles in their commu- nity. How could this program be adapted to teach other practical, possibly even money-making, skills to children?

RESPOND

KELLY D. BROWNELL is a professor of psychology as well as a professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale, where he is also director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. An interna- tional expert who has published numerous books and articles, includ- ing Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America’s Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do About It (2003), Brownell received the 2012 American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology. He was also featured in the Academy Award–nominated film Super Size Me.

Kelly D. Brownell Ounces of Prevention—The Public and Thomas R. Frieden Policy Case for Taxes on Sugared

Beverages

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THOMAS R. FRIEDEN, a physician specializing in public health, is the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and served for several years as the health commissioner for the City of New York.

Brownell and Frieden’s proposal “Ounces of Prevention — The Public Policy Case for Taxes on Sugared Beverages” was originally published in 2009 in the highly respected New England Journal of Medicine, which calls itself “the most widely read, cited, and influen- tial general medical periodical in the world.” In fact, research pub-

lished there is often referred to widely throughout the media. As you read, consider the effect that Brownell and Frieden’s use of graphs and formal

citation of sources has on their credibility:

help demonstrate the feasibility of the solution the authors propose?

might they have had on their original readers? (Note that the authors use neither of the two citation styles covered in Part 4 of this text. Instead, they use one common to medical journals and publications of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.)

Sugar, rum, and tobacco are commodities which are nowhere necessaries of life, which are become objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation.

— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

T he obesity epidemic has inspired calls for public health measures to prevent diet-related diseases. One controversial idea is now the subject of public debate: food taxes. Forty states already have small taxes on sug- ared beverages and snack foods, but in the past year, Maine and New York have proposed large taxes on sugared bev- erages, and similar discussions have begun in other states. The size of the taxes, their potential for generating revenue and reducing consumption, and vigorous opposition by the beverage industry have resulted in substantial contro- versy. Because excess consumption of unhealthful foods underlies many leading causes of death, food taxes at local, state, and national levels are likely to remain part of political and public health discourse.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (soda sweetened with sugar, corn syrup, or other caloric sweeteners and other carbonated and uncarbonated drinks, such as sports and energy drinks) may be the single largest driver of the

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obesity epidemic. A recent meta-analysis found that the intake of sugared beverages is associated with increased body weight, poor nutrition, and displacement of more healthful beverages; increasing consumption increases risk for obesity and diabetes; the strongest effects are seen in studies with the best methods (e.g., longitudinal and interventional vs. correlational studies); and inter- ventional studies show that reduced intake of soft drinks improves health.1 Studies that do not support a relation- ship between consumption of sugared beverages and health outcomes tend to be conducted by authors sup- ported by the beverage industry.2 Sugared beverages are marketed extensively to children and adolescents, and in the mid-1990s, children’s intake of sugared beverages surpassed that of milk. In the past decade, per capita intake of calories from sugar-sweetened beverages has increased by nearly 30 percent (see bar graph Daily Caloric Intake from Sugar-Sweetened Drinks in the

In a longitudinal study, researchers observe changes taking place over a long period of time; in an interventional study, investigators give research subjects a measured amount of whatever is being studied and note its effects; and in a correlational study, researchers examine statistics to see if two or more variables have a mathematically significant similarity. [Editor’s note]

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Coca-Cola prices increased by 12 percent, sales dropped by 14.6 percent.5 Such studies — and the economic principles that support their findings — suggest that a tax on sugared beverages would encourage consumers to switch to more healthful beverages, which would lead to reduced caloric intake and less weight gain.

The increasing affordability of soda — and the decreasing affordability of fresh fruits and vegetables (see line graph) — probably contributes to the rise in obesity in the United States. In 2008, a group of child and health care advocates in New York proposed a one-penny- per-ounce excise tax on sugared beverages, which would be expected to reduce consumption by 13 percent — about two servings per week per person. Even if one quarter of the calories consumed from sugared beverages are replaced by other food, the decrease in consumption would lead to an estimated reduction of 8,000 calories per person per year — slightly more than 2 pounds each year for the average person. Such a reduction in calorie consumption would be expected to substantially reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes and may also reduce the risk of heart disease and other conditions.

Some argue that government should not interfere in the market and that products and prices will change as consumers demand more healthful food, but several considerations support government action. The first is externality — costs to parties not directly involved in a transaction. The contribution of unhealthful diets to health care costs is already high and is increasing — an estimated 79 billion is spent annually for overweight and obesity alone — and approximately half of these costs are paid by Medicare and Medicaid, at taxpayers’

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United States);3 beverages now account for 10 to 15 percent of the calories consumed by children and adolescents. For each extra can or glass of sugared beverage consumed per day, the likelihood of a child’s becoming obese increases by 60 percent.4

Taxes on tobacco products have been highly effec- tive in reducing consumption, and data indicate that higher prices also reduce soda consumption. A review conducted by Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity suggested that for every 10 percent increase in price, consumption decreases by 7.8 percent. An industry trade publication reported even larger reductions: as prices of carbonated soft drinks increased by 6.8 percent, sales dropped by 7.8 percent, and as

3

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.

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Daily Caloric Intake from Sugar-Sweetened Drinks in the United States. Data are from Nielsen and Popkin.3

0

19 79

19 81

19 83

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Relative Price Changes for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Sugar and Sweets, and Carbonated Drinks, 1978–2009. Data are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and repre- sent the U.S. city averages for all urban consumers in January of each year.

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expense. Diet-related diseases also cost society in terms of decreased work productivity, increased absenteeism, poorer school performance, and reduced fitness on the part of military recruits, among other negative effects. The second consideration is information asymmetry be- tween the parties to a transaction. In the case of sugared beverages, marketers commonly make health claims (e.g., that such beverages provide energy or vitamins) and use techniques that exploit the cognitive vulnerabili- ties of young children, who often cannot distinguish a television program from an advertisement. A third consideration is revenue generation, which can further increase the societal benefits of a tax on soft drinks. A penny-per-ounce excise tax would raise an estimated 1.2 billion in New York State alone. In times of economic

hardship, taxes that both generate this much revenue and promote health are better options than revenue initiatives that may have adverse effects.

Objections have certainly been raised: that such a tax would be regressive, that food taxes are not compa- rable to tobacco or alcohol taxes because people must eat to survive, that it is unfair to single out one type of food for taxation, and that the tax will not solve the obesity problem. But the poor are disproportionately affected by diet-related diseases and would derive the greatest bene- fit from reduced consumption; sugared beverages are not necessary for survival; Americans consume about 250 to 300 more calories daily today than they did several decades ago, and nearly half this increase is accounted for by consumption of sugared beverages; and though no single intervention will solve the obesity problem, that is hardly a reason to take no action.

The full impact of public policies becomes apparent only after they take effect. We can estimate changes in sugared-drink consumption that would be prompted by a tax, but accompanying changes in the consumption of other foods or beverages are more difficult to predict. One question is whether the proportions of calories consumed in liquid and solid foods would change. And shifts among beverages would have different effects depending on whether consumers substituted water, milk, diet drinks, or equivalent generic brands of sugared drinks.

Effects will also vary depending on whether the tax is designed to reduce consumption, generate revenue, or both; the size of the tax; whether the revenue is earmarked for programs related to nutrition and health; and where in the production and distribution chain the tax is applied. Given the heavy consumption of sugared beverages, even

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small taxes will generate substantial revenue, but only heftier taxes will significantly reduce consumption. Sales taxes are the most common form of food tax, but because they are levied as a percentage of the retail price, they encourage the purchase of less-expensive brands or larger containers. Excise taxes structured as a fixed cost per ounce provide an incentive to buy less and hence would be much more effective in reducing consumption and improving health. In addition, manufacturers generally pass the cost of an excise tax along to their customers, including it in the price consumers see when they are making their selection, whereas sales taxes are seen only at the cash register.

Although a tax on sugared beverages would have health benefits regardless of how the revenue was used, the popularity of such a proposal increases greatly if revenues are used for programs to prevent childhood obesity, such as media campaigns, facilities and programs for physical activity, and healthier food in schools. Poll results show that support of a tax on sugared beverages ranges from 37 to 72 percent; a poll of New York resi- dents found that 52 percent supported a “soda tax,” but the number rose to 72 percent when respondents were told that the revenue would be used for obesity preven- tion. Perhaps the most defensible approach is to use revenue to subsidize the purchase of healthful foods. The public would then see a relationship between tax and benefit, and any regressive effects would be counter- acted by the reduced costs of healthful food.

A penny-per-ounce excise tax could reduce con- sumption of sugared beverages by more than 10 percent. It is difficult to imagine producing behavior change of this magnitude through education alone, even if govern- ment devoted massive resources to the task. In contrast, a sales tax on sugared drinks would generate considerable revenue, and as with the tax on tobacco, it could become a key tool in efforts to improve health.

References

1. Vartanian LR, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health 2007;97:667–675.

2. Forshee RA, Anderson PA, Storey ML. Sugar- sweetened beverages and body mass index in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:1662–71.

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Make connections: Government problem solving. Brownell and Frieden explicitly argue in favor of the federal and/or state government taking action to address public health problems such as those related to obesity and smoking. Imposing taxes is one thing government can do. Another action is to require that foods be labeled with accurate nutritional information.

Write a few paragraphs considering the right and responsibility of government to solve public health problems. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students in class. Use these ques- tions to get started:

Consider what actions government could take to address public health problems and whether government should take such actions.

Think about how you would respond to Brownell and Frieden’s argument that “though no single intervention will solve the obesity problem, that is hardly a reason to take no action” (par. 6).

Use the basic features.

A FOCUSED, WELL-DEFINED PROBLEM: CITING RESEARCH STUDIES

Brownell and Frieden identify the problem for which they are proposing a solution in broad terms as the “obesity epidemic” (par. 1). However, they frame the issue by focus- ing on “sugar-sweetened beverages” (par. 2). To support a causal connection between consuming sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity, they cite research studies.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing more closely how Brownell and Frieden use research to establish a causal connection between sweetened drinks and obesity:

1 Skim paragraph 3 to identify the findings Brownell and Frieden summarize there. Note that these are the findings of a “meta-analysis,” which compares different studies researching the same question.

2 Consider how effectively, if at all, these findings support Brownell and Frieden’s argument about a cause-effect relationship between consuming sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity.

3 Think about what kinds of studies were done and consider how Brownell and Frieden rate these different kinds of studies. Why might it be helpful for Brownell and Frieden’s readers from the New England Journal of Medicine to know the kinds of studies that have been used and which ones employ “the best methods” and get “the strongest effects”?

REFLECT

ANALYZE

3. Nielsen SJ, Popkin BM. Changes in beverage in- take between 1977 and 2001. Am J Prev Med 2004;27:205–210.

4. Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks

and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001;357:505–508.

5. Elasticity: big price increases cause Coke volume to plummet. Beverage Digest. November 21, 2008:3–4.

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A WELL-ARGUED SOLUTION: USING COMPARISON-CONTRAST AND CLASSIFICATION

Like O’Malley, Brownell and Frieden use their title to announce the solution they are proposing: the imposition of a tax on certain beverages. They use writing strate- gies such as comparison-contrast and classification to support their claims. Even the epigraph quoting Adam Smith, the father of free market economics, is a kind of comparison in that it implicitly associates a figure linked to conservative politics with their position, which would generally be considered liberal.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing and evaluating how Brownell and Frieden use comparison and contrast and classification strategies to support their proposal:

1 Reread paragraphs 3–4. How do Brownell and Frieden use comparison and contrast there to argue for a tax on sweetened beverages?

2 Reread paragraphs 8–9. How do they use classification there?

3 Consider the strengths and weaknesses of using these two strategies to support their proposed solution. How are these two writing strategies effective ways of supporting their position? What other strategies might work better?

AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO OBJECTIONS AND ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS: HANDLING OBJECTIONS

Proposal writers usually try to anticipate readers’ objections and questions and concede or refute them. How writers handle objections and questions affects their credibility with readers, who usually expect writers to be respectful of other points of view and to take criticism seriously while still arguing assertively for their solution. Brownell and Frieden anticipate and respond to five objections they would expect their readers to raise.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing and evaluating how Brownell and Frieden respond to objections:

1 Reread paragraph 5. First, summarize the objection and their argument refuting it. Then evaluate their response: How effective is their refutation likely to be with their readers?

2 Reread paragraph 6, in which the authors respond to a number of objections. What cues do they provide to help you follow their argument?

3 Given their purpose and audience, why do you think Brownell and Frieden focus so much attention on the first objection and group the other objections together in a single paragraph?

4 How would you describe the tone of Brownell and Frieden’s refutation? How is their credibility with readers likely to be affected by the way they respond to objections?

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A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: USING GRAPHS

Brownell and Frieden include two graphs in their proposal — a bar graph and a line graph. Bar graphs and line graphs can be used to display numerical and statistical information at different points in time and also to compare groups or data sets by using different color bars or lines.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a paragraph analyzing and evaluating how well Brownell and Frieden integrate these graphs:

1 Highlight the sentences in paragraphs 2 and 4 in which Brownell and Frieden introduce each graph. How else do they integrate the graphs into their argument?

2 Consider the sections in which these graphs appear. How might the graphs help demarcate sections and move readers from one section to the next?

3 Look closely at the graphs themselves to see how the information is presented. What do the graphs contribute? Given Brownell and Frieden’s purpose and audience, why do you think they chose to include these graphs?

Consider possible topics: Improving a group to which you belong. Consider making a proposal to improve the operation of an organization, a business, or a club to which you belong. For example, you might propose that your college keep administrative offices open in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate working students, or that a child-care center be opened for students who are parents of young children. For a business, you might propose a system to handle customer complaints or a fairer way for employees to arrange their schedules. If you belong to a club that has a problem with the collection of dues, you might propose a new collection system or suggest alternative ways of raising money.

RESPOND

Karen Kornbluh Win-Win Flexibility KAREN KORNBLUH worked in the private sector as an economist and management consultant before becoming deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Treasury Department. She currently serves as the ambassador and U.S. permanent representative to the international Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. As founder and director of the Work and Family Program of the New America Foundation — a nonprofit, nonpartisan institute that sponsors research and conferences on public policy issues — Kornbluh led an effort to change the American workplace to accommodate what she calls the

“juggler family,” in which parents have to juggle their time among caring for their children,

To learn more about using graphics, see Chapter 21, pp. 647–51.

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their elderly parents, and their work. Kornbluh’s book Running Harder to Stay in Place: The Growth of Family Work Hours and Incomes was published by the New America Foundation in 2005. Kornbluh’s articles have appeared in such distinguished venues as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic Monthly. “Win-Win Flexibility” was first published by the Work and Family Program in 2005. As you read, consider who Kornbluh’s audience is for this proposal:

Foundation’s) intended audience?

“win-win”?

Introduction

Today fully 70 percent of families with children are headed by two working parents or by an unmarried work- ing parent. The “traditional family” of the breadwinner and homemaker has been replaced by the “juggler family,” in which no one is home full-time. Two-parent families are working 10 more hours a week than in 1979 (Bernstein and Kornbluh).

To be decent parents, caregivers, and members of their communities, workers now need greater flexibility than they once did. Yet good part-time or flex-time jobs remain rare. Whereas companies have embraced flex- ibility in virtually every other aspect of their businesses (inventory control, production schedules, financing), full-time workers’ schedules remain largely inflexible. Employers often demand workers be available around the clock. Moreover, many employees have no right to a minimum number of sick or vacation days; almost two- thirds of all workers — and an even larger percentage of low-income parents — lack the ability to take a day off to care for a family member (Lovell). The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 finally guaranteed that workers at large companies could take a leave of ab- sence for the birth or adoption of a baby, or for the illness of a family member. Yet that guaranteed leave is unpaid.

Many businesses are finding ways to give their most valued employees flexibility but, all too often, workers who need flexibility find themselves shunted into part-time, temporary, on-call, or contract jobs with reduced wages and career opportunities — and, often, no benefits. A full quarter of American workers are in these jobs. Only 15 percent of women and 12 percent of men in such jobs receive health insurance from their employers (Wenger). A number of European countries provide workers the right to

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a part-time schedule and all have enacted legislation to implement a European Union directive to pro- hibit discrimination against part-time workers.

In America, employers are required to accommo- date the needs of employees with disabilities — even if that means providing a part-time or flexible schedule. Employers may also provide religious accommoda- tions for employees by offering a part-time or flexible schedule. At the same time, employers have no obli- gation to allow parents or employees caring for sick relatives to work part-time or flexible schedules, even if the cost to the employer would be inconsequential.

In the 21st century global economy, America needs a new approach that allows businesses to gain flexibility in staffing without sacrificing their com- petitiveness and enables workers to gain control over their work-lives without sacrificing their economic security. This win-win flexibility arrangement will not be the same in every company, nor even for each em- ployee working within the same organization. Each case will be different. But flexibility will not come for all employees without some education, prodding, and leadership. So, employers and employees must be required to come to the table to work out a solution that benefits everyone. American businesses must be educated on strategies for giving employees flexibility without sacrificing productivity or morale. And busi- nesses should be recognized and rewarded when they do so.

America is a nation that continually rises to the occasion. At the dawn of a new century, we face many challenges. One of these is helping families to raise our next generation in an increasingly demand- ing global economy. This is a challenge America must meet with imagination and determination.

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Kornbluh Win-Win Flexibility

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 324

Background: The Need for Workplace Flexibility

Between 1970 and 2000, the percentage of mothers in the workforce rose from 38 to 67 percent (Smolensky and Gootman). Moreover, the number of hours worked by dual-income families has increased dramatically. Couples with children worked a full 60 hours a week in 1979. By 2000 they were working 70 hours a week (Bernstein and Kornbluh). And more parents than ever are working long hours. In 2000, nearly 1 out of every 8 couples with children was putting in 100 hours a week or more on the job, compared to only 1 out of 12 fami- lies in 1970 (Jacobs and Gerson).

In addition to working parents, there are over 44.4 million Americans who provide care to another adult, often an older relative. Fifty-nine percent of these caregivers either work or have worked while providing care (“Caregiving”).

In a 2002 report by the Families and Work Institute, 45 percent of employees reported that work and family responsibilities interfered with each other “a lot” or “some” and 67 percent of employed parents report that they do not have enough time with their children (Galinsky, Bond, and Hill).

Over half of workers today have no control over scheduling alternative start and end times at work (Galinsky, Bond, and Hill). According to a recent study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 49 percent of workers — over 59 million Americans — lack basic paid sick days for themselves. And almost two-thirds of all workers — and an even larger percentage of low-income parents — lack the ability to take a day off to care for a family member (Lovell). Thirteen percent of non-poor workers with caregiving responsibilities lack paid vacation leave, while 28 percent of poor caregivers lack any paid vacation time (Heymann). Research has shown that flexible arrangements and benefits tend to be more accessible in larger and more profitable firms, and then to the most valued professional and managerial workers in those firms (Golden). Parents with young children and working welfare recipients — the work- ers who need access to paid leave the most — are the least likely to have these benefits, according to research from the Urban Institute (Ross Phillips).

In the US, only 5 percent of workers have access to a job that provides paid parental leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act grants the right to 12 weeks

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of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious illness of the worker or a worker’s fam- ily member. But the law does not apply to employees who work in companies with fewer than 50 people, employees who have worked for less than a year at their place of employment, or employees who work fewer than 1,250 hours a year. Consequently, only 45 percent of parents working in the private sector are eligible to take even this unpaid time off (Smolensky and Gootman).

Workers often buy flexibility by sacrificing job security, benefits, and pay. Part-time workers are less likely to have employer-provided health insurance or pensions and their hourly wages are lower. One study in 2002 found that 43 percent of employed parents said that using flexibility would jeopardize their advance- ment (Galinsky, Bond, and Hill).

Children, in particular, pay a heavy price for work- place inflexibility (Waters Boots). Almost 60 percent of child care arrangements are of poor or mediocre quality (Smolensky and Gootman). Children in low-income families are even less likely to be in good or excellent care settings. Full-day child care easily costs 4,000 to 10,000 per year — approaching the price of college

tuition at a public university. As a result of the unafford- able and low quality nature of child care in this country, a disturbing number of today’s children are left home alone: Over 3.3 million children ages 6–12 are home alone after school each day (Vandivere et al.).

Many enlightened businesses are showing the way forward to a 21st century flexible workplace. Currently, however, businesses have little incentive to provide families with the flexibility they need. We need to level the playing field and remove the competi- tive disadvantages for all businesses that do provide workplace flexibility.

This should be a popular priority. A recent poll found that 77 percent of likely voters feel that it is dif- ficult for families to earn enough and still have time to be with their families. Eighty-four percent of voters agree that children are being shortchanged when their parents have to work long hours. . . .

Proposal: Win-Win Flexibility

A win-win approach in the US to flexibility . . . might function as follows. It would be “soft touch” at first — requiring a process and giving business an out if it would

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325GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

be costly to implement — with a high-profile public edu- cation campaign on the importance of workplace flexi- bility to American business, American families, and American society. A survey at the end of the second year would determine whether a stricter approach is needed.

Employees would have the right to make a formal request to their employers for flexibility in the number of hours worked, the times worked, and/or the ability to work from home. Examples of such flexibility would include part-time, annualized hours,1 compressed hours,2 flex-time,3 job-sharing, shift working, staggered hours, and telecommuting.

The employee would be required to make a written application providing details on the change in work, the effect on the employer, and solutions to any prob- lems caused to the employer. The employer would be required to meet with the employee and give the employee a decision on the request within two weeks, as well as provide an opportunity for an internal appeal within one month from the initial request.

The employee request would be granted unless the employer demonstrated it would require significant difficulty or expense entailing more than ordinary costs, decreased job efficiency, impairment of worker safety, infringement of other employees’ rights, or conflict with another law or regulation.

The employer would be required to provide an employee working a flexible schedule with the same hourly pay and proportionate health, pension, vaca- tion, holiday, and FMLA benefits that the employee received before working flexibly and would be required thereafter to advance the employee at the same rate as full-time employees.

Who would be covered: Parents (including parents, legal guardians, foster parents) and other caregivers at first. Eventually all workers should be eligible in our flexible, 24 × 7 economy. During the initial period, it will be necessary to define non-parental “caregivers.” One proposal is to define them as immediate relatives or other caregivers of “certified care recipients” (defined as

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those whom a doctor certifies as having three or more limitations that impede daily functioning — using diag- nostic criteria such as Activities of Daily Living [ADL]/ Instrumental Activities of Daily Living [IADL] — for at least 180 consecutive days). . . .

Public Education: Critical to the success of the pro- posal will be public education along the lines of the education that the government and business schools con- ducted in the 1980s about the need for American busi- ness to adopt higher quality standards to compete against Japanese business. A Malcolm Baldridge —like award4 should be created for companies that make flexibility win-win. A public education campaign conducted by the Department of Labor should encourage small businesses to adopt best practices of win-win flexibility. Tax credits could be used in the first year to reward early adopters.

Works Cited

Bernstein, Jared, and Karen Kornbluh. Running Faster to Stay in Place: The Growth of Family Work Hours and Incomes. Washington: New America Foundation, 2005. New America Foundation. Web. 22 May 2008.

Galinsky, Ellen, James Bond, and Jeffrey E. Hill. Workplace Flexibility: What Is It? Who Has It? Who Wants It? Does It Make a Difference? New York: Families and Work Institute, 2004. Print.

Golden, Lonnie. The Time Bandit: What U.S. Workers Surrender to Get Greater Flexibility in Work Schedules. Washington: Economic Policy Institute, 2000. Economic Policy Institute. Web. 18 May 2008.

Heymann, Jody. The Widening Gap: Why America’s Working Families Are in Jeopardy — and What Can Be Done About It. New York: Basic, 2000. Print.

Jacobs, Jerry, and Kathleen Gerson. The Time Divide: Work, Family and Gender Inequality. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2004. Print.

Lovell, Vickey. No Time to Be Sick: Why Everyone Suffers When Workers Don’t Have Paid Sick Leave. Washington: Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2004. Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Web. 20 May 2008.

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1 Annualized hours means working different numbers of hours a week but a fixed annual total. [Editor’s note]

2 Compressed hours means working more hours a day in exchange for working fewer days a week. [Editor’s note]

3 Flex-time means working on an adjustable daily schedule. [Editor’s note] 4 The Malcolm Baldridge National uality Award is given by the U.S. President to outstanding

businesses. [Editor’s note]

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National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. Caregiving in the U.S. Bethesda: NAC, 2004. National Alliance for Caregiving. Web. 20 May 2008.

Ross Phillips, Katherin. Getting Time Off: Access to Leave among Working Parents. Washington: Urban Institute, 2004. Urban Institute. Web. 21 May 2008. New Federalism: National Survey of America’s Families B-57.

Smolensky, Eugene, and Jennifer A. Gootman, eds. Working Families and Growing Kids: Caring for Children and Adolescents. Washington: The National Academies P, 2004. Print.

Vandivere, Sharon, et al. Unsupervised Time: Family and Child Factors Associated with Self-Care. Washington: Urban Institute, 2003. Urban Institute. Web. 21 May 2008. Assessing the New Federalism 71.

Waters Boots, Shelley. The Way We Work: How Children and Their Families Fare in a 21st Century Workplace. Washington: New America Foundation, 2004. New America Foundation. Web. 22 May 2008.

Wenger, Jeffrey. Share of Workers in “Nonstandard” Jobs Declines. Briefing Paper. Washington: Economic Policy Institute, 2003. Economic Policy Institute. Web. 18 May 2008.

Make connections: The problem of child care. Kornbluh asserts in paragraph 13 that it is the children in juggler families who “pay a heavy price.” She is particularly critical of child care, which she says is very expensive and low quality. She also cites research indicating that many six- to twelve-year-old children are latchkey kids, “home alone after school each day” (par. 13).

Consider whether your family should be classified as a “juggler” or as a “tradi- tional family” (par. 1). If you are a parent, you might compare the family in which you grew up to the family in which you are a parent and reflect on your personal experi- ence as a child or as a parent. Your instructor may ask you to post your thoughts on a class discussion board or to discuss them with other students during class time. Use the following questions to get started:

Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your family’s arrangements for child care. In your view, how could they be improved? Kornbluh appears to assume that being “home alone” is bad for six- to twelve-year-old children. At what age do you think children can take care of themselves?

Consider also your family’s work situation and whether the kinds of flexibility Kornbluh suggests, such as working part-time, working more hours each day but fewer days per week, being able to adjust your daily schedule, or telecommuting, would be feasible. Which, if any, of these suggestions would help your family and fit your family’s workplace conditions?

Use the basic features.

A FOCUSED, WELL-DEFINED PROBLEM: USING STATISTICS

For problems that are new to readers, writers not only need to explain the problem but also need to convince readers that it exists and is serious enough to justify the ac- tions the writer thinks are necessary to solve it. Kornbluh assumes readers will not be familiar with the problem she is writing about or take it seriously, so she spends the first part of her essay introducing the problem and the second part establishing the problem’s existence and seriousness.

REFLECT

ANALYZE

327GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing and evaluating Kornbluh’s use of statistics to present the problem:

1 Reread Kornbluh’s opening paragraph. Given that her audience probably combines people in business, labor, and government, what makes the statistics she cites there effective or ineffective?

2 Now reread paragraph 7. Notice that Kornbluh cites statistics from two different time periods in this paragraph. How does this comparison contribute to Kornbluh’s presentation of the problem?

3 Finally, skim Kornbluh’s proposal to find places where she cites the raw number together with the percentage. Here’s one example:

According to a recent study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 49 percent of workers — over 59 million Americans — lack basic paid sick days for themselves. (par. 10)

How, if at all, does giving statistics in both forms help readers? In addition to clarity, for what other reasons might Kornbluh have stated the number in two different ways?

A WELL-ARGUED SOLUTION: GIVING GUIDELINES FOR IMPLEMENTATION

Patrick O’Malley identifies his proposed solution in his title, as does Kornbluh. But whereas O’Malley tries to convince his readers that more frequent exams would indeed help solve the problem he has defined, Kornbluh can safely assume her readers will appreciate that her proposed solution — a flexible work schedule — would help solve the problem. Although she does not have to demonstrate that her proposed solution would solve the problem, Kornbluh does have to convince readers that her proposed solution is feasible — that it could be implemented at little cost and within a reasonable time.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing how Kornbluh argues that her solution is feasible:

1 Reread paragraph 5. Kornbluh states that the “flexibility arrangement will not be the same in every company, nor even for each employee working within the same organization.” Given her audience—which includes employers as well as employees—why do you think she includes this statement? How worrisome or reassuring is this statement likely to be?

2 Skim paragraphs 16–22, in which Kornbluh sets out the guidelines for what employees and employers should do to implement her solution. Notice the would, should, and could verb forms she uses, and consider why she uses them.

3 What, if anything, do you think is missing from Kornbluh’s description of how to implement her solution? What difficulties would need to be overcome?

AN EFFECTIVE RESPONSE TO OBJECTIONS AND ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS: ANTICIPATING ALTERNATIVES

Proposal writers need to anticipate alternative solutions their readers may prefer. O’Malley, for example, brings up several alternatives to improve students’ study skills, such as giving students frequent study questions and handing out possible exam topics to

Kornbluh Win-Win Flexibility

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 328

help students prepare. He acknowledges the benefits of some of these solutions but also points out their shortcomings, arguing that his solution is preferable to the alternatives.

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a few paragraphs analyzing how Kornbluh responds to alternative solutions and an objection to her proposed solution:

1 Reread paragraphs 2–3 and 10–12. Identify the alternative solutions readers could claim are already in place to solve the problem of the “juggler family.” How does Kornbluh try to refute these alternative solutions. Is she successful?

2 Reread paragraph 21, in which Kornbluh anticipates an objection. What is the objection, and how does she handle it? How effective is her response in allaying readers’ concerns?

3 Now assess the effectiveness of Kornbluh’s refutation of the alternative solution and the effectiveness of her response to the objection she anticipates. Has Kornbluh done enough to anticipate and respond to objections and alternative solutions? Why or why not?

A CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION: USING HEADINGS

Writers sometimes use headings to make it easy for readers to follow a complicated proposal. In long proposals, headings can be especially helpful. But what do they add to a short essay like this one?

ANALYZE & WRITE

Write a couple of paragraphs analyzing and evaluating Kornbluh’s use of headings:

1 Highlight each heading.

2 Examine the role each heading plays in relation to the paragraphs that follow it. Look particularly at the relationship between the heading and the topic sentences.

3 Why do you think Kornbluh chose to include these headings? Do they help make the proposal logical and easy to follow? How would omitting the headings affect readers?

Consider possible topics: Improving living or working conditions. If you are interested in the problem Kornbluh describes, you might suggest other ways of helping parents juggle their work and family responsibilities. For example, consider writing a proposal for increasing opportunities for one or more parents to work at home via telecommuting. Alternatively, you might consider a proposal to improve the living or working conditions of a group of people. Focus on a problem a particular category of people face. For example, think of ways to help elderly and infirm people in your community who need transportation, or elementary-school kids who have no after- school programs. Alternatively, devise solutions to problems that affect college stu- dents — for example, the creation of job-training or referral programs to help college students find work on or near campus, or recycling and “green” energy solutions that will help students living in dorms limit their impact on the environment.

RESPOND

For more reading selections, including a

multimodal selection, go to bedfordstmartins.com /theguide/epages.

usually include a statement of the problem, the proposed solution, and the methods for achieving the solution. These are often used in government and the

The organization provides services to . . .) or the passive voice (Services are provided to . . . ).

The Secret or The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) and even in public service announce

proposals use a casual tone and may use the fi rst person (I ) or second person (you). They

solution seem familiar. This public service announcement uses a visual comparison,

it uses the green of cash and some of the decorations that appear on money in the bottom third of the ad to emphasize the

(you) to address the reader directly.

ments may not exhibit all the basic features of formal proposals, the best ones use images and text effi ciently to defi ne a problem (such as poor money management) and suggest a

PLAYING WITH GENRE

Proposals in Public Service

Announcements

329

For an interactive version of this feature, plus activities, go to bedfordstmartins.com

/theguide/epages.

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 330

problem. (pp. 299–300)

(p. 332)

Problem (p. 314)

(pp. 326–27)

seriousness. (pp. 335–36)

for your readers. (pp. 336–37)

Problem. (p. 344)

GUIDE TO WRITING

The Writing Assignment Write an essay proposing a solution to a problem. Choose a problem faced by a com munity or group to which you belong, and address your proposal to one or more members of the group or to outsiders who might help solve the problem.

This Guide to Writing is designed to help you compose your own proposal and apply what you have learned from reading other essays in the same genre. This Starting

a proposal. Use the chart to fi nd the guidance you need, when you need it.

The Writing Assignment

Invention, Research,

Planning, and Composing

Evaluating the

Critical Reading

Improving the

Formatting, Editing, and

Proofreading

330

331

341

343

A Focused, Defined

Problem

STARTING POINTS: PROPOSING A SOLUTION

330

How do I come up with a problem to write about?

How can I best define the problem for my readers?

(pp. 301–2)

Implementation (p. 327)

A Argued Solution

How do I come up with a plausible solution?

Planning and Drafting 331GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft 331

tion. (pp. 303–4)

(pp. 315–16)

Create an outline that will organize your proposal effectively for your readers. (pp. 340–41)

(p. 344)

(pp. 301–2)

Classification (p. 321) Explain your solution. (p. 338) Research your proposal. (pp. 338–39)

A Clear, Logical Organization

A Argued Solution

GUIDE TO READING GUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

How can I help my readers follow my argument?

How do I construct an argument supporting my solution?

objections and alternative solutions. (pp. 302–3) An Effective Response to Objections and Alternative

(pp. 339–40)

objections and alternative solutions. (pp. 302–3) An Effective Response to Objections and Alternative

An Effective Response to Objections and Alternative

(pp. 339–40).

An Effective Response to Objections

and Alternative Solutions

How do I respond to possible objections to my solution?

How do I respond to possible alternative solutions?

Writing a Draft: Invention, Research, Planning, and Composing The activities in this section will help you choose and research a problem as well as develop and organize an argument for your proposed solution. Do the activities in

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 332

needed as you revise. Your writing in response to many of these activities can be used in a rough draft that you will be able to improve after receiving feedback from your classmates and instructor.

Choose a problem for which you can propose a solution. When choosing a problem, keep in mind that it must be

important to you and of concern to your readers;

solvable, at least in part;

one that you can research sufficiently in the time you have.

Choosing a problem affecting a group to which you belong (for example, as a classmate, teammate, participant in an online game site, or garage band member) or a place at which you have worked (a coffee shop, community pool, or radio station) gives you an advantage: You can write as an expert. You know the history of the problem, you know who to interview, and perhaps you have already thought about possible solutions. More- over, you know who to address and how to persuade that audience to take action on your proposed solution.

If you already have a problem and possible solution(s) in mind, skip to Test Your Choice below. If you need to find a problem, consider the possible topics following the readings and the suggestions in the following chart. Keeping a chart like this could help you get started exploring creative solutions to real-life problems.

Problems Possible Solutions

School Can’t get into required courses

Make them large lecture courses.

Make them online or hybrid courses.

Give priority to majors.

Community No safe place for children to play

Use school yards for after-school sports.

Get high school students or senior citizens to tutor kids.

Make pocket parks for neighborhood play.

Offer programs for kids at branch libraries.

Work Inadequate training for new staff

Make a training video or Web site.

Assign experienced workers to mentor trainees (for bonus pay)

TEST YOUR CHOICE

After you have made a provisional choice, ask yourself the following questions:

Do I understand the problem well enough to convince my readers that it really exists and is worth their attention?

Do I have some ideas about how to solve this problem?

Do I know enough about the problem, or can I learn what I need to know in the time allotted?

333GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

To try out your choice of a problem, get together with two or three other students:

Presenters. Take turns identifying the problem you’re thinking of writing about.

Listeners. Briefly tell each presenter whether the problem seems important, and why.

As you plan and draft your proposal, you may need to reconsider your choice (for example, if you discover you don’t have any good ideas about how to solve the problem) and either refocus it or choose a different problem to write about. If you have serious doubts about your choice, discuss them with your instructor before starting over with a new problem.

Frame the problem for your readers. Once you have made a preliminary choice of a problem, consider what you know about it, what research will help you explore what others think about it, and how you can interest your readers in solving it. Then determine how you can frame or reframe it in a way that appeals to readers’ values and concerns. Use the questions and sen- tence strategies that follow as a jumping-off point; you can make them your own as you revise later.

WHY SHOULD READERS CARE?

How can I convince readers the problem is real and deserves attention?

Give an example to make the problem specific:

Recently, has been [in the news/ in movies/a political issue] because of [name event].

Example: Lately, the issue of bullying has been in the news, sparked by the suicide of Tyler Clementi . . . , a gay college student who was a victim of cyber-bullying. (Bornstein, par. 1)

Use a scenario or anecdote to dramatize the problem:

[Describe time and place.] [Describe problem related to time or place.]

Example: It’s late at night. The final’s tomorrow. You got a C on the midterm, so this one will make or break you. (O’Malley, par. 1)

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

What do I already know about the problem?

Brainstorm a list: Spend 10 minutes listing everything you know about the problem. Write quickly, leaving judgment aside for the moment. After the 10 minutes are up, you can review your list and highlight or star the most promising information.

Use cubing: Probe the problem from a variety of perspectives:

• Describe the problem.

• Compare the problem to other, similar problems, or contrast it with other, related problems.

• Connect the problem to other problems in your experience.

• Analyze the problem to identify its parts, its causes, or its effects.

• Apply the problem to a real-life situation.

Freewrite: Write without stopping for 5 or 10 minutes about the problem. Don’t stop to reflect or consider; if you hit a roadblock, just

WAYS IN

(continued)

To learn more about con- ducting surveys and inter- views, consult Chapter 24, pp. 684–88. For advice on listing, cubing, and free- writing, see Chapter 11, pp. 510, 514–15.

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 334

Cite statistics to show the severity of the problem:

It has recently been reported that percent of [name group] are [specify problem].

Example: Today fully 70 percent of families with children . . . are working 10 more hours a week than in 1979 (Bernstein and Kornbluh). (Kornbluh, par. 1)

Describe the problem’s negative conse- quences:

According to [name expert/study], [state problem] is affecting [name affected group]: [insert quote from expert.]

Example: Sian Beilock, a psychology professor at the University of Chicago, points out that “stressing about doing well on an important exam can backfire, leading students to ‘choke under pressure’ or to score less well than they might otherwise score if the stakes weren’t so high.” (O’Malley, par. 2)

Why should readers care about solving the problem?

We’re all in this together. is not a win-lose proposition. If [name group] loses, we all lose.

If we don’t try to solve , no one else will.

Doing nothing will only make worse.

We have a moral responsibility to do something about .

keep coming back to the problem. At the end of the specified time, review your writing and highlight or underline promising ideas.

What do others think about the problem? Conduct surveys:

school (your friends and others).

survey shoppers at a local mall.

people who work at similar jobs.

Conduct interviews:

the community.

city council, the fire chief, the local labor union representative).

What do most of my readers already think about the problem?

Many complain about but do nothing because solving it seems [too hard/too costly].

Some think is [someone else’s responsibility/not that big of a problem].

Others see as a matter of [fairness/human decency].

Who suffers from the problem?

Studies have shown that mostly affects [name group(s)].

Example: Research has shown that . . . parents with young children and working welfare recipients — the workers who need access to paid leave the most — are the least likely to have these benefits. . . . Children, in particular, pay a heavy price. (Kornbluh, pars. 10, 13)

335GUIDE TO READINGGUIDE TO WRITING A WRITER AT WORK THINKING CRITICALLY

Writing a Draft

TEST YOUR CHOICE

Ask two or three other students to help you develop your plan to define the problem.

Presenters. Briefly explain how you are thinking of framing or reframing the problem for your audience. Use the following language as a model for presenting your problem, or use language of your own.

I plan to define the problem [not as but as /in terms of ] because I think my readers [describe briefly] will share my [concerns, values, or priorities].

Listeners. Tell the presenter what response this way of framing the problem elicits from you and why. You may also explain how you think other readers might respond. Use the following language as a model for structuring your response, or use your own words.

I’m [also/not] concerned about because [state reasons].

I [agree/disagree] that because [state reasons].

Use statistics to establish the problem’s existence and seriousness. Statistics can be helpful in establishing that a problem exists and is serious. (In fact, using statistics is offered as an option in the preceding Ways In box.) To define her problem, Kornbluh uses statistics in three different forms: percentages, numbers, and proportions.

Between 1970 and 2000, the percentage of mothers in the workforce rose from 38 to 67 percent (Smolensky and Gootman). Moreover, the number of hours worked by dual-income families has increased dramatically. Couples with children worked a full 60 hours a week in 1979. By 2000 they were working 70 hours a week (Bernstein and Kornbluh). And more parents than ever are working long hours. In 2000, nearly 1 out of every 8 couples with children was putting in 100 hours a week or more on the job, compared to only 1 out of 12 families in 1970 (Jacobs and Gerson). (par. 7)

Percentages can seem quite impressive, but sometimes without the raw numbers readers may not appreciate just how remarkable the percentages really are. In the following example, readers can see at a glance that the percentage Kornbluh cites is truly significant:

In addition to working parents, there are over 44.4 million Americans who provide care to another adult, often an older relative. Fifty-nine percent of these caregivers either work or have worked while providing care (“Caregiving”). (par. 8)

To establish that there is a widespread perception among working parents that the problem is serious, Kornbluh cites survey results:

percentage

number

proportion

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 336

In a 2002 report by the Families and Work Institute, 45 percent of employees reported that work and family responsibilities interfered with each other “a lot” or “some” and 67 percent of employed parents report that they do not have enough time with their children (Galinsky, Bond, and Hill). (par. 9)

This example shows that nearly half of all employees have had difficulty juggling work and family responsibilities. The readers Kornbluh is addressing — employers — are likely to find this statistic important because it suggests that their employees are spending time worrying about or attending to family responsibilities instead of focus- ing on work.

For statistics to be persuasive, they must be from sources that readers consider reliable. Researchers’ trustworthiness, in turn, depends on their credentials as experts in the field they are investigating and also on the degree to which they are disinter- ested, or free from bias. Kornbluh provides a list of works cited that readers can follow up on to check whether the sources are indeed reliable. The fact that some of her sources are books published by major publishers (Harvard University Press and Basic Books, for example) helps establish their credibility. Other sources she cites are re- search institutes (such as the New America Foundation, Economic Policy Institute, and Families and Work Institute), which readers can easily check out. Another factor that adds to the appearance of reliability is that Kornbluh cites statistics from a range of sources instead of relying on only one or two. Moreover, the statistics are current and clearly relevant to her argument.

To find statistics relating to the problem (or possible solution) you are writing about, explore the state, local, or tribal sections of USA.gov, the U.S. government’s official Web portal, or visit the Library of Congress page “State Government Infor- mation,” www.loc.gov/rr/news/stategov/stategov.html, and follow the links. In par- ticular, visit the U.S. Census Bureau’s Web site (www.census.gov), which offers reli- able statistics on a wide variety of issues.

Assess how the problem has been framed, and reframe it for your readers. Once you have a good idea of what you and your readers think about the problem, consider how others have framed the problem and how you might be able to reframe it for your readers.

To learn more about finding government documents, see Chapter 24, p. 679.

HOW CAN I REFRAME THE PROBLEM?

Teaching Should Not Be Punitive Argument

Example: Providing tutoring for students who are failing a course assumes the pur- pose of education is learning, not testing for its own sake or punishing those who have not done well.

HOW HAS THE PROBLEM BEEN FRAMED?

Sink or Swim Argument

Example: Providing tutoring for students who are failing a course is wrong because students should do what they need to do to pass the course or face the consequences. That’s the way the system is supposed to work.

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To learn more about assessing reliability, consult Chapter 25, pp. 692–96.

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Encourage Success Argument

Example: Providing tutoring for students who are failing a course encourages students to work hard and value doing well in school.

Level Playing Ground Argument

Example: Providing tutoring for students who are failing a course is a way to make up for inadequacies in previous schooling.

Win-Win Argument

Example: Providing tutoring for students who are failing a course assumes that it would be a good thing if every student earned an A. Providing tutoring enhances learning.

Don’t Reward Failure Argument

Example: Providing tutoring for students who are failing a course is like a welfare system that makes underprepared students dependent and second-class citizens.

Reverse Discrimination Argument

Example: Providing tutoring for students who are failing a course is unfair to the other students who don’t need assistance.

Win-Lose Argument

Example: Providing tutoring for students who are failing a course ignores the fact that grades should fall on a bell curve — that is, an equal proportion of students should get an F as get an A.

WAYS IN HOW CAN I SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?

One way to generate ideas is to write steadily for at least five minutes, exploring some of the possible ways of solving the problem. Consider using the following approaches as a jumping-off point:

Adapt a solution that has been tried or proposed for a similar problem.

Example: Bornstein’s solution to bullying is to teach children empathy, as the Roots of Empathy program does.

Focus on eliminating a cause or minimizing an effect of the problem.

Example: O’Malley’s solution to stressful high-stakes exams is to eliminate the cause of the stress by inducing instructors to give more frequent low-stakes exams.

See the problem as part of a larger system, and explore solutions to the system.

Example: Kornbluh’s solution is for employers to work with employees to enhance job flexibility. (continued)

Develop a possible solution. The following activities will help you devise a solution and develop an argument to support it. If you have already found a solution, you may want to skip this activity and go directly to the Explain Your Solution section (p. 338).

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 338

For more idea-generating strategies, see Chapter 11.

HOW CAN I EXPLAIN THAT MY SOLUTION IS FEASIBLE?

It could be implemented.

Describe the major stages or steps necessary to carry out your solution.

We can afford it.

Explain what it would cost to put the solu- tion into practice.

It would not take too much time.

Create a rough schedule or timeline to show how long it would take to make the neces- sary arrangements.

HOW CAN I EXPLAIN HOW MY SOLUTION WOULD HELP SOLVE THE PROBLEM?

It would eliminate a cause of the problem.

Research shows it would reduce .

It has worked elsewhere.

It works in , , and , as studies evaluating it show.

It would change people’s behavior.

would [discourage/encourage] people to .

Focus on solving a small part of the problem.

Example: Brownell and Frieden’s solution to obesity is to reduce the consump- tion of sugared beverages through taxation.

Look at the problem from different points of view.

Example: Consider what students, teachers, parents, or administrators might think could be done to help solve the problem.

Think of a specific example of the problem, and consider how you could solve it.

Example: O’Malley could have focus on solving the problem of high-stakes exams in his biology course.

Explain your solution. You may yet know for certain whether you will be able to construct a convincing argu- ment to support your solution, but you should choose a solution that you feel motivated to pursue. Use the questions and sentence strategies that follow to help you put your ideas in writing. You will likely want to revise what you come up with later, but the questions and sentence strategies below may provide a convenient jumping-off point.

Research your proposal. You may have already begun researching the problem and familiarizing yourself with alternative solutions that have been offered, or you may have ideas about what you

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need to research. If you are proposing a solution to a problem about which others have written, use the following research strategies to help you find out what solutions others have proposed or tried. You may also use these strategies to find out how oth- ers have defined the problem and demonstrated its seriousness.

Enter keywords or phrases related to your solution (or problem) into the search box of an all-purpose database, such as Academic OneFile (InfoTrac) or Academic Search Complete (EBSCOHost), to find relevant articles in maga- zines and journals; in the database Lexis/Nexis to find articles in newspa- pers; or in library catalogs to find books and other resources. (Database names may change, and what is available will differ from school to school. Some libraries may even combine all three into one search link on the library’s home page. Ask a librarian if you need help.) Patrick O’Malley could have tried a combination of keywords, such as learning and test anxiety, or varia- tions on his terms (frequent testing, improve retention) to find relevant articles.

Bookmark or keep a record of the URLs of promising sites, and download or copy information you could use in your essay. When available, download PDF files rather than HTML files, because these are likely to include visuals, such as graphs and charts. If you copy and paste relevant information into your notes, be careful to distinguish all material from sources from your own ideas.

Remember to record source information and to cite and document any sources you use, including visuals and interviews.

Develop a response to objections or alternative solutions. The topics you considered when developing an argument for your solution may be the same topics you need to consider when developing a response to likely criti- cisms of your proposal — answering possible objections to your solution or alterna- tive solutions readers may prefer. The following sentence strategies may help you start drafting an effective response.

For more about searching for information, consult Chapter 24. For more about avoiding plagiarism, see Chapter 26, pp. 698–700. For more about docu- menting sources, consult Chapter 27 (MLA style) or Chapter 28 (APA style).

HOW CAN I DRAFT A REFUTATION OR CONCESSION?

To draft a refutation, try beginning with sentence strategies like these:

Some people think we can’t afford to do [name solution], but it would only cost $ to put my solution in place compared to $ , the cost of [doing nothing/implementing an alternative solution].

Although it might take [number of months/years] to implement this solution, it would actually take longer to implement [alternative solution].

There are critics who think that only a few people would benefit from solving this problem, but would benefit because .

Some may suggest that I favor this solution because I would benefit personally; however, the fact is we would all benefit because .

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(continued)

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 340

Create an outline that will organize your proposal effectively for your readers. Whether you have rough notes or a complete draft, making an outline of what you have written can help you organize your essay effectively for your audience. Compare the possible outlines below to see how you might organize the essay depending on whether your readers agree that a serious problem exists and are open to your solution — or not.

Some may claim that this solution has been tried and hasn’t worked. But research shows that [explain how proposed solution has worked] or my solution differs from past experiments in these important ways: , , and .

To draft a concession, try beginning with sentence strategies like these:

I agree with those who [claim X/object on X grounds]; therefore, instead of , I think we should pursue .

If seems too [time-consuming/expensive], let’s try .

Where is a concern, I think [name alternative] should be followed.

Although is the best way to deal with a problem like this, under [describe special circumstances], I agree that should be done.

If you are writing primarily for readers who acknowledge that the problem exists and are open to your solution:

I. Introduce the problem, concluding with a thesis statement asserting your solution.

II. Demonstrate the problem’s seriousness: Frame the problem in a way that prepares readers for the solution.

III. Describe the proposed solution: Show what could be done to implement it.

IV. Refute objections.

V. Conclude: Urge action on your solution.

If you are writing primarily for readers who do not recognize the problem or are likely to prefer alternative solutions:

I. Reframe the problem: Identify common ground, and acknowledge alternative ways readers might see the problem.

II. Concede strengths, but emphasize the weaknesses of alternative solution(s) that readers might prefer.

III. Describe the proposed solution: Give reasons and provide evidence to demonstrate that it is preferable to the alternative(s).

IV. Refute objections.

V. Conclude: Reiterate shared values.

For more on outlining, see Chapter 11, pp. 510–14.

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Evaluating the Draft

Whatever organizational strategy you adopt, do not hesitate to change your outline as necessary while drafting and revising. For instance, you might find it more effective to hold back on presenting your solution until you have discussed unacceptable alterna- tives. The purpose of an outline is to identify the basic components of your proposal and to help you organize it effectively, not to lock you into a particular structure.

Write the opening sentences. Review your invention writing to see if you have already written something that would work to launch your essay, or try out one or two ways of beginning your es- say — possibly from the list that follows:

A scenario (like O’Malley)

Statistics (like Kornbluh)

News events demonstrating the seriousness of the problem (like Bornstein)

A quotation that highlights support for your solution (like Brownell and Frieden)

A comparison with other places where the solution has been tried successfully

A preview of the negative consequences if the problem goes unsolved

Draft your proposal. By this point, you have done a lot of research and writing to

focus and define a problem, and develop a solution to it;

support your solution with reasons and evidence your readers will find persuasive;

refute or concede objections and alternative solutions;

organize your ideas to make them clear, logical, and effective for readers.

Now stitch that material together to create a draft. The next two parts of this Guide to Writing will help you evaluate and improve that draft.

Evaluating the Draft: Getting a Critical Reading Your instructor may arrange a peer review session in class or online, where you can exchange drafts with your classmates and give each other a thoughtful critical reading, pointing out what works well and suggesting ways to improve the draft. A good critical reading does three things:

1. It lets the writer know how well the reader understands the point of the draft.

2. It praises what works best.

3. It indicates where the draft could be improved and makes suggestions on how to improve it.

You can use the Critical Reading Guide on the next page to guide your discussion.

CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution 342

Summarize: Tell the writer what you understand the problem to be.

Praise: effectively such as where an example dramatizes the problem or statistics establish its significance.

Critique: Tell the writer where readers might need more information about the problem’s causes and consequences, or where more might be done to establish its seriousness.

Has the writer framed the problem effectively?

A Defined Problem

A CRITICAL READING GUIDE

Summarize: Tell the writer what you understand the proposed solution to be.

Praise: especially effectively—for example, note particularly strong reasons, writing strategies that engage readers, or design or visual elements that make the solution clear and accessible.

Critique: Tell the writer where the argument for the solution could be strengthened—for example, where steps for implementation could be laid out more clearly, where the practicality of the solution could be established more convincingly, or where additional support for reasons should be added.

Has the writer argued effectively for the solution?

A Argued Solution

Summarize: Tell the writer what you understand to be the objections or alternative solu tions that he or she is responding to.

Praise: tion to the argument effectively, and where reasons showing the limitations of alternative solutions are most effectively presented.

Critique: Tell the writer where concessions and refutations could be more convincing, where possible objections or reservations should be taken into account or alternative solutions should be discussed, where reasons for not accepting other solutions need to be strengthened, or where common ground should be sought with advocates of other positions.

Has the writer responded effectively to objections or alternative solutions?

An Effective Response to Objections

and Alternative Solutions

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Improving the Draft

Summarize: Underline the sentence(s) in which the writer establishes the problem and proposes a solution. Also identify the places where the writer forecasts the argument, supplies topic sentences, and uses transitions or repeats key words and phrases.

Praise: Give an example of how the essay succeeds in being readable—for example, in its overall organization, its use of forecasting statements or key terms introduced in its thesis and strategically repeated elsewhere, its use of topic sentences or transitions, or an especially effective opening or closing.

Critique: Tell the writer where the readability could be improved. For example, point to places where using key terms would help or where a topic sentence could be made clearer, where the use of transitions could be improved or added, or indicate whether the beginning or ending could be more effective.

Is the proposal clearly and logically organized?

A Clear, Logical Organization

Before concluding your peer review, be sure to address any of the writer’s concerns that have not been discussed already.

Making Comments Electronically Most word processing software offers features that allow you to insert comments directly into the text of someone else’s document. Many readers prefer to make their comments this way because it tends to be faster

cess of deciphering handwritten comments. Where such features are not available, simply typing comments directly into a document in a contrasting color can provide the same advantages.

Improving the Draft: Revising, Formatting, Editing, and Proofreading Start improving your draft by refl ecting on what you have written thus far:

Review the Test Your Choice responses and critical reading comments from your classmates, instructor, or writing center tutor: What are your readers getting at?

Take another look at the notes from your earlier research and writing activities: What else should you consider?

Review your draft: What else can you do to make your proposal more effective?

Revise your draft. If your readers are having diffi culty with your draft, or if you think there is room for improvement, try some of the strategies listed in the Troubleshooting Guide that

For a printable version of this Critical Reading Guide, go to bedfordstmartins .com/theguide.

344 CHAPTER 7 Proposing a Solution

A Defined Problem

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

likely to find persuasive or that they can relate to.

the problem for your audience.

My readers aren’t convinced that my problem is serious or even exists.

A Argued Solution cessfully elsewhere or by demonstrating more clearly how it will solve the problem.

My readers aren’t convinced that my solution is a good one.

An Effective Response to Objections

and Alternative Solutions

Cite research studies, statistics, or examples to refute readers’ objections. Concede valid points or modify your solution to accommodate the criticism. If you can neither refute nor accommodate objections, rethink your solution.

If possible, establish common ground with those who propose alternative solutions, but show why their solutions will not work as well as yours. If you cannot demonstrate that your solution is preferable, consider arguing that both solutions deserve serious consideration.

My readers have raised objections to my solution.