?A Modest Proposal
? by Jonathan Swift (17)
1. At what point does the reader realize that this is a
satire? What effect does this delay have?
2. What is it possible to infer about the character of the speaker?
3. What is the purpose of the long list of other ?expedients? provided in paragraph 29?
?The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a
Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles? by Emily Martin (347)
1. We tend to think of metaphor as the province of literary writing; by contrast, we think of scientific writing as purely descriptive. Is metaphor in fact a
useful mode of description for scientific matters? Is it to some extent necessary to resort to metaphor in order to explain scientific processes adequately?
2. What effect might the use of the active or the passive voice have when used in scientific research to describe gendered processes or behaviours? Select (or make up) a
sentence on this sort of topic written in the active voice, and then re-write the sentence in the passive voice.
3. Discuss the organization of Martin?s essay. Is there an overall progression in the ideas that she presents?
This Journal has no entries.
?Pig Lovers and Pig Haters? by Marvin Harris (185)
1. Harris is unusual among academics in aiming his writing both at other academics and at students and general readers with no prior specialized knowledge. Comment on the ways in which the diction, syntax, and organization of ideas in this essay are appropriate to an audience with no prior familiarity with the topic or the discipline of anthropology.
2. What are the key facts about physiology of the pig so far as Harris? argument is concerned?
3. Does it ?make sense,? either from the sort of angle of approach that Harris uses or from other angles, for North American society to consume as much beef and pork as it does?
?Letter from a
Birmingham Jail? by Martin Luther King (144)
1. Summarize the various reasons King gives, first of all for the Birmingham protest, and second for the means through which the protest is pursued.
2. To what extent is it ever desirable or indeed possible to separate ethical from political questions?
3. Find at least three examples of parallel structure in King?s writing, involving words, phrases, or clauses
?Decolonizing the Mind? by N?gugi wa Thiong?o (333)
1. In paragraph 15, Thiong?o argues that a
language has a
communication function for all people who speak that language, but that it also serves as a
carrier of culture for all those for whom that language is the mother tongue. If you speak two or more languages, does this assertion meet with your own experience? If you do not speak two or more languages, do you agree that English is a
carrier of culture? Explain.
2. Discuss how the imposition of a
foreign language breaks ?the harmony previously existing between the African child and the three aspects of language? (paragraph 26).
3. Toward the end of his essay, Thiong?o makes reference to the European-based writers of literature he was forced to study as a
child, and how these stories did not match his own experiences. How well do the poems, essays, plays, and novels that you have been asked to read in your English classes reflect your experiences? If you were an instructor, how would you go about selecting a
?Bowling Alone: America?s Declining Social Capital? by Robert D. Putnam (381)
1. Putnam argues the ?social capital? is greater in groups such as the PTA than it is for groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Note his reasons for this distinction and then argue for or against his position.
2. Under the heading ?Why is US Social Capital Eroding? Putnam lists four possible reasons. Which of these four would you argue is the most significant? Can you think or other reasons that Putnam does not list?
3. What rhetorical function does the ?Countertrends? section play in the strength of Putnam?s argument?
4. Who do you think Putnam?s intended audience is? What clues lead you to draw this conclusion? Pick another plausible audience and discuss how Putnam would need to alter his style in addressing it.
?What is the Child?s Environment? A
Group Socialization Theory of Development? by Judith Rich Harris (427)
1. What implications for parenting do Harris?s arguments have?
2. Explain in your own words the difference between correlation and cause.
3. Are there elements of Harris?s argument that to you seem counter-intuitive? To what extent does your own experience and knowledge support Harris?s line of argument?
4. Why are studies involving twins important to issues of the sort that Harris is discussing?
More Perfect Union? by Barack Obama (613)
1. Who is Obama?s audience? How does he appeal to different segments of the audience throughout his speech?
2. How does Obama appeal to American patriotism in this speech?
3. Comment on the role of religion in Obama?s rhetoric and argument.
4. How does Obama address the issue of unity? In doing so, does he pay enough attention to diverse backgrounds and concerns?
?None of the Above: What I.Q. Doesn?t Tell You about Race? by Malcolm Gladwell (544)
1. In your own words, summarize Gladwell?s thesis. What evidence does he give to support his argument?
2. What does I.Q. actually measure? How important do you think this measurement is?
3. Considering the information given in this article, do you think that I.Q. should be used in the diagnosis of mental disability? If so, why? If not, why not, and what method would be better?
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