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P A R T 2
Reading and Writing
in and out of College
Forming a Critical Perspective
EXERCISE 6.1 Previewing an essay (p. 147)
EXERCISE 6.2 Reading (p. 151)
EXERCISE 6.3 Summarizing (p. 154)
As their support of the government’s student loan program illustrates,
politicians ignore the economic reality that using resources to benefit one
group (students in debt) involves taking the resources from another group
(taxpayers). Students’ average debt is not even that high, and college graduates can afford to pay it off. The greatest attention is paid to the graduate
with a large debt, but the law also allows affluent students to borrow, even
if their parents profit and the students drop out of school or waste time
there. Funded by taxpayers, the loan program has contributed to declining
educational standards, rising tuitions, and rising professors’ salaries. Taxpayers should balk at funding the program further.
EXERCISE 6.4 Thinking critically (p. 160)
1. Analysis: What is the basis for the author’s comparison of written
and televised journalism? The key words are demand reading, not just
Interpretation: Are better . . . than implies a value judgment. Demand
reading, not just viewing reveals the author’s assumption that viewing
is somehow less worthy than reading, perhaps because viewing is
Synthesis: This author prefers written journalism and disparages television journalism because of the different activities needed to partake of them.
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10 Part 2: Reading and writing in and out of college
Evaluation: This statement shows the author’s bias in favor of written news and implies some contempt for TV news. The author’s reasons for preferring reading over viewing are not evident and require
explanation. Some other questions: Are people who get their news
from TV less well informed than those who get it from reading? Even
if television news is inferior, isn’t it better than no news at all (for
those who won’t or can’t read)? Might television news be preferable
for its immediacy?
2. Analysis: What is the author’s purpose? The key words are true, democratic, giving voice to, and people of all persuasions.
Interpretation: Democratic means “of or for the people.” True democratic forum means that there are competing, perhaps misleading,
forums. Giving voice to people appeals to a sense of fair play and
belief in free speech, while all persuasions implies open-mindedness.
The author assumes that people need a public forum where they can
voice their opinions. Because it is immediate, radio gives people the
freedom to say what they want. Other forums may censor or restrict
who can say what.
Synthesis: The writer values radio call-in shows for affording all
kinds of people a chance to express themselves without censorship.
Evaluation: This writer evidently believes that radio is somehow
freer than other places for people to speak their minds. What other
forums for free speech are there? Does radio censor or alter the opinions expressed? (What about the time delays for excluding objectionable language?) Are “people of all persuasions” really calling such
shows, or just some kinds of people? Are unedited, inexpert opinions
a democratic necessity?
3. Analysis: What is the author’s attitude toward participation in online
communities? The key words are threaten, undermine, ability, and
interact face to face.
Interpretation: Threaten and undermine imply danger; ability and
interact face to face imply that face-to-face communication is a kind
of skill or talent. Together the words imply that the skill or talent is
vulnerable, subject to some kind of destruction. The author’s
assumptions: Online and face-to-face interaction are different. Faceto-face interaction has an intrinsic value. Online interaction does
not have this value. Interacting online diminishes this value.
Synthesis: The author believes that something valuable will be lost to
Evaluation: This statement indicates a preference for face-to-face
interaction over online interaction and a concern about the latter’s
overwhelming the former. But what exactly is special about face-toface interaction? What does it provide that participation in online
communities doesn’t? Won’t people continue to meet face to face
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Chapter 7: Writing in academic situations 11
even if they also interact online? Will online communities necessarily
undermine face-to-face interaction? Might online communities also
contribute something positive of their own, adding to rather than
subtracting from the ways people interact?
EXERCISE 6.5 Reading an essay critically (p. 160)
EXERCISE 6.6 Reading a magazine critically (p. 161)
EXERCISE 6.7 Viewing a visual critically (p. 169)
EXERCISE 6.8 Viewing a visual critically (p. 169)
EXERCISE 6.9 Comparing visuals critically (p. 169)
Writing in Academic Situations
EXERCISE 7.1 Using academic language (p. 180)
The stereotype that women talk more on cell phones than men do
turns out to be false. In a five-year study of 1021 cell phone owners, a
major wireless company found that men spend 35 percent more time on
their phones, talking an average of 571 minutes a month compared to the
women’s average of 424 minutes a month. Women do talk more on home
phones than men do, but that difference is declining.
EXERCISE 7.2 Considering your past work: Writing in academic situations
EXERCISE 7.3 Considering your native language or dialect (p. 180)
EXERCISE 7.4 Responding to critiques (p. 185)
EXERCISE 7.5 Writing critically about a text (p. 185)
EXERCISE 7.6 Writing critically about a visual (p. 185)
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12 Part 2: Reading and writing in and out of college
EXERCISE 7.7 Writing critically about a visual (p. 185)
EXERCISE 7.8 Writing critically about several visuals (p. 185)
Reading Arguments Critically
EXERCISE 8.1 Reading arguments critically (p. 196)
Kirkpatrick Sale essay
Claims: Thesis (paragraph 5): Individuals’ conservation efforts do not
raise the consciousness necessary to solve the ecological crisis. Supporting
claims: Individuals’ conservation does not make a significant dent in
energy consumption dominated by industry and government (1, 2). The
ecological crisis requires a drastic overhaul of this civilization, not individual life-style solutions (3). Such solutions divert individuals from the hard
truths and hard choices of truly changing consciousness (4).
Evidence: Statistics and other facts: 2–5. Examples: 1, 3–5. Appeals to
beliefs or needs: mainly, we should do what’s necessary to solve the ecological crisis (throughout).
Assumptions: Notably: There is an environmental crisis. It must be
solved. Ozone depletion and rain forest destruction are corporate crimes
(2). Industry and government are powerful and self-protective. They will
not respond appropriately to the ecological crisis unless forced to do so by
the people. The people are unwilling to make more than life-style changes
to solve the crisis.
Tone: No-nonsense (I don’t . . . believe that I am saving the planet),
unrestrained (patently corporate crimes; truly pernicious), sardonic (“all of
us”; “our” control; life-style solutions; write-your-congressperson solutions).
Reasonableness: Sale is obviously biased, so his reasonableness will
probably reside in the eye of the beholder. He does offer evidence for his
key assertion about the environmental responsibility of industry and government, and his examples show him to be familiar with the mentality of
most recyclers (a group he even includes himself in). He acknowledges the
opposition most clearly in paragraph 5, where he rebuts the claim that the
individualistic approach is at least a start on consciousness raising.
Fallacies: See the answer to Exercise 8.3.
Evaluation: Answers will vary.
Deneen Borelli essay
Claims: Thesis (paragraph 1): Climate-change activists seek to limit individuals’ rights to make personal consumer choices. Supporting claims: The
role of human activity in climate change is inconclusive (2–3). Higher fueleconomy standards will lead to fewer vehicle choices for consumers (5).
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Chapter 8: Reading arguments critically 13
Requiring households to use compact fluorescent lightbulbs means less consumer choice (6). Groups like PETA that try to persuade people to change
their diets reduce consumer choice (7). Although people who oppose “the
global warming agenda” are accused of self-interest or bias toward corporations, in fact they are concerned with loss of choice and freedom (8–9).
Evidence: Facts and examples: 5–7. Appeals to beliefs or needs: mainly,
skepticism about the science of global warming and reverence for liberty
and personal choice.
Assumptions: Notably: Consumers want to make choices without
intervention from the government. The government’s decisions about policy relating to climate change are unreasonable (5, 6) and alarmist (8).
Tone: Mostly no-nonsense (No one is saying global climate change doesn’t exist) but sometimes provocative or even inflammatory (Cars and trucks
are at the top of the leftist hit list. . . . Even lighting your house is now in the
Reasonableness: Borelli is clearly biased, so a sense of her reasonableness will depend on the reader’s point of view. She does offer evidence for
her key assertion that government policies are limiting individual choices,
and her examples show that she is familiar with the politics that play a key
role in discussions of climate change. But she does not treat opposing
views in detail or with much respect (for example, man-made global warming hysterics).
Fallacies: See the answer to Exercise 8.3.
Evaluation: Answers will vary.
EXERCISE 8.2 Identifying and revising fallacies (p. 204)
1. Begged question, argument ad populum, and false analogy.
A revision: The fact that individuals in the United States cannot
legally sell nuclear technology to nonnuclear nations, while the government can, points up a disturbing limit on individual rights.
2. Sweeping generalization and begged question.
A revision: A successful marriage demands a degree of maturity.
3. Hasty generalization and non sequitur.
A revision: Students’ persistent complaints about the unfairness
of the grading system should be investigated.
4. Either/or fallacy and hasty generalization.
A revision: People watch television for many reasons, but some
watch because they are too lazy to talk or read or because they want
mindless escape from their lives.
5. Reductive fallacy and begged question.
A revision: Racial tension may occur when people with different
backgrounds live side by side.
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14 Part 2: Reading and writing in and out of college
EXERCISE 8.3 Identifying fallacies in arguments (p. 204)
Though free of the most egregious appeals, the Sale essay and the advertisement both demonstrate several basic fallacies. Most notably:
Kirkpatrick Sale essay
Either/or: Either we achieve a drastic overhaul of our civilization or the
environment will be destroyed (paragraph 3).
Begged question: The individualistic approach to environmental problems does not challenge the belief in technofix or write-your-Congressperson
solutions [Do these not work?] or achieve an essential, fundamental
change in thinking [Is the change essential?] (5).
False analogy: The analogy between recycling centers and hospitals (5)
implies that a preventive approach (ecological criteria for packaging and
production; preventive medicine) would eliminate the need for the institution. This isn’t true of hospitals (people would still get sick), so how is it
true of recycling centers?
Deneen Borelli essay
Either/or: Either we protect liberty and consumer choice or we protect
the environment (paragraphs 1, 4, 10).
Either/or: Either we support production of large, heavy vehicles or we
give up safety and consumer choice (4).
Non sequitur and reductive fallacy: Politicians and activists want to
invade our homes and empty our wallets when they call for replacing incandescent light bulbs with more costly and energy-efficient compact fluorescent
light bulbs (6). [Is regulation the same as home invasion, as the statement
assumes? What are the actual relative costs of incandescent and compact
fluorescent bulbs, taking into account not just purchase price but also
energy cost and bulb life?]
Red herring: Animal rights groups want people to adopt a vegan diet
because they consider farm animals a significant source of “greenhouse
gases.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is even criticizing
Al Gore—who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his global warming activism—
for ignoring this alleged connection (7). [How does PETA’s criticism of Gore
discredit its claim that farm animals contribute significantly to greenhouse
gases? How do the group’s efforts to persuade consumers support the
author’s claims about loss of choice and liberty?]
Ad hominem: [A]ctivists and their allies in government use emotion and
alarmism to make their case. They are seeking to cut off any reasonable
debate and silence their critics . . . (8). [All activists? And what is the substance of the argument against the activists’ position?]
EXERCISE 8.4 Identifying fallacies online (p. 204)
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Chapter 9: Writing an argument 15
EXERCISE 8.5 Reading a visual argument (p. 210)
1. The audience seems to be people who think that there is a difference
between being buzzed and being drunk and that it is acceptable to
drive while buzzed.
2. The main claim is in the type on the right: Buzzed driving is drunk
driving. In other words, buzzed driving is not harmless behavior: it’s
the same as drunk driving, with the same consequences.
3. The evidence for the claim is the repeated photograph with the different labels (Drunk Driving and Buzzed Driving).
4. Some assumptions: People believe that there is a difference between
being buzzed and being drunk. People believe that it’s safe to drive
while buzzed. People often claim to be buzzed instead of drunk in
order to persuade themselves and others that they can drive safely.
5. The side-by-side identical photographs double the effect of the wreck
and erase any difference between the behaviors described in the
photo captions. The black panel on the right works like a conclusion
to state what the evidence has already shown.
6. Individual response.
EXERCISE 8.6 Identifying fallacies in visual arguments (p. 210)
Writing an Argument
EXERCISE 9.1 Finding a subject for argument (p. 212)
Topics that are not appropriate for argument:
2. A matter of facts, and few people would disagree.
4. A matter of facts, and few people would disagree.
8. A matter of personal preference.
9. A matter of facts.
10. A matter of personal belief.
EXERCISE 9.2 Conceiving a thesis statement (p. 212)
Thesis statements for appropriate topics in Exercise 9.1:
1. An athletic scholarship should be what the term implies: an award to
one who is both a superior athlete and a superior scholar.
3. Although censoring the Web sites of hate groups might offer some
protection to persecuted groups or individuals, such censorship
would be far too costly to free speech.
5. Until the city can construct private housing for the homeless, it must
do more to make public shelters safe and clean.
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16 Part 2: Reading and writing in and out of college
6. Billboards help to destabilize urban neighborhoods by creating the
impression that the neighborhoods are mere roadways.
7. Humane testing methods are adequate enough that cosmetics companies do not have to abuse animals in testing.
EXERCISE 9.3 Analyzing purpose and audience (p. 213)
EXERCISE 9.4 Reasoning inductively (p. 217)
The unreasonable generalizations from the given evidence are statements 2 (can’t be inferred from the facts), 3 (contradicted by the facts), and
5 (can’t be inferred from the facts).
EXERCISE 9.5 Reasoning deductively (p. 218)
1. Premise: Anyone who has opposed pollution controls may continue
to do so.
Premise: The mayor has opposed pollution controls.
Conclusion: The mayor may continue to do so.
The statement is valid and true.
2. Premise: Corporate Web sites are sponsored by for-profit entities.
Premise: Information from for-profit entities is unreliable.
Conclusion: Information on corporate Web sites is unreliable.
The statement is untrue because the second premise is untrue.
3. Premise: Many good artists trained at Parsons.
Premise: Schroeder trained at Parsons.
Conclusion: Schroeder is a good artist.
The statement is invalid because the first premise does not necessarily
apply to the second.
4. Premise: Those who use their resources to help others deserve our
Premise: Some wealthy athletes use their resources to help others.
Conclusion: Some wealthy athletes deserve our particular appreciation.
The statement is valid and, if the first premise is accepted, true.
5. Premise: Any employer who has hired only one woman is sexist.
Premise: Jimson is an employer who has hired only one woman.
Conclusion: Jimson is sexist.
The statement is untrue because the first premise is not true: there
may be other reasons besides sexism for hiring only one woman.
EXERCISE 9.6 Using reason and evidence in your argument (p. 219)
EXERCISE 9.7 Identifying appeals (p. 222)
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Chapter 11: Public writing 17
1. Primarily emotional appeal. Ethical appeal: knowledgeable, concerned, reasonable (at least in the two uses of may), slightly sarcastic
(most essential of skills).
2. Primarily rational appeal. Ethical appeal: knowledgeable, reasonable.
3. Primarily rational appeal. Ethical appeal: knowledgeable, fair, willing to acknowledge opposing views.
4. Primarily emotional appeal. Ethical appeal: sympathetic toward animals (but perhaps unfair to so-called scientists).
5. Primarily rational appeal. Ethical appeal: knowledgeable, fair, willing to acknowledge opposing views.
EXERCISE 9.8 Reaching your readers (p. 223)
EXERCISE 9.9 Organizing your argument (p. 224)
EXERCISE 9.10 Writing and revising your argument (p. 225)
Taking Essay Exams
This chapter has no exercises.
This chapter has no exercises.
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