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Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide

The most popular reader available today, Patterns for College Writing offers engaging, accessible readings supported by thorough rhetorical instruction. Whether you are reading David Sedaris's humourous insights about language, Barbara Ehrenreich's observations about working as a maid, or Brent Staples's account of how he, as an African-American male, alters "public space," Patterns provides you with outstanding models for your own writing. Moreover, the writing advice, grammar help, and assignments throughout Patterns will give you the tools you need to become a more effective writer.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312676841
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 12/22/2011
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 12
  • Pages: 864
  • Sales rank: 10,912
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

During their long collaboration, Laurie Kirszner and Stephen Mandell have written a number of best-selling college texts for Bedford/St. Martin's, including Patterns for College Writing, Foundations First, Writing First, Focus on Writing, and, most recently, Practical Argument. Laurie Kirszner is a Professor of English, Emeritus at the University of the Sciences, where she has taught composition, literature, creative writing, and scientific writing, and served as coordinator of the first-year writing program.  Stephen Mandell is a Professor of English at Drexel University, where he founded and directed the basic writing program and has taught composition, literature, speech, and technical and business writing.

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Table of Contents


Thematic Guide to the Contents

Introduction: How to Use This Book

Henry Louis Gates Jr., "What’s in a Name?"

Responding to an Essay


1 Reading to Write: Becoming a Critical Reader

Understanding Critical Reading

Tutorials > Critical Reading > Active reading strategies

Brent Staples, Cutting and Pasting: A Senior Thesis by (Insert Name)

Zev Chafets, Let Steroids into the Hall of Fame

Brent Staples, Cutting and Pasting: A Senior Thesis by (Insert Name) (with sample annotations)

LearningCurve > Critical Reading > Topic Sentences and Supporting Details

> Topics and Main Ideas

Tutorials > Critical Reading > Reading visuals: Purpose

> Reading visuals: Audience

2 Invention

Understanding Your Assignment

Setting Limits

Moving from Subject to Topic

Finding Something to Say

Grouping Ideas

Understanding Thesis and Support

Developing a Thesis

3 Arrangement

Recognizing a Pattern

Understanding the Parts of the Essay

Constructing a Formal Outline

4 Drafting and Revising

Writing Your First Draft

Revising Your Essay

Points for Special Attention: First Draft

Points for Special Attention: Second Draft

Laura Bobnak, The Price of Silence (Student Essay)

5 Editing and Proofreading

Editing for Grammar

Editing for Punctuation

LearningCurve > Commas

> Fragments

> Run-ons and comma splices

> Active and passive voice

> Appropriate language

> Subject-verb agreement

Editing for Sentence Style and Word Choice

Proofreading Your Essay

Checking Your Paper’s Format

Part Two:
Readings for Writers

6 Narration

What Is Narration?

Using Narration

Planning a Narrative Essay

Developing a Thesis Statement

Including Enough Detail

Varying Sentence Structure

Maintaining Clear Narrative Order

Structuring a Narrative Essay

Revising a Narrative Essay


Editing a Narrative Essay

GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT: Avoiding Run-ons


A Student Writer: Narration

Tiffany Forte, My Field of Dreams (Student Essay)

Points for Special Attention

Focus on Revision

A Student Writer:Literacy Narrative

*Erica Sarno, Becoming a Writer (Student Essay)

Points for Special Attention

Focus on Revision


Visual Text: Marjane Satrapi, From Persepolis II (Graphic Fiction)

*Junot Díaz, The Money

*Alan Dean Foster, Living with Fire

Bonnie Smith-Yackel, My Mother Never Worked

Martin Gansberg, Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police

George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant

Sherman Alexie, Indian Education (Fiction)

Writing Assignments for Narration

Collaborative Activity for Narration

[N.B. Chapters 7-15 follow the same structure as Chapter 6; subheadings have been omitted for brevity.]

7 Description

Mallory Cogan, My Grandfather’s Globe (Student Essay)

Mary Lim, The Valley of Windmills (Student Essay)

*Visual Text: Ansel Adams, Jeffrey Pine—Sentinel Dome (Photograph)

E-readings Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring [painting]

*Bich Minh Nguyen, Goodbye to My Twinkie Days

Suzanne Berne, Ground Zero

Ann Hodgman, No Wonder They Call Me a Bitch

Heather Rogers, The Hidden Life of Garbage

E. B. White, Once More to the Lake

Kate Chopin, The Storm (Fiction)

8 Exemplification

Kristy Bredin, Job Application Letter (Student Essay)

Grace Ku, Midnight (Student Essay)

*Visual Texts: Four Tattoos: Charles Thatcher, "Alisha, Loretta,"; Carrie Williams, "Positive Outlook"; Anthony Bradshaw, "Bar Code"; Oscar Sanchez, "Dragon" (Photos)

E-readings > Kerri MacDonald and Jonathan Blaustein, Food for a Dollar [essay with photographs]

*Farhad Manjoo, No, I Do Not Want to Pet Your Dog

Judith Ortiz Cofer, The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria

Brent Staples, Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space

Deborah L. Rhode, Why Looks Are the Last Bastion of Discrimination

*Maia Szalavitz, Ten Ways We Get the Odds Wrong

Jamaica Kincaid, Girl (Fiction)

9 Process

Eric McGlade, The Search (Student Essay)

Melany Hunt, Medium Ash Brown (Student Essay)

*Visual Text:Piranha Plastics, What Happens to Plastic that is Recycled by Us? (Infographic)

E-readings Wired, Making a Mint [video]

Malcolm X, My First Conk

Stanley Fish, Getting Coffee Is Hard to Do

*Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht, How to Retrieve a Candy Bar Stuck in the Lunchroom Vending Machine

Arthur Miller, Get It Right: Privatize Executions

Jessica Mitford, The Embalming of Mr. Jones

Shirley Jackson, The Lottery (Fiction)

10 Cause and Effect

Evelyn Pellicane, The Irish Famine, 1845–1849 (Student Essay)

*Visual Text: Jeffrey Coolidge, Rube Goldberg Machine (Photo)

Norman Cousins, Who Killed Benny Paret?

*Maggie Koerth-Baker, Why Rational People Buy into Conspiracy Theories

Lawrence Otis Graham, The "Black Table" Is Still There

Linda M. Hasselstrom, A Peaceful Woman Explains Why She Carries a Gun

*Max Brooks, The Movies that Rose from the Grave

Janice Mirikitani, Suicide Note (Poetry)

11 Comparison and Contrast

Mark Cotharn, Brains versus Brawn (Student Essay)

Maria Tecson, A Comparison of Two Web Sites on Attention Deficit Disorder (Student Essay)

Visual Texts: Auguste Rodin, The Kiss, and Robert Indiana, LOVE (Sculptures)

Bruce Catton, Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts

*Pamela Haag, Your Social Life: Are You a Fox or a Hedgehog?

*Juan Williams, Songs of the Summer of 1963 . . . and 2013

Amy Chua, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

Ellen Laird, I’m Your Teacher, Not Your Internet-Service Provider

Deborah Tannen, Sex, Lies, and Conversation

Gwendolyn Brooks, Sadie and Maud (Poetry)

12 Classification and Division

Josie Martinez, What I Learned (and Didn’t Learn) in College (Student Essay)

Visual Text: Ellis Island Immigration Museum/NPS, Key to Chalk Marks Designating Medical Conditions of Immigrants, Ellis Island (Chart)

E-readings > Wired, What’s Inside a Cup of Coffee [classification video]

> Voxy, What Languages are the Hardest to Learn? [division infographic]

William Zinsser, College Pressures

Carolyn Foster Segal, The Dog Ate My Flash Drive, and Other Tales of Woe

Amy Tan, Mother Tongue

Stephanie Ericsson, The Ways We Lie

Billy Collins, Aristotle (Poetry)

13 Definition

Ajoy Mahtab, The Untouchable (Student Essay)

Visual Text: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Census 2010 Form (Questionnaire)

Judy Brady, I Want a Wife

José Antonio Burciaga, Tortillas

*Anna Quindlen, Homeless

Gayle Rosenwald Smith, The Wife-Beater

Amanda Brown, Love and Other Catastrophes: A Mix Tape (Fiction)

14 Argumentation

Matt Daniels, An Argument against the Anna Todd Jennings Scholarship (Student Essay)

Marta Ramos, An Argument against Study Drugs (Student Essay)

Visual Text: American Civil Liberties Union, Thanks to Modern Science . . . (Ad)

E-readings > Dear Motorist, Dear Motorist: Pledge to Share the Road [video]

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Seneca Falls Convention, 1848

Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

*DEBATE: "Is the Student Loan Crisis a Myth?"

*Nicole Allan and Derek Thompson, The Myth of the Student-Loan Crisis (Infographic)

*Chris Lewis and Layla Zaidane, Here’s Your Crisis: Student Loan Debt Isn’t A Myth (Infographic)

DEBATE: Should American Citizenship Be a Birthright?

Linda Chavez, The Case for Birthright Citizenship

George F. Will, An Argument to Be Made about Immigrant Babies and Citizenship

*CASEBOOK: "Is Football Too Dangerous?"

*Don Banks, What Price Football?

*Nina Burleigh, Would Football without Concussions Still Be Football?

*Jeb Golinkin, Why Parents Should Let Their Kids Play Dangerous Sports

*Daniel J. Flynn, Football Does a Body Good. Nannyism Doesn’t.

*CASEBOOK: Should Guns Be Allowed On College Campuses?

*David Skorton and Glenn Altschuler, Do We Really Need More Guns on Campus?

*Students for Gun-Free Schools, Why Our Campuses Are Safer without Concealed Handguns

*Students for Concealed Carry, Why Our Campuses are NOT Safer without Concealed Handguns

*Timothy Wheeler, There's a Reason They Choose Schools

15 Combining the Patterns

Michael Huu Truong, The Park (Student Essay)

Lars Eighner, On Dumpster Diving

*Dana Stevens, Your Flip-Flops Are Grossing Me Out

David Kirby, Inked Well

Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal

PART THREE: Working with Sources

16 Finding and Evaluating Sources

Finding Information in the Library

Finding Information on the Internet

Evaluating Sources

Tutorials > Digital Writing > Online Research Tools

17 Integrating Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism




Integrating Source Material into Your Writing


Avoiding Plagiarism

Tutorials > Documentation and Working with Sources > Do I need to cite that?

18 Documenting Sources: MLA

Parenthetical References in the Text

The Works-Cited List

Philip Lau, The Limitations of Wikipedia (Student Essay in MLA Style)

LearningCurve > Working with Sources (MLA)

Tutorials > Documentation and Working with Sources > How to Cite a Book in MLA Style

> How to Cite an Article in MLA Style

Tutorials > Documentation and Working with Sources > How to Cite a Web Site in MLA Style

Tutorials > Documentation and Working with Sources > How to Cite a Database in MLA Style

Appendix: Documenting Sources: APA

Using Parenthetical References

Examples of APA Citations

Philip Lau, The Limitations of Wikipedia (Student Essay in APA Style)

LearningCurve > Working with Sources (APA)

Tutorials > Documentation and Working with Sources > How to Cite a Web Site in APA Style

Tutorials > Documentation and Working with Sources > How to Cite a Database in APA Style



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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    When will this be avalible on nook instead of nook study

    I am sad to say i can't find this book as an nook textbook only a nook study book please fix this

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    What a great book!

    It is so helpful with step by step guides and examples!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2014

    Great job

    Great job

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2013

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