Reading Literature and Writing Argument / Edition 4

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Combining the elements of argument with imaginative literature, this anthology features a critical thinking, analytical approach that readers in turn will apply to their own thought and writing processes. It introduces and explains the tools of argument, and presents reading selections centered on four enduring themes—Individual and Community, Nature and Place, Family and Identity, and Power and Responsibility. The diverse selection of readings includes stories; poems; plays; and essays. For individuals who want to improve their critical thinking, reasoning, and writing skills.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205766420
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 2/4/2010
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 704
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Reading to Explore and Examine.
Explore. Examine. Argument Structure.


Truer to the Game, Randy Horick. Cold Before Dawn, Kenneth Rexroth. In a Station at the Metro, Ezra Pound. London, William Blake.



Audience Appeal and Tone.


Federico's Ghost, Martin Espada.


Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare.


Sonnet 130, William Shakespeare. Girl, Jamaica Kincaid.

Rogerian Argument Structure.

For de Lawd, Lucille Clifton. New World, N. Scott Momaday.
Chapter Activities.

Those Winter Sundays, Robert Hayden. Dulce Et Decorum Est, Wilfred Owen.
2. Writing to Evaluate and Articulate.

Inductive Reasoning.

The Fallacy of Hasty Generalization.

From Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare. From The Crucible, Arthur Miller.

Deductive Reasoning.

Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley.

From Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sample Student Essays. Yes, the Future Is Bright, but the Moment Is Hell, Shawn Mullin. Perspective on Men, Daphne Beckham.

Four-Part Written Exploration and Articulation.

Student Samples.

Super-Size It! Lisa Colletti. Who Are the Victims of Alcoholism? Meredith Newman Blanco.
Chapter Activities.

Rodeo, Jane Martin. The World Is Too Much with Us, William Wordsworth. To Be of Use, Marge Piercy. After Work, Gary Snyder.
3. Individuality and Community.
Prewriting and Discussion. Readings.


Desiree's Baby, Kate Chopin. The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, Stephen Crane. The Red Convertible, Louise Erdrich. Ranch Girl, Maile Meloy. On the Rainy River, Tim O'Brien. From Bodega Dreams, Ernesto Quinonez. Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut.


The Reservation Cab Driver, Sherman Alexie. Burning Dreams On the Sun, Michael Cleary. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot. Ella, in a Square Apron, Along Highway 80, Judy Grahn. Passing, Langston Hughes. Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane, Etheridge Knight. Outcast, Claude McKay. In Response to Executive Order 9066, Dwight Okita. Richard Cory, E. A. Robinson. The Lost Romans, Muriel Rukeyser. Lost Sister, Cathy Song. Crazy Courage, Alma Luz Villanueva.


Antigone, Sophocles.


The Train from Hate, John Hope Franklin. Letter from Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. From Crito, Plato. The Chinese in All of Us, Richard Rodriguez. Frank Chin, Studs Terkel. Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau.
Chapter Activities.
4. Nature and Place.
Prewriting and Discussion.



Antlers, Rick Bass. The Slaughter of the Pigeons, from Pioneers, James Fenimore Cooper. A Blizzard under Blue Sky, Pam Houston. A White Heron, Sarah Orne Jewett. May's Lion, Ursula K. Le Guin. To Build a Fire, Jack London. The Man to Send the Rain Clouds, Leslie Marmon Silko. A Worn Path, Eudora Welty. Kew Gardens, Virginia Woolf.


For de Lawd, Lucille Clifton. Deer Among Cattle, James Dickey. Dulcimer Maker, Carolyn Forché. A Young Birch, Robert Frost. Heartland, Linda Hogan. Saint Francis and the Sow, Galway Kinnell. The Victors, Denise Levertov. The Panther, Rainer Maria Rilke. Meditation at Oyster River, Theodore Roethke. Rolling Naked in the Morning Dew, Pattiann Rogers. Chicago, Carl Sandburg. The Fury of Flowers and Worms, Anne Sexton. The Call of the Wild, Gary Snyder. Traveling Through the Dark, William Stafford. Excerpts from Audubon, Robert Penn Warren. Song of Myself, 14, Walt Whitman. Song of Myself, 31, Walt Whitman. To My Sister, William Wordsworth. A Blessing, James Wright.


The Heat of Noon: Rock and Tree and Cloud, from Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey. The Obligation to Endure, from Silent Spring, Rachel Carson. The Present, Chapter Excerpt from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard. Excerpts from Nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Time and the Machine, from The Olive Tree, Aldous Huxley. Thinking Like a Mountain, Aldo Leopold. Against Nature, Joyce Carol Oates. Excerpt from The Way to Rainy Mountain, N. Scott Momaday. Solitude, from Walden, Henry David Thoreau. The Place Where I Was Born, Alice Walker.
Chapter Activities.
5. Family and Identity.
Prewriting and Discussion.



The Storm, Kate Chopin. Too Much His Father's Son, Genaro Gonzalez. Safe. Cherylene Lee. A Father, Bharati Mukherjee. A Red Sweater, Fae Myenne Ng. A Conversation with My Father, Grace Paley. Red Moccasins, Susan Power. Separating, John Updike. Everyday Use. Alice Walker.


The Mother, Gwendolyn Brooks. Mothers, Nikki Giovanni. The Ruined Maid, Thomas Hardy. Digging, Seamus Heaney. Advice to My Son, Peter Meinke. Arabic Coffee, Naomi Shibab Nye. I Go Back to May, 1937, Sharon Olds. The Black Walnut Tree, Mary Oliver. Ballad of Birmingham, Dudley Randall. Aunt Jennifer's Tigers, Adrienne Rich. Cinderella, Anne Sexton. Not Leaving the House, Gary Snyder. The Continuous Life, Mark Strand. Lineage, Margaret Walker. The Writer, Richard Wilbur.


On Tidy Endings, Harvey Fierstein.


Divorce and Our National Values, Peter D. Kramer. The Inheritance of Values, Pauli Murray. The Men We Carry in Our Minds, Scott Russell Sanders. Frankenstein's Daughter, Harper Stevens.
Chapter Activities.
6. Power and Responsibility.
Prewriting and Discussion.



The Lesson, Toni Cade Bambara. Cathedral, Raymond Carver. The Book of the Dead, Edwidge Danticat. Terminal, Nadine Gordimer. The Maypole of Merry Mount, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Bartleby the Scrivener, Herman Melville. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien. Spanish Roulette, Ed Vega.


The Boy Died in My Alley, Gwendolyn Brooks. Bully, Martin Espada. The Colonel, Carolyn Forché. Mending Wall, Robert Frost. The Laws of God, the Laws of Man, A. E. Houseman. Theme for English B, Langston Hughes. Everything That Acts Is Actual, Denise Levertov. Casual Wear, James Merrill. When I Consider How My Light Is Spent, John Milton. Famous, Naomi Shihab Nye. The Promise, Sharon Olds. Ethics, Linda Pastan.


Inaugural Address, John F. Kennedy. A Hanging, George Orwell. Letter to Dr. Ross, Katherine Anne Porter. Religion and Animal Rights, Tom Regan. From Native Son, Richard Wright.
Chapter Activities.


A. Notes on the Writing Process.
Clarifying a Subject, Purpose, and Audience. Organizing a Longer, Research-Based Argument Paper. Claims of Fact, Value, and Policy. Appeals to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos. Counterarguments, Concessions, and Refutations. The Rogerian Argument. Sample Student Essay.
B. Documenting Your Sources.
C. Glossary.
D. Authors' Biographical Notes.
Index to Authors and Titles.

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Reading Literature and Writing Argument springs directly from our classroom experiences as teachers of two college composition courses: "Writing Argument and Persuasion" and "Writing about Literature." In teaching the argument-based composition course, we delight in witnessing our students' development of the critical processes and rhetorical tools needed for constructing an argument. In the literature-based composition course, we delight in witnessing our students' discovery, or rediscovery, of the magic of imaginative literature and their deepening awareness of their humanity. In both courses, students are enriched, as readers and as writers, through their active engagement with ideas in written language. Also, in both courses, students are challenged to examine their thinking and to contrast their ideas with the ideas of others. We want our students to experience the best of these two worlds. Thus, to merge the distinct values of each course, we have written Reading Literature and Writing Argument.

Reading Literature and Writing Argument is based on the premise that writing is valued when it makes readers think. This premise implies, of course, that a person must have ideas—something to say—in order to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. However, the notion that these ideas must have value can be daunting to the individual who is staring at the blank page or screen. This is where literature—stories, poems, plays, essays—can play a vital role, one too often overlooked in students' overly busy, information-laden lives. Literature can unlock the gate to students' imaginations and open the window for creative envisioning.Likewise, the study of argument is vital to compelling students to think clearly and objectively.

Students can practice the skills of analysis and evaluation and, in doing so, develop critical standards and criteria for judging ideas. For example, Henry David Thoreau's essay, "Civil Disobedience," is an argument, and students learn when they examine his assertion that the individual's first responsibility is to maintain his or her own integrity. Similarly, students learn from examining the arguments made in a play by Sophocles, in a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks, or in a story by Ed Vega.

Literature liberates thinking, and argument disciplines it. The combined and complementary forces are inspiring and empowering. With our students' experiences in the two composition courses as our guide, we have attempted to harness the courses' complementary strengths in Reading Literature and Writing Argument.


Chapters 1 and 2 introduce and explain the terms and tools of argument. Chapters 3 through 6 present literature pieces centered on four enduring themes: "Individuality and Community," "Nature and Place," "Family and Identity," and "Power and Responsibility." Following each reading selection are questions that invite students to apply the argument terms and tools from Chapters 1 and 2. In this way, the literature pieces offer a practice field for the tools of critical thinking. Also, a number of writing topics are provided to generate longer written responses and, thus, to prompt students' ideas for writing their own arguments. Following Chapter 6, the appendices, "Notes on the Writing Process" and "Notes on Using Sources and Creating a Draft," address specific challenges of writing an argument and include references to student sample papers in Chapter 2. Also, a student sample Rogerian argument paper is presented at the end of Appendix A.

Chapter 1, "Reading to Explore and Examine," opens with a brief discussion of academic argument and presents a core concept: Reading literature is a prompt for rooting out and exploring the underlying values that inform our responses to the world around us. We then introduce basic argument structure and several rhetorical concepts that relate argument to audience appeal and tone. In selecting terms and concepts to feature in Reading Literature and Writing Argument, we chose the tools our classroom teaching experiences have identified as particularly useful to students, both as readers and as writers. Chapter activities reinforce the argument terms and concepts and give students a chance to practice applying them to their reading of some literature pieces.

Chapter 2, "Writing to Evaluate and Articulate," features the reasoning process—how we form opinions and arrive at conclusions. To begin, we challenge students to develop a habit of questioning the foundation of their opinions by evaluating their thinking process. Again, taking a lead from our experiences in the first-year college composition classroom, we decided to highlight the common fallacy of hasty generalization. Also, a brief overview of deduction and induction helps students see how the reasoning process works in argumentation and gives them an additional tool for evaluating their own thinking, ideas, and opinions, as well as those of others—from a speaker in a poem to a character in a play.

From thinking about how we think, we move in Chapter 2 to the process of writing argument, which we present as five basic tasks. We offer illustrations of writers, both professional and student, applying these tasks. The last section of the chapter presents a four-part written exploration and articulation activity, a process that draws on the concepts from Chapters 1 and 2 and culminates in the students' writing their own arguments. The four-part activity directs students to explore their own thinking about a designated subject; to explore the subject in the context of several literature pieces; to explore the subject by doing some research; and, finally, to articulate an issue and claim, gather support, and compose their own arguments. We present four sample student essays, including two longer research projects: one illustrates the process of the four-part exploration and articulation activity and one features the final product, the research-based argument paper. Lastly, chapter activities are provided to give students some hands-on engagement with the core concepts introduced in the chapter.

For the anthology chapters (Chapters 3-6), we chose theme headings that are broad and that directly affect students' individual lives. We believe that students appreciate the opportunity to explore their own thinking processes within these contexts. Also, the themes invite students to draw connections, not only among the readings within a single chapter, but also among readings in any of the four chapters. For example, some family issues that students may identify in Chapter 5 readings can be related to responsibility issues in Chapter 6 readings. Students may draw on their reading experiences from several chapters as they explore an issue and move toward the writing of their own arguments. Again, we include chapter activities to stimulate students' thinking about their reading experiences and about potential issues for writing an argument.

To borrow from Robert Frost's statement on poetry, Reading Literature and Writing Argument is designed to bring both "delight" and "wisdom" to first-year college students' composition experiences. We believe that students will enjoy reading the literature pieces, practicing critical thinking skills, and exploring different perspectives on issues close to their own lives. And finally, students will discover they have a wealth of ideas as well as the critical acumen to compose a written argument that will compel their readers to think. The blank page or computer screen will present a welcome invitation to students to speak out and to be heard, to make choices, and to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others.

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