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Overview

THE BLAIR READER offers 114 essays, seven poems, and two short stories arranged thematically under ten interesting and thought-provoking topics (e.g., Family and Memory, The Politics of Language, The American Dream, and The Wired Revolution).

NEW FEATURES:

  • Thirty-seven new selections highly-rated by faculty reviewers to encourage critical inquiry
  • Photographic images with reflective thinking questions in every chapter
  • End-of-chapter Internet research activities for further discovery

COMPANION WEBSITE™

The Companion Website provides additional chapter exercises, links, and activities that reinforce and build upon the material presented in the text.

Website features include:
• Additional essay and short answer questions for every reading
• Web links that provide additional contextual information
• Web destinations for each essay topic

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780134001104
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 992
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Preface

After more than twenty-five years of teaching composition, we have come to believe that reading and writing are interrelated tasks. If students are going to write effectively, they must also read actively and critically. In addition, we believe that writing is both a private and a public act. As a private act, it enables students to explore their feelings and reactions and to discover their ideas about a variety of subjects. As a public act, writing enables students to see how their own ideas fit into a larger discourse community, where ideas gain meaning and value. In short, we believe that students are most enriched and engaged if they view the reading and writing they do as a way of participating in ongoing public discussions about subjects that matter to them. We created The Blair Reader to encourage students to make their own contributions to the public discussion and to help them realize that their ideas take shape only in response to the ideas of others.

Another reason we decided to create The Blair Reader was that we could not find a reader that satisfied our needs as teachers. We-like you—expect compelling reading selections that involve both instructors and students in a spirited exchange. We also expect selections that are enriched by the diversity of ideas that characterize our society. In addition, we expect questions that ask students to respond critically to what they have read. In short, we expect a book that stimulates discussion and that encourages students to discover new ideas and to see familiar ideas in new ways. These expectations guided us as we developed The Blair Reader and as we worked on this fourth edition.

What's New in the Fourth Edition?

Our main goal in the fourth edition was to sharpen the focus of each chapter, thereby expanding the student's insight into the issue being discussed. Taking into consideration the comments of the many teachers who generously shared their reactions to the third edition with us, we narrowed the themes of several chapters. We also added a new unit, Chapter 7, "The Wired Revolution, to examine the cultural and ethical implications of the Internet.

New to the fourth edition are two features that are designed to increase the flexibility and usefulness of the book. The first is aimed at strengthening students' visual literacy. At the end of each chapter is an image that relates to the Focus question. Following each image are two Responding to the Image questions that ask students to respond critically to what they see. For example, a photograph at the end of Chapter 10, "Making Choices," shows a rally of a group of neo-Nazis, and a "Responding to the Image" question asks students how they would react if such a rally took place on their campus.

Also new to this edition is an Internet Research question. This feature, which appears as one of the writing suggestions at the end of each chapter, asks students to use the Internet to explore the "Focus" question of each chapter. Students are given several URLs and then asked to write an essay using the information that they find at these Web sites.

As we worked on the fourth edition, we added readings that would not only tighten the focus of each chapter but also increase student's interest and involvement. Among the selections that are new to this edition are Brent Staples's "Why Colleges Shower Their Students with A's," Barbara Lawrence's "Four Letter Words Can Hurt You," Joe Saltzman's "Celebrity Journalism, the Public, and Princess Diana," Kate Tuttle's "Television and African Americans,". Christina Hoff Summers's "The War against Boys," Henry Lewis Gates Jr's "One Internet, Two Nations," Russell Feingold's "The Need for a Moratorium on Executions," and Niles Eldridge's "Creationism Isn't Science."

These and other new readings were chosen to introduce students to the ethical questions associated with enduring issues like divorce, the inequality of the digital revolution, the purpose of education, violence in the media, euthanasia and assisted suicide, the rights of men and women, the problems of the homeless, animal experimentation, recycling, the death penalty, and freedom of speech. Whenever possible, we have added readings that will give students the historical context they need to understand a chapter's theme. For example, in Chapter 2, "Issues in Education," we added the classic essays "School Is Bad for Children" by John Holt and... The Myth of the Cave" by Plato, and in Chapter 6, "The American Dream," we added "Why the Americans Are So Restless in Their Prosperity" by Alexis De Toqueville. The result of our revision is a text that combines classic essays with provocative new pieces, thereby illustrating to students that ideas can continue to be exciting and relevant long after a selection was written.

Finally, the selections in The Blair Reader, Fourth Edition, continue to represent a wide variety of rhetorical patterns and types of discourse as well as a variety of themes, issues, and positions. In addition to essays, The Blair Reader contains speeches, dialogues, meditations, newspaper and magazine articles, and poems. The level of diction ranges from the relaxed formality of E. B. white's "Once More to the Lake" to the biting satire of Marge Piercy's "Barbie Doll." In this edition, every effort has been made to include a wide variety of voices, because we believe that students can best discover their own voices by becoming acquainted with the voices of others.

Resources for Students

We designed the apparatus in The Blair Reader to involve students and to encourage them to respond critically to what they read. Their reactions can then become the basis for more focused thinking and writing. In order to facilitate this process, we have included the following special features:

  • Introduction: Becoming a Critical Reader explains and illustrates the process of reading and reacting critically to texts and formulating varied and original responses.
  • A brief chapter introduction, Preparing to Read and Write, places each chapter's broad theme in a narrower social or political context, helping students connect with the chapter's specific ideas and issues. A series of questions at the end of these chapter introductions helps students to focus their responses to individual selections in the context of the chapter's larger issues.
  • Headnotes that accompany each selection provide useful biographical information as well as insight into the writer's motivation or purpose.
  • Responding to Reading questions that follow each selection focus on thematic and rhetorical considerations. By asking students to do more than read essays simply for facts and information, these questions help them realize that reading is an interactive and intellectually stimulating process and that they have something valuable to contribute.
  • Writing suggestions at the end of each chapter ask students to respond in writing to the ideas they have encountered. These questions approach essays critically and explore relationships among readings.
  • A Widening the Focus feature identifies essays in other chapters of the book that offer insight into the issues raised by the "Focus" question. This feature also includes a provocative image followed by Responding to the Image questions.
  • A Rhetorical Table of Contents, located in the front of the book on pages viii-xiii, groups the text's readings according to the way they arrange material: narration, description, process, comparison and contrast, and so on.
  • Topical Clusters, narrowly focused thematic units, (pp. xiv-xxii), offer students and teachers additional options for pairing and grouping readings.

Additional Resources for Instructors and Students

Instructor's Manual

Because we wanted The Blair Reader to be a rich and comprehensive resource for instructors, we developed an Instructor's Resource Manual to accompany the text. This manual, designed to serve as a useful and accessible classroom companion, incorporates teaching techniques drawn from our years inn the classroom as well as reactions of our own students to the selections. The manual contains teaching strategies, collaborative activities, multimedia resources, suggested answers for "Responding to Reading" questions, and many other useful resources.

Companion Website

The Companion Website provides additional chapter exercises, links, and activities that reinforce and build upon the material presented in the text.

Website features include:

  • Additional essay and short answer questions for every reading
  • Web links that provide additional contextual information
  • Visual analysis questions for each chapter
  • Web destinations for each essay topic
  • Message board and chat room
  • Syllabus Manager ™

The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary
(0-13-032870-7)
– FREE when packaged with the text.

English on the Internet: Evaluating Online Resources
(0-13-019484-0)
– FREE when packaged with the text.

NEW! The Writer's Guide Series

– FREE when packaged with the text.
– The Writer's Guide to Document and Web Design (0-13-018929-4)
– The Writer's Guide to Writing Across the Curriculum and Oral Presentations (0-13-018931-6)
– The Writer's Guide to Writing About Literature (0-13-018932-4)

turnitin.com

This online service makes it easy for teachers to find out if students are copying their assignments from the Internet, and it is now free to professors using the fourth edition of The Blair Reader. In addition to helping educators easily identify instances of Web-based student plagiarism, Turnitin.com also offers a digital archiving system and an online peer review service. Professors set up a "drop box" at the Tumitin.com website where their students submit papers. Turnitin.com then cross-references each submission with millions of possible online sources. Within 24 hours, teachers receive a customized, color-coded "Originality Report;" complete with live links to suspect Internet locations, for each submitted paper.

We encourage you to use the Instructor's Manual to complement your own proven strategies. We also encourage you to let us know your reactions to the Manual and your suggestions for making it better. We are especially interested in hearing about classroom strategies that you use successfully and reading selections that have consistently appealed to your students. In future editions of the Instructor's Resource Manual, we would like to include these suggestions along with the names of the individuals who submitted them. Just write us in care of Prentice Hall, One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458.

Acknowledgments

The Blair Reader is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the two of us, between us and our students, between us and Prentice Hall, and between us and you—our colleagues who told us what you wanted in a reader.

At Prentice Hall, we want to thank our editor, Corey Good. We appreciate the organizational skills of Production Editor Randy Pettit, and we thank him for his patience and professionalism as he guided the book through production. We also thank our exceptional copyeditor, Margaret Ritchie.

As always, Mark Gallaher's editorial instincts were exactly right; as always, his contributions are much appreciated. (And, as always, he deserves his own paragraph.)

In preparing The Blair Reader, Fourth Edition, we benefited at every stage from the assistance and suggestions of colleagues from across the country: Jack Lynch, Rutgers University; Brenda Borron, Irvine Valley College; Norman Lanquist, Eastern Arizona College; Andrew Tomko, Bergen Community College; Rober Dornsife, Creighton University; Mary E. Hallet, Boston College; and Rosemary Day, Albuquerque, T-VI Community College.

On the home front, we once again "round up the usual suspects" to thank—Mark, Adam, and Rebecca Kirszner and Demi, David, and Sarah Mandell. And, of course, we thank each other: it really has been a "beautiful friendship."

–Laurie G. Kirszner,
Stephen R. Mandell

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

(*Denotes new selection.)
1. Family and Memory.

Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays” (poetry). Soto, “One Last Time.” White, “Once More to the Lake.” Kingston, “No Name Woman.” Momaday, “The Way to Rainy Mountain.” Walker, “Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self.” Carver, “My Father's Life.” Focus: How Has Divorce Redefined the Family? Hoffman, “The Perfect Family.” Kingsolver, “Stone Soup.” *Wallerstein, “The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.” *Smiley, “There They Go, Bad-Mouthing Divorce Again.”

2. Issues in Education.
*Holt, “School Is Bad for Children.” *Plato, “Myth of the Cave.” Twain, “Reading the River.” Whitman, “When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer.” Barry, “The Sanctuary of School.” Angelou, “Graduation.” Kozol, “Savage Inequalities.” *Staples, “Why Colleges Shower Their Students with A's.” Zinsser, “College Pressures.” Henry, “In Defense of Elitism.” Focus: What Is The Real Purpose of Education? *Brown, “Who Cares about the Renaissance?” *Shatzman, “When Learning Hurts.” Edmundson, “On the Uses of a Liberal Education.”

3. The Politics of Language.
Douglass, “Learning to Read and Write.” Malcolm X, “A Homemade Education.” *Lawrence, “Four-Letter Words CanHurt You.” Tan, “Mother Tongue.” Kozol, “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society.” *Hayakawa, “Reports, Inferences, Judgments.” Nilsen, “Sexism in English: Embodiment and Language (updated in 2000).” Orwell, “Politics and the English Language.” Focus: Should English Be the Law? *Rodriguez, “Aria.” King, “Should English Be the Law?” Amselle, “Ingles Si!”

4. Media and Society.
Winn, “Television: The Plug-In Drug.” McGrath, “Giving Saturday Morning Some Slack.” *Saltzman, “Celebrity Journalism, the Public, and Princess Diana.” Steinem, “Sex, Lies, and Advertising.” *Dettmar, “Grasping the Dark Images of Rock.” *Tuttle, “Television and African Americans.” Iyer, “The Global Village Finally Arrives.” Kaminer, “Testifying: Television.” Focus: Does Media Violence Hurt? Grisham, “Unnatural Killers.” *Rhodes, “Hollow Claims about Fantasy Violence.” *Leo, “When Life Imitates Video.”

5. Women and Men.
Piercy, “Barbie Doll” (poetry). Olds, “Rites of Passage (poetry).” *Woolf, “Professions for Women.” Sanders, “The Men We Carry in Our Minds.” Brady, “Why I Want a Wife.” *Hochschild, “The Second Shift.” Gutmann, “Sex and the Soldier.” Tannen, “Marked Women.” Focus: Who Has It Harder, Women or Men? *Whitehead, “The Girls of Gen X.” *Sommers, “The War against Boys.” Faludi, “The Future of Men.”

6. The American Dream.
Chief Seattle, “We May Be Brothers.” *De Toqueville, “Why the Americans Are so Restless in the Midst of Their Prosperity.” Wright, “The Library Card.” Mukherjee, “American Dreamer.” Cofer, “The Myth of the Latin Woman.” Staples, “Just Walk on By.” Eighner, “On Dumpster Driving.” Hurston, “How it Feels to Be Colored Me.” Lawrence and Matsuda, “The Telltale Heart: Apology, Reparation, and Redress.” Focus: What Is the American Dream? Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence. *Lazarus, “The New Colossus” (poetry). *Kennedy, Inaugural Address. King, “I Have a Dream.”

7. The Wired Revolution.
*Dunn, “Two View of Technology's Promise.” *Negroponte, “An Age of Optimism.” *Thomas, “Computers.” Rawlins, “Pregnant with Possibility.” Gup, “The End of Serendipity.” *Kuriloff, “If John Dewey Were Alive Today, He'd Be a Webhead.” *Elmer-DeWitt, “Bards of the Internet.” *Postman, “Informing Ourselves to Death.” Focus: Is There Equality in Cyberspace? *Gates, “One Internet, Two Nations.” *Span, “Women and Computers.” *Symonds, “Government and the Internet: Haves and Have-Nots.”

8. Medicine and Human Values.
Tuchman, “The Black Death.” Selzer, “Imelda.” Gordon, “What Nurses Stand For.” *Sanger, “The Turbid Ebb and Flow of Misery.” Goodall, “A Plea for the Chimps.” Seaver, “My World Now.” *Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” (poetry). Kübler-Ross, “On the Fear of Death.” *Borosage, “Misplaced Priorities: A Focus on Guns.” Focus: Whose Life Is It Anyway? Schneiderman, “The Ethics of Euthanasia.” Kervorkian, “A Case of Assisted Suicide.” Carter, “Rush to a Lethal Judgment.”

9. Earth in the Balance.
Chief Seattle, “Letter to President Pierce.” Gore, “The Wasteland.” *Forster, “My Wood.” Carson, “The Obligation to Endure.” Rathje and Murphy, “Recycling: No Panacea.” *Purdy, “Shades of Green.” Christensen, “Is a Tree Worth a Life?” *Boyle, “Top of the Food Chain” (fiction). Focus: Who Owns the Land? Peterson, “Growing Up Game.” Quindlen, “Our Animal Rites.” Ehrenreich, “The Myth of Man as Hunter.” Stafford, “Traveling Through the Dark” (poetry).

10. Making Choices.
Frost, “The Road Not Taken” (poetry). Pastan, “Ethics” (poetry). Dillard, “The Deer at Providencia.” Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant.” Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience.” King, “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Harden, “Lifeboat Ethics.” McCarthy, “Dog Lab.” *Koch, “Death and Justice.” *Feingold, “The Need for a Moratorium on Executions.” Milgram, “The Perils of Obedience.” Sagan, “The Rules of the Game.” *LeGuin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” (fiction). Focus: Are All Ideas Created Equal? Krauss, “Equal Time for Nonsense.” *Eldridge, “Creationism Isn't Science.” Lipstadt, “Denying the Holocaust.” *Tremblay, “Revising Our Prejudices: The Holocaust and Freedom of Speech.”

Read More Show Less

Preface

After more than twenty-five years of teaching composition, we have come to believe that reading and writing are interrelated tasks. If students are going to write effectively, they must also read actively and critically. In addition, we believe that writing is both a private and a public act. As a private act, it enables students to explore their feelings and reactions and to discover their ideas about a variety of subjects. As a public act, writing enables students to see how their own ideas fit into a larger discourse community, where ideas gain meaning and value. In short, we believe that students are most enriched and engaged if they view the reading and writing they do as a way of participating in ongoing public discussions about subjects that matter to them. We created The Blair Reader to encourage students to make their own contributions to the public discussion and to help them realize that their ideas take shape only in response to the ideas of others.

Another reason we decided to create The Blair Reader was that we could not find a reader that satisfied our needs as teachers. We-like you—expect compelling reading selections that involve both instructors and students in a spirited exchange. We also expect selections that are enriched by the diversity of ideas that characterize our society. In addition, we expect questions that ask students to respond critically to what they have read. In short, we expect a book that stimulates discussion and that encourages students to discover new ideas and to see familiar ideas in new ways. These expectations guided us as we developed The Blair Reader and as we worked on this fourth edition.

What's New in the Fourth Edition?

Our main goal in the fourth edition was to sharpen the focus of each chapter, thereby expanding the student's insight into the issue being discussed. Taking into consideration the comments of the many teachers who generously shared their reactions to the third edition with us, we narrowed the themes of several chapters. We also added a new unit, Chapter 7, "The Wired Revolution, to examine the cultural and ethical implications of the Internet.

New to the fourth edition are two features that are designed to increase the flexibility and usefulness of the book. The first is aimed at strengthening students' visual literacy. At the end of each chapter is an image that relates to the Focus question. Following each image are two Responding to the Image questions that ask students to respond critically to what they see. For example, a photograph at the end of Chapter 10, "Making Choices," shows a rally of a group of neo-Nazis, and a "Responding to the Image" question asks students how they would react if such a rally took place on their campus.

Also new to this edition is an Internet Research question. This feature, which appears as one of the writing suggestions at the end of each chapter, asks students to use the Internet to explore the "Focus" question of each chapter. Students are given several URLs and then asked to write an essay using the information that they find at these Web sites.

As we worked on the fourth edition, we added readings that would not only tighten the focus of each chapter but also increase student's interest and involvement. Among the selections that are new to this edition are Brent Staples's "Why Colleges Shower Their Students with A's," Barbara Lawrence's "Four Letter Words Can Hurt You," Joe Saltzman's "Celebrity Journalism, the Public, and Princess Diana," Kate Tuttle's "Television and African Americans,". Christina Hoff Summers's "The War against Boys," Henry Lewis Gates Jr's "One Internet, Two Nations," Russell Feingold's "The Need for a Moratorium on Executions," and Niles Eldridge's "Creationism Isn't Science."

These and other new readings were chosen to introduce students to the ethical questions associated with enduring issues like divorce, the inequality of the digital revolution, the purpose of education, violence in the media, euthanasia and assisted suicide, the rights of men and women, the problems of the homeless, animal experimentation, recycling, the death penalty, and freedom of speech. Whenever possible, we have added readings that will give students the historical context they need to understand a chapter's theme. For example, in Chapter 2, "Issues in Education," we added the classic essays "School Is Bad for Children" by John Holt and... The Myth of the Cave" by Plato, and in Chapter 6, "The American Dream," we added "Why the Americans Are So Restless in Their Prosperity" by Alexis De Toqueville. The result of our revision is a text that combines classic essays with provocative new pieces, thereby illustrating to students that ideas can continue to be exciting and relevant long after a selection was written.

Finally, the selections in The Blair Reader, Fourth Edition, continue to represent a wide variety of rhetorical patterns and types of discourse as well as a variety of themes, issues, and positions. In addition to essays, The Blair Reader contains speeches, dialogues, meditations, newspaper and magazine articles, and poems. The level of diction ranges from the relaxed formality of E. B. white's "Once More to the Lake" to the biting satire of Marge Piercy's "Barbie Doll." In this edition, every effort has been made to include a wide variety of voices, because we believe that students can best discover their own voices by becoming acquainted with the voices of others.

Resources for Students

We designed the apparatus in The Blair Reader to involve students and to encourage them to respond critically to what they read. Their reactions can then become the basis for more focused thinking and writing. In order to facilitate this process, we have included the following special features:

  • Introduction: Becoming a Critical Reader explains and illustrates the process of reading and reacting critically to texts and formulating varied and original responses.
  • A brief chapter introduction, Preparing to Read and Write, places each chapter's broad theme in a narrower social or political context, helping students connect with the chapter's specific ideas and issues. A series of questions at the end of these chapter introductions helps students to focus their responses to individual selections in the context of the chapter's larger issues.
  • Headnotes that accompany each selection provide useful biographical information as well as insight into the writer's motivation or purpose.
  • Responding to Reading questions that follow each selection focus on thematic and rhetorical considerations. By asking students to do more than read essays simply for facts and information, these questions help them realize that reading is an interactive and intellectually stimulating process and that they have something valuable to contribute.
  • Writing suggestions at the end of each chapter ask students to respond in writing to the ideas they have encountered. These questions approach essays critically and explore relationships among readings.
  • A Widening the Focus feature identifies essays in other chapters of the book that offer insight into the issues raised by the "Focus" question. This feature also includes a provocative image followed by Responding to the Image questions.
  • A Rhetorical Table of Contents, located in the front of the book on pages viii-xiii, groups the text's readings according to the way they arrange material: narration, description, process, comparison and contrast, and so on.
  • Topical Clusters, narrowly focused thematic units, (pp. xiv-xxii), offer students and teachers additional options for pairing and grouping readings.

Additional Resources for Instructors and Students

Instructor's Manual

Because we wanted The Blair Reader to be a rich and comprehensive resource for instructors, we developed an Instructor's Resource Manual to accompany the text. This manual, designed to serve as a useful and accessible classroom companion, incorporates teaching techniques drawn from our years inn the classroom as well as reactions of our own students to the selections. The manual contains teaching strategies, collaborative activities, multimedia resources, suggested answers for "Responding to Reading" questions, and many other useful resources.

Companion Website: www.prenhall.com/kirszner

The Companion Website provides additional chapter exercises, links, and activities that reinforce and build upon the material presented in the text.

Website features include:

  • Additional essay and short answer questions for every reading
  • Web links that provide additional contextual information
  • Visual analysis questions for each chapter
  • Web destinations for each essay topic
  • Message board and chat room
  • Syllabus Manager ™

The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary
(0-13-032870-7)
– FREE when packaged with the text.

English on the Internet: Evaluating Online Resources
(0-13-019484-0)
– FREE when packaged with the text.

NEW! The Writer's Guide Series

– FREE when packaged with the text.
– The Writer's Guide to Document and Web Design (0-13-018929-4)
– The Writer's Guide to Writing Across the Curriculum and Oral Presentations (0-13-018931-6)
– The Writer's Guide to Writing About Literature (0-13-018932-4)

www.turnitin.com

This online service makes it easy for teachers to find out if students are copying their assignments from the Internet, and it is now free to professors using the fourth edition of The Blair Reader. In addition to helping educators easily identify instances of Web-based student plagiarism, Turnitin.com also offers a digital archiving system and an online peer review service. Professors set up a "drop box" at the Tumitin.com website where their students submit papers. Turnitin.com then cross-references each submission with millions of possible online sources. Within 24 hours, teachers receive a customized, color-coded "Originality Report;" complete with live links to suspect Internet locations, for each submitted paper. Visit www.prenhall.com/english for more information.

We encourage you to use the Instructor's Manual to complement your own proven strategies. We also encourage you to let us know your reactions to the Manual and your suggestions for making it better. We are especially interested in hearing about classroom strategies that you use successfully and reading selections that have consistently appealed to your students. In future editions of the Instructor's Resource Manual, we would like to include these suggestions along with the names of the individuals who submitted them. Just write us in care of Prentice Hall, One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458.

Acknowledgments

The Blair Reader is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the two of us, between us and our students, between us and Prentice Hall, and between us and you—our colleagues who told us what you wanted in a reader.

At Prentice Hall, we want to thank our editor, Corey Good. We appreciate the organizational skills of Production Editor Randy Pettit, and we thank him for his patience and professionalism as he guided the book through production. We also thank our exceptional copyeditor, Margaret Ritchie.

As always, Mark Gallaher's editorial instincts were exactly right; as always, his contributions are much appreciated. (And, as always, he deserves his own paragraph.)

In preparing The Blair Reader, Fourth Edition, we benefited at every stage from the assistance and suggestions of colleagues from across the country: Jack Lynch, Rutgers University; Brenda Borron, Irvine Valley College; Norman Lanquist, Eastern Arizona College; Andrew Tomko, Bergen Community College; Rober Dornsife, Creighton University; Mary E. Hallet, Boston College; and Rosemary Day, Albuquerque, T-VI Community College.

On the home front, we once again "round up the usual suspects" to thank—Mark, Adam, and Rebecca Kirszner and Demi, David, and Sarah Mandell. And, of course, we thank each other: it really has been a "beautiful friendship."

–Laurie G. Kirszner,
Stephen R. Mandell

Read More Show Less

Introduction

After more than twenty-five years of teaching composition, we have come to believe that reading and writing are interrelated tasks. If students are going to write effectively, they must also read actively and critically. In addition, we believe that writing is both a private and a public act. As a private act, it enables students to explore their feelings and reactions and to discover their ideas about a variety of subjects. As a public act, writing enables students to see how their own ideas fit into a larger discourse community, where ideas gain meaning and value. In short, we believe that students are most enriched and engaged if they view the reading and writing they do as a way of participating in ongoing public discussions about subjects that matter to them. We created The Blair Reader to encourage students to make their own contributions to the public discussion and to help them realize that their ideas take shape only in response to the ideas of others.

Another reason we decided to create The Blair Reader was that we could not find a reader that satisfied our needs as teachers. We-like you—expect compelling reading selections that involve both instructors and students in a spirited exchange. We also expect selections that are enriched by the diversity of ideas that characterize our society. In addition, we expect questions that ask students to respond critically to what they have read. In short, we expect a book that stimulates discussion and that encourages students to discover new ideas and to see familiar ideas in new ways. These expectations guided us as we developed The Blair Reader and as we worked on this fourth edition.

What's New in the Fourth Edition?

Our main goal in the fourth edition was to sharpen the focus of each chapter, thereby expanding the student's insight into the issue being discussed. Taking into consideration the comments of the many teachers who generously shared their reactions to the third edition with us, we narrowed the themes of several chapters. We also added a new unit, Chapter 7, "The Wired Revolution, to examine the cultural and ethical implications of the Internet.

New to the fourth edition are two features that are designed to increase the flexibility and usefulness of the book. The first is aimed at strengthening students' visual literacy. At the end of each chapter is an image that relates to the Focus question. Following each image are two Responding to the Image questions that ask students to respond critically to what they see. For example, a photograph at the end of Chapter 10, "Making Choices," shows a rally of a group of neo-Nazis, and a "Responding to the Image" question asks students how they would react if such a rally took place on their campus.

Also new to this edition is an Internet Research question. This feature, which appears as one of the writing suggestions at the end of each chapter, asks students to use the Internet to explore the "Focus" question of each chapter. Students are given several URLs and then asked to write an essay using the information that they find at these Web sites.

As we worked on the fourth edition, we added readings that would not only tighten the focus of each chapter but also increase student's interest and involvement. Among the selections that are new to this edition are Brent Staples's "Why Colleges Shower Their Students with A's," Barbara Lawrence's "Four Letter Words Can Hurt You," Joe Saltzman's "Celebrity Journalism, the Public, and Princess Diana," Kate Tuttle's "Television and African Americans,". Christina Hoff Summers's "The War against Boys," Henry Lewis Gates Jr's "One Internet, Two Nations," Russell Feingold's "The Need for a Moratorium on Executions," and Niles Eldridge's "Creationism Isn't Science."

These and other new readings were chosen to introduce students to the ethical questions associated with enduring issues like divorce, the inequality of the digital revolution, the purpose of education, violence in the media, euthanasia and assisted suicide, the rights of men and women, the problems of the homeless, animal experimentation, recycling, the death penalty, and freedom of speech. Whenever possible, we have added readings that will give students the historical context they need to understand a chapter's theme. For example, in Chapter 2, "Issues in Education," we added the classic essays "School Is Bad for Children" by John Holt and... The Myth of the Cave" by Plato, and in Chapter 6, "The American Dream," we added "Why the Americans Are So Restless in Their Prosperity" by Alexis De Toqueville. The result of our revision is a text that combines classic essays with provocative new pieces, thereby illustrating to students that ideas can continue to be exciting and relevant long after a selection was written.

Finally, the selections in The Blair Reader, Fourth Edition, continue to represent a wide variety of rhetorical patterns and types of discourse as well as a variety of themes, issues, and positions. In addition to essays, The Blair Reader contains speeches, dialogues, meditations, newspaper and magazine articles, and poems. The level of diction ranges from the relaxed formality of E. B. white's "Once More to the Lake" to the biting satire of Marge Piercy's "Barbie Doll." In this edition, every effort has been made to include a wide variety of voices, because we believe that students can best discover their own voices by becoming acquainted with the voices of others.

Resources for Students

We designed the apparatus in The Blair Reader to involve students and to encourage them to respond critically to what they read. Their reactions can then become the basis for more focused thinking and writing. In order to facilitate this process, we have included the following special features:

  • Introduction: Becoming a Critical Reader explains and illustrates the process of reading and reacting critically to texts and formulating varied and original responses.
  • A brief chapter introduction, Preparing to Read and Write, places each chapter's broad theme in a narrower social or political context, helping students connect with the chapter's specific ideas and issues. A series of questions at the end of these chapter introductions helps students to focus their responses to individual selections in the context of the chapter's larger issues.
  • Headnotes that accompany each selection provide useful biographical information as well as insight into the writer's motivation or purpose.
  • Responding to Reading questions that follow each selection focus on thematic and rhetorical considerations. By asking students to do more than read essays simply for facts and information, these questions help them realize that reading is an interactive and intellectually stimulating process and that they have something valuable to contribute.
  • Writing suggestions at the end of each chapter ask students to respond in writing to the ideas they have encountered. These questions approach essays critically and explore relationships among readings.
  • A Widening the Focus feature identifies essays in other chapters of the book that offer insight into the issues raised by the "Focus" question. This feature also includes a provocative image followed by Responding to the Image questions.
  • A Rhetorical Table of Contents, located in the front of the book on pages viii-xiii, groups the text's readings according to the way they arrange material: narration, description, process, comparison and contrast, and so on.
  • Topical Clusters, narrowly focused thematic units, (pp. xiv-xxii), offer students and teachers additional options for pairing and grouping readings.

Additional Resources for Instructors and Students

Instructor's Manual

Because we wanted The Blair Reader to be a rich and comprehensive resource for instructors, we developed an Instructor's Resource Manual to accompany the text. This manual, designed to serve as a useful and accessible classroom companion, incorporates teaching techniques drawn from our years inn the classroom as well as reactions of our own students to the selections. The manual contains teaching strategies, collaborative activities, multimedia resources, suggested answers for "Responding to Reading" questions, and many other useful resources.

We encourage you to use the Instructor's Manual to complement your own proven strategies. We also encourage you to let us know your reactions to the Manual and your suggestions for making it better. We are especially interested in hearing about classroom strategies that you use successfully and reading selections that have consistently appealed to your students. In future editions of the Instructor's Resource Manual, we would like to include these suggestions along with the names of the individuals who submitted them. Just write us in care of Prentice Hall, One Lake Street, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458.

Acknowledgments

The Blair Reader is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the two of us, between us and our students, between us and Prentice Hall, and between us and you—our colleagues who told us what you wanted in a reader.

At Prentice Hall, we want to thank our editor, Corey Good. We appreciate the organizational skills of Production Editor Randy Pettit, and we thank him for his patience and professionalism as he guided the book through production. We also thank our exceptional copyeditor, Margaret Ritchie.

As always, Mark Gallaher's editorial instincts were exactly right; as always, his contributions are much appreciated. (And, as always, he deserves his own paragraph.)

In preparing The Blair Reader, Fourth Edition, we benefited at every stage from the assistance and suggestions of colleagues from across the country: Jack Lynch, Rutgers University; Brenda Borron, Irvine Valley College; Norman Lanquist, Eastern Arizona College; Andrew Tomko, Bergen Community College; Rober Dornsife, Creighton University; Mary E. Hallet, Boston College; and Rosemary Day, Albuquerque, T-VI Community College.

On the home front, we once again "round up the usual suspects" to thank—Mark, Adam, and Rebecca Kirszner and Demi, David, and Sarah Mandell. And, of course, we thank each other: it really has been a "beautiful friendship."

–Laurie G. Kirszner,
Stephen R. Mandell

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