The Short Prose Reader (book alone) / Edition 12

The Short Prose Reader (book alone) / Edition 12

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McGraw-Hill Higher Education


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The Short Prose Reader (book alone) / Edition 12

This rhetorically organized reader, maintains the best features of the earlier editions: lively reading selections supported by helpful apparatus to integrate reading and writing in college composition and reading courses. In working through the text, the student progresses from key aspects of the writing and reading processes to chapters on the essential patterns of writing and then to more rigorous forms of analysis and argument. Each chapter provides diverse and lively prose models suited for discussion, analysis, and imitation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780073533148
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education
Publication date: 12/08/2008
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 608
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Gilbert H. Muller, who received a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Stanford University, is currently professor of English and Special Assistant to the President at the LaGuardia campus of the City University of New York. He has also taught at Stanford University, Vassar College, and several universities overseas. Dr. Muller is the author of the award-winning Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O’Connor and the Catholic Grotesque, Chester Himes , and other critical studies. His essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, The Nation, The Sewanee Review, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. He is also a noted author and editor of textbooks in English and composition, including The Short Prose Reader with Harvey Wiener, and with John A Williams, The McGraw-Hill Introduction to Literature, Bridges: Literature across Cultures, and Ways In: Reading and Writing about Literature. Among Dr. Muller’s awards are National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Mellon Fellowship.

Harvey S. Wiener is currently affiliated with Marymount Manhattan College after serving as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Adelphi University. Previously University Dean for Academic Affairs, the City University of New York, he was founding president of the Council of Writing Program Administrators. Dr. Wiener is the author of many books on reading and writing for college students and their teachers, including The Writing Room (Oxford, 1981). He is co-author of The McGraw-Hill College Handbook, a reference grammar and rhetoric text. Dr. Wiener has chaired the Teaching of Writing Division of the Modern Language Association (1987). He has taught writing at every level of education from elementary school to graduate school.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brooklyn College, he holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature. Dr. Wiener has won grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, and the Exxon Education Foundation.

Table of Contents

The Short Prose Reader 12/e
Thematic Contents

Chapter 1

On Writing

Jennifer Lee I Think, Therefore IM
A journalist and author explains how text messaging, Weblogs, and e-mail are changing the ways students write—and driving some teachers to distraction.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. How to Write with Style
One of America’s most imaginative authors offers young writers the secrets of his success.

William Zinsser Simplicity
According to this writer-teacher, “clutter is the disease of American writing.” We must, Zinsser declares, simplify.

Amy Tan Mother Tongue (Mixing Patterns)
Novelist Amy Tan explains how her writing style achieved both passion and simplicity when she learned to value the criticism of her mother, who said after reading her daughter’s novel, “So easy to read.”

Summing Up: Chapter 1

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 2

On Reading

Judith Ortiz Cofer Volar
A Latina writer recalls how reading helped her overcome her childhood circumstances.

Malcolm X Prison Studies
“Reading had changed forever the course of my life,” writes Malcolm X, who explains movingly how reading is both an activity of love and a tool of power.

Ellen Tashie Frisina “See Spot Run”: Teaching My Grandmother to Read
The writer recalls the pleasure she found in smuggling home grade-school books so that she could teach her 70-year-old Greek grandmother to read.

Norman Mailer One Idea (Mixing Patterns)
This literary celebrity lashes out at television and the disastrous effect commercials have had on students’ reading abilities.

Summing Up: Chapter 2

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 3


Diane Ackerman Farewell to Summer and Its Buzzing Creatures
An award-winning poet and essayist bids good-bye to a season and its passing signs.

Annie Dillard In the Jungle
An acclaimed nature writer discovers in the Ecuadorian jungle the depths of experience that can be found in “the middle of nowhere.”

Maxine Hong Kingston Catfish in the Bathtub
Squirming turtles, swimming catfish, pungent skunks, city pigeons: Why did Kingston’s mother bring the culture of China to their California kitchen?

Suzanne Berne My Ticket to the Disaster (Mixing Patterns)
A novelist evokes a puzzling and emotional visit to the site of the destroyed World Trade towers.

Summing Up: Chapter 3

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 4


Elizabeth Wong The Struggle to Be an All-American Girl
In a narrative of her youth, a writer remembers her efforts to obtain “a cultural divorce” from the heritage into which she was born.

Langston Hughes Salvation
One of America’s foremost poets tells of his childhood disillusionment as he struggled desperately to see Jesus.

David Sedaris Let It Snow
Humorist and storyteller David Sedaris turns to his childhood and recounts a strange winter day when his mother sent him and his sisters out to play.

George Orwell A Hanging (Mixing Patterns)
The renowned author of Animal Farm and 1984 discovers how precious human life is as he tells of witnessing an execution in Burma. “It is curious,” he recalls, “but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man.”

Summing Up: Chapter 4

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 5

Process Analysis

Bill Bryson Your New Computer
Ever been confused by the owner’s manual that came with electronic equipment? Well, Bryson’s instructions are even more frustrating.

Nora Ephron How to Foil a Terrorist Plot in Seven Simple Steps
A popular essayist, novelist, and screenwriter offers a hilarious spoof on our preoccupation with terrorism and terrorists.

Ernest Hemingway Camping Out
Avoiding insects. Getting a good rest. Cooking trout just right. This essay can make anyone’s next camping trip a success.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. In the Kitchen (Mixing Patterns)
A prolific writer and winner of a 1989 National Book Award explores the politics of the hairdo by recalling his experiences as a child in his mother’s home beauty parlor.

Summing Up: Chapter 5

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 6


Brent Staples Night Walker
An avid “night walker” explains how his seemingly innocent habit has turned him into “an accomplice in tyranny.”

Barbara Ehrenreich What I’ve Learned from Men
The feminist social critic discovers that there is something useful to be learned from men after all: how to be tough.

Eleanor Bader Homeless on Campus
“Advocates for the homeless report countless examples of students sleeping in their cars and sneaking into a school gym to shower and change clothes.”

Jared Diamond Globalization Rocked the Ancient World Too (Mixing Patterns)
Globalization, Diamond claims, is nothing new: Early farmers carried their genes, foods, technologies, cultures, and languages around the world.

Summing Up: Chapter 6

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 7

Comparison and Contrast

Rachel Carson A Fable for Tomorrow
One of America’s most celebrated naturalists warns us of the future in a grim contrast between a flourishing environment and a destroyed landscape plagued by a mysterious curse.

Dave Barry Punch and Judy
The newspaper humorist takes a close look at the war of the sexes and isn’t quite sure which side he should be on.

Michele Ingrassia The Body of the Beholder
This writer focuses on a study that discovered why white girls dislike their bodies, but black girls are proud of theirs.”

Erica Goode Home Alone (Mixing Patterns)
A writer investigates the provocative issue of whether ethnic and racial diversity fosters community or social isolation.

Summing Up: Chapter 7

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 8

Cause-and-Effect Analysis

Stephen King Why We Crave Horror Movies
The acknowledged master of horror shares his thoughts on why people love to be frightened.

Elie Wiesel The America I Love
Holocaust survivor, author, and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel explains what prompted him to become an American citizen more than forty years ago and how he feels about his adopted country today.

Harry Crews Why I Live Where I Live
This fiction writer offers a colorful, compelling explanation of why he has come to settle in one place.

Steve Olson Who’s Your Daddy? (Mixing Patterns)
A science writer explores the unintended consequences of genetic screening for disease.

Summing Up: Chapter 8

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 9


Judith Viorst Friends, Good Friends—and Such Good Friends
This popular writer believes that friendships fall into numerous categories,“are conducted at many levels of intensity,” and “meet different needs.”

Jedediah Purdy Shades of Green
A law professor takes a critical look at “several environmentalisms.”

Amy Rashap The American Dream for Sale: Ethnic Images in Magazines
This writer claims that advertisements and other images in American magazines classify ethnic groups on the basis of prevailing stereotypes.

James T. Baker How Do We Find the Student in a World of Academic Gymnasts and Worker Ants? (Mixing Patterns)
This gently satirical essay introduces a dozen student types that everyone knows and loves—among others, the performer, the jock, the lost soul, the worker ant, and finally, the student.

Summing Up: Chapter 9

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 10


Nicholas Handler The Posteverything Generation
A junior history major at Yale University defines his generation as “post-cold war, postindustrial, post-baby boom, post-9/11.”

Dagoberto Gilb Pride
The popular Chicano writer takes a poetic approach to explaining how a common but complicated human emotion manifests itself in the deserts of Texas.

Thomas L. Friedman Generation Q
Celebrated New York Times contributor and best-selling author Thomas Friedman takes pride in the current generation of college students.

Gloria Naylor A Word’s Meaning (Mixing Patterns)
Novelist and short fiction writer Gloria Naylor asserts that the meaning of a word goes beyond the dictionary—especially when it is the N-word.

Summing Up: Chapter 10

From Seeing to Writing

Chapter 11

Argumentation and Persuasion

Arguments Pro and Con: Can Torture Be Justified?

Mirko Bagaric A Case for Torture
A professor of law in Australia argues that at times the unthinkable becomes permissible.

John McCain Torture’s Terrible Toll
The war hero and United States senator, who was tortured during more than five years in captivity, rejects cruelty in the treatment of prisoners.

Perspectives on Identity: Who Are We, and How Are We Formed?

Jonathan Kozol Are the Homeless Crazy?
With biting precision, a noted educator and social critic disputes a commonly accepted opinion about the cause of the ever-increasing problem of homelessness.

Richard Rodriguez The American Neighborhood
“Not enough is written or said about the impact of the American neighborhood—officially secular, informally tolerant of many faiths.”

Ronald Takaki The Harmful Myth of Asian Superiority
A leading scholar argues that not only is the idea of uniform Asian-American superiority a myth, but a myth that often veils racist sentiment directed at other groups.

Perspectives on the Mommy Wars: Should Mothers Work?

Linda Hirshman Off to Work She Should Go
Hirshman argues that men should share the burden of child care, and that educated women harm their cause when they leave the workforce.

Susan Cheever Baby Battle
A well-known novelist and nonfiction writer declares, “There is a war going on in the streets of New York City” between the Stay-at-Home Mothers and their adversaries, the Working Mothers and Women Without Children.

Anna Quindlen The Good Enough Mother
A celebrated novelist and newspaper and magazine columnist admits that by “the new standards of mothering,” her mother was “a bust.”

Perspectives on Political Rights: Are We Truly Free?

Molly Ivins Get a Knife, Get a Dog, But Get Rid of Guns
A witty, sharp-tongued columnist and political critic argues that the Bill of Rights ought not to protect “gun nuts.”

Martin Luther King Jr. I Have a Dream
In one of the great pieces of American oratory, King argues logically, emotionally, and ethically for equality of the races.

Orlando Patterson Jena, O.J. and the Jailing of Black America
A Harvard professor decries “the use of the prison system as a means of controlling young black men.”

Summing Up: Chapter 11

From Seeing to Writing

What Are Research and Documentation?

The Research Process

Phase I: Choosing and Limiting a Topic

Phase II: Gathering and Organizing Material

Phase III: Writing the Paper

Phase IV: Documenting Sources

Sample Student Research Paper

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