Is it accurate?
Do the facts and figures seem accurate based on what you have found in published sources, reports by others, or reference works?
Are figures or quoted facts copied correctly?
Is it reliable?
Is the source trustworthy and well regarded?
Does the source acknowledge any commercial, political, advocacy, or other bias that might affect the quality of its information?
Does the writer supplying the evidence have appropriate credentials or experience?
Is the writer respected as an expert in the field?
Do other sources agree with the information? Is it up-to-date?
Are facts and statistics — such as population figures — current?
Is the information from the latest sources? Is it to the point?
Does the evidence back the exact claim made?
Is the evidence all pertinent? Does any of it drift from the point to inter- esting but irrelevant evidence? Is it representative?
Are examples typical of all the things included in the writer’s position?
Are examples balanced?
Do they present the topic or issue fairly?
Are contrary examples acknowledged?
Is it appropriately complex?
Is the evidence sufficient to account for the claim made?
Does it avoid treating complex things superficially?
Does it avoid needlessly complicating simple things?
1. Annotate the entire essay ( Zinsser’s essay is attached in word doc titled ”Zinsser’s essay).
2. In addition to that, identify the kinds of evidence that Zinsser uses to advance his argument. (facts, statistics, expert testimony, and first hand observations)
o Test his evidence using the standards discussed (Evidence checklist has been attached as word Doc titled “ evidence checklist”)
o In your own notes, you should be listing all the statements that fit into each kind of evidence. That is, don’t just record a couple examples of each kind of evidence.
o Expect there to be overlap – some pieces of evidence can fit into more than one category.
o ALSO – remember: statistics are percentages, not raw numbers.
3. Finally, determine the success of the kinds of appeals he resorts to (Logical/Logos, Emotional/Pathos, and Ethical/Ethos)
4. Explain your answers in a 750 – 900 word essay. NOTE: Avoid writing a paper that analyzes Zinsser’s essay paragraph by paragraph. Your essay should have the following features:
o It should be organized by the evidence categories and the appeals categories.
o There should be separate paragraphs for each kind of evidence and each kind of appeal.
o You will want to give 3 to 5 examples for each kind of evidence that is prominent in the essay. You won’t find this hard to do if you created exhaustive lists like those explained above in B. 2.
o Do NOT use outside sources when testing evidence. Rely on your own powers of analysis and the concepts described in the chapter.
5. Remember how to summarize a text and write a summary of the Zinsser essay.
Length: maximum 250 words.
6. Finally, write a description of the kinds of annotations you made, how many times you read the passage to make annotations, and if you found it helpful to make annotations in preparation to summarizing and analyzing the text.
I like “dropout” as an addition to the American language because it’s brief and it’s clear. What I don’t like is that we use it almost entirely as a dirty word.
We only apply it to people under twenty-one. Yet an adult who spends his days and nights watching mindless TV programs is more of a dropout than an eighteen-year-old who quits college, with its frequently mindless courses, to become, say, a VISTA volunteer. For the young, dropping out is often a way of dropping in.
To hold this opinion, however, is little short of treason in America. A boy or girl who leaves college is branded a failure — and the right to fail is one of the few freedoms that this country does not grant its citizens. The American dream is a dream of “getting ahead,” painted in strokes of gold wherever we look. Our advertisements and TV commercials are a hymn to material success, our magazine articles a toast to people who made it to the top. Smoke the right cigarette or drive the right car — so the ads imply — and girls will be swooning into your deodorized arms or caressing your expensive lapels. Hap- piness goes to the man who has the sweet smell of achievement. He is our national idol, and everybody else is our national fink.
I want to put in a word for the fink, especially the teen-age fink, because if we give him time to get through his finkdom — if we release him from the pressure of attaining certain goals by a certain age — he has a good chance becoming our national idol, a Jefferson° or a Thoreau,° a Buckminster Fuller° or an Adlai Stevenson,° a man with a mind of his own. We need mavericks° and dissenters and dreamers far more than we need junior vice presidents, but we paralyze them by insisting that every step be a step up to the next rung of the ladder. Yet in the fluid years of youth, the only way for boys and girls to find their proper road is often to take a hundred side trips, poking out in different directions, faltering, drawing back, and starting again.
“But what if we fail?” they ask, whispering the dreadful word across the Generation Gap to their parents, who are back home at the Establishment, nursing their “middle-class values” and cultivating their “goal-oriented soci- ety.” The parents whisper back: “Don’t!”
What they should say is “Don’t be afraid to fail!” Failure isn’t fatal. Countless people have had a bout with it and come out stronger as a result. Many have even come out famous. History is strewn with eminent dropouts, “loners” who followed their own trail, not worrying about its odd twists and turns because they had faith in their own sense of direction. To read their bi- ographies is always exhilarating, not only because they beat the system, but because their system was better than the one that they beat.
Luckily, such rebels still turn up often enough to prove that individual- ism, though badly threatened, is not extinct. Much has been written, for in- stance, about the fitful scholastic career of Thomas P. F. Hoving, New York’s former Parks Commissioner and now director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hoving was a dropout’s dropout, entering and leaving schools as if they were motels, often at the request of the management. Still, he must have learned something during those unorthodox years, for he dropped in again at the top of his profession.
His case reminds me of another boyhood — that of Holden Caulfield in J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, the most popular literary hero of the post- war period. There is nothing accidental about the grip that this dropout con- tinues to hold on the affections of an entire American generation. Nobody else, real or invented, has made such an engaging shambles of our “goal-oriented society,” so gratified our secret belief that the “phonies” are in power and the good guys up the creek. Whether Holden has also reached the top of his cho- sen field today is one of those speculations that delight fanciers of good fic- tion. I speculate that he has. Holden Caulfield, incidentally, is now thirty-six.
I’m not urging everyone to go out and fail just for the sheer therapy of it, or to quit college just to coddle° some vague discontent. Obviously it’s better to succeed than to flop, and in general a long education is more helpful than a short one. (Thanks to my own education, for example, I can tell George Eliot from T. S. Eliot. I can handle the pluperfect tense in French, and I know that Caesar beat the Helvetii because he had enough frumentum.°) I only mean that failure isn’t bad in itself, or success automatically good.
Fred Zinnemann, who has directed some of Hollywood’s most honored movies, was asked by a reporter, when A Man for All Seasons won every prize, about his previous film Behold a Pale Horse, which was a box-office disaster. “I don’t feel any obligation to be successful,” Zinnemann replied. “Success can be dangerous — you feel you know it all. I’ve learned a great deal from my fail- ures.” A similar point was made by Richard Brooks about his ambitious money loser, Lord Jim. Recalling the three years of his life that went into it, talking almost with elation about the troubles that befell his unit in Cambo- dia, Brooks told me that he learned more about his craft from this consider- able failure than from his many earlier hits.
It’s a point, of course, that applies throughout the arts. Writers, play- wrights, painters, and composers work in the expectation of periodic defeat, but they wouldn’t keep going back into the arena if they thought it was the end of the world. It isn’t the end of the world. For an artist — and perhaps for anybody — it is the only way to grow.
Today’s younger generation seems to know that this is true, seems willing to take the risks in life that artists take in art. “Society,” needless to say, still has the upper hand — it sets the goals and condemns as a failure everybody who won’t play. But the dropouts and the hippies are not as afraid of failure as their parents and grandparents. This could mean, as their elders might say, that they are just plumb lazy, secure in the comforts of an affluent state. It could also mean, however, that they just don’t buy the old standards of success and are rapidly writing new ones.
Recently it was announced, for instance, that more than two hundred thousand Americans have inquired about service in VISTA (the domestic Peace Corps) and that, according to a Gallup survey, “more than three mil- lion American college students would serve VISTA in some capacity if given the opportunity.” This is hardly the road to riches or to an executive suite. Yet I have met many of these young volunteers, and they are not pining for traditional success. On the contrary, they appear more fulfilled than the average vice president with a swimming pool.
Who is to say, then, if there is any right path to the top, or even to say what the top consists of? Obviously the colleges don’t have more than a partial answer — otherwise the young would not be so disaffected with an education that they consider vapid.° Obviously business does not have the answer — otherwise the young would not be so scornful of its call to be an organization man.
The fact is, nobody has the answer, and the dawning awareness of this fact seems to me one of the best things happening in America today. Success and failure are again becoming individual visions, as they were when the country was younger, not rigid categories. Maybe we are learning again to cherish this right of every person to succeed on his own terms and to fail as often as necessary along the way.
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