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50 Essays: A Portable Anthology is the best-selling value-priced reader in the country because its virtues don't stop at the price.
Its carefully chosen selections include enough classic essays to reassure instructors, and enough high-interest and high-quality contemporary readings to keep things lively and relevant for students. The editorial apparatus is more extensive than in competing value readers, but still is flexible and unobtrusive enough to support a variety of approaches to teaching composition.
This collection provides diversity of background, diversity of age, diversity of issue, and, despite a recurrent whiny complaint on this page, diversity of political opinion. Some of its essays are personal and introspective, while others are public and informative. Some ruminate on an idea, while others endorse a position. Some test ideas, while other argues positions.
In its third edition, 50 Essays continues to offer selections that instructors enjoy teaching, at a price students won't resist, but with more editorial emphasis than before on the critical thinking and academic writing skills of today's composition courses.
Table of Contents
Alternate Tables of Contents
By Paired Readings
By Rhetorical Mode
By Chronological Order
*Student Essay: Jonathon Schaff, “Dangerous Duality: How Racism Splits Us in Two”
Maya Angelou, Graduation
Gloria Anzaldúa, How to Tame a Wild Tongue
Barbara Lazear Ascher, On Compassion
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
Dave Barry, Lost in the Kitchen
William F. Buckley, Why Don't We Complain?
* Rachel Carson, The Obligation to Endure
Judith Ortiz Cofer, The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria
* Jared Diamond, The Ends of the World as We Know Them
* Joan Didion, On Morality
* Annie Dillard, Seeing
Frederick Douglass, Learning to Read and Write
Barbara Ehrenreich, Serving in Florida
Lars Eighner, On Dumpster Diving
Stephanie Ericsson, The Ways We Lie
* Stephen Jay Gould, Sex, Drugs, Disasters, and the Extinction of Dinosaurs
Langston Hughes, Salvation
Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
* Steven Johnson, Everything Bad Is Good for You: Games
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail
Maxine Hong Kingston, No Name Woman
* Verlyn Klinkenborg, Our Vanishing Night
* Audre Lorde, The Fourth of July
Nancy Mairs, On Being a Cripple
Malcolm X, Learning to Read
* Bill McKibben, Curbing Nature's Paparazzi
N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain
Bharati Mukherjee, Two Ways to Belong in America
George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant
* Plato, Allegory of the Cave
* Michael Pollan, What's Eating America
Richard Rodriguez, Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood
Mike Rose, “I Just Wanna Be Average”
* Scott Russell Sanders, The Men We Carry in Our Minds
* Eric Schlosser, Kid Kustomers
* David Sedaris, A Plague of Tics
* Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments
Brent Staples, Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space
Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal
Amy Tan, Mother Tongue
Henry David Thoreau, Where I Lived, and What I Lived For
Sojourner Truth, Ain't I a Woman?
Sarah Vowell, Shooting Dad
* Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens
E.B. White, Once More to the Lake
Marie Winn, Television: The Plug-In Drug
Virginia Woolf, The Death of the Moth