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Arguing About Literature A Guide and Reader

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2023-10-23
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

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Arguing about Literature hones your analytical and argumentative writing skills by combining two books in one: a guide to reading literature and writing arguments, and a thematic anthology of literature and essays.

Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors
Contents by Genre

PART ONE: A Brief Guide to Arguing about Literature

1. What Is Argument? 
An Argument about Cell Phones
Paul Goldberger, Disconnected Urbanism
Getting Another Perspective
Pamela Paul, The Phone Call
Understanding Rhetoric
The Elements of Argument
Sample Argument for Analysis
Sandy Sufian and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, The Dark Side of CRISPR  
Writing a Response to an Argument
Further Strategies for Analyzing an Argument So You Can Write a Response to It
An Argument for Analysis
Regina Rini, Should We Rename Institutions That Honor Dead Racists?

2. Writing Effective Arguments 
Strategies for Developing an Effective Style of Argument
Structuring Your Argument: Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay
A Student Response to an Argument
Paul Austin, The Need for True Consent to CRISPR 
Arguing in the First Person: Can You Use I?
Use Inclusive Language 
Arguments for Analysis
Lee Siegel, Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans
Alexandra Petri, Take all books off the shelves. They’re just too dangerous.

3. How to Argue about Literature 
Why Study Literature in a College Writing Course?
A Story for Analysis
Jamaica Kincaid, Girl
Strategies for Arguing about Literature
A Sample Student Argument about Literature
Ann Schumwalt, The Mother’s Mixed Messages in “Girl”
Looking at Literature as Argument
Jimmy Santiago Baca, So Mexicans Are Taking Jobs from Americans
Robert Frost, Mending Wall
Ted Chiang, The Great Silence
Literature and Current Issues: Poems about Climate Change 
Jane Hirshfield, Let Them Not Say
Rena Priest, The Index
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Dear Matafele Peinem 

4. The Reading Process 
Strategies for Close Reading
A Poem for Analysis
Sharon Olds, Summer Solstice, New York City
Applying the Strategies
Reading Closely by Annotating
Emily Skillings, Girls Online
Further Strategies: Topics of Literary Studies
Lynda Hull, Night Waitress
Identify Speech Acts
Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Elizabeth Bishop, One Art
5.  The Writing Process
Rachel Kadish, Letters Arrive from the Dead
Strategies for Exploring
Strategies for Planning
Strategies for Composing
First Draft of a Student Essay
Dylan Rieff, Letters Don’t Arrive from the Dead
Strategies for Revising
A Checklist for Revising
Revised Draft of a Student Essay
Dylan Rieff, Letters Don’t Arrive from the Dead
Strategies for Writing a Comparative Essay
Don Paterson, Two Trees
Luisa A. Igloria, Regarding History
A Student Comparative Essay
Jeremy Cooper, Don Paterson’s Criticism of Nature’s Owners

6. Writing about Literary Genres 
Writing about Stories
Rivka Galchen, Usl at the Stadium 
The Elements of Short Fiction
Final Draft of a Student Essay
Lydia Marsh, Why It’s Good for Usl to Wait 
Writing about Poems
Mary Oliver, Singapore
Yusef Komunyakaa, Blackberries
Edwin Arlington Robinson, The Mill
The Elements of Poetry
Final Draft of a Student Essay
Michaela Fiorucci, Negotiating Boundaries
Comparing Poems and Pictures
Rolando Perez, Office at Night
Edward Hopper, Office at Night
A Sample Essay Comparing a Poem and a Picture
Karl Magnusson, Lack of Motion and Speech in Rolando Perez’s “Office at Night”
Writing about Plays
August Strindberg, The Stronger
A Student’s Personal Response to the Play
The Elements of Drama
Final Draft of a Student Essay
Carly Chen, Which Is the Stronger Actress in August Strindberg’s Play?

7. Writing Researched Arguments 
Begin Your Research by Giving It Direction
Search for Sources in the Library and Online
Evaluate the Sources
Record Your Sources’ Key Details
Strategies for Integrating Sources
Avoid Plagiarism
Strategies for Documenting Sources (MLA Format)
Directory to MLA Works-Cited Entries
Short Works from Collections and Anthologies
Multiple Works by the Same Author
Works in Periodicals
Online Sources
Citation Formats for Other Kinds of Sources
A Note on Endnotes
Three Annotated Student Researched Arguments
Sarah Hassan, “The Yellow Wallpaper” as a Guide to Social Factors in Postpartum Depression
How Sarah Uses Her Sources
Nathan Johnson, The Meaning of the Husband’s Fainting in “The Yellow Wallpaper”
How Nathan Uses His Sources
Fatima Nagi, The Relative Absence of the Human Touch in “The Yellow Wallpaper”
How Fatima Uses Her Sources
Contexts for Research: Confinement, Mental Illness, and “The Yellow Wallpaper”
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
Cultural Contexts
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Why I Wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper”
S. Weir Mitchell, From “The Evolution of the Rest Treatment”
John Harvey Kellogg, From The Ladies’ Guide in Health and Disease

8.  Evaluating Internet Resources in a “Post-Truth” Age 
Evaluating Written Arguments You Find on the Internet
Margaret Atwood, All Bread
Helena Minton, “Bread”
Varda He, Restaurants Should Be More Aware of Celiac, Gluten-Free Diet Limits
Critically Analyzing Web Sites’ Truth Claims
Summing Up the Recommendations
Understanding Strategies in Visual Arguments on the Internet
Topic: War
     Wilfred Owen, Dulce et Decorum Est (poem)
     WWI recruitment poster
     Identifying the Visual Strategies 
Topic: Environmental Destruction
     Linda Hogan, Songs for Turtles in the Gulf (poem)
     Image: Anti-liter ad
     Identifying the Visual Strategies
Topic: Refugees
     Tracy K. Smith, Refuge  
     Photograph: Ukrainian refugees 
     Identifying the Visual Strategies
Topic: Borders
     Alberto Ríos, The Border: A Double Sonnet (poem)
     Map: U.S.-Mexico Border
     Identifying the Visual Strategies
Topic: Guns
     Katie Bickham, The Ferryman (poem)
     Graph: Mass Shootings in 222
     Identifying the Visual Strategies
Summing Up the Strategies
Identifying Biases You Might Bring to Your Internet Research

PART TWO: Literature and Arguments

9. Families 

Mothers and Daughters: Stories
Alice Walker, Everyday Use 
Amy Tan, Two Kinds
Alma Luz Villanueva, Her Choice

Siblings in Conflict: Stories
Tobias Wolff, The Rich Brother
James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues

Reconciling with Fathers: Poems
Lucille Clifton, forgiving my father
Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays
Theodore Roethke, My Papa’s Waltz
Li-Young Lee, My Father, in Heaven, Is Reading Out Loud
Legacies: Poems
Nikki Giovanni, Legacies
Linda Hogan, Heritage
Richard Blanco, Queer Theory: According to My Grandmother
Gary Soto, Behind Grandma’s House
Ruth Ellen Kocher, We May No Longer Consider the End
Philip Schultz, The Women’s March  

Literature and Current Issues: Family History and Climate Denial: A Poem and an Essay 
Shelley Wong, How to Live in Southern California
David Wallace-Wells, What’s Worse: Climate Denial or Climate Hypocrisy? 

Arguments about a Poem: “Daddy”
Sylvia Plath, Daddy
Arguments about the Poem
     Lynda K. Bundtzen, From Plath’s Incarnations 
     Tim Kendall, From Sylvia Plath: A Critical Study 

Literature and Current Issues: Families in Conflict: A Story and an Essay 
Yxta Maya Murray, Paradise 
Hira Ahmad, Political Animosity and Estrangement

Context for Research: Would You Die for a Belief? A Play and an Essay 
Sophocles, Antigone  
Nayan Shah, Inmates’ hunger strikes take powerful stand against injustice 

10.  Love 

Is This Love?: Stories
James Joyce, Araby
Leslie Marmon Silko, Yellow Woman
T.C. Boyle, The Love of My Life
William Faulkner, A Rose for Emily

True Love: Poems
William Shakespeare, Let me not to the marriage of true minds
John Keats, Bright Star
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, How Do I Love Thee?
E. E. Cummings, somewhere i have never travelled
Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Be Near Me

Melancholy Loves: Poems
Edna St. Vincent Millay, What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why
Robin Becker, Morning Poem
W. H. Auden, Funeral Blues  
Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach 

Literature and Current Issues: What Constitutes Consent? A Story and an Essay
Kristen Roupenian, Cat Person
Katelyn Ewen, When “Yes” Really Means “Yes” 

Literature and Current Issues: Is Tribalistic Hate Necessary? Poems and An Essay
Thomas Lux, The People of the Other Village
Danusha LamÉris, Small Kindnesses 
Thomas B. Edsall, No Hate Left Behind 

11.  Freedom and Confinement 

Where Tradition Is a Trap: Stories
Shirley Jackson, The Lottery
Alexander Weinstein, Rocket Night

Contexts for Research: Confinement at Work: A Story and an Essay 
Daniel Orozco, Orientation
Edith Cooper, Don’t Return to the Office for Your Boss. Go Back for Yourself.

Resisting Stereotypes: Poems
Chrystos, Today Was a Bad Day like TB
Dwight Okita, In Response to Executive Order 966
Pat Mora, Legal Alien
Toi Derricotte, Black Boys Play the Classics
Naomi Shihab Nye, Blood
David Hernandez, Words without Thoughts Never to Heaven Go
Uma Wwivedi, I Conflate Shame and Desire and the Ocean Purses Her Lips

A Creative Confinement: Poems by Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson, Wild Nights — Wild Nights!
Emily Dickinson, Tell all the truth but tell it slant? —?
Emily Dickinson, Much Madness is divinest Sense? —?
Emily Dickinson, I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Domestic Prisons: Plays
Susan Glaspell, Trifles
Lynn Nottage, POOF!

Dreams of Escape: Stories
Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour
Kirstin Valdez Quade, The Manzanos

Literature and Current Issues: Deadly Addiction: A Poem and an Essay 
Emily Yong, Opioid, Alcohol, Despair  
Maia Szalavitz, Opioids Feel Like Love: That’s Why They’re Deadly in Tough Times 

Literature and Current Issues: Indian Displacement Scandals: A Story and an Essay 
Brand Hobson, Escape from the Dysphesiac People 
Rukmini Callimachi, Lost Lives, Lost Culture: The Forgotten History of Indigenous Boarding Schools 

Literature and Current Issues: Dealing with a Pandemic: A Story and an Essay 
Edgar Allen Poe, Masque of the Red Death 
Rupert Neate, Super-Rich Jet Off to Disaster Bunkers Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Contexts for Research: Domesticity, Women’s Rights, and A Doll’s House
Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House
Susanna Rustin, Why A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen Is More Relevant than Ever

Literature and Current Issues: Robots and Consciousness: A Story and an Essay  
Isaac Asimov, Liar
Cade Metz, A.I. Is Not Sentient: Why Do People Say It Is? 

12. Crime and Justice 

Discovering Injustice: Stories
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown
Toni Cade Bambara, The Lesson
Ha Jin, Saboteur

Justice for Workers: Poems
William Blake, The Chimney Sweeper
Deborah Garrison, Worked Late on a Tuesday Night

Secret Crimes: Stories
Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart
Edward J. Delaney, Clean 

A Dream of Justice: Poems by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes, Open Letter to the South
Langston Hughes, Theme for English B
Langston Hughes, Harlem

Literature and Current Issues: Can War Crimes Be Punished?: A Story and Essays
Cynthia Ozick, The Shawl 
Lorenzo Tondo, Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, say UN investigators  
Masha Gessen, From The Law of War 

Arguments about a Story: “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”
Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Arguments about the Story
     Flannery O’Connor, From Mystery and Manners
     Stephen Bandy, From “ ‘One of My Babies’: The Misfit and the Grandmother”

Contexts for Research: Innocence, Evil, and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”
Joyce Carol Oates, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Contexts for Research
     Don Moser, The Pied Piper of Tucson: He Cruised in a Golden Car, Looking for the Action
     Joyce Carol Oates, Smooth Talk: Short Story into Film

Literature and Current Issues: Racial Injustice: Poems 
Marilyn Nelson, A Wreath for Emmett Till (Sonnet IV) 
Aracelis Girmay, From The Black Maria 
Hafizah Geter, Testimony
Terrance Hayes, George Floyd 

 13. Journeys
Fairy Tale Journeys: Stories
Charles Perrault, Little Red Riding Hood
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Little Red Cap
Angela Carter, The Company of Wolves 

Wartime Journeys: Stories
Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Final Journeys: Poems
John Donne, Death Be Not Proud
Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
Emily Dickinson, Because I could not stop for Death
Edwin Arlington Robinson, Richard Cory
Claude McKay, If We Must Die

Journey through Time: Stories
Ray Bradbury, Mars Is Heaven!
Octavia Butler, From Imago
Joanna Russ, When It Changed 

Literature and Current Issues: Immigration and Justice
Juan Felipe Herrera, Roll Under the Waves 
Arguments on the Issue
Douglas Rand, Want to Get Rich? Let in More Immigrants

Arguments about a Poem: “The Road Not Taken”
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
David Orr, From The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong

Contexts for Research: Race and Social Equality: “Battle Royal” and Essays 
Ralph Ellison, Battle Royal 
Contexts for Research 
Booker T. Washington, Atlanta Exposition Address (The Atlanta Compromise) 
W. E. B. DuBois, Of Mr. Booker T. Washington
Gunnar Myrdal, Social Equality

Appendix: Writing with Critical Approaches to Literature 
Contemporary Schools of Criticism
Working with the Critical Approaches
James Joyce, Counterparts 
Sample Student Essay
Molly Frye, A Refugee at Home (student essay)
James Joyce, Eveline (story)
Index of Authors, Titles, First Lines, and Key Terms

Supplemental Materials

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