The Bedford Reader

by ; ; ;
  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: 12th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-12-20
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • View Upgraded Edition

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $78.92 Save up to $77.56
  • Rent Book $4.99
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


PACKAGE THIS TITLE WITH OUR 2016 MLA SUPPLEMENT, Documenting Sources in MLA Style (package ISBN-13: 9781319084561). Get the most recent updates on MLA citation in a convenient, 40-page resource based on The MLA Handbook, 8th Edition, with plenty of models. Browse our catalog or contact your representative for a full listing of updated titles and packages, or to request a custom ISBN.

Long one of the most popular composition readers on the market, The Bedford Reader provides compelling readings by excellent writers. It takes a practical and flexible approach to the rhetorical methods, focusing on their uses in varied writing situations. The popular "Writers on Writing" feature illustrates the many ways writers create meaning from what they read and experience, and the Kennedys' instruction helps students connect critical reading to academic writing. The twelfth edition provides even more helpful guidance for students on critical reading and writing, a new appendix with advice on APA documentation, and an updated selection of compelling readings. The print text is now integrated with e-Pages for The Bedford Reader, designed to take advantage of what the Web can do, with provocative new essays and multimodal selections.

Author Biography

X. J. Kennedy is an acclaimed poet, children’s author, college teacher, and textbook author. He has taught freshman composition at the University of Michigan; the University of North Carolina, Greensboro; and Tufts University. Since 1966, more than 2 million students have treasured his introductory literature texts and The Bedford Reader, coedited with Dorothy M. Kennedy and Jane E. Aaron, now in its ninth edition.
Dorothy M. Kennedy is a writer and editor whose articles and reviews have ppeared in both professional and academic journals. She has taught composition at the University of Michigan and Ohio University and, with X. J. Kennedy, is the recipient of the NCTE Teacher's Choice Award for Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry.
Jane E. Aaron is a professional writer and editor as well as an experienced teacher. She is the author of the best selling Little, Brown Handbook and coeditor of the best-selling Bedford Reader, Eighth Edition (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003). She has served as consultant, editor, or writer on more than a dozen other textbooks for the first-year composition course.
Ellen Kuhl Repetto (M.A., University of Massachusetts Boston) is a freelance editor and writer who has contributed to more than twenty composition readers, handbooks, and rhetorics. She is the author of The Bedford/St. Martin's Textbook Reader (2003), Readings for Discoveries: A Collection of Short Essays (2006), and Hope over Hardship: A History of the Boston Home, 1881 - 2006 (2007).

Table of Contents

*New to this edition


*How to Use This Book


Reading, Writing, and Research

1 Critical Reading

reading closely

     Previewing • Writing while reading

Nancy Mairs Disability (annotated essay)

developing an understanding

     Summarizing • Thinking critically

*Checklist for critical reading

analyzing an essay

     Meaning • Writing strategy • Language

*Questions for analyzing an essay

thinking critically about visual images 

*Questions for analyzing a visual image

     The big picture • Analysis • Inference • Synthesis • Evaluation

*Visual Image: Man Fishing by a Power Plant, photograph by Robin Nelson

2 The Writing Process

assessing the writing situation

     Subject • Audience and purpose • Genre

discovering ideas

     Journal writing • Freewriting • Using the methods of development

focusing on a thesis

     *Finding a focus • Crafting a thesis statement


     *The body • The introduction and conclusion


     Purpose and genre • Thesis • Unity • Development • Coherence

Questions for revision


     Effective language • Clear and engaging sentences • Standard grammar

Questions for editing

an essay-in-progress

     Discovering ideas and drafting • Revising • Editing • Final draft

Rosie Anaya Mental Illness on Television (annotated student essay)

3 Academic Writing

responding to a text

     Forming a response • Synthesizing your own and another’s views

working with evidence

     *Avoiding plagiarism • Summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting • Integrating source material

writing from research

     *Using the library • Evaluating sources • Synthesizing multiple sources

*Questions for evaluating sources

source citation using MLA style 

     MLA parenthetical citations • MLA list of works cited

a sample research paper in MLA style

Rosie Anaya The Best Kept Secret on Campus (annotated student essay)

Rosie Anaya on Writing


The Methods

4 Narration: Telling a Story

*Visual Image: Missed Connection, drawing by Adrian Tomine

the method

the process

     Purpose and shape • The thesis • The narrator in the story • What to emphasize • Organization

Focus on verbs

Checklist for revising a narrative

narration in academic writing

     A geology textbook • A business case study

Emily Thibodeau Company History (annotated student writing)


Maya Angelou Champion of the World

     Maya Angelou on Writing

Amy Tan Fish Cheeks

     *Aaron Smith Rat Pack (student essay)

     Aaron Smith on Writing

Annie Dillard The Chase

     Annie Dillard on Writing

*Junot Díaz The Dreamer

     Junot Díaz on Writing

Shirley Jackson The Lottery

     Shirley Jackson on Writing

[e-Page] National Geographic In the Shadow of Wounded Knee: Pine Ridge Community Storytelling Project (oral histories)

5 Description: Writing with Your Senses

Visual Image: Doug and Mizan’s House, East River, photograph by Margaret Morton

the method

the process

     Purpose and audience • Dominant impression and thesis • Organization • Details

Focus on specific and concrete language

Checklist for revising a description

description in academic writing

     *An art history textbook • A field observation in child development

Nick Fiorelli from Teaching Methodologies at Child’s Play Preschool (annotated student writing)


Brad Manning Arm Wrestling with My Father (student essay)

     Brad Manning on Writing

Sarah Vowell Shooting Dad

     Sarah Vowell on Writing

Elizabeth Gilbert The Best Pizza in the World

*Sven Birkerts Ladder

Joyce Carol Oates Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, 1942

Visual Image: Nighthawks, painting by Edward Hopper

     Joyce Carol Oates on Writing

[e-Page] Joan Didion The Santa Ana (audio essay)

6 Example: Pointing to Instances

Visual Image: Low-Energy Drinks, cartoon by Glen Le Lievre

the method

the process

     The generalization and the thesis • The examples

Focus on sentence variety

Checklist for revising an example essay

examples in academic writing

     An economics textbook • A job-application letter

Kharron Reid Letter to E-line Systems (annotated student writing)


*Kellie Young The Undercurrent (student essay)

*Michael Chabon XO9

     Michael Chabon on Writing

Anna Quindlen Homeless

     Anna Quindlen on Writing

*Juliet Lapidos That’s So Mysto: What Makes Slang Stick?

Brent Staples Black Men and Public Space

     Brent Staples on Writing

[e-Page] Luis Alberto Urrea Life on the Mississippi (audio essay)

7 Comparison and Contrast: Setting Things Side by Side

Visual Image: American Gothic, painting by Grant Wood; Rural Rehabilitation Client,

photograph by Ben Shahn

the method

     Uses of comparison and contrast • Purposes

the process

     Subjects for comparison • Basis for comparison and thesis • Organization • Balance and flexibility

*Focus on parallelism

Checklist for revising a comparison and contrast

comparison and contrast in academic writing

     *A communication textbook • A review of popular music

Charlotte Pak from Beyoncé Knowles: Soloist (annotated student writing)


Suzanne Britt Neat People vs. Sloppy People

     Suzanne Britt on Writing

Dave Barry Batting Clean-Up and Striking Out

     Dave Barry on Writing

*Andrea Roman "We’re Not . . ." (student essay)

     Andrea Roman on Writing

Bruce Catton Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts

David Sedaris Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa

     David Sedaris on Writing

Fatema Mernissi Size 6: The Western Woman’s Harem

[e-Page] Alan Watts Life and Music (flash animation)

8 Process ANalysis: Explaining Step by Step

Visual Image: Workers Making Dolls, photograph by Wally McNamee

the method

the process

Focus on consistency

Checklist for revising a process analysis

process analysis in academic writing

     A psychology textbook • A chemistry lab report

Victor Khoury from DNA Extraction (annotated student writing)


Firoozeh Dumas Sweet, Sour, and Resentful

     Firoozeh Dumas on Writing

*June Melby How to Make a Sno-Cone

*Dan Koeppel Taking a Fall

Linnea Saukko How to Poison the Earth (student essay)

     Linnea Saukko on Writing

Jessica Mitford Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain

     Jessica Mitford on Writing

[e-Page] Dove Evolution of a Model (video)

9 Division or Analysis: Slicing into Parts

Visual Image: Deconstructing Lunch, cartoon by Roz Chast

the method

     Kinds of division or analysis • Analysis and critical thinking

the process

     Subject and purpose • Principle of analysis and thesis • Evidence

Focus on paragraph coherence

Checklist for revising a division or analysis essay

division or analysis in academic writing

     *A political science textbook • An annotated bibliography for literature

Lauren Soto from Edgar Allan Poe’s Revenge (annotated student writing)


Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan Vampires Never Die

     Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan on Writing

*James Parker Our Zombies, Ourselves

     James Parker on Writing

*Robert Lipsyte Jock Culture

Francine Prose What Words Can Tell

     Francine Prose on Writing

Laila Ayad The Capricious Camera (documented student essay)

Visual Image: Mounted Nazi Troops on the Lookout for Likely Polish Children, photograph

[e-Page] Jamaica Kincaid Girl (audio short story)

10 Classification: Sorting into Kinds

*Visual Image: How the Poor, the Middle Class, and the Rich Spend Their Money, table

by NPR

the method

     Subjects and reasons for classification • Kinds of classification

the process

     Purposes and theses • Categories

Focus on paragraph development

Checklist for revising a classification

classification in academic writing

     An anthropology textbook • A computer science résumé

Kharron Reid Résumé (annotated student writing)

*failures to communicate

Deborah Tannen But What Do You Mean?

     Deborah Tannen on Writing

William Lutz The World of Doublespeak

     William Lutz on Writing

Russell Baker The Plot against People

     Russell Baker on Writing

*Ashley Herzog College Classes for Conservatives to Avoid (student essay)

*Jeff Wise Deadly Mind Traps

[e-Page] US Census Bureau, 2010 Census: United States Profile (map)

11 Cause and Effect: Asking Why

Visual Image: Im txtng while drvg, cartoon by Mike Luckovitch

the method

the process

     Subject and purpose • Thesis • Causal relations • Discovery of causes • Educated guesses

Focus on clarity and conciseness

Checklist for revising a cause-and-effect essay

cause and effect in academic writing

     A history textbook • A letter to the sports editor

Kate Krueger Letter to the Weekly (annotated student writing)


Chitra Divakaruni Live Free and Starve

     Chitra Divakaruni on Writing

Marie Javdani Plato o Plomo: Silver or Lead (documented student essay)

     Marie Javdani on Writing

*Dan Ariely Why We Lie

*Christopher Beam Blood Loss

Chris Anderson The Rise and Fall of the Hit

     Chris Anderson on Writing

[e-Page] Randall Munroe, Everybody Jump (illustrated blog)

12 Definition: Tracing Boundaries

Visual Image: There’s Strong, advertisement for the US Army

the method

the process

     Discovery of meanings • Methods of development • Thesis • Evidence

Focus on paragraph and essay unity

Checklist for revising a definition

definition in academic writing

     A biology textbook • A government essay exam

Martin Ward Civil Liberties (annotated student writing)

hurtful words

Gloria Naylor The Meanings of a Word

     Glorida Naylor on Writing

Christine Leong Being a Chink (student essay)

     Christine Leong on Writing

*Meghan Daum Narcissist — Give It a Rest

     Meghan Daum on Writing

Thomas Sowell "Needs"

*Augusten Burroughs How to Identify Love by Knowing What It’s Not

[e-Page] Schroeder Veidt Dr. Carmella’s Guide to Understanding the Introverted (cartoon)

13 Argument and Persuasion: Stating Opinions and Proposals

Visual Image: Corporate America Flag, image from Adbusters Media Foundation

the method

     Audience and common ground • Elements of argument • Reasoning

the process

     Finding a subject • Organizing

Focus on tone

Checklist for revising argument and persuasion

argument and persuasion in academic writing

     A public relations textbook • An environmental proposal

Amelia Jones from Environmental Initiative for Corden University (annotated student writing)

Linda Chavez Supporting Family Values

     Linda Chavez on Writing

same-sex marriage

Katha Pollitt What’s Wrong with Gay Marriage?

Charles Colson Gay "Marriage": Societal Suicide

*internet tracking

*Nicholas Carr Tracking Is an Assault on Liberty

     Nicholas Carr on Writing

*Jim Harper Web Users Get as Much as They Give

*Lori Andrews Facebook Is Using You

     Lori Andrews on Writing


*Bill McKibben Waste Not, Want Not

*Derrick Jensen Forget Shorter Showers

     Derrick Jensen on Writing

*Margaret Lundberg Eating Green (documented student essay)

     Margaret Lundberg on Writing

[e-Page] work-life balance

[e-Page] Ann-Marie Slaughter Why Women Still Can’t Have It All (magazine feature)

[e-Page] Reader’s Digest The Essay that Rocked the Internet (quotations)

[e-Page] Andrew Cohen "Having It All"? How about "Doing the Best I Can"? (blog post)


Mixing the Methods

*Sherman Alexie Superman and Me

     Sherman Alexie on Writing

Judy Brady I Want a Wife

     Judy Brady on Writing

*Judith Ortiz Cofer The Cruel Country

Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream

Maxine Hong Kingston No Name Woman

     Maxine Hong Kingston on Writing

George Orwell Shooting an Elephant

     George Orwell on Writing

Jonathan Swift A Modest Proposal

E. B. White Once More to the Lake

     E. B. White on Writing


APA documentation

source citation using APA style

     APA parenthetical citations • APA references

sample pages in APA style

Rosie Anaya from The Best Kept Secret on Campus (annotated student writing)

Rewards Program

Write a Review