The Blair Reader Exploring Issues and Ideas

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  • Edition: 9th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-01-12
  • Publisher: Pearson
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For courses in first-year Composition.

A thematic reader of unmatched breadth and balance, with a broad range of ideas

To write effectively, students must first be able to read actively and critically–and The Blair Reader’s selection of readings supports this approach. Classic and contemporary selections stimulate class discussion, encouraging readers to discover new ideas and to view familiar ideas in new ways. The readings represent diverse ideas and genres; students will read essays, speeches, and short stories. Every selection is followed by questions to promote critical thinking and response about the reading and the theme, both to complement the readings and to support classroom instruction.


Also available with MyWritingLab™

This title is also available with MyWritingLab, an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program designed to work with this text to engage students and improve results. Within its structured environment, students practice what they learn, test their understanding, and pursue a personalized study plan that helps them better absorb course material and understand difficult concepts. In addition to the full eText, activities directly from the text are available within MyWritingLab. These include the readings from the text, review exercises, and more.


Note: You are purchasing a standalone product; MyLab™ & Mastering™ does not come packaged with this content. Students, if interested in purchasing this title with MyLab & Mastering, ask your instructor for the correct package ISBN and Course ID. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.

If you would like to purchase both the physical text and MyLab & Mastering, search for:

013427203X / 9780134272030  The Blair Reader: Exploring Issues and Ideas Plus MyWritingLab with Pearson eText — Access Card Package, 9/e

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  • 0134110374 / 9780134110370  The Blair Reader: Exploring Issues and Ideas
  • 0133944131 / 9780133944136  MyWritingLab with Pearson eText — Access Card

Table of Contents

Topical Clusters

Rhetorical Table of Contents




1. Becoming a Critical Reader

Reading and Meaning

Reading Critically

Recording Your Reactions

Reacting to Visual Texts


2. Writing about Reading

Understanding Your Assignment

Understanding Your Purpose

Understanding Your Audience

Writing a Response

Collecting Ideas

Developing a Thesis

Arranging Supporting Material

Drafting Your Essay

Revising Your Essay


3. Family and Memory

Poetry: Linda Hogan, “Heritage”

Poetry: Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays”

E. B. White, “Once More to the Lake”

Kristin Ohlson, “The Great Forgetting”

Laila Lalami, “My Fictional Grandparents”

Gary Shteyngart, “Sixty-Nine Cents”

Tao Lin, “When I Moved Online . . .”

Focus: Are “Tiger Mothers” Really Better?

Amy Chua, Adapted from Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

David Brooks, “Amy Chua Is a Wimp”

Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, “Why I Love My Strict Chinese Mom”


4. Issues in Education

Lynda Barry, “The Sanctuary of School”

John Holt, “School Is Bad for Children”

Bich Minh Nguyen, “The Good Immigrant Student”

Johann N. Neem, “Online Higher Education’s Individualist Fallacy” 91

Christina Hoff Sommers, “For More Balance on Campuses”

Jill Filipovic, “We’ve Gone Too Far with ‘Trigger Warnings’”

Poetry: Martín Espada, “Why I Went to College”

Focus: Is a College Education Worth the Money?

David Leonhardt, “Is College Worth It? Clearly, New Data Say”

Jacques Steinberg, “Plan B: Skip College”

Liz Dwyer, “Is College Worth the Money? Answers from Six New Graduates”


5. The Politics of Language

Radley Balko, “The Curious Grammar of Police Shootings”

Chase Fleming, “Is Social Media Hurting Our Social Skills?”  [Infographic]

Dallas Spires, “Will Text Messaging Destroy the English Language?”

Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue”

Frederick Douglass, “Learning to Read and Write”

Alleen Pace Nilsen, “Sexism in English: Embodiment and Language”

Jonathan Kozol, “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society”

Poetry: Charles Jensen, “Poem in Which Words Have Been Left Out”

Focus: How Free Should Free Speech Be?

Jonathan Turley, “Shut Up and Play Nice: How the Western World Is Limiting Free Speech”
Jonathan Rauch, “Kindly Inquisitors, Revisited”
Thane Rosenbaum, “Should Neo-Nazis be Allowed Free Speech?”


6. Media and Society

Mary Eberstadt, “Eminem Is Right”

Zeynep Tufekci, “After the Protests”

Sherry Turkle, “Connectivity and Its Discontents”

Steven Pinker, “Mind over Mass Media”

Jane McGonigal, “Reality Is Broken”

Fiction: Lydia Davis, “Television”

Focus: Why Are Zombies Invading Our Media?

Amy Wilentz, “A Zombie Is a Slave Forever”

Max Brooks, “The Movies That Rose from the Grave”

Erica E. Phillips, “Zombie Studies Gain Ground on College Campuses”

7. Gender and Identity

E. J. Graff, “The M/F Boxes”

Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chávez, “‘Bossy,’ the Other B-Word”

Judy Brady, “Why I Want a Wife”

Glenn Sacks, “Stay-at-Home Dads”

Deborah Tannen, “Marked Women”

Fiction: Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”

Focus: Who Has It Harder, Girls or Boys?

Margaret Talbot, “The Case against Single-Sex Classrooms”

Christina Hoff Sommers, “The War against Boys”

Rosalind C. Barnett and Caryl Rivers, “Men Are from Earth, and So Are Women: It’s Faulty Research That Sets Them Apart”


8. Culture and Identity

Poetry: Rhina Espaillat, “Bilingual/Bilingue”

Reza Aslan, “Praying for Common Ground at the Christmas-Dinner Table”

Elizabeth Wong, “The Struggle to Be an All-American Girl”

Judith Ortiz Cofer, “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria”

Jeffery Sheler and Michael Betzold, “Muslim in America”

Brett Krutzsch, “The Gayest One”

Melanie Scheller, “On the Meaning of Plumbing and Poverty”

Drama: Steven Korbar, “What Are You Going to Be?”

Focus: Do Racial Distinctions Still Matter?

Cindy Y. Rodriguez, “Which Is It, Hispanic or Latino?”

Brent Staples, “Why Race Isn’t as ‘Black’ and ‘White’ as We Think”

John H. McWhorter, “Why I’m Black, Not African American”


9. The American Dream

Brent Staples, “Just Walk On By”

Jonathan Rieder, “Dr. King’s Righteous Fury”

Thomas Jefferson, “The Declaration of Independence”

Abraham Lincoln, “The Gettysburg Address”

Jose Antonio Vargas, “Outlaw: My Life in America as an Undocumented Immigrant”

Poetry: Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

Focus: Is the American Dream Still Attainable?

Michael W. Kraus, Shai Davidai, and A. David Nussbaum, “American Dream? Or Mirage?”

Neal Gabler, “The New American Dream”

Robert D. Putnam, “Crumbling American Dreams”


10. Why We Work

Andrew Curry, “Why We Work”

Debora L. Spar, “Crashing into Ceilings: A Report from the Nine-to-Five Shift”

Ben Mauk, “When Work Is a Game, Who Wins?”

David Brooks, “It’s Not about You”

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “Delusions of Grandeur”

Warren Farrell, “Exploiting the Gender Gap”

Poetry: Walt Whitman, “I Hear America Singing”

Focus: Is Every Worker Entitled to a Living Wage?

Jeannette Wicks-Lim, “Measuring the Full Impact of Minimum and Living Wage Laws”

The Daily Take Team, the Thom Hartmann Program, “If a Business Won’t Pay a Living Wage, It Shouldn’t Exist”

James Dorn, “The Minimum Wage Delusion, and the Death of Common Sense”


11. Making Ethical Choices

Poetry: Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

Poetry: Linda Pastan, “Ethics”

David A. Hoekema, “The Unacknowledged Ethicists on Campuses”

Jonathan Safran Foer, “How Not to Be Alone”

Barbara Hurd, “Fracking: A Fable”

Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

Claire McCarthy, “Dog Lab”

Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal”

Focus: What Has Happened to Academic Integrity?

Richard A. Posner, “The Truth about Plagiarism”

Julie J. C. H. Ryan, “Student Plagiarism in an Online World”

David Callahan, “A Better Way to Prevent Cheating: Appeal to Fairness”


12. Facing the Future

Poetry: Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach”

John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

Rachel Carson, “The Obligation to Endure”

Joel Kotkin, “The Changing Demographics of America”

Neal Gabler, “The Elusive Big Idea”

Michael S. Malone, “The Next American Frontier”

Neal Stephenson, “Innovation Starvation”

Focus: What Comes Next?

Hilda L. Solis, Commencement Speech, Los Angeles City College, 2010

Paul Hawken, Commencement Speech, University of Portland, 2009

Colin Powell, Commencement Speech, Howard University, 1994


Appendix MLA Documentation

In-Text Citations

Works Cited




Index of Authors and Titles

Rewards Program

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