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The Language of Composition

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-07-01
  • Publisher: MPS HIGH SCHOOL
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


The Language of Compositionis the first textbook built from the ground up to help students succeed in the AP English Language course. Written by a team of experts with experience in both high school and college, this text focuses on teaching students the skills they need to read, write, and think at the college level. With practical advice and an extensive selection of readings including essays, poetry, fiction, and visual texts The Language of Compositionhelps students develop the key skills they must master to pass the course, to succeed on the AP Exam, and to prepare for a successful college career. Revised based on feedback from teachers across the country, the second edition promises to be an even better resource for the AP Language classroom.

Author Biography

A unique team of authors who are AP English Language specialists. Renée H. Shea is a university professor who has directed freshman English programs; Lawrence Scanlon and Robin Dissin Aufses are English department chairs at high schools where they also teach AP English. Both Renée Shea and Lawrence Scanlon have been involved with the AP program for many years as faculty consultants and workshop leaders for both the Language and Literature courses.

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Rhetoric: Using the "Available Means"

          ACTIVITY Understanding Civil Discourse


          Lou Gehrig, Farewell Speech

     Occasion, Context, and Purpose

     The Rhetorical Triangle

          ACTIVITY Analyzing a Rhetorical Situation


          Albert Einstein, Dear Phyllis, January 24, 1936

          ACTIVITY George W. Bush, September 11th Speech



     Automatic Ethos

          King George VI, The King’s Speech

     Building Ethos

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

          ACTIVITY Establishing Ethos


     Conceding and Refuting

          Alice Waters, From Slow Food Nation

          ACTIVITY George Will, "King Coal: Reigning in China"


          Richard Nixon, from The Checkers Speech

     Images and Pathos

          ACLU, The Man on the Left (advertisement)

     Humor and Pathos

          Ruth Marcus, from Crackberry Congress

          ACTIVITY Dwight D. Eisenhower, Order of the Day

     Combining Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

          Toni Morrison, Dear Senator Obama

          ACTIVITY Appealing to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos


          Tom Toles, Rosa Parks (cartoon)

          Activity World Wildlife Fund, Protecting the Future of Nature (advertisement)


          Jane Austen, from Pride and Prejudice

          PETA, Feeding Kids Meat Is Child Abuse (advertisement)

          Anne Applebaum, If the Japanese can’t build a safe reactor, who can?

          ACTIVITY Tamar Demby, Alarmist or Alarming Rhetoric? (student essay)

          ACTIVITY Federal Highway Administration, Stop for Pedestrians (advertisement)


               1. The Times, Man Takes First Steps on the Moon

               2. William Safire, In Event of Moon Disaster 

               3. Ayn Rand, The July 16, 1969 Launch: A Symbol of Man’s Greatness

               4. Herblock, Transported (cartoon)


2. Close Reading: The Art and Craft of Analysis


     A Model Analysis

          Queen Elizabeth I, Speech at Tilbury

          ACTIVITY Looking at Rhetoric and Style

          ACTIVITY Winston Churchill, First Speech to the House of Commons


     Asking Questions

          Ralph Ellison, from On Bird, Bird-Watching and Jazz

          ACTIVITY Ralph Ellison, from On Bird, Bird-Watching and Jazz


          Joan Didion, from Los Angeles Notebook

     Using a Graphic Organizer

     From Close Reading to Analysis

          ACTIVITY Virginia Woolf, The Death of the Moth


          Groucho Marx, Dear Warner Bros.

     Developing a Thesis Statement

     A Sample Close Analysis Essay

          ACTIVITY Christopher Morley, On Laziness


          Dodge, It’s a big fat juicy cheesebuger in a land of tofu (advertisement)

          ACTIVITY Girl Scouts, What Did You Do Today? (advertisement)


     John F. Kennedy, Inauguration Address, January, 1961

     Eleanor Clift, Inside Kennedy’s Inauguration, 50 Years On

     United States Army Signal Corps, Inauguration of John F. Kennedy (photo)


3. Analyzing Arguments: From Reading to Writing


     Amy Domini, "Why Investing in Fast Food May Be a Good Thing."

          ACTIVITY Finding Common Ground

          Essay in Progress – Selecting a Topic


          ACTIVITY Identifying Arguable Statements

     Types of Claims

     Claims of Fact

     Claims of Value

          Roger Ebert, Star Wars

          ACTIVITY Analyzing a Review

     Claim of Policy

          Anna Quindlen, from The C Word in the Hallways

          ACTIVITY The New York Times, Felons and the Right to Vote

          Essay in Progress – Staking a Claim

     From Claim to Thesis

          Closed Thesis Statements

          Open Thesis Statements

          Counterargument Thesis Statements

          ACTIVITY Developing Thesis Statements

          Essay in Progress: Developing a Thesis


     Relevant, Accurate, and Sufficient Evidence

     Logical Fallacies

          Fallacies of Relevance

          Fallacies of Accuracy

          Fallacies of Insufficiency

     First-Hand Evidence

          Personal Experience

          Jennifer Oladipo, Why Can’t Environmentalism Be Colorblind?

          Fallacy Alert – Hasty Generalization


          Fabiola Santiago, In college, these American citizens are not created equal

          Current Events

          Fareed Zakaria, from When Will We Learn?

     Second-Hand Evidence

          Historical Information

          Samuel Walker, from Hate Speech

          Fallacy Alert - Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

          Expert Opinion

          Peggy Orenstein, from Just a Little Princess

          Fallacy Alert: Appeal to False Authority

          Quantitative Evidence

          Fallacy Alert: Bandwagon Appeal

          ACTIVITY Identifying Logical Fallacies

          ACTIVITY Dana Thomas, Terrors’ Purse Strings

          Essay in Progress – Using Evidence


     The Classical Oration

          Sandra Day O’Connor and Roy Romer, Not by Math Alone

     Induction and Deduction


          Malcolm Gladwell, from Outliers


               Essay in Progress –Shaping an Argument

               Combining Induction and Deduction

               Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

               ACTIVITY Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Declaration of the Rights of Women

     Using the Toulmin Model

          Analyzing Assumptions

          ACTIVITY Identifying Assumptions

          From Reading to Writing

          ACTIVITY Using Argument Templates


     Polyp, The Rat Race (cartoon)

     Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage (photo)

     ACTIVITY US Postal Service, The Heroes of 2001 (stamp)

     Essay in Progress – Using Visual Evidence


     Tom Toles, Heavy Medal

     Michael Binyon, Comment: absurd decision on Obama makes a mockery of the Nobelpeace prize


4. Synthesizing Sources: Entering the Conversation

     ACTIVITY Reflecting on Sources


     Laura Hillenbrand, from Seabiscuit

     ACTIVITY Gerald L. Early, from A Level Playing Field


     Steven Pinker, from Words Don’t Mean What They Mean

     Steven Pinker, from The Stuff of Thought

     Steven Pinker, from The evolutionary social psychology of off-record indirect speech acts

     ACTIVITY Examining a Columnist

Conversation: Mandatory Community Service

    1. Neil Howe And William Strauss, From Millennials Rising

     2. The Dalton School, Community Service Mission Statement

     3. The Detroit News, Volunteer Work Opens Teen’s Eyes To Nursing

     4. Dennis Chaptman, Study: ‘Resume Padding’ Prevalent In College-Bound Students WhoVolunteer

     5. Arthur Stukas, Mark Snyder, and E. Gil Clary; The Effects Of "Mandatory Volunteerism"On Intentions To Volunteer

     6. Mark Hugo Lopez, From Youth Attitudes Toward Civic Education And Community Service Requirements


     Identifying the Issues: Recognizing Complexity

     Formulating Your Position

     ACTIVITY Supporting a Thesis

     Framing Quotations

     Integrating Quotations

     ACTIVITY Using Sources Effectively

     Citing Sources

     A Sample Synthesis Essay

     CULMINATING ACTIVITY Conversation: The Dumbest Generation?

          1. Mark Bauerlein, The Dumbest Generation

          2. Sharon Begley, The Dumbest Generation? Don’t Be Dumb

          3. Mizuko Ito, et. al., Living and Leaning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project

          4. Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid?

          5. R. Smith Simpson, Are We Getting Our Share of the Best?

          6. Steven Johnson, Your Brain on Video Games

          7. Clive Thompson, The New Literacy

          8. Roz Chast, Shelved (cartoon)

5. Education

Do our schools serve the goals of a true education?

Central Essay
     Francine Prose, I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read
Classic Essay
Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Education
Other Voices
     James Baldwin, A Talk to Teachers
     Kyoko Mori, School
     Sherman Alexie, Superman and Me
    *David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
     Margaret Talbot, Best in Class
    *David Foster Wallace, This is Water
     Sandra Cisneros, Eleven
Visual Text
     Norman Rockwell, The Spirit of Education
Visual Text
     *Roz Chast, What I Learned
Conversation: The American High School
     Horace Mann, from The Report of the Mass. Board of Education
     Todd Gitlin, The Liberal Arts in an Age of Info-Glut 
     Leon Botstein, Let Teen-Agers Try Adulthood
     Edward Koren, Two Scoreboards (cartoon)
    *Diane Ravitch, Stop the Madness
    *Erik Hanushek, U.S. Math Performance in Global Perspective (tables)
    *David Barboza, Shanghai Schools' Approach Pushes Students to Top of Tests
Student Writing
     Argument: Using Personal Experiences as Evidence
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style
Suggestions for Writing
6. Community
Central Essay
     Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail (with public statement)
Classic Essay
     Henry David Thoreau, Where I Lived, and What I Lived for
Other Voices
     Richard Rodriguez, Aria
    *Ellen Goodman, The Family That Stretches (Together)
     Lori Arviso Alvord, Walking the Path between Worlds
    *Robert D. Putnam, Health and Happiness
    *Dinaw Mengestu, Home at Last
    *Scott Brown, Facebook Friendonomics
    *Malcolm Gladwell, Small Change
     Aurora Levins Morales, Child of the Americas
Paired Visual Texts
     *Norman Rockwell, Freedom from Want
     *Roz Chast, The Last Thanksgiving
Visual Text
     *Nissan, The Black Experience Is Everywhere
Conversation: The Individual's Responsibility to the Community
    *Andrew Carnegie, from The Gospel of Wealth
     Bertrand Russell, The Happy Life
     Garrett Hardin, Lifeboat Ethics
     Peter Singer, The Singer Solution to World Poverty
    *Zapiro, World Economic Forum (cartoon)
    *Christian Science Monitor, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and the Billionaire Challenge
    *Der Spiegel, Negative Reaction to Charity Campaign
Student Writing
     Synthesis: Incorporating Sources into a Revision
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style
     Parallel Structures
Suggestions for Writing
7. The Economy
Central Essay
     Barbara Ehrenreich, from Serving in Florida
Classic Essay
     Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal
Other Voices
    *John Ruskin, from The Roots of Honor
     Booker T. Washington, from The Atlanta Exposition Address
    *Lars Eighner, Dumpster Diving
    *Eric Schlosser, In the Strawberry Fields
    *Stephen J. Dubner & Steven D. Levitt, What the Bagel Man Saw
    *Matthew Crawford, The Case for Working with Your Hands
    *Fareed Zakaria, How to Restore the American Dream
     *Marge Piercy, To Be of Use
Visual Text
     Jeff Parker, The Great GAPsby Society
Visual Text
     *Tom Tomorrow, A "Handy" Guide to the Housing Market
Conversation: Materialism in American Culture
    *Henry David Thoreau, from Economy
    *John Kenneth Galbraith, from Consumer Behavior and the Dependence Effect
    *Phyllis Rose, Shopping and Other Spiritual Adventures in America Today
    *Wendell Berry, Waste
    *Juliet Schor, from The New Politics of Consumption
    *Joan Smith, Shop Happy
    *Virginia Postrel, In Praise of Chain Stores
    *Scott DeCarlo, Forbes Price Index of Luxury Goods (table)
Student Writing
     Rhetorical Analysis: Analyzing a Prose Passage
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style
     Short Simple Sentences and Fragments
Suggestions for Writing
8. Gender
Central Essay
     Stephen Jay Gould, Women's Brains
Classic Essay
     Virginia Woolf, Professions for Women
Other Voices
    *Benjamin Franklin, The Speech of Miss Polly Baker
     John and Abigail Adams, Letters
    *Judy Brady, I Want a Wife
    *Brent Staples, Just Walk on By
     Judith Ortiz Cofer, The Myth of the Latin Woman
     Deborah Tannen, There Is No Unmarked Woman
    *Matthias Mehl, Are Women Really More Talkative Than Men?
     Marge Piercy, Barbie Doll
Paired Visual Texts
     *Charles LeBrun, Chancellor Seguier at the Entry of Louis XIV into Paris
     *Kehinde Wiley, The Chancellor Seguier on Horseback
Conversation: Defining Masculinity
    *Leonard McCombe, Marlboro Man (photo)
     Paul Theroux, Being a Man
     Gretel Ehrlich, About Men
     Rebecca Walker, Putting down the Gun
     Mark Bauerlein and Sandra Stotsky, Why Johnny Won't Read
     David Brooks, Mind over Muscle
Student Writing: Argument
     Supporting an Assertion
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style
Suggestions for Writing
9. Sports
Central Essay
     Gay Talese, Silent Season of a Hero
Classic Essay
     *Grantland Rice, The Four Horsemen
Other Voices
     Theodore Roosevelt, The Proper Place for Sports
    *Joyce Carol Oates, The Cruelest Sport
     Kris Vervaecke, A Spectator's Notebook 
    *Jane Smiley, Barbaro, The Heart in the Winner's Circle
    *Malcolm Gladwell, Offensive Play
    *Rick Reilly, Why I Love My Job
    *Caroline Alexander, The Great Game
     John Updike, Ex-Basketball Player
Visual Text
     *New York World, The 12th Man in Any Football Game (cartoon)
Visual Text 
     *Sports Illustrated, Yes! (cover)
Conversation: Paying College Athletes
    *Boris Drucker, I'm glad we won... (cartoon)
    *Frank DeFord, Pay Dirt
    *Michael Lewis, Serfs of the Turf
    *Bill Walton, My Priceless Opportunity
    *Michael Wilbon, As Colleges' Greed Grows, So Does the Hypocrisy
    *Steve Weiberg, Despite Criticism, NCAA Takes a Firm Stance on Professionalism
    *NCAA, Why Students Aren't Paid to Play
Student Writing
     Rhetorical Analysis: Comparing Strategies
     Grammar as Rhetoric and Style
     Direct, Precise, and Active Verbs
Suggestions for Writing
10. Language
Central Essay
     Amy Tan, Mother Tongue
Classic Essay
     George Orwell, Politics and the English Language
Other Voices
    *Walt Whitman, Slang in America
    *Gloria Anzaldœa, How to Tame a Wild Tongue
     Marjorie Agosin, Always Living in Spanish
    *Firoozeh Dumas, The 'F Word'
    *Charles Krauthammer, In Plain English
    *Steven Pinker, Words Don't Mean What They Mean
     Naomi Shihab Nye, For Mohammed Zeid of Gaza, Age 15 & Why I Could Not Accept Your Invitation
Visual Text
     *U.S. Census, Language Use in the U.S.
Visual Text
     *Jim Cummins, The Effects of Bilingualism
Conversation: Politics and the English Language
    *Institute for Propaganda Analysis, How to Detect Propaganda
    *Michiko Kakutani, The Word Police
    *Harper's, Skinning Cats, Nonviolently (table)
    *Mike Lester, NCAA Native American Mascots (cartoon)
     Geoffrey Nunberg, The —ism Schism
     Daniel Okrent, The War of Words: A Dispatch from the Front Lines (with letters to the editor)
    *Frank Luntz, from Words that Work
Student Writing
     Narrating: Reflecting on Personal Exerience
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style
     Concise Diction
Suggestions for Writing
11. Popular Culture
*Central Essay
     James McBride, Hip Hop Planet
Classic Essay
     Mark Twain, Corn-pone Opinions
Other Voices
     Scott McCloud, Show and Tell (graphic essay)
     David Denby, High-School Confidential
    *Robin Givhan, An Image a Little Too Carefully Coordinated
     Steven Johnson, Watching TV Makes You Smarter
    *Daniel Harris, Celebrity Bodies
    *Chuck Klosterman, My Zombie, Myself
     Hans Ostrom, Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven
Visual Text
     Mark Tansey, The Innocent Eye Test
Visual Text
     *Andy Warhol, Myths
Conversation: Exporting American Pop Culture
    *Thomas Friedman, The Revolution Is U.S.
    *Heather Havrilesky, Besieged by 'Friends'
    *Dierdre Straughan, Who's Dominating Whom?
    *Kwame Anthony Appiah, from The Case for Contamination
    *Josef Joffe, The Perils of Soft Power
    *Joseph Nye, The U.S. Can Reclaim Smart Power
    *Slovakian Fan at World Cup (photo)
Student Writing
     Rhetorical Analysis: Analyzing Satire
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style
Suggestions for Writing
12. The Environment
Central Essay
     Rachel Carson, from Silent Spring
Classic Essay
     Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Nature
Other Voices
    *Aldo Leopold, The Land Ethic
    *Lewis Thomas, Natural Man
    *Bill McKibben, from The End of Nature
     Terry Tempest Williams, The Clan of One-Breasted Women
    *Joy Williams, Save the Whales, Screw the Shrimp
    *E.O. Wilson, from The Future of Life
     *Gerard Manley Hopkins, Inversnaid
Visual Text
     R. Crumb, A Shorty History of America (cartoon)
Visual Text
     *Royal Dutch/Shell, Let's Go (advertisement)
Conversation: Sustainable Eating
    *Peter Menzel, Hungry Planet (photo essay)
    *Michael Pollan, A Naturalist in the Supermarket
    *James McWilliams, The Locavore Myth
    *Jonathan Safran Foer, The American Table and The Global Table
    *Nicolette Hahn Niman, Carnivore's Dilemma
    *Will Allen, A Good Food Manifesto for America
    *A.J. Jacobs, Farm to Table
    *Michael Specter, from Test-Tube Burgers
Student Writing
     Visual Rhetoric: Analyzing a Photo Essay
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style
     Cumulative, Periodic, and Inverted Sentences
Suggestions for Writing
13. Politics
Central Essay
     Jamaica Kincaid, On Seeing England for the First Time
Classic Essay
     Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
Other Voices
    *Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address
     Virginia Woolf, Thoughts on Peace During an Air Raid
     Chris Hedges, from The Destruction of Culture
    *Sarah Vowell, The Partly Cloudy Patriot
    *Laura Blumenfeld, The Apology
    *Marjane Satrapi, The Veil (geographic memoir)
     Tim O'Brien, On the Rainy River
Visual Texts
     Pablo Picasso, Guernica (painting)
     New Yorker, March 17, 2003 (cover)
     Harper's, April 2003 (cover)
Conversation: Colonialism
    *Christopher Columbus, Letter to King Ferdinand
    *King Ferdinand, The Requerimiento
    *Red Jacket, Defense of Native American Religion
     George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant
    *Frantz Fanon, Concerning Violence
     Eavan Boland, In Which the Ancient History I Learn Is Not My Own (poem)
     Chinua Achebe, The Empire Fights Back
     National Park Service, Christiansted (brochure)
Student Writing
     Synthesis: Using Sources to Support an Argument
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style
     Subordination in the Complex Sentence
Suggestions for Writing

Supplemental Materials

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