Michael Pollan “The Animals: Practising Complexity” emerging 2 pp 142 — 156David Foster Wallace “Consider the Lobster” emerging 3 pp 53 — 67In “Consider the Lobster,” Wallace lays out some aspects of the ethical complexity surrounding the production and consumption of food, while Pollan’s account of his visit to Polyface Farm discusses organic farming. Consider how the issues raised by Pollan and Wallace relate to, and complicate, one another, and write an essay addressing the following question: To what extent should we consider issues of ecology and animal welfare in the production and enjoyment of food?need a title and also need own thesis, I need 2 quote for each body paragraph. last paragraph need a conclusion.
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Part One
EMERGING AS A CRITICAL THINKER
AND ACADEMIC WRITER
N SOME CLASSES, such as biology, sociology, economics, or chemistry, what you
learn and what you’re tested on is content-a knowledge of terms and concepts. In
contrast, what you need to learn in a composition class is a process-an approach to
reading and writing that you will practice with the essays in this book, in class discussions, and by responding to essay assignments. This class is not just about the readings
in this book but also about what you can do with them. What you will do with them,
of course, is write. And yet it’s not entirely accurate to say you’re here to learn how to
write, either. After all, you already did a lot of writing in high school. and if you couldn’t
write, you wouldn’t have gotten into college. But you will learn a particular kind of writing in this class, one that may be new to you: academic writing-joining a conversation
by researching, weighing, and incorporating what others say into your own work in
order to make a point of your own. You’ll use academic writing throughout your college career, and the skills you learn in this class will also help you throughout your life.
That’s because academic writing involves critical thinking-the ability to evaluate, assess, apply, and generate ideas-an essenWhenever we solve problems or
tial skill no matter what career you choose.
make decisions, we use critical
Thriving in a career- any career-is never
~
thinking because we gather,
about how much you know but about what
evaluate, and apply knowledge
you can do with the knowledge you have.
·
to the situation at hand.
College will prepare you for your career by
providing you with knowledge (your job
here is part memorization), but college will also help you learn how to evaluate knowledge, how to apply it, and how to create it; these are the skills of critical thinking.
I
What’s Emerging?
The Readings
College is also. of course, a time for change. You’re not just moving into your
career-you’re moving into a new phase of your life. In this sense, you might think
of yourself as an emerging thinker and writer, one who builds on existing skills and
expands them in an academic context. In some ways, emerging is also very much the
theme of the readings. Each was chosen to give you an opportunity to practice critical
thinking through academic writing. But each one also concerns an emerging issue in
the world today, something you might have already encountered but also something
you will have to deal with as you move on in your life.
Take, for example, Thomas L. Friedman’s chapter “The Dell Theory of Conflict
Prevention” (p. 124), taken from his best-selling book The World Is Flat. Friedman is
an expert in foreign relations, but he writes not to academics or economists or political theorists but to people like you and me. At the same time, his argument-that
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worldwide business supply chains promote political stability-requires a lot of thinking. Comprehension is not so much the issue. Friedman lays out his argument logically
and supports it with many kinds of evidence (as you will learn to do as well). But the
ideas he proposes about the relationship between economics and geopolitics, as well as
his ideas about war, peace, and terrorism, will require you to think about the implications of his argument, and that kind of work is the start of critical thinking. Figuring
out what’s in the text is challenging, but even more challenging is figuring out what’s
not in the text: the examples that would challenge Friedman’s argument, or new areas
where his ideas have value, or modifications of his argument based on your experience
or on other things you have read. That’s critical thinking. What follows will help you
do that thinking.
The Support
To support you, each of the readings comes with a set of tools to help you develop your
skills as a critical reader, thinker, and writer:
• Tags. If you look in the table of contents and at the end of each headnote, you’ll find
that each reading comes with a number of “tags.” These tags give you a quick sense
of the topics-such as gender or technology-covered in the reading.
• Headnotes. The headnotes that appear before each reading provide context. In
addition to finding out about the author, you’ll learn about the larger context of
writing from which the reading is taken, so that you can have a sense of the author’s
overall project. Headnotes help you prepare for the reading by giving you a quick
sense of what you’re about to encounter.
• Questions for Critical Reading. As you read the headnotes, you may find that
you are already developing questions about the selection you’re about to read,
questions that can serve as the basis of your critical thinking. Your own questions
can be supplemented by the Questions for Critical Reading at the start of each selection, which are specifically designed to focus your reading and thinking in ways
that will develop your critical thinking skills while helping you produce the writing
asked of you in this class.
• Exploring Context. The Exploring Context questions use technology to deepen
your understanding of the essay and its context in the world. These questions also
underscore the fact that the readings have a life outside of this text where their ideas
are discussed, developed, refuted, and extended- a life to which you will contribute
through your work in this class.
• Questions for Connecting. These questions prompt you to apply your critical
reading and thinking skills by relating the current reading to other selections in the
book. Connecting the ideas of one author to the ideas or examples of another author
is a key skill in critical thinking.
• Language Matters. The Language Matters questions at the end of each reading will
help you practice skills with language and grammar by asking you t9 look at how
What’s Emerging?
of thinklogically
But the
meaning is created in these readings. Thinking critically about the language used
by these authors will help you think critically about the language you use in your
writing as well, so that you can take these insights back to your own writing.
• Assignments for Writing. These questions provide opportunities to join the conversation of these essays. Your instructor may assign these to you or you may wish
to use them more informally to help you develop a deeper understanding of the
text.
help you
• Assignment Sequences. There are also a series of assignment sequences in this
text; your instructor may choose to use or adapt one for your class. They’re termed
sequences because each assignment builds on the one that came before. In this way,
you’ll get to see how your understanding of a reading changes as you work with
it alongside other readings from the text. As you return to previous readings while
developing a central theme of thinking through these assignments, you will refine
your critical thinking skills by paying close attention not only to each text but also to
the relationships among groups of texts.
Fortunately, just as you’ve entered class with many writing skills, so too do you enter
with skills in critical thinking. Critical thinking, after all, involves processing information, and we live in an information-rich world. So chances are that many of the
things you do every day involve some kind of critical thinking; this class will hone
those skills and translate them into the academic realm.
For now, it might be helpful to focus on six skills you might already use that correspond to aspects of academic writing and that also will enable you to thrive in the
world at large: the abilities to read critically, think critically, argue, support, research,
and revise.
to read,
each sein ways
writing
The Writer
As you develop these skills in this class, you will emerge not only as a stronger thinker
and writer but also as an individual ready to enter your chosen discipline and thereafter your career. The writing you will do within your field may look very different
from the writing you do in this class, but the moves you make within your writing for
this class-your ability to form and support an argument-will remain the same.
Moreover, you will come to find that people working within a discipline never write
only for members of that discipline; they write for the general public as well. An engineer will write very specific, very complicated documents for other engineers but will
also need to communicate with business associates, salespeople, managers, customers,
and investors. No matter what you end up studying, you will need to communicate
the concerns of your discipline to others.
The readings in Emerging offer good examples. Contrast, for example, the way neuroscientist Sharon Moalem writes in “Changing Our Genes: How Trauma, Bullying,
and Royal Jelly Alter Our Genetic Destiny” (p. 277), intended for a general audience,
with the way he writes in ”Hemochromatosis and the Enigma of Misplaced Iron: Implications for Infectious Disease and Survival,” which he wrote with Eugene D. Weinberg
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and Maire E. Percy for the journal BioMetals. Notice, first, that he writes with others
when publishing within his field; collaboration is very common in the sciences. Notice,
too, the difference in the opening of the journal article, which I have included with its
MLA citation:
Hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic condition whereby too much iron
is absorbed through the diet (Jazwinska 1998). In people with hereditary hemochromatosis, iron overload of parenchymal cells may lead to destruction of
the liver, heart, and pancreas. Two mutations (C282Y and H63D) in a “nonclassical” HLA class-I gene named HFE have been found to be associated with
hereditary hemochromatosis (Feder et al. 1996). (135)
Moalem uses a very different, very specialized language that probably only makes
sense to others in the discipline (parenchymal, HLA class-! gene), and he and his coauthors cite others in their field as they begin to make their argument (“Jazwinska,”
“Feder et al.”). The article also includes tables that summarize their research and has
a full works cited page. Moalem does not use any of these features when writing for
us as general readers. Yet in both pieces he works to articulate an argument and support it with evidence: What differs is how it is written and how it is supported. In this
class. you will learn the basic ways of thinking and writing necessary for academic
arguments. Should you become a neuroscientist like Moalem, then you will learn the
specific elements of writing like a neuroscientist in your discipline.
Writing is a lifelong skill. As you practice academic writing, you will emerge as a
stronger thinker, one capable of communicating your own ideas. You will take that
ability with you as you move through your college career and then later as you move
into your profession.
And it all begins with reading critically.
Reading Critically
We live in a world saturated with information- so much so that Richard Restak notes
in “Attention Deficit: The Brain Syndrome of Our Era” (p. 373) that our brains are
being rewired by the multiple and competing demands information makes on our attention. Mastering the ability to read critically is crucial to managing these demands,
since doing so allows us to select just the information we’re looking for. So crucial is
this skill to our survival today that we don’t even think about it anymore. Indeed, you
probably read for information on the Web every day, and you probably find what you
need, too.
Yet while it seems intuitive, reading involves a kind of critical thinking. Though
reading is a way to find information, you may find it difficult to find the information you need in these readings. They are probably not the kind of texts you’ve read
previously in your life or educational career, so they might feel very difficult. That’s
OK; they’re supposed to be challenging, because dealing with difficulty is the best
way to develop your skills with critical thinking. In other words, if you didn’t have to
think about what you read in this class, you wouldn’t be doing any critical thinking
at all.
·




Reading Critically
Strategies for Reading Critically
There are a number of steps you can take to help you read these essays critically:
• Acknowledge that the reading is hard. The first step is to acknowledge any
difficulty you’re having- recognizing it forces you to activate your skills with critical
thinking consciously.
• Keep reading the essay. The second step is to just keep reading, even if you feel
you don’t understand what you’re reading. Often, the opening of an essay might be
confusing or disorienting, but as you continue to read, you start to see the argument
emerge. Similarly, the author might repeat key points throughout the essay, so by
the time you complete the reading, what seemed impossible to understand begins to
make sense.
• Write down what you did understand. After you’ve completed the reading, you
might still feel confused. Write down what you did understand- no matter how little
that might be and no matter how unsure you are of your understanding. Recognizing what you know is the best way to figure out what you need to learn.
• Identify specific passages that confused you. Identifying specific passages that
you did not understand is an important strategy, too. By locating any points of
confusion, you can focus your critical thinking skills on those passages in order to
begin to decode them.
• Make a list of specific questions. Make a list of specific questions you have,
and then bring those questions to class as a way of guiding the class’s discussion to
enhance your understanding of the reading.
• Discuss the reading with peers. The questions accompanying the reading will
give you some help, but your peers are another valuable resource. Discussing the
reading with them allows you and your classmates to pool your comprehensionthe section you didn’t understand might be the one your peers did, and vice versa.
• Reread the essay at least once, or more. Finally, reread the essay. Reading, like
writing, is a looping process. We read and reread, just as we write and revise, and
each time we get a little more out of it.
Annotating
While reading, one of the things you’ll want to search for is the author’s argument,
the point he or she is trying to make in the selection. In addition, you’ll want to search
for concepts, terms, or ideas that are unique or central to the author’s argument.
Reading with a pen, highlighter, laptop, or sticky notes at hand will help you identify this information. In academic terms, you will be annotating the text, adding questions, comments, and notes while highlighting material you feel is important in some
way; annotation is the start of critical reading because it identifies the most important information in the essay, and that’s exactly the information you need to think
about.
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6,
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You might think of annotation as keeping a running guide of your thoughts while
reading. That way, when you return to work with the essay, you have the start of your
critical thinking. There are a number of things you might want to pay attention to
during this process:
• Look for the author’s argument. What is the overall point the author wants to
make? Consider this one of the central tasks of your reading and annotation, both
because you will want to engage this argument and because it will model for you
how you can make your own point about the issue.
• Mark key terms, concepts, and ideas. Pay special attention to any words or
phrases in italics or quotation marks. Often this indicates that the author is introducing an idea and will then go on to define it. Critical thinking often involves
ideas, so it’s important for you to locate and identify the ideas of the essay.
• Mark information you will need agairi. For example,
there may be certain quotations that strike you as im- ·····················································
portant or as puzzling. By annotating these, you will be
HOW TO ANNOTATE
A READING
able to find them quickly for class discussion or while you
are writing your paper.
• Read with a pen, a
• Mark words you don’t understand. Look them up
in a dictionary. This process will enhance your comprehension of the essay.
• Ask questions in response to the text. Don’t assume
that the author’s words are gospel truth. Your job as a
critical thinker is to evaluate everything the author says
based on your knowledge and experience. Whenever you
locate a mismatch between what the author says and
what you think, note it with a question about the essay.
• Summarize key points in the margin. Summarizing
the key points will help you map the overall flow of the
argument. This process will help you comprehend the
essay better and, as with locating the argument, will help
you see how to structure your own writing as well.
highlighter, or sticky
notes at hand.
• Look for the author’s
argument.
• Mark key terms, concepts, and ideas.
• Mark information you
will need again.
• Mark words you don’t
understand.
• Ask questions in reaction to the text.
• Summarize key points
in the margin.
Let’s look at an example, an annotated excerpt from “Electric Funeral,” Chuck Klosterman’s essay about fame and infamy in the digital age:
Necessity used to be the mother of invention, but then we ran
out of things that were necessary. The ostmo er mother of
invention is desire; we don’t really “need” anyt ing new, so we
only create what we want. This changes the nature of technological competition. Because the Internet is obsessed with its
own version oft on-monetary capita Is it rewards the volume
of response much more than t e merits of whatever people are
originally responding to. (p. 226)
Look this up
6ut we do need new
things like cures for
diseases, right?
Could l>e important
concept
This reminds me
of Wasik and flash
mol>s- connection?
Reading Critically
Let’s look at how these annotation strategies work in -this passage. For example,
in· this passage you would want to mark any terms you don’t understand, such
as postmodern, as well as terms the author may be using to form ideas, such as nonmonetary capitalism. Another set of strategies, though, involves questions you have in
reaction to the text, each of which can serve as a point for rereading the text, and relations you see between the text and other essays you have read or your own life experience. Each question you ask or comment you make during your initial reading of the
text gives you a new direction for reading the text again- both for an answer to your
question and for support for any alternative position you want to take.
Returning to the text and reading it again refines your reading, making it more
critical. Rereading is not something we usually do if we’re just reading for comprehension; generally we understand enough of what we read that we don’t have to read it
again. But in an academic context rereading is essential, because critical reading goes
beyond comprehension to evaluation-determining the accuracy and applicability of
the information and ideas of the text. And before we can evaluate, we have to know the
key points that need evaluation. The Questions for Critical Reading located at the start
of each selection will help you in this process by focusing your rereading on a significant point in the essay-a particular term, concept, or idea that will allow you to read
and think critically. Rereading Klosterman’s essay with these questions in mind might
cause you to pay attention to those parts of the selection where he discusses villainy
and examines two Internet figures, Kim Dotcom and Julian Assange. These discussions might feel like anecdotes when you read the essay for the first time, but returning
to the reading through the Question …
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