Important Note: No Blue Book is required for this class because there is no exam. I made an error on my syllabus.
While I check your Homework #1 for your portfolio, get into groups.
Discuss someone you know whose own arrogance made her falsely believe she was on top of the world when in fact she was sinking into her own self-destruction.
Report to the class. You can use such an example in your essay.
Essay #1 Options with 2 sources (Brooks and Henderson)
A. Apply the wisdom of Arthur C. Brooks’ essay “Love People, Not Pleasure” to develop a thesis that analyzes the personal transformation of Jeff Henderson rendered in his memoir Cooked.
Paragraph 1: Summarize Brooks’ essay.
Paragraph 2: Summarize Henderson’s memoir.
Paragraph 3: Your thesis that shows how Henderson’s transformation illustrated Brooks’ ideas.
Paragraphs 4-8 will support your thesis.
Paragraph 9, your conclusion, will restate your thesis in dramatic form.
Sources and Signal Phrases
You need only two sources, Henderson’s book and Brooks’ essay, but you must use at least 6 different signal phrases for using in-text citations in the form of quotations, paraphrase and summary.
"Love People, Not Pleasure" by Arthur C. Brooks
One. Happiness Fallacy:
That a life of power and money can afford you pleasures that will result in happiness. Brooks looks at the most powerful, wealthy people chronicled in history, and even they are miserable 99% of the time.
Part of this misery is due to the "hedonic treadmill," the idea that we acclimate to pleasure so that whatever it is we're addicted to for a spike in endorphins, we become numb to it to the point that we crash and sink into a depression.
All pleasures start out with a spike in dopamine, which becomes addictive, but eventually we need more and more stimulation to experience pleasure and we inevitably burn out.
Jeff Henderson becomes wealthier and wealthier and lives a more and more reckless lifestyle, accumulating cars, flying to Las Vegas with his posse, and his extravagant lifestyle attracts the attention from law enforcement, the feds.
My wife's friend has a cousin who poses with her boyfriend for Instagram photographs, and she has hundreds of thousands of followers. This model can never get enough "likes" and followers. She's addicted to social media attention, she's a slave to posing with her boyfriend for attention, and she is progressively getting more and more miserable. But she can't see her misery. She is in denial.
Like the Instagram model, Jeff Henderson is operating under the fallacy that unbridled pleasure is the key to happiness, and in the process he fails to develop real connections with people.
Two. The Unhappiness Fallacy:
Actually, we're dealing with two fallacies: That unhappiness is a bad thing and that unhappiness excludes happiness.
Unhappiness is not bad. Unhappiness is normal. Life is full of evil and conflict, so a certain degree of unhappiness is a normal thing.
In fact, addressing evil and engaging with conflict gives life meaning, so we must not avoid unhappiness. Rather, we must struggle against the things that make us unhappy.
Also, unhappiness is a state of hard work that leads to positive outcome. Imagine the piano player who is unhappy playing tedious scales and arpeggios on the piano, but all in the service of improving on the piano.
In life, we are miserable if we don't progress and improve towards a meaningful goal, and this type of progress requires focus, isolation, sacrifice, and hard work, the kind that is not associated with happiness and pleasure.
Every semester, I will have about two or three "star students" in a class. These are hard-working perfectionists who take so much pride in their work that if I were a CEO of a company I would hire those 3 students out of a class of 30. I said such to an employer who called me about a former student, and based on my testimony the student got the job.
Such students are not enamored by short-term pleasure. Such students embrace sacrifice, hard work (not hanging out with their buddies at night so they can study), and see a certain amount of drudgery and unhappiness as essential to achieving their goals.
The second fallacy is that unhappiness excludes happiness. Actually, according to Arthur C. Brooks, the most happy people can simultaneously experience unhappiness.
As Brooks observes:
What is unhappiness? Your intuition might be that it is simply the opposite of happiness, just as darkness is the absence of light. That is not correct. Happiness and unhappiness are certainly related, but they are not actually opposites. Images of the brain show that parts of the left cerebral cortex are more active than the right when we are experiencing happiness, while the right side becomes more active when we are unhappy.
As strange as it seems, being happier than average does not mean that one can’t also be unhappier than average. One test for both happiness and unhappiness is the Positive Affectivity and Negative Affectivity Schedule test. I took the test myself. I found that, for happiness, I am at the top for people my age, sex, occupation and education group. But I get a pretty high score for unhappiness as well. I am a cheerful melancholic.
Three. Misguided Attempts at Happiness Backfire
We can look to all sorts of addicts to see how their addiction, an attempt to escape misery and find pleasure, backfires and results in misery. Of course, there is drug addiction, but there are many others: social media attention, Swiss timepieces, shoes, cars, getting ripped muscles, etc. But the drug eventually becomes the poison. As Brooks explains:
Have you ever known an alcoholic? They generally drink to relieve craving or anxiety — in other words, to attenuate a source of unhappiness. Yet it is the drink that ultimately prolongs their suffering. The same principle was at work for Abd al-Rahman in his pursuit of fame, wealth and pleasure.
Four. Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Happiness
Intrinsic happiness refers to character building, the state of our soul, defined by the connections we make with others, creative pursuits, our contributions to society, and our ability to find meaning in suffering.
Extrinsic happiness refers to the materialistic script society hands us: Go to college, get a job so you can make money to buy lots of stuff, show off your stuff to family and friends to win their approval, curate your "amazing existence" on Facebook, etc. Then die and have hundreds of people weep at your funeral.
According to Brooks, intrinsic happiness is the way to go. He writes:
Consider fame. In 2009, researchers from the University of Rochester conducted a study tracking the success of 147 recent graduates in reaching their stated goals after graduation. Some had “intrinsic” goals, such as deep, enduring relationships. Others had “extrinsic” goals, such as achieving reputation or fame. The scholars found that intrinsic goals were associated with happier lives. But the people who pursued extrinsic goals experienced more negative emotions, such as shame and fear. They even suffered more physical maladies.
This is one of the cruelest ironies in life. I work in Washington, right in the middle of intensely public political battles. Bar none, the unhappiest people I have ever met are those most dedicated to their own self-aggrandizement — the pundits, the TV loudmouths, the media know-it-alls. They build themselves up and promote their images, but feel awful most of the time.
That’s the paradox of fame. Just like drugs and alcohol, once you become addicted, you can’t live without it. But you can’t live with it, either. Celebrities have described fame like being “an animal in a cage; a toy in a shop window; a Barbie doll; a public facade; a clay figure; or, that guy on TV,” according to research by the psychologist Donna Rockwell. Yet they can’t give it up.
That impulse to fame by everyday people has generated some astonishing innovations. One is the advent of reality television, in which ordinary people become actors in their day-to-day lives for others to watch. Why? “To be noticed, to be wanted, to be loved, to walk into a place and have others care about what you’re doing, even what you had for lunch that day: that’s what people want, in my opinion,” said one 26-year-old participant in an early hit reality show called “Big Brother.”
And then there’s social media. Today, each of us can build a personal little fan base, thanks to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like. We can broadcast the details of our lives to friends and strangers in an astonishingly efficient way. That’s good for staying in touch with friends, but it also puts a minor form of fame-seeking within each person’s reach. And several studies show that it can make us unhappy.
Five. Jeff Henderson's memoir Cooked is largely about a man who transitions from an extrinsic quest for happiness to an intrinsic quest.
Henderson is miserable and suffering from soul rot during his obsession with finding extrinsic notions of happiness, but his soul finds redemption and he becomes a happier man when he helps the community and his family through an intrinsic search for happiness.
Six. Extrinsic Happiness Is Born from Our Inner Reptile
Our Inner Reptile desires dominance and reproductive success by showing signs of power. Therefore, our instincts are to get as rich, famous, and powerful as we can. But Brooks observes that these unbridled instincts can backfire.
As Brooks observes:
From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that we are wired to seek fame, wealth and sexual variety. These things make us more likely to pass on our DNA. Had your cave-man ancestors not acquired some version of these things (a fine reputation for being a great rock sharpener; multiple animal skins), they might not have found enough mating partners to create your lineage.
But here’s where the evolutionary cables have crossed: We assume that things we are attracted to will relieve our suffering and raise our happiness. My brain says, “Get famous.” It also says, “Unhappiness is lousy.” I conflate the two, getting, “Get famous and you’ll be less unhappy.”
But that is Mother Nature’s cruel hoax. She doesn’t really care either way whether you are unhappy — she just wants you to want to pass on your genetic material. If you conflate intergenerational survival with well-being, that’s your problem, not nature’s. And matters are hardly helped by nature’s useful idiots in society, who propagate a popular piece of life-ruining advice: “If it feels good, do it.” Unless you share the same existential goals as protozoa, this is often flat-out wrong.
More philosophically, the problem stems from dissatisfaction — the sense that nothing has full flavor, and we want more. We can’t quite pin down what it is that we seek. Without a great deal of reflection and spiritual hard work, the likely candidates seem to be material things, physical pleasures or favor among friends and strangers.
We look for these things to fill an inner emptiness. They may bring a brief satisfaction, but it never lasts, and it is never enough. And so we crave more. This paradox has a word in Sanskrit: upadana, which refers to the cycle of craving and grasping. As the Dhammapada (the Buddha’s path of wisdom) puts it: “The craving of one given to heedless living grows like a creeper. Like the monkey seeking fruits in the forest, he leaps from life to life... Whoever is overcome by this wretched and sticky craving, his sorrows grow like grass after the rains.”
Seven. Extrinsic Happiness Makes Us Users of People
This search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others — that is, the cycle of grasping and craving — follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly:
Love things, use people.
Jeff Henderson up to about page 100 or so of his memoir, loves things and he uses people.
Eight. Most of us sleepwalk through life in our quest for pleasure
Brooks observes that our default setting is to seek pleasure and use people, and that most of us aren't even aware of this fact because we are "sleepwalking." As he writes:
This was Abd al-Rahman’s formula as he sleepwalked through life. It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous:
Love people, use things.
Only because Jeff Henderson hit rock bottom and had his "butt handed to him on a stick" did he wake up from his sleepwalking ways and go on a heroic journey to find redemption for his soul. He learned to love people and use things.
B. A wise man once said that when we think we're rising in life, we're really falling and when we think we're falling, we're really rising. In a 6-page essay, apply this wisdom, in all of its psychological complexity, to Jeff Henderson's journey and compare to someone from a personal interview. Use blog, book, and personal interview for your sixth page, your Works Cited page.
Paragraph 1: Write a narrative of someone who thought he or she was rising but was actually falling.
Paragraph 2: Summarize Henderson’s memoir.
Paragraph 3: Your thesis analyzes how Henderson’s memoir is an illustration of the wise man’s adage with 5 mapping components.
Paragraphs 4-8 will support your thesis.
Conclusion, a dramatic restatement of your thesis.
The idea of falling:
In the context of Arthur C. Brooks' essay, we are falling when we think we are rising with extrinsic goals toward happiness and rising when we suffer to achieve intrinsic goals of happiness.
The rising-falling paradox can be explained by a close examination of human nature.
False rising: We are delusional so that our perception of "rising" may be a false perception. The narcissist always thinks he's rising when in fact he's falling.
The misguided "mountain climber" dates evil women to prove he's "number one." We could call this the drive for dominance.
False rising: We see what we want to see so there is a disparity between our self-image and who we really are. Again, this disparity evidences narcissism.
False rising: We become intoxicated or drugged by false ideas of success. Americans too often chase the mirage or chimera of fame and want their own "reality" TV show.
False rising: Success makes us feel invincible.We begin to believe in the lies of the sycophants.
False rising: When we feel invincible, we allow our behavior to become more and more reckless.
False rising: When we feel more invincible, we experience hubris, a form of arrogance that blinds us from our flaws.
Fale rising could be based on arrogance and power giving us a false sense of invincibility while we become disconnected from others.
False rising could have a downside: being blind to portents of danger and obnoxious behavior as we become full of braggadocio.
False rising could result in a disconnect from values and morals and even our true self.
False rising could result in inflated self-esteem, narcissism, and a loss of proportion in regards to what's important in the world.
False rising could be the misguided use of creativity and talent: used for the purposes of evil, concupiscence, greed, self-destruction when it should be used to blossom or to flourish.
False rising results in popularity and when we're popular we get surrounded by a popularity bubble in which sycophants praise us even when we don't deserve it so we think we're being smart and funny when we're not.
False rising: The illusion of rising is often from misguided genius or talent in which we use our power for evil rather than good but willfully blind to this fact, we pat ourselves on the back for our evil deeds.
Rising is also based on human nature and the nature of struggling, flourishing, and character-building.
Falling could be a good thing: a purging lesson in humility and fortitude. Sometimes the best that could happen to you is to have "your butt handed to you on a stick," to quote Marc Maron. For example, when I was 14, I picked a fight with an 18-year-old state wrestling champion, Sammy Choa, and I had "my butt handed to me on a stick," the best thing that ever happened to me because the experience taught me to keep my mouth shut.
Falling could be a test over what's really important in this world.
Falling could be an opportunity to live and learn wisdom.
Falling could be the experience of rejection from others so that later we have empathy for those who are being rejected or scorned.
Falling could result in a struggle that develops our fortitude (strength to endure).
Falling makes us lose our "friends" and popularity so that we have to define ourselves in a new way, without the superficial definition we had when we gained our self-esteem from the approval of others.
Falling slaps our face and makes us see the truth, the truth that we have been denying. We often deny the truth about who we really are until we "hit rock bottom" and say to ourselves, "Whatever the hell it is I'm doing, it isn't working. I need a new plan."
To me, the topic demands a two-part essay. The first part is about false rising rooted in
intoxication of false success
The second half is about real rising rooted in
hitting a wall so that we finally see our self-destructive ways and take accountability for our actions
perdition, suffering and humility as part of the re-building process
developing empathy as we reinvent ourselves in a new, much wiser way.
Sources and Signal Phrases:
You need only one source, Henderson’s book, but you must use at least 6 different signal phrases for using in-text citations in the form of quotations, paraphrase and summary.
Signal Phrases Used for In-Text Citations
About 80% of your essay should be your writing and 20% should be quoted, paraphrased, and summarized material.
4 Steps of MLA In-Text Citations
You need to do four things when you quote, paraphrase, or summarize from a text.
Step One: The first thing you need to do is introduce the material with a signal phrase.
Make sure to use a variety of signal phrases to introduce quotations and paraphrases.
Verbs in Signal Phrases
According to . . . (very common)
Ha Jin writes . . . (very common)
Panbin laments . . .
Dan rages . . .
Dan seethes . . .
Signal Phrase Templates
In the words of researchers Redelmeier and Tibshirani, “…”
As Matt Sundeen has noted, “…”
Patti Pena, mother of a child killed by a driver distracted by a cell phone, points out that “…”
“…” writes Christine Haughney, “…”
“…” claims wireless spokesperson Annette Jacobs.
Radio hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi offer a persuasive counterargument: “…”
Step Two: The quote, paraphrase, or summary you use.
Step Three: The parenthetical citation, which comes after the cited material.
Kwon points out that the Fourth Amendment does not give employees any protections from employers’ “unreasonable searches and seizures” (6).
In the cultural website One-Way Street, Richard Prouty observes that Lasdun's "men exist in a fixed point of the universe, but they have no agency" (para. 7).
Step Four: Analyze your cited material. The analysis should be of a greater length than the cited material. Show how the cited material supports your thesis.
Writing Effective Introduction Paragraphs for Your Essays
Weak Introductions to Avoid
One. Don’t use overused quotes:
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
“To be or not to be, that is the question.”
Two. Don’t use pretentious, grandiose, overwrought, bloated, self-regarding, clichéd, unintentionally funny openings:
Since the Dawn of Man, people have sought love and happiness . . .
In today’s society, we see more and more people cocooning in their homes . . .
Man has always wondered why happiness and contentment are so elusive like trying to grasp a bar of sudsy, wet soap.
We have now arrived at a Societal Epoch where we no longer truly communicate with one another as we have embarked upon the full-time task of self-aggrandizement through the social media of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et al.
In this modern world we face a new existential crisis with the advent of newfangled technologies rendering us razzle-dazzled with the overwhelming possibilities of digital splendor on one hand and painfully dislocated and lonely with our noses constantly rubbing our digital screens on the other.
Since Adam and Eve traipsed across the luxuriant Garden of Eden searching for the juicy, succulent Adriatic fig only to find it withered under the attack of mites, ants, and fruit flies, mankind has embarked upon the quest for the perfect pesticide.
Three. Never apologize to the reader:
Sorry for these half-baked chicken scratch thoughts. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night and I didn’t have sufficient time to do the necessary research for the topic you assigned me.
I’m hardly an expert on this subject and I don’t know why anyone would take me seriously, but here it goes.
Forgive me but after over-indulging last night at HomeTown Buffet my brain has been rendered in a mindless fog and the ramblings of this essay prove to be rather incoherent.
Four. Don’t throw a thesis cream pie in your reader’s face.
In this essay I am going to prove to you why Americans will never buy those stupid automatic cars that don’t need a driver. The four supports that will support my thesis are ______________, ______________, _______________, and ________________.
It is my purpose in this essay to show you why I'm correct on the subject of the death penalty. My proofs will be _________, _______, _________, and ___________.
Five. Don’t use a dictionary definition (standard procedure for a sixth grade essay but not college in which you should use more sophisticated methods such as extended definition or expert definitions):
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines metacognition as “awareness or analysis of one’s own learning or thinking process.”
General Principles of an Effective Introduction Paragraph
It piques your readers’ interest (often called a “hook”).
It is compelling.
It is timely.
It is relevant to the human condition and to your topic.
It transitions to your topic and/or thesis.
The Ten Types of Paragraph Introductions
One. Use a blunt statement of fact or insight that captures your readers’ attention:
It's good for us to have our feelings hurt.
You've never really lived until someone has handed you your __________ on a stick.
Men who are jealous are cheaters.
We would assume that jealous men are obsessed with fidelity, but in fact the most salient feature of the jealous man is that he is more often than not cheating on his partner. His jealousy results from projecting his own infidelities on his partner. He says to himself, “I am a cheater and therefore so is she.” We see this sick mentality in the character Dan from Ha Jin’s “The Beauty.” Trapped in his jealousy, Dan embodies the pathological characteristics of learned helplessness evidenced by ___________, _______________, ________________, and _______________.
John Taylor Gatto opens his essay “Against School: How Public Education Cripples Our Kids, and Why” as thus:
I taught for thirty years in some of the worst schools in Manhattan, and in some of the best, and during that time I became an expert in boredom. Boredom was everywhere in the world, and if you asked the kids, as I often did, why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: They said the work was stupid, that it made no sense, that they already knew it. They said they wanted to be doing something real, not just sitting around. They said teachers didn’t seem to know much about their subjects and clearly weren’t interested in learning more. And the kids were right: Their teachers were every bit as bored as they were.
Boredom is the common condition of schoolteachers, and anyone who has spent time in a teacher’s lounge can vouch for the low energy, the whining, the dispirited attitudes, to be found there. When asked why they feel bored, the teachers tend to blame the kids, as you might expect. Who wouldn’t get bored teaching students who are rude and interested only in grades? If even that. Of course, teachers are themselves products of the same twelve-year compulsory school programs that so thoroughly bore their students, and as school personnel they are trapped inside structures even more rigid than those imposed upon the children. Who, then, is to blame?
Gatto goes on to argue in his thesis that school trains children to be servants for mediocre (at best) jobs when school should be teaching innovation, individuality, and leadership roles.
Two. Write a definition based on the principles of extended definition (term, class, distinguishing characteristics) or quote an expert in a field of study:
Metacognition is an essential asset to mature people characterized by their ability to value long-term gratification over short-term gratification, their ability to distance themselves from their passions when they’re in a heated emotional state, their ability to stand back and see the forest instead of the trees, and their ability to continuously make assessments of the effectiveness of their major life choices. In the fiction of John Cheever and James Lasdun, we encounter characters that are woefully lacking in metacognition evidenced by _____________, ______________, _____________, and _______________.
According to Alexander Batthanany, member of the Viktor Frankl Institute, logotherapy, which is the search for meaning, “is identified as the primary motivational force in human beings.” Batthanany further explains that logotherapy is “based on three philosophical and psychological concepts: Freedom of Will, Will to Meaning, and Meaning in Life.” Embracing the concepts of logotherapy is vastly more effective than conventional, Freud-based psychotherapy when we consider ________________, ______________, __________________, and ________________.
Three. Use an insightful quotation that has not, to your knowledge anyway, been overused:
George Bernard Shaw once said, “There are two great tragedies in life. The first is not getting what we want. The second is getting it.” Shaw’s insight speaks to the tantalizing chimera, that elusive quest we take for the Mythic She-Beast who becomes are life-altering obsession. As the characters in John Cheever and James Lasdun’s fiction show, the human relationship with the chimera is source of paradox. On one hand, having a chimera will kill us. On the other, not having a chimera will kill us. Cheever and Lasdun’s characters twist and torment under the paradoxical forces of their chimeras evidenced by _____________, _______________, ______________, and __________________.
Four. Use a startling fact to get your reader’s attention:
There are currently more African-American men in prison than there were slaves at the peak of slavery in the United States. We read this disturbing fact in Michelle Alexander’s magisterial The New Jim Crow, which convincingly argues that America’s prison complex is perpetuating the racism of slavery and Jim Crow in several insidious ways.
We read that in the latest study by the Institute for Higher Education, Leadership & Policy at Cal State Sacramento that only 30% of California community college students are transferring or getting their degrees. We have a real challenge in the community college if 70% are falling by the wayside.
8,000 students walk through El Camino's Humanities Building every week. Only 10% will pass English 1A. Only 3% will pass English 1C.
99% of my students acknowledge that most students at El Camino are seriously compromised by their smartphone addiction to the point that the addiction is making them fail or do non-competitive work in college.
Five. Use an anecdote (personal or otherwise) to get your reader’s attention:
When my daughter was one years old and I was changing her diaper, she without warning jammed her thumb into my eye, forcing my eyeball into my brain and almost killing me. After the assault, I suffered migraine headaches for several months and frequently would have to wash milky pus from the injured eye.
One afternoon I was napping under the covers when Lara walked into the room talking on the phone to her friend, Hannah. She didn’t know I was in the room, confusing the mound on the bed with a clump of pillows and blankets. I heard her whisper to Hannah, “I found another small package from eBay. He’s buying watches and not telling me.”
That’s when I thought about getting a post office box.
This could be the opening introduction for an essay topic about “economic infidelity.”
As we read in Stephen King’s essay “Write or Die”:
“Hardly a week after being sprung from detention hall, I was once more invited to step down to the principal’s office. I went with a sinking heart, wondering what new sh** I’d stepped in.”
Six. Use a piece of vivid description or a vivid illustration to get your reader’s attention:
My gym looks like an enchanting fitness dome, an extravaganza of taut, sweaty bodies adorned in fluorescent spandex tights contorting on space-age cardio machines, oil-slicked skin shrouded in a synthetic fog of dry ice colored by the dizzying splash of lavender disco lights. Tribal drum music plays loudly. Bottled water flows freely, as if from some Elysian spring, over burnished flesh. The communal purgation appeals to me. My fellow cardio junkies and I are so self-abandoned, free, and euphoric, liberated in our gym paradise.
But right next to our workout heaven is a gastronomical inferno, one of those all-you-can-eat buffets, part of a chain, which is, to my lament, sprouting all over Los Angeles. I despise the buffet, a trough for people of less discriminating tastes who saunter in and out of the restaurant at all hours, entering the doors of the eatery without shame and blind to all the gastrointestinal and health-related horrors that await them. Many of the patrons cannot walk out of their cars to the buffet but have to limp or rely on canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and other ambulatory aids, for it seems a high percentage of the customers are afflicted with obesity, diabetes, arthritis, gout, hypothalamic lesions, elephantiasis, varicose veins and fleshy tumors. Struggling and wheezing as they navigate across the vast parking lot that leads to their gluttonous sanctuary, they seem to worship the very source of their disease.
In front of the buffet is a sign of rules and conduct. One of the rules urges people to stand in the buffet line in an orderly fashion and to be patient because there is plenty of food for everyone. Another rule is that children are not to be left unattended and running freely around the buffet area. My favorite rule is that no hands, tongues, or other body parts are allowed to touch the food. Tongs and other utensils are to be used at all times. The rules give you an idea of the kind of people who eat there. These are people I want to avoid.
But as I walk to the gym from my car, which shares a parking lot with the buffet patrons, I cannot avoid the nauseating smell of stale grease oozing from the buffet’s rear dumpster, army green and stained with splotches and a seaweed-like crust of yellow and brown grime.
Often I see cooks and dishwashers, their bodies covered with soot, coming out of the back kitchen door to throw refuse into the dumpster, a smoldering receptacle with hot fumes of bacteria and flies. Hunchbacked and knobby, the poor employees are old, weary men with sallow, rheumy eyes and cuts and bruises all over their bodies. I imagine them being tortured deep within the bowels of the fiery kitchen on some Medieval rack. They emerge into the blinding sunshine like moles, their eyes squinting, with their plastic garbage bags twice the size of their bodies slung over their shoulders, and then I look into their sad eyes—eyes that seem to beg for my help and mercy. And just when I am about to give them words of hope and consolation or urge them to flee for their lives, it seems they disappear back into the restaurant as if beckoned by some invisible tyrant.
The above could transition to the topic of people of a certain weight being required to buy three airline tickets for an entire row of seats.
Seven. Summarize both sides of a debate.
America is torn by the national healthcare debate. One camp says it’s a crime that 25,000 Americans die unnecessarily each year from treatable disease and that modeling a health system from other developed countries is a moral imperative. However, there is another camp that fears that adopting some version of universal healthcare is tantamount to stepping into the direction of socialism.
Eight. State a misperception, fallacy, or error that your essay will refute.
Americans against universal or national healthcare are quick to say that such a system is “socialist,” “communist,” and “un-American,” but a close look at their rhetoric shows that it is high on knee-jerk, mindless paroxysms and short on reality. Contrary to the enemies of national healthcare, providing universal coverage is very American and compatible with the American brand of capitalism.
Nine. Make a general statement about your topic.
From Sherry Turkle’s essay “How Computers Change the Way We Think”:
The tools we use to think change the ways in which we think. The invention of written language brought about a radical shift in how we process, organize, store, and transmit representations of the world. Although writing remains our primary information technology, today when we think about the impact of technology on our habits of mind, we think primarily of the computer.
Ten. Pose a question your essay will try to answer:
Why are diet books more and more popular, yet Americans are getting more and more fat?
Why is psychotherapy becoming more and more popular, yet Americans are getting more and more crazy?
Why are the people of Qatar the richest people in the world, yet score at the bottom of all Happiness Index metrics?
Why are courses in the Humanities more essential to your well-being that you might think?
What is the difference between thinking and critical thinking?
A comma splice is joining two sentences with a comma when you should separate them with a period or a semicolon.
People love Facebook, however, they don't realize Facebook is sucking all of their energy.
People love Facebook. However, they don't realize Facebook is sucking all of their energy.
Though people love Facebook, they fail to realize Facebook is sucking all their energy.
Patience is difficult to cultivate, it grows steadily only if we make it a priority.
Patience is difficult to cultivate. It grows steadily only if we make it a priority.
Because patience grows within us so slowly, patience is extremely difficult to cultivate.
You can use a comma between two complete sentences when you join them with a FANBOYS word or coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
People love Facebook, but they don't realize Facebook is sucking all of their energy.
Student Comma Splices Part One (the second sentence feels like a continuation of thought from the first sentence, which it is, but it still requires a period before it)
- My department decided to set up another office for me to do my work, I was no longer sitting out front like the permanent receptionist.
- The permanent receptionist never spoke to anyone in the offices, he just answered phones.
- He said, “You have a few choices, they need a coordinator at the new jobsite or working the business side as a coordinator.”
- I was lucky, many opportunities came to me and now I had the required experience to get the job I wanted.
- There was no stopping me, all my achievements were completed on my own.
- I was promoted quickly, I went from coordinator to senior executive within a few months.
- The drug dealing lifestyle was insatiable to Jeff Henderson, he believed he could elude the feds.
- Our methods paralleled, my method was legal, his was illegal.
- Jeff Henderson rose to the top of his game, he had established his fortune.
10. Jeff Henderson had no choice, it was either work or stay confined in his prison cell.
11. She was going to marry her high school sweetheart, what better way to spend the rest of your life in bliss?
12. He asked me to marry him, he was a Marine after all stationed in Japan.
13. Her life was finally beginning, she could leave Los Angeles.
14. This was her life, she did what she wanted.
15. Now she had nothing, she had given up her job to move overseas.
16. Life was too much of a challenge, she accepted that fact.
Jerry ate ten pizzas a week. Nonetheless, he remained skinny.
Jerry ate ten pizzas a week, but he remained skinny.
Barbara didn't buy the BMW. Instead, she bought the Acura.
Barbara didn't buy the BMW, yet she did buy the Acura.
Steve wasn't interested in college. Moreover, he didn't want to work full-time.
Steve wasn't interested in college, and he didn't want to work full-time.
I don't want you to pay me back the hundred dollars you owe me. However, I do want you to help me do my taxes.
I don't want you to pay me back the hundred dollars you owe me, but I do want you to help me do my taxes.
I don't want you to pay me back the hundred dollars you owe me, but I do, however, want you to help me do my taxes.
I feel that our relationship has become stale, stagnant, and turgid. Consequently, I think we should break up.
I feel that our relationship has become stale, stagnant, and turgid, so I think we should break up.
Students hate reading. Therefore, they must be tested with closed-book reading exams.
Students hate reading, so they must be tested with closed-book reading exams.
Avoiding Comma Splices and Run-Ons
Fused (run-on) sentence
Klee's paintings seem simple, they are very sophisticated.
She doubted the value of medication she decided to try it once.
A fused sentence (also called a run-on) joins clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence with no punctuation or words to link them. Fused sentences must be either divided into separate sentences or joined by adding words or punctuation.
I was strongly attracted to her, she was beautiful and funny.
We hated the meat loaf, the cafeteria served it every Friday.
A comma splice occurs when only a comma separates clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence. To correct a comma splice, you can insert a semicolon or period, connect the clauses with a word such as and or because, or restructure the sentence.
After each sentence, put a “C” for Correct or a “CS” for Comma Splice. If the sentence is a comma splice, rewrite it so that it is correct.
One. Bailey used to eat ten pizzas a day, now he eats a spinach salad for lunch and dinner.
Two. Marco no longer runs on the treadmill, instead he opts for the less injury-causing elliptical trainer.
Three. Running can cause shin splints, which can cause excruciating pain.
Four. Running in the incorrect form can wreak havoc on the knees, slowing down can often correct the problem.
Five. While we live in a society where 1,500-calorie cheeseburgers are on the rise, the reading of books, sad to say, is on the decline.
Six. Facebook is a haven for narcissists, it encourages showing off with selfies and other mundane activities that are ways of showing how great and amazing our lives our, what a sham.
Seven. We live in a society where more and more Americans are consuming 1,500-calorie cheeseburgers, however, those same Americans are reading less and less books.
Eight. Love is a virus from outer space, it tends to become most contagious during April and May.
Nine. The tarantula causes horror in many people, moreover there is a species of tarantula in Brazil, the wandering banana spider, that is the most venomous spider in the world.
Ten. Even though spiders cause many people to recoil with horror, most species are harmless.
Eleven. The high repair costs of European luxury vehicles repelled Amanda from buying such a car, instead she opted for a Japanese-made Lexus.
Twelve. Amanda got a job at the Lexus dealership, now she’s trying to get me a job in the same office.
Thirteen. While consuming several cinnamon buns, a twelve-egg cheese omelet, ten slices of French toast slathered in maple syrup, and a tray of Swedish loganberry crepes topped with a dollop of blueberry jam, I contemplated the very grave possibility that I might be eating my way to a heart attack.
Fourteen. Even though I rank marijuana far less dangerous than most pharmaceutical drugs, alcohol, and other commonly used intoxicants, I find marijuana unappealing for a host of reasons, not the least of which is its potential for radically degrading brain cells, its enormous effect on stimulating the appetite, resulting in obesity, and its capacity for over-relaxing many people so that they lose significant motivation to achieve their primary goals, opting instead for a life of sloth and intractable indolence.