NCC David Brooks People Like

  • Look over the possible articles for Paper 1 (listed at the top of the assignment & found in Methods of Argument). Decide which articles sound interesting to you, then skim them & choose the one that you want to writer your paper on.
  • Do your post of at least 200 words on the article you plan to write your paper on (you’re not committed to writing the paper on this article: you may switch to one of the other articles later if you wish).

    For your post, state what you think the author’s main argument is in the article, then discuss the major points of the article and how they contributed to the author’s argument, and how the author organized the article–in other words, how did one idea in the article lead to the next?

    Note that, as with the Paper 1 assignment, this is not asking whether you agree with the author or not, only what their argument was and how they built that argument.

    Grading: The post is worth a total of 20 points. You’ll be graded on the overall quality of your post & writing, as follows:

    A (18-20) Above-average ideas illustrated with appropriate examples from the reading. Good job.

    B (16-17) Ideas illustrated with examples from the reading. Also a good job.

    C (14-15) Ideas and examples that don’t quite add up. Could you be a bit more specific &/or add a better example?

    D (13) Vague idea with a vague or missing examples. This has the same problems as above, only moreso. Delve!

    F (11) Off-task. Read the directions more closely.

    Short posts receive partial credit; late posts emailed to me after deadline receive half credit up to 24 hours late, no credit after that.

    How to post. To post, click on Start a New Thread under the topic you’ve chosen to write about. Don’t forget to click Post (in the lower left of the pop-up box) when you’re done.

    Please post discussion messages directly to the discussion board—not as attachments. If you want to safeguard your work, write your post in a word-processing document on your computer, then copy the text into the text box here. This gives you a backup copy and also allows you to do a word count of your writing. If for some reason you’re unable to post, email the post to me before the deadline. You can also email me a backup copy of your post if you’re worried that for some reason it didn’t post.

    Good Reading & Writing, Lesson #4: Pay Attention to the Bonus Tracks.When you’re given a reading assignment, pay attention not only to the reading itself, but also to any material associated with the reading in your book. For instance, in Methods of Argument, readings are preceded by an italicized paragraph about the author, and followed by sets of prompts asking you to reflect on the reading, write about it, etc.

    Always read the author’s biography, which will fill you in on who they are and what their credentials are to write on the subject, and possibly tip you off as to what biases they might bring to their writing. You can even quickly Google the author and probably find their website if you want to know even more about them. By the same token, it’s always a good idea to read the review questions at the end of an article or a chapter in a textbook, even if you’re not assigned to write about them. Review questions are meant to point you at the main ideas of the reading, and can help you focus and organize your thoughts as you read.

    All of the above are like the bonus tracks on a DVD about the making of a movie. They can enhance your understanding and appreciation of a piece of writing and help make you curious about the author and the subject. The more you understand and are curious about a subject, the better you’ll write about it.

    David Brooks, “People Like Us” or Tim Kreider, “The ‘Busy’ Trap”


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