Log assignments are due at the beginning of class on the days the readings are due. Each reading in Do Americans Shop Too Much has an individual question that may be used for your log prompt. Or you may choose any of the six log questions listed below as a prompt for any of the articles in Do Americans Shop Too Much. Prompts for Tortilla Curtain and the individual readings are listed below on the reading assignment schedule.
General Log Questions for Do Americans Shop Too
- Relate the reading to a news story, book, movie or TV show. How does one explain or illustrate some idea in the other.
- Analyze the logical flaws in the reading.
- Agree or disagree with some statement or idea in the article. Use examples from your own experience to support your point.
- Compare the ideas of one article to those of another.
- Find out about the article’s author. Do you think the author’s personal situation or history may affect his or her response to this issue?
- Explain to friends why reading this article would be a valuable use of their time.
Although you can choose which 10 readings you will write logs about and which question you will use as a prompt for each one, I do not want all ten logs to use the same question.
Reading/Writing Schedule for Do Americans Shop TooMuch and Tortilla Curtain
Sept. 24/25 Preface and Forward
Sept. 29/30 “The New Politics of Consumption”
Log: Summarize Schor’s ideas in one paragraph
Argument: “Argument about Causes,” pp. 32-39
Oct. 1 /2 Handbook: pp. 7-13
Argument: pp. 1-9 AND 71-73
Log: Choose one of Schor’s statements. Do you agree or disagree with it? Why?
Oct. 6/7 Handbook: 2c, pp. 23-26
Argument: “Argument by Examples”, pp.10-18
Do you think Frank’s idea for a “progressive tax on consumption” is a good one? Why or why not?
Oct. 8/9 Handbook: 1c, pp. 13-16 and 8a, pp. 101-105
Arguments: pp. 53-70
Draft of Essay #1on “The New Politics of Consumption”
“The Stone Age”
What does Twitchell mean when he says, “Consumerism is not pretty, but is beats the alternatives so far? What are the “alternatives”? How does consumerism beat the alternatives?
Oct. 13/14 Handbook: 4f, 59-64
Essay #1 Final Version
“The Price is Right”
Choose one of Gibbons’ suggestions for action and explain why you think it would or wouldn’t lead people to “make wiser choices” and solve problems of consumerism.
Oct. 15/16 “Quality of Life”
Brown raises the question: how do we define a “comfortable lifestyle.” If we did agree on a definition, do you think people would stop trying to achieve more economic prosperity once they reached this “comfortable” level?
Oct. 20/21 Draftof Essay #2
“The Personal Level”
Taylor connects consumerism with the problem that “people feel alone.” Why would people’s separation from each other lead to over-consumption or over-work? Give some examples.
Oct. 22/23 Tortilla Curtain, Chapter 1
Oct. 27/28 “Postmodern Markets”
Holt suggests that consumerism might be slowed by “legislating in favor of more public non-commercial media outlets.” Do you think more commercial-free media would reduce people’s consumption of goods and services?
“A New Puritanism”
Thompson suggests that a “radical politics of consumption should argue for getting more pleasure out of consumption.” Can you give some examples of what he might mean? How could people get more pleasure out of consumption without really consuming more?
Oct. 29/30 Essay#2 Final Version Due
“Too Much Economics”
Lamont and Molnar say that “how one relates to what one consumes is as important as what one consumes.” What does this mean? Give some examples that would illustrate this point.
Nov. 3 /4 “Leisure for All”
Mishel, Bernstein and Schmitt say, “There does seem to us to be a basic American cultural preference for income over leisure (certainly relative to Europe).” Do you think they are right that Americans would rather have more money than more free time? Why do you think they would have this preference?
Nov. 5/6 “Schor’s Response”
Choose one of Schor’s responses to one of the other authors. Does her response correctly summarize the author’s position? Does it effectively counter the author’s claim?
TortillaCurtain, Part 1
In what ways do Candido, America, Delaney and Kyra each fit into
traditional gender roles? Do other people’s assumptions about
traditional gender roles cause them any difficulties or give them any
Compare Delaney’s and Candido’s relationships with the natural world. In what ways are their attitudes toward or uses of natural resources different? Why? In what ways are they the same? Why?
Nov. 12/13 Research Paper Draft Due
Nov. 24/25 Essay#3 Due
Tortilla Curtain, Part 2
1. Why is the building of the wall such an important part of the novel? How do the discussions and events leading up to it and Delaney and Kyra’s reactions to it fit into the themes of the novel?
does America’s and Candido’s journey to Canoga Park add to our
understanding of the characters, their situation and the issues of
class and immigration in the novel?
Dec. 1 /2 Research Paper Due
Dec. 3 /4 Tortilla Curtain, Part 3
Dec. 9 MW Class Final Exam 7-9 a.m.
Dec. 10 TH Class Final Exam 7-9 a.m.
Essay #1 on “The New Politics of Consumption EWRT 2
Thesis Due Oct. 6/7 Fall 2008
Draft Due Oct. 8/9
Final Version Due Oct. 13/14
This first essay will be a response to Schor’s article about
consumerism in America.
You will choose
ONE of the topics below.
You may also
create your own topic, though it must be one that responds to Schor’s article
with an argument that can be supported by examples.
If you want to create your own topic, please consult with me
before composing your draft.
claim is that Americans are overconsuming. Summarize her claim and respond with an argumentative essay
that evaluates whether what Schor says is true (See “Critiques on p. 101
of the Handbook). Create a
thesis that accurately communicates your position in regard to the
question “Is Schor’s claim true?”
You will probably need to narrow your focus since you’re not an
expert on the consumption patterns of American consumers and don’t want to
do extensive research to gather the evidence. Given what you know or can fairly easily find out about
consumer behavior you participate in and observe, what position can you
take and defend in response to Schor’s claim? Examples to support your
claim can come from your own experience, current events, history or news. They should be varied, representative
claims that the solution to consumerism must be “political.” Summarize her solution and respond with
an argument that proposes a different approach to solving the problem
Schor identifies. (See “Proposals”
on p. 101 of the Handbook).
Create a thesis that clearly lays out your alternative
solution. Explain the elements of
your solution and how they would work using examples that are varied,
representative and specific. The
examples can be real ones from your experience, news or history or you can
use hypothetical examples.
claims that American’s consumerism is damaging to individuals and to
society. Summarize her claim and
respond with a critique that evaluates whether consumerism is good or
not. Create a thesis that
accurately communicates your evaluation of American consumerism. Support your evaluation using examples
from your own experience, current events or history that are varied,
representative and specific.
proposes “seven basic elements” of a politics of consumption. Choose one of them, summarize her position and argue that her proposal
would be workable and valuable or that it would not. Use varied, representative, specific
examples from your own experience, current events or history to support
I’m expecting final essays to be organized using unified,
coherent paragraphs and written in clear, correct and concise sentences.
A length of 750 words is about right.
You must turn in the thesis and draft that
you worked on in class along with the final draft
Essay #2 EWRT2
New Democracy Forum Fall2008
Draft Due Oct. 20/21
Final Version Due Oct. 27/28
This second essay will be based on readings you do on your
own on the internet.
Go to the New
Democracy Forum website of the Boston Review
This site contains series of articles on different
Step 1 Choose a
topic. Make sure you choose a topic
that interests you because you will use the same topic and readings for the
research paper. Before you settle on a
topic, do an overview of the readings to see how many there are, how long they
are and how difficult. The topic you
choose should be manageable for you.
Step 2. Read the
articles. They are much like the
ones in Do Americans Shop Too Much? in terms of difficulty and length,
so give yourself time to read through them.
Step 3. Write an
It should answer the
following questions, though not necessarily in this order:
- Why is
this a topic that people should care about?
are the major questions or problems that the articles on this topic raise?
of the articles was most valuable to you in exploring the topic? Why?
areas of this topic do you think would be worth further investigation?
In organizing this paper, you will not use the 5-paragraph
You will need to think
about how best to arrange your ideas so that you answer all the questions
Research Paper Assignment EWRT2
Draft Due Nov. 12/13 Fall
2008Final Version Due Dec. 1/2
The research paper is going to be based on the readings you
did for Essay #2.
You will do the
question raised by the articles you read in the New Democracy Forum.
Find some issue you want to pursue in more
detail than the articles did.
example, some of the authors in Do Americans Shop Too Much?
possibility of establishing some standard of “decent income” that would be a
measure of how much money was necessary and how much was excessive. None of the
authors, however, talked about how such a standard would be established.
If you were doing a research paper on that
topic, you could choose to explore exactly how such a standard could be
Before you commit yourself
to a research question, do a quick survey of available resources to make sure
you’ll be able to find some relevant information.
You will submit your research question on Nov. 3 or 4.
You can use the internet,
books, magazines, newspapers or other media.
You’ll learn more about how to access these sources during our library
Remember that the goal of
your research should all to answer your specific question, not to gather more
information about the larger topic.
The thesis for your
research paper should be the answer to your question.
You will then use your research, including any of the relevant
information from the New Democracy Forum readings, to give evidence that the
conclusion you’ve come to about the question is the right one.
You will use quotations, paraphrases and
summaries from the sources and use MLA style documentation to give credit to
My focus on grading your research paper will be:
you chosen an interesting/significant research question?
your source material relevant, reliable and sufficient?
you clearly supported your thesis with evidence arranged logically?
Use and Documentation of Sources:
you used quotes and paraphrases appropriately?
you avoided having too little or too much source material?
you documented your source material properly?
We will be discussing more about all these elements of your
paper and about organization, style and format.
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Essay #3 EWRT 2
Due November 24/25What
requirements do you have for a decent standard of living?
Your third essay will answer this question.
Use examples, numbers, names and details to
define your needs.
Be as precise as
possible in defining “decent standard of living.”
Think about the following:
do you need physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually? Should all these aspects be included in
- How do
your needs differ from other people’s?
How are they the same?
Would your definition work for everyone in the United States? In the world?
much control do you have over whether you are able to have a decent
quality of life? Do other people
contribute to making your quality of life decent? If you aren’t able to achieve a decent
quality of life on your own, do other people—family, friends, the
government—have a responsibility to provide assistance?
You may not be able to completely answer all of these
questions in your essay, but you should consider them.
Your thesis should make clear what aspects
of these issues you will address in your essay and which you will not.
The thesis should clearly show your focus.
In other words, it should be “appropriately
I will be looking for logical
reasoning, specific supporting evidence and examples and a clear organization
with unified, coherent paragraphs and a strong introduction and