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Short Takes


Short Takes Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This lively collection of fifty-three short, readable selections by both student and professional writers provides useful models of the rhetorical modes.


In addition to familiar names such as Barbara Ehrenreich, Richard Rodriguez, and William Raspberry, this reader features many fresh voices such as Anchee Min, Thomas Sowell, Anna Quindlen, Michael Chabon, and Dave Barry.   Detailed chapter openers offer strategies for using each rhetorical mode, including short examples from the readings within each chapter. Headnotes for each essay give a brief biography of its author, explain its context, and pinpoint one of the writer’s techniques. Questions on “Organization and Ideas” and “Technique and Style” and many suggestions for writing journal entries and essays follow each selection. Each chapter ends with additional writing assignments that ask students to compare two or more of the essays.

Table of Contents

(* = readings that are new to this edition)


Freeze Frame: Reading and Writing


Chapter 1: On Using Description


*Verlyn Klinkenborg, “Summer Wind”

Jason Holland, “The Bridge” (student selection)

*Kelly Ruth Winter, "Tommy”

*Lori Jakiela, ”You’ll Love the Way We Fly”

Mario Suarez, “El Hoyo” 

  Chapter 2: On Using Narration


* Pete Dexter, “A Fowl Trick”

Meg Gifford, “Learning, then College” (student selection)

Flavius Stan, “The Night of Oranges” (student selection)

Magdoline Asfahani, “Time to Look and Listen” (student selection)

Anchee Min, “Footprints on the Flag”

*Visual:  Ann Telnaes,  “The Flag” (cartoon)


Chapter 3: On Using Example


Michael Barlow, “Sweatin’ for Nothin’” (student selection)

* Allison Silverman, “Have Fun”

Stacey Wilkins, “Stop Ordering Me Around”

Lena Williams, “A Black Fan of Country Music Finally Tells All”

Michiko Kakutani, “Bananas for Rent”


Chapter 4: On Using Definition 


Diane Ackerman, “Chocolate Equals Love”

Henry Han Xi Lau, “I Was a Member of the Kung Fu Crew” (student selection)

*Cecilia Munoz, “Getting Angry Can Be a Good Thing”

William Raspberry, “The Handicap of Definition”

Thomas Sowell, “Crippled by Their Culture”

*Visual: Dave Coverley, “Speed Bump” (cartoon)


Chapter 5: On Using Comparison and Contrast


Lynnika Butler, “Living on Tokyo Time”

Frank Deford, “Who’s Watching? Reality TV and Sports”

Denise Leight, “Playing House” (student selection)

*Cheryl Merrill, ”Singing Like Yma Sumac”

Danna Harman, “World and America Watching Different Wars”


Chapter 6: On Using Division and Classification


*Marion Winik, “What Are Friends For?”

Russell Baker, “The Plot Against People”

Michelle Higgins, “The Search for Human Life in the Maze of Retail Stores”

Richard Rodriguez, “Desert Religions”


Chapter 7: On Using Process


Laura Carlson, “Runner” (student selection)

Dave Barry, “Independence Day”

*Garrison Keillor, “How to Write a Letter”

Naomi Wolf, “A Woman’s Place”


Chapter 8: On Using Cause and Effect


Bjorn Skogquist, “Tiffany Stephenson – An Apology” (student selection)

Brent Staples, “Black Men and Public Space”

Oliver Sacks, “When Music Heals Body and Soul”

*Samantha Power, “Technology’s Power to Narrow Our View”

Andrew Sullivan, “We Have Retreated into the iWorld”

*Visual: John Deering, “The Class of 2008” (cartoon)


Chapter 9: On Using Argument


*Barbara Ehrenreich, “Dance, Dance, Revolution”

*Anne Applebaum, “Veiled Insult”

*John Cloud, “Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered?”

*Debra J. Saunders, “Old Enough to Vote, Old Enough to Drink,”


   Chip Bok, “College Life” (cartoon)

   Adrian Raeside, “The Other Coast” (comic strip)

Jay Bookman, “Guest Workers and the U.S. Heritage”

Robert J. Samuelson, “We Don’t Need ‘Guest Workers’”


    Darrin Bell, “All These Illegals,” (comic strip)

    Steve Kelley, “Americans and Jobs” (cartoon)


Chapter 10: For Further Reading: Two Topics, Six Views


On Reality and Television


*Anna Quindlen, “Watching the World Go By”

*James Poniewozik, “Ugly, the American”

*Amelia Meyer, “Queens of the hills” (student selection)

  On Freedom and Censorship


*Ursula LeGuin, "Whose Lathe?" 

*Anna Quindlen, “With a No. 2 Pencil, Delete”

*Michael Chabon, “Solitude and the Fortress of Youth”



Index of Authors, Essays, and Terms

Product Details

Penfield, Elizabeth
Longman Publishing Group
Composition & Creative Writing - General
Report writing
English language -- Rhetoric.
Composition & Creative Writing
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
June 2009
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 in 376 gr

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