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FORMAT OF THE READING ASSIGNMENT Previewing When you preview, you try to get a sense of the writer’s main idea, key supporting points, and general emphasis. A



When you preview, you try to get a sense of the writer’s main idea, key supporting points, and general emphasis. At this stage, you don’t read every word; instead, you skim the text. You can begin by focusing on the title, the first paragraph (which often contains a purpose statement or overview), and the last paragraph (which may contain a summary of the writer’s main idea). You should also look for clues to the writer’s message in the passage’s other visual signals.

Recognizing Visual Signals

· Look at the title.

· Look at the opening and closing paragraphs.

· Look at each paragraph’s first sentence.

· Look for headings.

· Look for italicized and boldfaced words.

· Look for numbered lists.

· Look for bulleted lists (like this one).

· Look at any visuals (graphs, charts, tables, photographs, and so on).

· Look at any information that is boxed.

· Look at any information that is in color.

When you have finished previewing the passage, you should have a general sense of what the writer wants to communicate.

As you read and reread, you will record your reactions in writing. These notes will help you understand the writer’s ideas and your own thoughts about those ideas. Every reader develops a different system of recording responses, but many readers learn to use a combination of highlighting and annotation.


When you highlight, you mark the text. You might, for example, underline (or double underline) important concepts, box key terms, number a series of related points, circle an unfamiliar word (or place a question mark beside it), draw a vertical line in the margin beside a particularly interesting passage, draw arrows to connect related points, or star discussions of the central issues or main idea.

At this stage, you continue to look for visual signals, but now, as you read more closely, you also begin to pay attention to the text’s verbal signals.

Recognizing Verbal Signals

· Look for phrases that signal emphasis (“The primary reason”;” The most important idea”).

· Look for repeated words and phrases.

· Look for words that signal addition (also, in addition, furthermore).

· Look for words that signal time sequence (first, after, then, next, finally).

· Look for words that identify causes and effects (because, as a result, for this reason).

· Look for words that introduce examples (for example, for instance).

· Look for words that signal comparison (likewise, similarly).

· Look for words that signal contrast (unlike, although, in contrast).

· Look for words that signal contradiction (however, on the contrary).

· Look for words that signal narrowing of the writer’s focus (in fact, specifically, in other words).

· Look for the words that signal summaries or conclusions (to sum up, in conclusion).

The study questions that follow each essay will help you think critically about what you are reading; they will help you formulate questions and draw conclusions. Three types of questions follow each essay.

· Comprehension Questions help you assess your understanding of what the writer is saying.

· Purpose and Audience questions ask you to consider why, and for whom, each selection was written and to examine the implications of the writer’s choices considering a particular purpose or intended audience.

· Style and Structure questions encourage you to examine the decisions the writer has made about elements such as arrangement of ideas, paragraphing, sentence structure, and imagery. One questions in this category, designated
Vocabulary Project, focuses on word choice and connotation.

Examples and Guidelines

for Answers

Questions should be answered in complete sentences and with a minimum of four (4) sentences. The formula entails:

1. Please paraphrase the question.

That means to put the question in your own words. This will help with your comprehension as well as will build vocabulary.

2. Answer the question in a complete sentence.

This will help with your comprehension as well as will build vocabulary.

3. Cite where the answer comes from.

That means to go to the text or story and list page and line number. Write the evidence down as it is in the text, line for line.

4. Explain what the evidence means and why it is the best answer.

Please answer in a complete sentence. This will help with your comprehension as well as will help build your writing vocabulary.

What follows are examples of the sections and the answers. Your responses will follow those guidelines. You will be required to answer two (2) questions from Comprehension, one (1) question from Purpose and Audience, two (2) questions from Style and Structure.

Student Name

Prof Hamilton

ENGL 1301 00000

Date, Month, Year

Unit 1 Reading 1

Junot Diaz, The Money


1. Diaz is explicit about his family’s poverty in the first paragraph. His mother had no regular job; his father’s employment was inconsistent He refers to his way his “already broke family (had) to live even broker” (1). Later in the essay, his family’s lack of money is implied by the description of the neighborhood they live in.


1. Diaz’s diction and range of reference is broad; it suggests a writer who is not only in control of his material and his prose, but who revels in the playful possibilities of language and style, moving from the phrase “(my mother) swore that we had run our gums to our idiot friends” (7) to “the nictitating membrane obscuring the world suddenly lifts” (8). Within just a few sentences. He assumes his audience hears both his high notes and his low notes without much explanation—and that they find the incongruity amusing. His use of diction matches his range of reference, and he take it for granted that his readers will be familiar with Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment (“Raskolnikov glances’) and the Encyclopedia Brown book series.


1. Diaz uses a one-sentence paragraph to signal a shift and narrow the essay’s focus: “And that summer it was ours” (5). He uses a two-sentence paragraph to provide a sharp, comic summary: “And that was how I solved the Case of the Stupid Morons. My one and only case’ (12). You might want to discuss the use of short paragraphs as a stylistic choice in personal or expressive writing, while noting that one-sentence paragraphs are usually out of place in formal academic writing.

Writing about a Text – Remember to PEE.

When you are answering longer questions or writing about a text, you need to PEE!


What is the main idea in your paragraph? (What POINT are you making?)

· Firstly…

· In my opinion…

· Arguably…

· The writer uses…

· A technique used is…

· In contrast…

· Similarly…


How do you know that your POINT is correct? (Provide EVIDENCE for your claims)

· For example…

· This is shown when…

· We know this because…

· This is evident in…


Why have you chosen that example as EVIDENCE? What technique has the writer used? What effect does it have? (Make sure you EXPLAIN yourself?

· This shows…

· From this we can inter…

· This is effective because…

· The writer uses this technique because to show…

If you structure your paragraphs in this way, your writing will be clear and interesting. You cannot make a point without giving evidence and explaining yourself. Otherwise, it becomes either a


Brent staples

Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space

Born in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1951, Brent Staples joined the staff of the New York Times in 1985, writing on culture and politics, and he became a member of its editorial board in 1990. His columns appear regularly on the paper’s op-ed pages. Staples has also written a memoir, Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White (1994), about his escape from the poverty and violence of his childhood.

Background on racial profiling “Just Walk On By” can be read in the light of controversies surrounding racial profiling of criminal suspects, which occurs, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, “when the police target someone for investigation on the basis of that person’s race, national origin, or ethnicity. Examples of profiling are the use of race to determine which drivers to stop for minor traffic violations (‘driving while Black’) and the use of race to determine which motorists or pedestrians to search for contraband.” Although law enforcement officials have often denied that they profile criminals solely on the basis of race, studies have shown a high prevalence of police profiling directed primarily at Black and Latinx Americans. A number of states have enacted laws barring racial profiling, and some people have won court settlements when they objected to being interrogated by police solely because of their race. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, people of Arab descent have also been targets of heightened interest at airports and elsewhere. In addition, the campaign and subsequent presidential rhetoric of Donald Trump, who has repeatedly made anti-immigrant statements in support of building a border wall between the United States and Mexico, caused many Latinx people to fear that they would be singled out for scrutiny solely on the basis of race. Clearly, these events, as well as incidents that sparked the current Black Lives Matter movement, have added to the continuing controversy surrounding the association of criminal behavior with particular ethnic groups.

1 My first victim was a woman — white, well dressed, probably in her early twenties. I came upon her late one evening on a deserted street in Hyde Park, a relatively affluent neighborhood in an otherwise mean, impoverished section of Chicago. As I swung onto the avenue behind her, there seemed to be a discreet, uninflammatory distance between us. Not so. She cast back a worried glance. To her, the youngish Black man — a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket — seemed menacingly close. After a few more quick glimpses, she picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest. Within seconds she disappeared into a cross street.

“It was in the echo of that terrified woman’s footfalls that I first began to know the unwieldy inheritance I’d come into — the ability to alter public space in ugly ways.”

2 That was more than a decade ago. I was twenty-two years old, a graduate student newly arrived at the University of Chicago. It was in the echo of that terrified woman’s footfalls that I first began to know the unwieldy inheritance I’d come into — the ability to alter public space in ugly ways. It was clear that she thought herself the quarry of a mugger, rapist, or worse. Suffering a bout of insomnia, however, I was stalking sleep, not defenseless wayfarers. As a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken — let alone hold it to a person’s throat — I was surprised, embarrassed, and dismayed all at once. Her flight made me feel like an accomplice in tyranny. It also made it clear that I was indistinguishable from the muggers who occasionally seeped into the area from the surrounding ghetto. That first encounter, and those that followed, signified that a vast, unnerving gulf lay between nighttime pedestrians — particularly women — and me. And I soon gathered that being perceived as dangerous is a hazard in itself. I only needed to turn a corner into a dicey situation, or crowd some frightened, armed person in a foyer somewhere, or make an errant move after being pulled over by a policeman. Where fear and weapons meet — and they often do in urban America — there is always the possibility of death.

3 In that first year, my first away from my hometown, I was to become thoroughly familiar with the language of fear. At dark, shadowy intersections in Chicago, I could cross in front of a car stopped at a traffic light and elicit the thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk of the driver — Black, white, male, or female — hammering down the door locks. On less traveled streets after dark, I grew accustomed to but never comfortable with people who crossed to the other side of the street rather than pass me. Then there were the standard unpleasantries with police, doormen, bouncers, cab drivers, and others whose business it is to screen out troublesome individuals before there is any nastiness.

4 I moved to New York nearly two years ago and I have remained an avid night walker. In central Manhattan, the near-constant crowd cover minimizes tense one-on-one street encounters. Elsewhere — visiting friends in SoHo, where sidewalks are narrow and tightly spaced buildings shut out the sky — things can get very taut indeed.

5 Black men have a firm place in New York mugging literature. Norman Podhoretz in his famed (or infamous) 1963 essay, “My Negro Problem — and Ours,” recalls growing up in terror of Black males; they “were tougher than we were, more ruthless,” he writes — and as an adult on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, he continues, he cannot constrain his nervousness when he meets Black men on certain streets. Similarly, a decade later, the essayist and novelist Edward Hoagland extols a New York where once “Negro bitterness bore down mainly on other Negroes.” Where some see mere panhandlers, Hoagland sees “a mugger who is clearly screwing up his nerve to do more than just ask for money.” But Hoagland has “the New Yorker’s quick-hunch posture for broken-field maneuvering,” and the bad guy swerves away.

6 I often witness that “hunch posture,” from women after dark on the warrenlike streets of Brooklyn where I live. They seem to set their faces on neutral and, with their purse straps strung across their chests bandolier style, they forge ahead as though bracing themselves against being tackled. I understand, of course, that the danger they perceive is not a hallucination. Women are particularly vulnerable to street violence, and young Black males are drastically overrepresented among the perpetrators of that violence. Yet these truths are no solace against the kind of alienation that comes of being ever the suspect, against being set apart, a fearsome entity with whom pedestrians avoid making eye contact.

7 It is not altogether clear to me how I reached the ripe old age of twenty-two without being conscious of the lethality nighttime pedestrians attributed to me. Perhaps it was because in Chester, Pennsylvania, the small, angry industrial town where I came of age in the 1960s, I was scarcely noticeable against a backdrop of gang warfare, street knifings, and murders. I grew up one of the good boys, had perhaps a half-dozen fist fights. In retrospect, my shyness of combat has clear sources.

8 Many things go into the making of a young thug. One of those things is the consummation of the male romance with the power to intimidate. An infant discovers that random flailings send the baby bottle flying out of the crib and crashing to the floor. Delighted, the joyful babe repeats those motions again and again, seeking to duplicate the feat. Just so, I recall the points at which some of my boyhood friends were finally seduced by the perception of themselves as tough guys. When a mark cowered and surrendered his money without resistance, myth and reality merged — and paid off. It is, after all, only manly to embrace the power to frighten and intimidate. We, as men, are not supposed to give an inch of our lane on the highway; we are to seize the fighter’s edge in work and in play and even in love; we are to be valiant in the face of hostile forces.

9 Unfortunately, poor and powerless young men seem to take all this nonsense literally. As a boy, I saw countless tough guys locked away; I have since buried several, too. They were babies, really — a teenage cousin, a brother of twenty-two, a childhood friend in his mid-twenties — all gone down in episodes of bravado played out in the streets. I came to doubt the virtues of intimidation early on. I chose, perhaps even unconsciously, to remain a shadow — timid, but a survivor.

10 The fearsomeness mistakenly attributed to me in public places often has a perilous flavor. The most frightening of these confusions occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s when I worked as a journalist in Chicago. One day, rushing into the office of a magazine I was writing for with a deadline story in hand, I was mistaken for a burglar. The office manager called security and, with an ad hoc posse, pursued me through the labyrinthine halls, nearly to my editor’s door. I had no way of proving who I was. I could only move briskly toward the company of someone who knew me.

11 Another time I was on assignment for a local paper and killing time before an interview. I entered a jewelry store on the city’s affluent Near North Side. The proprietor excused herself and returned with an enormous red Doberman pinscher straining at the end of a leash. She stood, the dog extended toward me, silent to my questions, her eyes bulging nearly out of her head. I took a cursory look around, nodded, and bade her good night. Relatively speaking, however, I never fared as badly as another Black male journalist. He went to nearby Waukegan, Illinois, a couple of summers ago to work on a story about a murderer who was born there. Mistaking the reporter for the killer, police hauled him from his car at gunpoint and but for his press credentials would probably have tried to book him. Such episodes are not uncommon. Black men trade tales like this all the time.

12 In “My Negro Problem — and Ours,” Podhoretz writes that the hatred he feels for Blacks makes itself known to him through a variety of avenues — one being his discomfort with that “special brand of paranoid touchiness” to which he says Blacks are prone. No doubt he is speaking here of Black men. In time, I learned to smother the rage I felt at so often being taken for a criminal. Not to do so would surely have led to madness — via that special “paranoid touchiness” that so annoyed Podhoretz at the time he wrote the essay.

13 I began to take precautions to make myself less threatening. I move about with care, particularly late in the evening. I give a wide berth to nervous people on subway platforms during the wee hours, particularly when I have exchanged business clothes for jeans. If I happen to be entering a building behind some people who appear skittish, I may walk by, letting them clear the lobby before I return, so as not to seem to be following them. I have been calm and extremely congenial on those rare occasions when I’ve been pulled over by the police.

14 And on late-evening constitutionals along streets less traveled by, I employ what has proved to be an excellent tension-reducing measure: I whistle melodies from Beethoven and Vivaldi and the more popular classical composers. Even steely New Yorkers hunching toward nighttime destinations seem to relax, and occasionally they even join in the tune. Virtually everybody seems to sense that a mugger wouldn’t be warbling bright, sunny selections from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. It is my equivalent of the cowbell that hikers wear when they know they are in bear country.

• • •


2.What does Staples mean when he says he has the power to “alter public space” (2)?

3.What things, in Staples’s opinion, contribute to “the making of a young thug” (8)? According to Staples, why are young, poor, and powerless men especially likely to become thugs?

Purpose and Audience

3.What preconceptions about race does Staples assume his audience has? How does he challenge these preconceptions?

Style and Structure

1.Why does Staples mention Norman Podhoretz? Could he make the same points without referring to Podhoretz’s essay?

2.Staples begins his essay with an anecdote. How effective is this strategy? Do you think another opening strategy would be more effective? Explain.

Journal Entry

Have you ever been in a situation such as the ones Staples describes, where you perceived someone (or someone perceived you) as threatening? How did you react? After reading Staples’s essay, do you think you would react the same way now?


No Plagiarism.No AI detection. The lines taken from the paragraphs should also be labelled as (1) (2). Just let the professor know which paragraphs those sentences are are taken from. Please review the format. Last time I only got 60% because of the format.

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