The way we never were

Paper instructions:
read the book “the way we never were” and then write a reader response.
Your essay should be based primarily on evidence drawn from a close, careful reading of the documents.
You can also use appropriate background information from the course readings and lectures, but you should
use most of your space to discuss the documents.
Your essay should address each of the points below. DO NOT answer each one of these questions as you
would on a quiz, but weave these points into your essay.
*First of all, be sure to mention the title of the work to which you are responding, the author, and the main
thesis of the text, using correct English for the first paragraph of your paper!**
What does the text have to do with you, personally, and with the world as you see it? It is not
acceptable to write that the text has NOTHING to do with you, since just about everything humans can
write has to do in some way with every other human.
How much does the text agree or clash with your view of the world, and what you consider right and
wrong? Use several quotes as examples of how it agrees with and supports what you think about the world,
about right and wrong, and about what you think it is to be human. Use quotes and examples to discuss
how the text disagrees with what you think about the world and about right and wrong.
What did you learn, and how much were your views and opinions challenged or changed by this
text, if at all? Did the text communicate with you? Why or why not? Give examples of how your views
might have changed or been strengthened (or perhaps, of why the text failed to convince you, the way it is).
Please do not write “I agree with everything the author wrote,” since everybody disagrees about something,
even if it is a tiny point. Use quotes to illustrate your points of challenge, or where you were persuaded, or
where it left you cold.
How well does it address things that you, personally, care about and consider important to the
world? How does it address things that are important to your family, your community, your ethnic group, to
people of your economic or social class or background, or your faith tradition? If not, who does or did the
text serve? Did it pass the “Who cares?” test? Use quotes to illustrate.
Reading and writing “critically” does not mean the same thing as “criticizing,” in everyday
language (complaining or griping, fault-finding, nit-picking). Your “critique” can and should be
positive and praise the text if possible, as well as pointing out problems, disagreements and shortcomings.
To sum up, what is your overall reaction to the text? Would you read something else like this, or by this
author, in the future or not? Why or why not? To whom would you recommend this text?

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