Six Precis’ Assignment In his influential 1883 memoir Two Views Essay

Six Precis’ Assignment

In his influential 1883 memoir, “Two Views of the River,” Mark Twain asserts that knowledge and experience changes the way one perceives things and often brings a sense of loss of the beauty found in simplicity. Twain supports this claim by beginning his piece with a description of the simple beauty of the river (like the sun and churning of the current) when it was new to him, and then comparing it to his view after he became familiar with it, a more professional view that had to interpret the meaning and logistics of all the things that were once beautiful and simple.

Twain’s purpose is to compare the beauty found in inexperience to the wariness found in expertise in order to demonstrate the loss when knowledge is gained and to urge the reader to appreciate the beauty and simplicity in their own lives. Twain uses a nostalgic tone throughout his piece and his examples resonate with his working class audience.

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Twain, Mark. “Two Views of the River.” The Riverside Reader: Third Edition. Eds.

J.F. Trimme and Maxine Hairston. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

Tom Wolfe’s passage of his 1979 non-fiction book, “The Right Stuff,” reveals that the challenges faced by military flight school trainees are difficult and take certain mental and physical attributes to succeed. Wolfe backs this claim up by including the tribute of having “the right stuff” at the end of each paragraph, he never explicitly explains what it is, but he implies it through the characteristics of the trainees who keep progressing and those who don’t. Wolfe’s purpose is to highlight a term (the right stuff) in order to demonstrate the separating factor of those who would survive and those who don’t simply because they don’t have the qualities required. Given that the book is about NASA and it’s space program for pilots , Wolfe is writing to people who are interested in the space program and what it takes to succeed there.

Wolfe, Tom. “The Right Stuff.” The Riverside Reader: Third Edition. Eds. J.F. Trimme

and Maxine Hairston. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

In the passage from his 1979 biography, “The Knife,” Richard Selzer asserts that surgery and specifically the knife used during surgery has a certain power and reverence to it, similar to that of art and music. Selzer validates his claim by personifying the knife in his entire piece and using metaphors and imagery to illustrate each process of the surgery. Selzer’s purpose is to eradicate normal conceptions people have who fear going under the knife for operations in order to describe the miracle of modern medicine and explain his own fascination and wander of the process. Selzer’s sincere and admirable tone helps draw in his audience and given that he uses a lot of descriptive imagery, he is writing to people inexperienced with the medical field.

Selzer, Richard. “The Knife.” The Riverside Reader: Third Edition. Eds. J.F. Trimme

and Maxine Hairston. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

In his 1968 humorous essay, “The Plot Against People,” Russell Baker deduces that all inanimate objects are to blame for our misplacing or breaking of them and that they purposefully do things because they are out to get the human race. Baker supports this claim by organizing inanimate objects in three categories–those that break, get lost, and don’t work–then personifying these objects and elaborating on his initial categorizations. Baker’s purpose is to exaggerate and mock this idea that inanimate objects are out to get the human race in order to expose the fact that these things actually happen because of our own human flaws. Baker uses a satirical tone to reveal the irony in his “plot against people”, he writes to everyone who can relate with losing or breaking their inanimate objects.

Baker, Russell. “The Plot Against People.” The Riverside Reader: Third Edition. Eds.

J.F. Trimme and Maxine Hairston. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

Carl Sagan’s informational 1983 scientific essay, “Nuclear Winter,” foreshadows that the consequences of a nuclear war would be devastating and have a far greater cost than originally anticipated. Sagan supports his claim by using scientific research, terms, and facts (logos), using rhetorical questions throughout the piece to answer each counterclaim, and structuring his essay using small paragraph after large amount of facts to emphasize the gravity of the situation. Sagan’s purpose is to raise awareness to the consequences of nuclear war in order to call to action change and peace. While Sagan does use scientific terms he explains his thoughts very clearly, he uses a very frank tone to inform the readers of the great cost, and he writes to everyone who would understand because this is a problem the entire world faces.

Sagan, Carl. “Nuclear Winter.” The Riverside Reader: Third Edition. Eds. J.F. Trimme

and Maxine Hairston. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

Stephen Jay Gould’s 1984 historical essay, “Carrie Buck’s Daughter,” contests that the eugenics of Carrie Buck–and perhaps countless others–was not in fact because of their mental capabilities but because of sexual morality and social deviance. Gould supports this claim by giving a full account of the case, including quotes from the cases, using facts to back up her argument, and asking rhetorical questions to transition her thoughts and further explain. Gould’s purpose is to expose the ugly truth of the case and the justification used for the court’s actions in order to highlight the real cause that drove their actions. Gould’s tone is very critical and she is writing to a well-educated audience who has knowledge on some of the history of eugenics.

Gould, Stephen Jay. “Carrie Buck’s Daughter.” The Riverside Reader: Third Edition.

Eds. J.F. Trimme and Maxine Hairston. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

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