College America Phoenix They Say I Say Book Analysis Paper In They Say / I Say, Birkenstein and Graff give you templates for arguments. They’re
helpful learning tools, but let’s see if we can identify these parts of an argument in a real
For this paper, you will choose a chapter in Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath —
any chapter, including the introduction, will work — and explain how Gladwell uses the ENG 102 (Stermer)
Assignment: They Say / I Say Analysis
Due date: Tuesday, March 24 by 11:59pm
Required length: 800 words. (Yes, 795 is fine. No, 735 is not.)
In They Say / I Say, Birkenstein and Graff give you templates for arguments. They’re
helpful learning tools, but let’s see if we can identify these parts of an argument in a real
For this paper, you will choose a chapter in Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath —
any chapter, including the introduction, will work — and explain how Gladwell uses the
They Say / I Say format to forward his argument.
You are not creating your own argument here, nor are you summarizing, agreeing, or
disagreeing with Gladwell’s argument. Your task is to analyze how Gladwell’s
Things you will want to address in your paper:
• They Say: How does Gladwell bring us up to speed on the current discussion
regarding the chapter’s topic? What arguments does he summarize, which experts
does he quote, and how does he get us current on the conversation?
• I Say: How does Gladwell respond to the current thinking? What evidence does
he offer to support his argument? Does he plant a naysayer in his text? And how
does he answer WHO CARES and SO WHAT to demonstrate that his topic is
important to his audience? What’s the bigger meaning here?
• Tying it All Together: Gladwell often gives us some very different examples;
how does he show their connections? Does he use any metacommentary in his
You will earn an A and all 100 points for this assignment if you:
• Can identify Gladwell’s thesis or main point for the chapter.
• Can effectively analyze how Gladwell explains and argues his point, using some
specific examples from the chapter.
• Address how They Say, I Say, and Connections are all used in the chapter.
• Have a well-structured paper with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Your
intro will probably be a quick summary of the chapter, including the thesis, and a
statement or two about how Gladwell carefully constructs his arguments. Your
conclusion will probably speak to the importance of conducting an argument
analysis: why is this type of exercise important? What do we learn from this?
• Use proper grammar, mechanics, and word choice.
• Follow MLA formatting.
No citations are required for this paper, though if you do refer to any sources, you will
need to cite them appropriately.
If you have any questions or concerns about this assignment, please get in touch with me.
I am happy to discuss possible approaches to this assignment, look over outlines, and
read early drafts. (Please give me a 24-hour turnaround time on drafts.) I encourage you
to utilize USC Sumter’s tutoring center if you are able to do so and want some good
feedback on an early draft.
Please proofread carefully!
Turn in your paper using the link that will be provided in that day’s content area.
what they’re saying about “they say / i say”
“The best book that’s happened to teaching composition—
—Karen Gaffney, Raritan Valley Community College
“This book demystifies rhetorical moves, tricks of the trade that
many students are unsure about. It’s reasonable, helpful, nicely
written … and hey, it’s true. I would have found it immensely
helpful myself in high school and college.”
—Mike Rose, University of California, Los Angeles
“The argument of this book is important—that there are
‘moves’ to academic writing … and that knowledge of them
can be generative. The template format is a good way to teach
and demystify the moves that matter. I like this book a lot.”
—David Bartholomae, University of Pittsburgh
“My students are from diverse backgrounds and the topics in
this book help them to empathize with others who are different from them.”
—Steven Bailey, Central Michigan University
“A beautifully lucid way to approach argument—different from
any rhetoric I’ve ever seen.”
—Anne-Marie Thomas, Austin Community College, Riverside
“Students need to walk a fine line between their work and that
of others, and this book helps them walk that line, providing
specific methods and techniques for introducing, explaining,
and integrating other voices with their own ideas.”
—Libby Miles, University of Vermont
“‘They Say’ with Readings is different from other rhetorics and
readers in that it really engages students in the act of writing
throughout the book. It’s less a ‘here’s how’ book and more of
a ‘do this with me’ kind of book.”
—Kelly Ritter, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
“It offers students the formulas we, as academic writers, all carry
in our heads.”
—Karen Gardiner, University of Alabama
“Many students say that it is the first book they’ve found that
actually helps them with writing in all disciplines.”
—Laura Sonderman, Marshall University
“As a WPA, I’m constantly thinking about how I can help
instructors teach their students to make specific rhetorical
moves on the page. This book offers a powerful way of teaching students to do just that.” —Joseph Bizup, Boston University
“The best tribute to ‘ They Say / I Say’ I’ve heard is this, from a
student: ‘This is one book I’m not selling back to the bookstore.’
Nods all around the room. The students love this book.”
—Christine Ross, Quinnipiac University
“My students love this book. They tell me that the idea of
‘entering a conversation’ really makes sense to them in a way
that academic writing hasn’t before.”
—Karen Henderson, Helena College University of Montana
“A concise and practical text at a great price; students love it.”
—Jeff Pruchnic, Wayne State University
“ ‘ They Say’ contains the best collection of articles I have found.
Students respond very well to the readings.”
—Julia Ruengert, Pensacola State College
“It’s the anti-composition text: Fun, creative, humorous, brilliant, effective.”
—Perry Cumbie, Durham Technical Community College
“A brilliant book… . It’s like a membership card in the academic club.”
—Eileen Seifert, DePaul University
“The ability to engage with the thoughts of others is one of the
most important skills taught in any college-level writing course,
and this book does as good a job teaching that skill as any text I
have ever encountered.” —William Smith, Weatherford College
“THEY SAY I SAY”
both of the University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Cincinnati
W. W. Norton & Company has been independent since its founding in 1923,
William Warder Norton and Mary D. Herter Norton first published lectures
at the People’s Institute, the adult education division of New York City’s
Union. The firm soon expanded its program beyond the Institute, publishing
celebrated academics from America and abroad. By mid-century, the two
major pillars of
Norton’s publishing program—trade books and college texts—were firmly
In the 1950s, the Norton family transferred control of the company to its
and today—with a staff of four hundred and a comparable number of trade,
and professional titles published each year—W. W. Norton & Company
stands as the
largest and oldest publishing house owned wholly by its employees.
Copyright © 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2006
by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
Permission to use copyrighted material is included in the credits section of
book, which begins on page 731.
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110
W. W. Norton & Company Ltd., 15 Carlisle Street, London W1D 3BS
To the great rhetorician Wayne Booth,
who cared deeply
about the democratic art
of listening closely to what others say.
preface to the fourth edition xi
preface: Demystifying Academic Conversation xvii
introduction: Entering the Conversation 1
PART 1. “THEY SAY”
1 “they say”: Starting with What Others Are Saying 19
2 “her point is”: The Art of Summarizing 30
3 “as he himself puts it”: The Art of Quoting 43
PART 2. “I SAY”
4 “yes / no / okay, but”: Three Ways to Respond 53
5 “and yet”: Distinguishing What You Say
from What They Say 67
6 “skeptics may object”:
Planting a Naysayer in Your Text 77
7 “so what? who cares?”: Saying Why It Matters 91
PART 3. T YING IT ALL TOGETHER
8 “as a result”: Connecting the Parts 101
9 “you mean i can just say it that way?”:
Academic Writing Doesn’t Mean Setting Aside
Your Own Voice 117
10 “but don’t get me wrong”:
The Art of Metacommentary 131
11 “he says contends”: Using the Templates to Revise 141
PART 4 . IN SPECIFIC ACADEMIC CONTEXTS
12 “i take your point”: Entering Class Discussions 162
13 don’t make them scroll up:
Entering Online Conversations 166
14 what’s motivating this writer?:
Reading for the Conversation 176
15 “analyze this”: Writing in the Social Sciences 187
16 HOW CAN WE BRIDGE THE DIFFERENCES
THAT DIVIDE US? 209
sean blanda, The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb 212
danah boyd, Why America Is Self-Segregating 219
michelle alexander, The New Jim Crow 230
j. d. vance, Hillbilly Elegy 251
gabriela moro, Minority Student Clubs: Segregation or
robert leonard, Why Rural America Voted for Trump 279
joseph e. stiglitz, A Tax System Stacked against
the 99 Percent 286
barack obama, Howard University Commencement
17 IS COLLEGE THE BEST OPTION? 315
stephanie owen and isabel sawhill, Should Everyone
Go to College? 318
sanford j. ungar, The New Liberal Arts 336
charles murray, Are Too Many People
Going to College? 344
liz addison, Two Years Are Better Than Four 365
gerald graff, Hidden Intellectualism 369
mike rose, Blue-Collar Brilliance 377
ben casselman, Shut Up about Harvard 390
steve kolowich, On the Front Lines of a
New Culture War 398
18 ARE WE IN A RACE AGAINST THE MACHINE? 421
nicholas carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid? 424
clive thompson, Smarter Than You Think: How
Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better 441
michaela cullington, Does Texting Affect Writing? 462
jenna wortham, How I Learned to Love Snapchat 474
carole cadwalladr, Google, Democracy, and the Truth
about Internet Search 480
kenneth goldsmith, Go Ahead: Waste Time on
the Internet 500
sherry turkle, No Need to Call 505
zeynep tufekci, Does a Protest’s Size Matter? 525
19 WHAT’S GENDER GOT TO DO WITH IT? 531
anne-marie slaughter, Why Women Still Can’t
Have It All 534
richard dorment, Why Men Still Can’t Have It All 555
raynard kington, I’m Gay and African American. As a
Dad, I Still Have It Easier Than Working Moms. 576
laurie frankel, From He to She in First Grade 583
andrew reiner, Teaching Men to Be
Emotionally Honest 589
stephen mays, What about Gender Roles in
Same-Sex Relationships? 596
kate crawford, Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy
nicholas eberstadt, Men without Work 605
20 WHAT’S THERE TO EAT? 621
michael pollan, Escape from the Western Diet 624
olga khazan, Why Don’t Convenience Stores Sell
Better Food? 632
mary maxfield, Food as Thought: Resisting the
Moralization of Eating 641
david zinczenko, Don’t Blame the Eater 647
radley balko, What You Eat Is Your Business 651
michael moss, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive
Junk Food 656
david h. freedman, How Junk Food Can End Obesity 681
sara goldrick-rab, katharine broton, emily brunjes colo,
Expanding the National School Lunch Program to
Higher Education 713
index of templates 751
index of authors and titles 767
to the fourth edition
When we first set out to write this book, our goal
was simple: to offer a version of “They Say / I Say”: The Moves
That Matter in Academic Writing with an anthology of readings
that would demonstrate the rhetorical moves “that matter.”
And because “They Say” teaches students that academic writing is a means of entering a conversation, we looked for readings on topics that would engage students and inspire them to
respond—and to enter the conversations.
Our purpose in writing “They Say” has always been to
offer students a user-friendly model of writing that will help
them put into practice the important principle that writing
is a social activity. Proceeding from the premise that effective writers enter conversations of other writers and speakers,
this book encourages students to engage with those around
them—including those who disagree with them—instead of
just expressing their ideas “logically.” We believe it’s a model
more necessary than ever in today’s increasingly diverse—and
some might say divided—society. In this spirit, we have added
a new chapter, “How Can We Bridge the Differences That
Divide Us?,” with readings that represent different perspectives
on those divides—and what we might do to overcome them.
Our own experience teaching first-year writing students has
led us to believe that to be persuasive, arguments need not
only supporting evidence but also motivation and exigency,
and that the surest way to achieve this motivation and exigency
is to generate one’s own arguments as a response to those of
others—to something “they say.” To help students write their
way into the often daunting conversations of academia and the
wider public sphere, the book provides templates to help them
make sophisticated rhetorical moves that they might otherwise
not think of attempting. And of course learning to make these
rhetorical moves in writing also helps students become better
readers of argument.
The two versions of “They Say / I Say” are now being taught
at more than 1,500 schools, which suggests that there is a widespread desire for explicit instruction that is understandable but
not oversimplified, to help writers negotiate the basic moves
necessary to “enter the conversation.” Instructors have told us
how much this book helps their students learn how to write
academic discourse, and some students have written to us saying
that it’s helped them to “crack the code,” as one student put it.
This fourth edition of “They Say / I Say” with Readings
includes forty readings—half of them new—on five compelling and controversial issues. The selections provide a glimpse
into some important conversations taking place today—and
will, we hope, provoke students to respond and thus to join in
Forty readings that will prompt students to think—and write.
Taken from a wide variety of sources, including the Chronicle
of Higher Education, the Washington Post, the New York Times,
the Wall Street Journal, medium.com, best-selling books, policy reports,
student-run journals, celebrated speeches, and more,
Preface to the Fourth Edition
the readings represent a range of perspectives on five important
• How Can We Bridge the Differences That Divide Us?
• Is College the Best Option?
• Are We in a Race against the Machine?
• What’s Gender Got to Do with It?
• What’s There to Eat?
The readings can function as sources for students’ own writing,
and the study questions that follow each reading focus students’
attention on how each author uses the key rhetorical moves
taught in the book. Additionally, one question invites students
to write, and often to respond with their own views.
Two books in one, with a rhetoric up front and readings
in the back. The two parts are linked by cross-references in
the margins, leading from the rhetoric to specific examples in
the readings and from the readings to the corresponding writing instruction. Teachers can therefore begin with either the
rhetoric or the readings, and the links will facilitate movement
between one section and the other.
A chapter on reading (Chapter 14) encourages students to
think of reading as an act of entering conversations. Instead
of teaching students merely to identify the author’s argument,
this chapter shows them how to read with an eye for what
arguments the author is responding to—in other words, to
think carefully about why the writer is making the argument in
the first place, and thus to recognize (and ultimately become
a part of) the larger conversation that gives meaning to reading the text.
A new chapter, “How Can We Bridge the Differences That
Divide Us?,” brings together diverse perspectives on some of
the issues that have been a source of division in our country,
with readings that offer possible ways to overcome those divisions—from Sean Blanda’s “The Other Side Is Not Dumb” to J. D.
Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.
Half of the readings are new, with at least one documented
piece and one student essay in each chapter, added in response
to requests from many teachers who wanted more complex and
documented writing. In the technology and gender chapters,
half of the readings are new, with essays on fake news, wasting
time online (and why that’s a good thing), and men without
work, among others. The education chapter now includes an
essay on problematic elitism in some circles of higher education
and another on one college’s quest to foster tolerance among
its diverse student body. Finally, the food chapter now asks a
slightly different question: what (if anything) is there to eat?
An updated chapter on academic language (now called “You
Mean I Can Just Say It That Way?”) underscores the need to
bridge spheres that are too often kept separate: everyday language and academic writing.
A new chapter on entering online conversations further
underscores the importance of including a “they say” when
responding to others on blogs, class discussion boards, and the
like, showing how the rhetorical moves taught in this book can
help students contribute clearly and respectfully to conversations in digital spaces.
Preface to the Fourth Edition
New examples—15 in total—appear throughout the rhetoric,
from Deborah Tannen and Charles Murray to Nicholas Carr
and Michelle Alexander.
An updated chapter on writing in the social sciences reflects
a broader range of writing assignments with examples from academic publications in sociology, psychology, and political science.
Online tutorials give students hands-on practice recognizing
and using the rhetorical moves taught in this book both as
readers and writers. Each tutorial helps students read a full
essay with an eye on these moves and then respond to a writing
prompt using templates from the book.
They Say / I Blog. Updated monthly, this blog provides up-tothe-minute readings on the issues covered in the book, along
with questions that prompt students to literally join the conversation. Check it out at theysayiblog.com.
Instructor’s Guide. Now available in print, the guide includes
expanded in-class activities, sample syllabi, summaries of
each chapter and reading, and a chapter on using the online
resources, including They Say / I Blog.
Ebook. Searchable, portable, and interactive. The complete
textbook for a fraction of the price. Students can interact with
the text—take notes, bookmark, search, and highlight. The
ebook can be viewed on—and synced between—all computers
and mobile devices.
InQuizitive for Writers. Adaptive, game-like exercises help
students practice editing, focusing especially on the errors that
Coursepack. Norton resources you can add to your online,
hybrid, or lecture course—all at no cost. Norton Coursepacks
work within your existin…
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