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-   WRITING A LITERACY NARRATIVE
-   ANALYZING A TEXT
-   REPORTING INFORMATION
-   ARGUING A POSITION
-   LITERARY ANALYSIS
-   RESEARCH
-   MLA-STYLE
-   APA-STYLE





Writing a Literacy Narrative

SHANNON NICHOLS
"Proficiency"
In the following literacy narrative, Shannon Nichols, a student at Wright State University, describes her experience taking the standardized writing proficiency test that high school students in Ohio must pass to graduate. She wrote this essay for a college writing course, where her audience included her classmates and instructor.

The first time I took the ninth-grade proficiency test was in March of eighth grade. The test ultimately determines whether students may receive a high school diploma. After months of preparation and anxiety, the pressure was on. Throughout my elementary and middle school years, I was a strong student, always on the honor roll. I never had a GPA below 3.0. I was smart, and I knew it. That is, until I got the results of the proficiency test.

Although the test was challenging, covering reading, writing, math, and citizenship, I was sure I had passed every part. To my surprise, I did pass every part—except writing. "Writing! Yeah, right! How did I manage to fail writing, and by half a point, no less?" I thought to myself in disbelief. Seeing my test results brought tears to my eyes. I honestly could not believe it. To make matters worse, most of my classmates, including some who were barely passing eighth-grade English, passed that part.

Until that time, I loved writing just as much as I loved math. It was one of my strengths. I was good at it, and I enjoyed it. If anything, I thought I might fail citizenship. How could I have screwed up writing? I surely spelled every word correctly, used good grammar, and even used big words in the proper context. How could I have failed?

Finally I got over it and decided it was no big deal. Surely I would pass the next time. In my honors English class I worked diligently, passing with an A. By October I'd be ready to conquer that writing test. Well, guess what? I failed the test again, again with only 4.5 of the 5 points needed to pass. That time I did cry, and even went to my English teacher, Mrs. Brown, and asked, "How can I get A's in all my English classes but fail the writing part of the proficiency test twice?" She couldn't answer my question. Even my friends and classmates were confused. I felt like a failure. I had disappointed my family and seriously let myself down. Worst of all, I still couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong.

I decided to quit trying so hard. Apparently—I told myself—the people grading the tests didn't have the slightest clue about what constituted good writing. I continued to excel in class and passed the test on the third try. But I never again felt the same love of reading and writing.

This experience showed me just how differently my writing could be judged by various readers. Obviously all my English teachers and many others enjoyed or at least appreciated my writing. A poem I wrote was put on television once. I must have been a pretty good writer. Unfortunately the graders of the ninth-grade proficiency test didn't feel the same, and when students fail the test, the state of Ohio doesn't offer any explanation.

After I failed the test the first time, I began to hate writing, and I started to doubt myself. I doubted my ability and the ideas I wrote about. Failing the second time made things worse, so perhaps to protect myself from my doubts, I stopped taking English seriously. Perhaps because of that lack of seriousness, I earned a 2 on the Advanced Placement English Exam, barely passed the twelfth-grade proficiency test, and was placed in developmental writing in college. I wish I knew why I failed that test, because then I might have written what was expected on the second try, maintained my enthusiasm for writing, and continued to do well.
Nichols's narrative focuses on her emotional reaction to failing a test that she should have passed easily. The contrast between her demonstrated writing ability and her repeated failures creates a tension that captures readers' attention. We want to know what will happen to her.



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Analyzing a Text

DOUG LANTRY
"Stay Sweet As You Are": An Analysis of Change
and Continuity in Advertising Aimed at Women
Doug Lantry wrote this analysis of three print ads for a first-year writing course at the University of Akron.

Magazine advertisements aimed at American women have a long history of pushing things like makeup, mouthwash, soap, and other products that reinforce men's roles in women's lives. The concept of personal hygiene has been used to convey the message that "catching" a man or becoming a wife is a woman's ultimate goal, and in advertisements from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s this theme can be traced through verbal and visual content.

For example, a 1922 ad for Resinol soap urges women to "make that dream come true" by using Resinol (see Fig. 1). The dream is marriage. The premise is that a bad complexion will prevent marriage even if a woman has attributes like wit and grace, which the ad identifies as positive. Blotchy skin, the ad says, will undermine all that. The word repellent is used for emphasis and appears in the same sentence as the words neglected and humiliated, equating the look of the skin with the state of the person within. Of course, Resinol can remedy the condition, and a paragraph of redemption follows the paragraph about being repellent. A treatment program is suggested, and the look and feel of "velvety" skin are only "the first happy effects," with eventual marriage (fulfillment) implied as the ultimate result of using Resinol soap.


Visual content supports the mostly verbal ad. In a darkened room, a lone woman peers dreamily into a fireplace, where she sees an apparition of herself as a bride in a white veil, being fulfilled as a person by marriage to a handsome man. She lounges in a soft chair, where the glow of the image in the fireplace lights her up and warms her as much as the comforting fire itself. A smaller image shows the woman washing with Resinol, contentedly working her way toward clear skin and marriage over a water-filled basin suggestive of a vessel of holy water. This image is reinforced by her closed eyes and serene look and by the ad's suggestion that "right living" is a source of a good complexion.

A somewhat less innocent ad appeared more than a decade later, in 1934 (see Fig. 2). That ad, for Lux soap, like the one for Resinol, prescribes a daily hygiene regimen, but it differs significantly from the Resinol message in that it never mentions marriage and uses a clearskinned movie star as proof of Lux's effectiveness. Instead of touting marriage, Lux teaches that "a girl who wants to break hearts simply must have a tea-rose complexion." Romance, not marriage, is the woman's goal, and competition among women is emphasized because "girls who want to make new conquests . . . [are] sure to win out!" by using Lux. Lux's pitch is more sophisticated than Resinol's, appealing to a more emancipated woman than that of the early 1920s and offering a kind of evidence based on science and statistics. The text cites "9 out of 10 glamorous Hollywood stars" and scientists who explain that Lux slows aging, but it declines to cite names, except that of Irene Dunne, the ad's star. The unnamed stars and scientists give the ad an air of untruthfulness, and this sense is deepened by the paradox of the ad's title: "Girls who know this secret always win out." If Lux is a secret, why does it appear in a mass-media publication?


Like Resinol, Lux urges women to seek love and fulfillment by enhancing their outward beauty and suggests that clear skin means having "the charm men can't resist."

The Lux ad's visual content, like Resinol's, supports its verbal message. Several demure views of Irene Dunne emphasize her "pearlysmooth skin," the top one framed by a large heart shape. In all the photos, Dunne wears a feathery, feminine collar, giving her a birdlike appearance: she is a bird of paradise or an ornament. At the bottom of the ad, we see a happy Dunne being cuddled and admired by a man.

The visual and verbal message is that women should strive, through steps actually numbered in the ad, to attain soft, clear skin and hence charm and hence romance. Not surprisingly, the ad uses the language of battle to describe the effects of clear skin: girls who use Lux will "make new conquests!" and "win out!" Similar themes are developed for a younger audience in a 1954 ad for Listerine mouthwash (see Fig. 3). This time the target is no longer grown women but teenage girls: "If you want to win the boys . . . Stay Sweet As You Are!" Because attracting men would be inappropriate for teenagers, boys are the catch of the day in the Listerine ad. The idea of staying sweet means on the surface that girls should have nice breath, but the youthful context of the ad means that for women to be attractive they must stay young and "stay adorable," preferably with the girlish innocence of a teenager. The consequences of not staying sweet are clear: if you don't use Listerine every morning, every night, and before every date, "you're headed for boredom and loneliness." If you do use Listerine, there are "good times, good friends, and gaiety ahead."


Like Lux, Listerine relies on science as well as sex. With talk of "the bacterial fermentation of proteins," research, and clinical tests, the mouthwash props up its romantic and sexual claims by proclaiming scientific facts. Listerine is "4 times better than any tooth paste," the ad proclaims "With proof like this, it's easy to see why Listerine belongs in your home."

Visuals contribute to the message, as in the other ads. The central image is a photo of a perky, seemingly innocent teenage girl playing records on a portable phonograph. A vision of midcentury American femininity, she wears a fitted sweater, a scarf tied at the neck (like a wrapped present?), and a full, long skirt. She sits on the floor, her legs hidden by the skirt; she could be a cake decoration. Leaning forward slightly, she looks toward the reader, suggesting by her broad smile and submissive posture that perhaps kissing will follow when she wins the boys with her sweet breath. The record player affirms the ad's teenage target.

The intended consumers in the Resinol, Lux, and Listerine ads are women, and the message of all three ads is that the product will lead to—and is required for—romantic or matrimonial success. Each ad implies that physical traits are paramount in achieving this success, and the ads' appearance in widely circulated magazines suggests that catching a man (whether or not she marries him) is the ultimate goal of every American woman. While there is a kind of progress over time, the ads' underlying assumptions remain constant. There is evidence of women's increasing sophistication, illustrated in the later ads' use of science and "objective" proof of the products' effectiveness. Women's development as individuals can also be seen in that marriage is not presupposed in the later ads, and in the case of Lux a single woman has a successful career and apparently has her pick of many partners.

Still, one theme remains constant and may be seen as a continuing debilitating factor in women's struggle for true equality in the world of sex roles: pleasing men is the prerequisite for happiness. Despite apparent advances on other levels, that assumption runs through all three ads and is the main selling point. The consumer of Resinol, Lux, and Listerine is encouraged to objectify herself, to become more physically attractive not for her own sake but for someone else's. The women in all three ads are beautifying themselves because they assume they must "make new conquests," "win the boys," and "make that dream come true."
Lantry summarizes each ad clearly and focuses his analysis on a theme running through all three ads: the concept that to find happiness, a woman must be physically attractive to men. He describes patterns of images and language in all three ads as evidence.



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Reporting Information

JEFFREY DEROVEN
The Greatest Generation:
The Great Depression and the American South
The following essay was written in 2001 by a student for a history course at the Trumbull Campus of Kent State University. It was first published in Etude and Techne, a journal of Ohio college writing.
Tom Brokaw called the folks of the mid-twentieth century the greatest generation. So why is the generation of my grandparents seen as this country's greatest? Perhaps the reason is not what they accomplished but what they endured. Many of the survivors feel people today "don't have the moral character to withstand a depression like that."1 This paper will explore the Great Depression through the eyes of ordinary Americans in the most impoverished region in the country, the American South, in order to detail how they endured and how the government assisted them in this difficult era.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) announced in 1938 that the American South "represented the nation's number one economic problem." He commissioned the National Emergency Council to investigate and report on the challenges facing the region. Though rich in physical and human resources, the southern states lagged behind other parts of the nation in economic development.2


Poor education in the South was blamed for much of the problem. Young children attending school became too costly for most families. In the Bland family, "when Lucy got to the sixth grade, we had to stop her because there was too much to do."3 Overcrowding of schools, particularly in rural areas, lowered the educational standards. The short school terms further reduced effectiveness. As Mrs. Abercrombie recalls, "Me and Jon both went to school for a few months but that wa'n't enough for us to learn anything."4 Without the proper education, the youth of the South entered the work force unprepared for the challenges before them.

Southern industries did not have the investment capital to turn their resources into commodities. Manufacturers were limited to producing goods in the textile and cigarette industries and relied heavily on the cash crops of cotton and tobacco for the economy. Few facilities existed in the South for research that might lead to the development of new industries. Hampered by low wages, low tax revenue, and a high interest rate, Southerners lacked the economic resources to compete with the vast industrial strength of the North. As Abercrombie indicates, "Penalized for being rural, and handicapped in its efforts to industrialize, the economic life of the South has been squeezed to a point where the purchasing power of the southern people does not provide an adequate market for its own industries nor an attractive market for those of the rest of the country."5 The South had an untapped market for production and consumption. However, without adequate capital, it did not have the means to profit from them.

Southern industries paid their employees low wages, which led to a low cost of living. "You could live very cheaply because . . . you couldn't make a great deal of money," remembers Rita Beline."6 Most families did not have much left for themselves after bills and living expenses. "Nobody had much money, you know," recalls June Atchetce. "Everybody kind of lived at home, had gardens and raised their own produce, raised their own meat and had chickens and eggs and such as that." The needs of the families "were very small as far as purchases were concerned." What they could not grow, they did not have a need for, except for basic staples such as coffee, flour, sugar, and honey. To save on the cost of clothes, families "had a lot of handmedowns from the oldest to the baby. We did not throw them away. We patched them up and sent them down the line."7 Luxury items, like radios, cost too much money, and "only the [aristocrats] had radios because the poor did not stay at home long enough to enjoy them."8 The fact was that Southerners wanted modern consumer items but did not have the purchasing power to pay for them. "The people of the South need to buy, they want to buy, and they would buy—if they had the money." Without paying laborers a fair wage, industry had forced upon itself a lower living standard, thus perpetuating losses in local revenue resulting in a decline in purchasing power.9

The Federal government had to step in and help, as historians David L. Carlton and Peter A. Coclanis note:

Some of the South's credit difficulties have been slightly relieved in recent years . . . by the Public Works Administration, . . . the Works Progress Administration, [and] the Soil Conservation Service, [which] have brought desperately needed funds into the South.10 Along with other New Deal projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps [CCC], President Roosevelt was able to prime the pump into a seemingly dead Southern economy.
Other ways the federal government primed the pump was with the WPA [Works Progress Administration]. This New Deal measure gave jobs to those who wanted to work. Local governments benefited too. The WPA provided new roads, buildings, hospitals, and schools. Rita Beline remembers her "father came very short of money, . . . took a job with the WPA, in which he helped in building a road across a lagoon."11 President Roosevelt knew "cheap wages mean low buying power."12 The WPA ensured a fair wage for good work. Warren Addis remembers that "workers were tickled to death with it because it gave so many people jobs. It started out at eight cents an hour for common labor, and it finally went to thirty cents an hour."13

FDR also created the CCC. The concept of putting the American youth to work yielded an economic stimulus by having them send home twenty-five dollars a month. That money worked itself back into local economies as families spent the money on needed goods. Young men across the South "left home to go and do this work. They got paid a little bit of money, which they sent home to their families."14 The CCC created recreation habitats as well. Jefferson Brock recalls, "They came and built brush poles for the fish to live in the lake near my cottage."15 The CCC became an outlet for young men who could not find work in their hometowns. Jesse Brooks remembers: They did a great lot of good. For instance, they built Vogel State Park and raised the wall up on the national cemetery. Just put people to work. Gave them their pride back. A man's not going to feel very good about himself if he can't feed his family. So, that was the New Deal itself—to put people back to work and get the economy growing again.16

The South did not enjoy the United States' economic successes in the early part of the twentieth century and in many ways was a third world country within our own nation. The federal action that fueled the Southern economy during the Great Depression changed the way of life for the better and helped Southerners endure a time of great despair. Programs like the TVA, WPA, and CCC planted the seeds for a prosperous future. I still do not know if they were the greatest generation, but they did overcome tremendous obstacles to bring forth other "greatest generations."

Notes

1. Allen Furline in Kenneth J. Bindas, "Oral History Project," Kent State University, Trumbull Campus, Trumbull, OH. Dr. Bindas has a collection of 476 oral-history interviews from western Georgia and eastern Alabama, from which the information for this paper is derived. (Hereafter cited in Notes as BOHP.)
2. David L. Carlton and Peter A. Coclanis, Confronting Southern Poverty in the Great Depression: The Report on Economic Conditions of the South with Related Documents (New York: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 1996), 92.
3. Vera Bland in BOHP.
4. M. Abercrombie in BOHP.
5. Carlton and Coclanis, Confronting Southern Poverty, 76–78.
6. Rita Beline in BOHP.
7. June Romero Atchetce in BOHP.
8. Ruby Girley in BOHP.
9. Carlton and Coclanis, Confronting Southern Poverty, 62–65.
10. Ibid., 73.
11. Rita Beline in BOHP.
12. David M. Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 346.
13. Warren Addis in BOHP.
14. Jane Berry in BOHP.
15. Jefferson Brock in BOHP.
16. Jesse Brooks in BOHP.
DeRoven's essay reports information about how the American South got through the Great Depression. His information is based on both library research and interviews with people who lived through the period he describes. He documents his sources according to The Chicago Manual of Style, the preferred style in history classes.



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Arguing a Position

ANDY MCDONIE
Airport Security: What Price Safety?
Here is an argument written in 2002 by Andy McDonie for his first-year writing course at Wright State University, in Dayton, Ohio.
We all want to feel safe. Most Americans lock their doors at night, lock their cars in parking lots, try to park near buildings or under lights, and wear seat belts. Many invest in expensive security systems, carry pepper spray or a stun gun, keep guns in their homes, or take self-defense classes. Obviously, safety and security are important issues in American life. But there are times when people are unable to protect themselves.

Air travel is one such situation. There is nowhere to run, and no one is allowed to carry weapons that could be used for self-defense on board an aircraft. Therefore, it is important that no one at all be allowed on board an airplane with a gun or any other weapon. Unfortunately, this is much more easily said than done.

Though airlines and the U.S. government are taking many steps to ensure the safety of passengers, there is still a risk. In light of recent hijackings by militant Islamic Arabs, it would be very easy and economically sensible to target Middle Easterners for security checks at airports and anywhere else security could be an issue. This would allow everyone else who is statistically less likely to be a terrorist to travel more freely without long delays. However, as sensible and economical as this solution could be, it must never be allowed here in the United States.

One airline that targets passengers for security checks based on ethnicity and gender is El Al, Israel's national airline. In "Unfriendly Skies Are No Match for El Al," Vivienne Walt, a writer for USA Today, describes her experience flying with this airline. Before anyone gets on any one of El Al's aircraft, he or she has to go through an extensive interview process. The intensity of the process depends on categories into which passengers fit. Jews are in the low-risk category. Most foreigners are medium risk, while travelers with Arabic names are very high-risk. Women traveling alone are considered high risk as well, because authorities fear that a Palestinian lover might plant a bomb in their luggage. Screening passengers takes time; El Al passengers must arrive three hours before their scheduled departure, and even so flights are sometimes delayed because of the screening process.

El Al is secretive about what goes on in its interviews, and company spokespersons admit that the airline will deny boarding privileges to certain ticket holders, but their security record is the best in the world. Since these and other policies took effect over twenty years ago, not one terrorist act has occurred on an El Al plane (Walt 1D–2D). El Al's anti-terrorist system is indisputably effective. But is it ethical? Here in the United States, airports and airlines are racing to meet new security standards set by the federal government. As travelers are flying and as new regulations are being implemented, more and more air travelers are getting pulled aside for "random" security checks. In my experience, these checks may not be as random as the airports would like the public to think. Since September 11, 2001, I have spent several hours at airport gates and have boarded eight separate flights. Not once have I been delayed at the gate for a random security check. I am a young white male. However, I have seen who does get checked. I have seen some middle-class Caucasians checked, but at least from what I have observed, that is not the norm. Minorities are a target, especially minorities traveling alone. I have seen a seemingly disproportionate number of nonwhites delayed at gates. I have also noticed that women traveling alone or with other women are often picked out.

History has many examples of the U.S. government's suspending or abridging the rights of certain groups during wartime. In the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus (which allows prisoners to have their detention reviewed by a court of law), an act that was later ruled unconstitutional. During the First World War, freedom of speech was restricted by the Supreme Court, which declared, "When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right." During the same war, Pittsburgh banned Beethoven's music; the Los Angeles Board of Education forbade discussions of peace in school; and in many states German could not be taught. Perhaps the worst example of American wartime discrimination occurred during World War II, when Japanese Americans had their property seized and were forced to live in internment camps. Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, one commander enforcing the internment, justified this policy by saying that "in the war in which we are now engaged, racial affiliations are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race. . . . A jap is a jap" (O'Brien 419–25).

What can we learn from this grim history? Ben Franklin said that if we sacrifice freedom for security, we get neither. Though safety is important, at what price should it be bought? And if we sacrifice our freedoms for it, are we really safe? It would be easy for most Americans to justify restricting the rights of just one minority group. After all, most people would not be affected. But if we can oppress people from the Middle East during a time of crisis, we can do the same to any other group of people at any time. That is not the way Americans should have to live.

There is an additional point here: not all terrorists are of Middle Eastern descent. If we were to target Middle Easterners for security checks, many Muslims might have difficulty boarding an aircraft, but the Unabomber or Timothy McVeigh would have had little or no trouble. Acts of murder, political turmoil, and terrorism are carried out by persons of all races and nationalities. Focusing on one group might only simplify the process for non-Arab terrorists.

New security measures exist in many European airports. Some use retinal scans, a high-tech way of identifying passengers by scanning their eyes. Most screen checked baggage and match checked baggage to passenger lists. Many airports interview all passengers. According to one German frequent flier, "The level of scrutiny at a checkpoint says a lot about security at the whole airport to me. I feel safer flying to the United States than flying back" (Davis).

Clearly more changes need to be made at airports worldwide. Though it would be more economically sensible to target certain groups, doing so would be unethical. If the rights of one group of people are jeopardized, then the rights of all Americans are jeopardized. Freedom must not be sacrificed for security.

Discriminating against a single group would also be ineffective. Many people of Arab descent would have difficulty boarding an aircraft, but white, black, or Asian terrorists could move through security easily. Targeting certain groups would be easier but less than fair. Instead of focusing on one or more groups, airlines should treat all passengers equally, using technology that is currently available.

Works Cited
Davis, Aaron. "Guarding Europe's Airports—Future of Air Travel
     Visible in Tight Security Terminal." San Jose Mercury News.
     22 Nov. 2001: A1+.
O'Brien, Ed. "In War, Is Law Silent?" Social Education 65 (2001)
     419–25.
Walt, Vivienne. "Unfriendly Skies Are No Match for El Al." USA
     Today
1 Oct. 2001: 1D–2D.
This argument offers a clear statement of its position: people of Middle Eastern descent must not be targeted for airport security checks. McDonie organizes his essay carefully: after introducing the topic, he contrasts El Al's procedures with those of U.S. air carriers, provides examples of suspended rights in the United States during wartime, presents the core of his argument against targeted searches, and concludes by acknowledging the need for improved security.



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Literary Analysis
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
Sonnet: "Lift Not the Painted Veil
Which Those Who Live"
Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,—behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave                 5
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it—he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.        10
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.
STEPHANIE HUFF
Metaphor and Society in Shelley's "Sonnet"
In his sonnet "Lift not the painted veil which those who live," Percy Bysshe Shelley introduces us to a bleak world that exists behind veils and shadows. We see that although fear and hope both exist, truth is dishearteningly absent. This absence of truth is exactly what Shelley chooses to address as he uses metaphors of grim distortion and radiant incandescence to expose the counterfeit nature of our world.

The speaker of Shelley's poem presents bold assertions about the nature of our society. In the opening lines of the poem, he warns the reader to "Lift not the painted veil which those who live / Call Life" (1–2). Here, the "painted veil" serves as a grim metaphor for life. More specifically, the speaker equates the veil with what people like to call life. In this sense, the speaker asserts that what we believe to be pure reality is actually nothing more than a covering that masks what really lies beneath. Truth is covered by a veil of falsehood and is made opaque with the paint of people's lies.

This painted veil does not completely obstruct our view, but rather distorts what we can see. All that can be viewed through it are "unreal shapes" (2) that metaphorically represent the people that make up this counterfeit society. These shapes are not to be taken for truth. They are unreal, twisted, deformed figures of humanity, people full of falsities and misrepresentations.

Most people, however, do not realize that the shapes and images seen through the veil are distorted because all they know of life is the veil—this life we see as reality only "mimic[s] all we would believe" (3), using "colours idly spread" (4) to create pictures that bear little resemblance to that which they claim to portray. All pure truths are covered up and painted over until they are mere mockeries. The lies that cloak the truth are not even carefully constructed, but are created idly, with little attention to detail. The paint is not applied carefully, but merely spread across the top. This idea of spreading brings to mind images of paint slopped on so heavily that the truth beneath becomes nearly impossible to find. Even the metaphor of color suggests only superficial beauty—"idly spread" (4)—rather than any sort of pure beauty that could penetrate the surface of appearances.

What really lies behind this facade are fear and hope, both of which "weave / Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear" (5–6). These two realities are never truly seen or experienced, though. They exist only as shadows. Just as shadows appear only at certain times of day, cast only sham images of what they reflect, and are paid little attention, so too do these emotions of hope and fear appear only as brief, ignored imitations of themselves when they enter the artificiality of this chasmlike world. Peering into a chasm, one cannot hope to make out what lies at the bottom. At best one could perhaps make out shadows and even that cannot be done with any certainty as to true appearance. The world is so large, so caught up in itself and its counterfeit ways, that it can no longer see even the simple truths of hope and fear. Individuals and civilizations have become sightless, dreary, and as enormously empty as a chasm.

This chasm does not include all people, however, as we are introduced to one individual, in line 7, who is trying to bring to light whatever truth may yet remain. This one person, who defies the rest of the world, is portrayed with metaphors of light, clearly standing out among the dark representations of the rest of mankind. He is first presented to us as possessing a "lost heart" (8) and seeking things to love. It is important that the first metaphor applied to him be a heart because this is the organ with which we associate love, passion, and purity. We associate it with brightness of the soul, making it the most radiant spot of the body. He is then described as a "splendour among shadows" (12), his purity and truth brilliantly shining through the darkness of the majority's falsehood. Finally, he is equated with "a bright blot / Upon this gloomy scene" (12–13), his own bright blaze of authenticity burning in stark contrast to the murky phoniness of the rest of the world.

These metaphors of light are few, however, in comparison to those of grim distortion. So, too, are this one individual's radiance and zeal too little to alter the warped darkness they temporarily pierce. This one person, though bright, is not bright enough to light up the rest of civilization and create real change. The light simply confirms the dark falsity that comprises the rest of the world. Shelley gives us one flame of hope, only to reveal to us what little chance it has under the suffocating veil. Both the metaphors of grim distortion and those of radiant incandescence work together in this poem to highlight the world's counterfeit nature.
Huff focuses her analysis on patterns in Shelley's imagery. In addition, she pays careful attention to individual words and to how, as the poem unfolds, they create a certain meaning. That meaning is her interpretation.



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Research

Sample Research Paper, MLA Style

Dylan Borchers wrote the following essay, which reports information, for a first-year writing course. It is formatted according to the guidelines of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th edition (2003). While the MLA guidelines are used widely in literature and other disciplines in the humanities, exact documentation requirements may vary from discipline to discipline and course to course. If you're unsure about what your instructor wants, ask for clarification.
DYLAN BORCHERS
Against the Odds: Harry S. Truman and the Election of 1948
Sample Research Paper, APA Style

Karen Stonehill wrote the following paper for a first-year writing course. It is formatted according to the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition (2001). While APA guidelines are used widely in linguistics and the social sciences, exact requirements may vary from discipline to discipline and course to course. If you're unsure about what your instructor wants, ask for clarification.
KAREN STONEHILL
It's in Our Genes: The Biological Basis of Human Mating


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