Brave New World Exploratory Paper

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					Brave New World Essay
College Prep English
Babienko

For this essay you will be synthesizing three sources of information: Huxley’s novel, the Postman
excerpt, and your knowledge of contemporary society.

Prompt:

Huxley’s Brave New World was published in 1932, yet much of it seems eerily familiar today.
Drawing on evidence from Huxley’s novel, the excerpt from Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to
Death, and your knowledge of contemporary issues, reflect on the similarities and differences
between Brave New World and American society today.

*It is not enough to identify superficial similarities, such as people using drugs to feel better, or the
entertainment industry providing distractions that keep people from thinking too deeply. It is fairly
obvious that in both societies some “numbing and dumbing” takes place, but the key issue is whether or
not this “numbing and dumbing” serves as a means to some sort of end: in Brave New World it clearly
does; is this also true of contemporary society?

*Similarly, do not simply summarize these two texts and then categorically dismiss them as irrelevant.
Such an approach would be overly simplistic and would not allow for a sufficiently complex discussion
of the prompt.

*Basically, your essay must address the question of whether or not people are being conditioned – by the
media, via forms of entertainment, through the use of pharmaceuticals, or some other means - in order to
achieve some sort of political, economic, and/or social end (which doesn’t have to be complete political
control, however). A key question is: To what extent is Postman correct in claiming that Brave New
World provides an accurate portrayal of what American society has become? Please note the italics;
strong writers allow for nuances and complexities in their arguments, rather than reverting to either/or
approaches.

In order to be successful, you will need to:

   develop a strong thesis statement (i.e. an arguable claim about the texts in question, not just an
      observation or summary of fact) – please note that your thesis must go further than superficial
      statements such as “in both Brave New World and in today’s society, people use drugs to escape
      their problems” (a statement which does not address the issue of conditioning and its purpose);
   develop a detailed outline for your paper. This is absolutely essential to ensure you are organizing
      your paper in an effective manner – this topic can’t work with haphazard organization!
   formulate strong topic sentences (statements related to specific aspects of your thesis that you will
      address in your body paragraphs);
   support your position by citing and analyzing ample evidence (quotes) from Brave New World and
      Amusing Ourselves to Death. A minimum of five quotations from each text is required. Also
      include specific and credible examples from today’s society.
   integrate quotations smoothly and intelligently – do not pick random quotes that don’t apply to your
      argument. Review the attached handout on integrating quotes – also under “Handouts and Links”.
   write in a scholarly manner using the third person. While “I” is not forbidden, in many cases it is
      unnecessary (instead of saying “I think”, just make the statement). Never use “you”.
   answer the “So What?” question.

A WORD OF CAUTION: There are some very bad essays on the Internet that attempt to address these
texts. Do not be tempted to consult them as you prepare to write in class. They are horrendous – I know,
I’ve read them. You can do much better!
More tips:
Thesis Statements (a.k.a. a CLAIM):
  YOU MUST HAVE A THESIS – can we argue about your thesis? Is it possible to debate
    the thesis? If not, it isn’t a real thesis statement.
  Does your thesis answer the “SO WHAT?” question? Your thesis needs to matter, in a larger
    context (see the last section of Magic Thesis Statement Formula); if I have to write “So
    what?” on your paper, your thesis isn’t sufficiently developed.
  REMEMBER, a thesis statement is NOT A STATEMENT OF FACT or simply an
    OBSERVATION OF THE OBVIOUS.
  YOUR THESIS MUST DIRECTLY ADDRESS THE PROMPT. Look at the entire prompt;
    does your thesis answer the questions the prompt poses? IF NOT, REVISE IT.
Integrating Quotes & Evidence:
  NO DROPPED QUOTES! A QUOTE CANNOT FORM ITS OWN SENTENCE IN YOUR
    PAPER. Consult handout so you know how to integrate quotes to avoid this.
  NEVER insert a quote without providing sufficient context for the quote. YOU HAVE TO
    LET YOUR READER KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING AND WHO IS SPEAKING – “In
    Act II, Scene 3…” is NOT context!
  NEVER leave a quote to “speak for itself”; you should have at least twice as much analysis
    as of the quote as quoted text. E.g. if you cite four lines of text, you need at least eight lines
    of analysis.
  USE EVIDENCE FROM THE TEXT INTELLIGENTLY. NO RANDON QUOTES!
    Quotes do you no good if they do not directly support the point you are making.
Pronouns:
  DON’T use “you” in an analytical essay unless it is part of a direct quote.
  Do not use “I” unless there’s a real purpose behind it – “I think” is pointless.
  AVOID VAGUE PRONOUNS! Circle all instances of “they”, “them”, “their”, “it” etc. and
    change them if it is not ABSOLUTELY clear what nouns these refer to.
Topic Sentences:
  ALL topic sentence should address a SPECIFIC ASPECT OF YOUR THESIS. Do your
    topic sentences read like PLOT SUMMARY? If so, change them.
Formatting and Citation Guidelines
  DO NOT ADD A SPACE BETWEEN PARAGRAPHS;
  DO NOT USE ANYTHING BUT 1” MARGINS;
  DO NOT USE ANYTHING LARGER THAN 12-POINT FONT;
  YOU MUST USE A TIMES-TYPE FONT.
General:
  AN ANALTICAL ESSAY IS NOT A PLOT SUMMARY. I know the plot of Macbeth, as I
    assume you do as well. If your essay is nothing but plot summary (i.e. no argument or
    insight), it’s not an essay. REVISE.
  AN ANALYTICAL ESSAY IS NOT A BOOK REVIEW – Do not EVALATE whether
    Shakespeare is a proficient writer (no “amazing” comments, etc.); just analyze the text and
    say why your analysis matters (the universal question).
Careless Spelling and Grammar Errors (You should have none):
  Read your paper aloud, at least twice (no kidding); does what you have written make sense?
  Look for homophones (there vs. their, wear vs. where, etc.) – fix them!
Analytical Essay Taboos – ABSOLUTE NO-NO’s
Use this list to avoid some of the typical essay writing pitfalls – Please note that these do not
apply to personal essays, expository essays, etc.
   You, your, etc. unless part of a direct quotation.
   I think, I believe (It’s your paper – I know this is what you think! Just make the statement)
   The word quote, as in “In this quote….” or “This quote just shows.…”
   Referring to page or chapter numbers in the body of the essay, as in “A quote on page 100
    shows that…”
   This, that, it, etc. if it is not ENTIRELY clear what the pronoun refers to. Use nouns instead.
   Using a plural pronoun (e.g. their) for a singular noun (e.g. someone, one, a person, etc.)
   So at the beginning of a sentence, as in “So, Bernard is a hypocrite because….”
   The reader, as in “Huxley is trying to tell the reader….”
   The author is trying, or The author tries
   The phrase paints a picture, as in “The author paints a picture” (gag!)
   This essay will show, This essay has shown, or any similar phrase
   maybe, probably, perhaps if used to water down your claim – take a stand!
   stuff, things, etc., as in “The novel deals with many things”
   amazing, excellent, and other “book review” adjectives
   Citing textual evidence without first providing context for the quotation
   Ending a paragraph with a quotation (no analysis following the quotation).
   Including quotations in the introduction – sometime in the future you may be allowed to do
    this, but not now.
   Dropped quotes
   Having less that a 2:1 ratio of analysis to quoted text
   Homophones (there vs. their, wear vs. where, accept vs. except) etc.
   Stating that an author does something for emphasis (This is code for "I know it's important,
    but I am not sure why")
   Stating that the author does something in order to make the text “more interesting” (this has
    nothing to do with the meaning of the work).
   The phrase In conclusion
   Concluding an essay by speculating that had the author done anything differently, the text
    would have been "boring", etc. – Discuss with WHAT IS, not WHAT IF
   Using the past tense when discussing the contents of a literary work, as in “Huxley’s novel
    showed that happiness and free will could not coexist” or “Winston went to see O’Brien”
   Sweeping generalizations about life and the universe, as in “Man has puzzled over the
    question of free will since the beginning of time” – Do discuss universal questions in relation
    to the meaning of the text!
   Plot based topic sentences – connect explicitly to your thesis instead
   “Observational” thesis statements (no claim, just statement of obvious fact), as in “There is
    prejudice in To Kill a Mockingbird”
                                Integrating Quotations into Sentences

You should never have a quotation standing alone as a complete sentence, or, worse yet, as an
incomplete sentence, in your writing. The quotation will seem disconnected from your own
thoughts and from the flow of your sentences. Ways to integrate quotations properly into your
own sentences are explained below. Please note the punctuation: it is correct.

There are at least four ways to integrate quotations.

1. Introduce the quotation with a complete sentence and a colon.

Example: In "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," Thoreau states directly his purpose for going
into the woods: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the
essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die,
discover that I had not lived."

Example: Thoreau's philosophy might be summed up best by his repeated request for people to
ignore the insignificant details of life: "Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has
hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and
lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

Example: Thoreau ends his essay with a metaphor: "Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in."

This is an easy rule to remember: if you use a complete sentence to introduce a quotation, you
need a colon after the sentence. Using a comma in this situation will most likely create a comma
splice, one of the serious sentence-boundary errors. Be careful not to confuse a colon (:) with a
semicolon (;).

2. Use an introductory or explanatory phrase, but not a complete sentence, separated from
the quotation with a comma.

Example: In "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," Thoreau states directly his purpose for going
into the woods when he says, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front
only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I
came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Example: "We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us," Thoreau says as he suggests the
consequences of making ourselves slaves to "progress."

Example: Thoreau asks, "Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?"

Example: According to Thoreau, "We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us."

You should use a comma to separate your own words from the quotation when your introductory
or explanatory phrase ends with a verb such as "says," "said," "thinks," "believes," "pondered,"
"recalls," "questions," and "asks" (and many more). You should also use a comma when you
introduce a quotation with a phrase such as "According to Thoreau."

3. Make the quotation a part of your own sentence without any punctuation between your
own words and the words you are quoting.

Example: In "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," Thoreau states directly his purpose for going
into the woods when he says that "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to
front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when
I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Example: Thoreau argues that "shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while
reality is fabulous."

Example: According to Thoreau, people are too often "thrown off the track by every nutshell and
mosquito's wing that falls on the rails."

Notice that the word "that" is used in two of the examples above, and when it is used as it is in the
examples, "that" replaces the comma which would be necessary without "that" in the sentence.
You usually have a choice, then, when you begin a sentence with a phrase such as "Thoreau
says." You either can add a comma after "says," or you can add the word "that" with no comma.

4. Use short quotations--only a few words--as part of your own sentence.

Example: In "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," Thoreau states that his retreat to the woods
around Walden Pond was motivated by his desire "to live deliberately" and to face only "the
essential facts of life."

Example: Thoreau argues that people blindly accept "shams and delusions" as the "soundest
truths," while regarding reality as "fabulous."

Example: Although Thoreau "drink[s] at" the stream of Time, he can "detect how shallow it is."

When you integrate quotations in this way, you do not use any special punctuation. Instead, you
should punctuate the sentence just as you would if all of the words were your own.

All of the methods above for integrating quotations are correct, but you should avoid relying too
much on just one method. You should instead use a variety of methods.

Notice the Punctuation!
Notice that there are only two punctuation marks that are used to introduce quotations: the comma
and the colon.

Notice as well the punctuation of the sentences above in relation to the quotations. Commas and
periods go inside the final quotation mark ("like this."). For whatever reason, this is the way we
do it in America. In England, though, the commas and periods go outside of the final punctuation
mark.

Semicolons and colons go outside of the final quotation mark ("like this";).
Question marks and exclamation points go outside of the final quotation mark if the punctuation
mark is part of your sentence--your question or your exclamation ("like this"?). Those marks go
inside of the final quotation mark if they are a part of the original--the writer's question or
exclamation ("like this!").


                                    USING QUOTATIONS

QUOTING ACCURATELY
Above all, you must be careful to quote accurately. Attribute all information from outside sources,
unless that information is common knowledge. Be sure that you understand the source from which you
are quoting. If you misquote because you misunderstand the material, you will still be held
accountable for that. Writers must make sure that they fully understand the meaning of source material
before using it in an essay.
        In direct quotes, copy exactly what the author has written, and give credit to the source with
parenthetical documentation. If the source material is paraphrased, credit must still be given to the
original source.

INTRODUCING QUOTATIONS
Creative works
Assume that not all of your readers have read the creative text (book, movie, story) that you’re talking
about. However, they don’t need to know all the details of this text in order to understand what you’re
doing with it. You will probably want to offer a basic plotline, and then whatever contextual
information the reader needs to understand your quote. The first time you mention it, you should also
identify the author and the work.

Example:      The woman tells her lover that the world “isn’t ours anymore” (87).

Correct:        Near the climax of the lovers’ conversation in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White
                Elephants, the woman tells the man that the world “isn’t ours anymore” (87).
Critical works
Identify the source of the quotation within the text. This information will let your reader know that the
source you are quoting is legitimate and isn’t, say, your roommate Joe who happened to be up when
you were writing your paper at 2 am. It will also help your reader distinguish the quotation’s ideas
from your own. The first time you use a quote from a critical source, give the author’s name and name
of the article/book, and/or the author’s claim to authority. If you mention the author in the preceding
sentence, you do not need to include the author’s name in parentheses.
Example:        “A fully articulated pastoral idea of America did not emerge until the end of the
                eighteenth century” (Marx 236).
Correct:        Leo Marx, in his book The Pilot and the Passenger, claims that a “fully articulated
                pastoral idea of America did not emerge until the end of the eighteenth century” (236).
Correct:        Prominent American critic Leo Marx claims that a fully articulated pastoral idea of
                America did not emerge until the end of the eighteenth century” (236).
GRAMMAR AND QUOTATIONS
A short quotation is a grammatical extension of the writer’s own sentence, so when using quotations, it
is important to remember to punctuate correctly. A comma separates brief, informal, grammatically
incomplete introductions from quotations that complete the sentence:

Example:      Prufrock says “I am no prophet – and here’s no great matter” (Eliot 83).
Correct:      Prufrock says, “I am no prophet – and here’s no great matter” (Eliot 83).

Use a colon to separate grammatically complete introductions or statements (complete sentences) from
the quotation:

Example:      Edith Hamilton describes Hera perfectly, “She was the protector of marriage, and
              married women were her peculiar care. There is very little that is attractive in the
              portrait the poets draw of her.”
Correct:      Edith Hamilton describes Hera perfectly: “She was the protector of marriage, and
              married women were her peculiar care. There is very little that is attractive in the
              portrait the poets draw of her.”

When integrating a quote into your sentence, keep all tenses the same. Change the tense in the quote to
match the tense of your sentence. When you change words in a quote to your own words, be sure to
put your words in brackets to let the reader know they are your words.

Example:    While the legislators cringe at the sudden darkness, “all eyes were turned to Abraham
            Davenport” (239).
Correct:    While the legislators cringe at the sudden darkness, “all eyes [turn] to Abraham
            Davenport” (239).
Make sure your sentences are complete sentences and not fragments or run-ons.
Example:    Yeats asks if, “before the indifferent beak.” [incomplete sentence; makes no sense.]

Correct:      Yeats asks if Leda “put on [the swan’s] knowledge” before his “indifferent beak could
              let her drop” (8).
Clarify pronouns that have no clear antecedents. You may know who the author is talking about,
but your reader needs to be told. Do this by adding words in square brackets (as in the examples above
and below).

Example:      Captain Wentworth says, “It had been my doing – solely mine. She would not have been
              obstinate if I had not been weak” (45). [Who the heck is “she”?]

Correct:    Captain Wentworth says, “It had been my doing – solely mine. [Louisa] would not have
            been obstinate if I had not been weak” (45).
Make sure subjects and verbs agree.
Example:    Wilfred Owen says that the only prayer said for those who die in battle is war’s noise,
            which “patter out their hasty orisons” (17). [noise is singular; patter is plural]
Correct:    Wilfred Owen says that the only prayer said for those who die in battle are the noises of
            war, which “patter out their hasty orisons” (17).
When do you capitalize the beginning of a quote? Capitalize quotes that are grammatically
complete. If the quote is a fragment (and could not be a complete sentence), do not capitalize.

Correct:      Captain Wentworth says, “It had been my doing – solely mine. [Louisa] would not have
              been obstinate if I had not been weak” (45).
Correct:      Yeats asks if Leda “put on [the swan’s] knowledge” before his “indifferent beak could
              let her drop” (8).

MAKING EDITORIAL CHANGES IN QUOTATIONS
There are two acceptable ways of making changes in a quotation.
Ellipses (dot dot dot…)
Use ellipses to show that words have been omitted in the middle of a quote. However, do not use
ellipses to show material has been omitted at the beginning or end of a quote.

Example:      Eagleton points out that one critic says, “Oedipus is guilty for two reasons: because of
              the deeds he actually committed…and because of his desire to commit them…” (50).
Example:      Eagleton points out that one critic says Oedipus “…is guilty for two reasons: because of
              the deeds he actually committed…and because of his desire to commit them” (50).
Correct:      Eagleton points out that one critic says, “Oedipus is guilty for two reasons: because of
              the deeds he actually committed…and because of his desire to commit them” (50).
Square brackets [ ]
Use square brackets to indicate editorial changes that you, not the quote’s author, make to clarify the
quotation or make it fit into the grammatical structure of the sentence. Do not use parentheses to
indicate such changes, or your reader will see them as part of the original quote.

Example:         “She looked carefully for the place where (Elizabeth) had entered the garden” (Holst
                 89).
Correct:         “She looked carefully for the place where [Elizabeth] had entered the garden” (Holst
                 89).
INDENTING LONG QUOTATIONS
Sometimes a short quote – a sentence or two – may not be enough to make the author’s ideas clear.
While you should always try to make your quotes as brief as possible (so they don’t overshadow what
you are saying), you do need to make sure they’re comprehensible. A long quotation is one that is
more than four lines long. Indent the entire quotation by one tab mark (10 spaces), and do not indent
its first line any further. Do not put quote marks around indented quotations. Introduce the quote with
a short comment. If your paper is double spaced, you do not need additional blank lines between your
text and the quote.

Correct:      In his book Powwow Highway, David Seals describes the main character’s sister
              through typical stereotypes about Indians, and about Indian women in particular.
                    Nobility lay heavy on upon Bonnie Red Bird. It had been her destiny to be an
                    Indian princess, and she had accepted that destiny. She had the immaculate auburn
                    skin that made the Cheyenne among the most handsome of all the Plains Indians…
                    [and] the restrained features that gave the Cheyenne a pure and peaceful look. (19)
EXPLAINING AND INTERPRETING QUOTES
You cannot simply plop a quote down in the middle of your paper and expect that the reader will
understand why it’s there. You need to explain the quote and interpret it in the context of what it is
you are arguing. Show the significance of the quote to your argument.

Correct:       In his book Powwow Highway, David Seals describes the main character's sister through
               typical stereotypes about Indians, and about Indian women in particular.
                     Nobility lay heavy on upon Bonnie Red Bird. It had been her destiny to be an
                     Indian princess, and she had accepted that destiny. She had the immaculate auburn
                     skin that made the Cheyenne among the most handsome of all the Plains Indians…
                     [and] the restrained features that gave the Cheyenne a pure and peaceful look. (19)
               With this introduction of Bonnie, Seals demonstrates the way that stereotypes about
               Indians have shaped Bonnie's perceptions of herself. She has modeled herself as an
               Indian princess within white society - which leads, ultimately, to her downfall. The
               implications are clear: Stereotypes, whether held by whites or Indians, have the power to
               destroy.

http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~schacht/rhe309k/quote.html
Useful Verbs for introducing quotes -

acknowledges            adds              admits            agrees
argues                  asserts           believes          claims
comments                compares          confirms          contends
declares                denies            disputes          emphasizes
endorses                grants            illustrates       implies
insists                 notes             observes          points out
reasons                 refutes           rejects           reports
responds                suggests          thinks            writes

				
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