Examining an Illustration Essay

Examining an Illustration Essay

Directions: Read the below essay. Then, read it again and highlight it using the Rainbow Writing standard colors (below).

thesis statement- pink topic sentences- yellow

major supporting details (reasons)- blue minor supporting details (details that support reasons)-orange

transitions —green

Altered States

Most Americans are not alcoholics. Most do not cruise seedy city streets looking to score crack cocaine or heroin. Relatively few try to con their doctors into prescribing unneeded mood-altering medications. And yet, many Americans are traveling through life with their minds slightly out of kilter. In its attempt to cope with modern life, the human mind seems to have evolved some defense strategies. Confronted with inventions like television, the shopping center, and the Internet, the mind will slip – all by itself—into an altered state.

Never in the history of humanity have people been expected to sit passively for hours, staring at moving pictures emanating from an electronic box. Since too much exposure to flickering images of police officers, detectives, and talk-show hosts can be dangerous to human sanity, the mind automatically goes into a state of TV hypnosis. The eyes see the sitcom or the dog-food commercial, but the mind goes into a holding pattern. None of the televised images or sounds actually enters the brain. This is why, when questioned, people cannot remember commercials they have seen five seconds before or why the TV cops are chasing a certain suspect. In this hypnotic, trancelike state, the mind resembles an armored armadillo. It rolls up in self-defense, letting the stream of televised information pass by harmlessly.

If the TV watcher arises from the couch and goes to a shopping mall, he or she will again cope by slipping into an altered state. In the mall, the mind is bombarded with the sights, smells, and sounds of dozens of stores, restaurants, and movie theaters competing for its attention. There are hundreds of questions to be answered. Should I start with the upper or lower mall level? Which stores should I look in? Should I bother with the sweater sale at Macy’s? Should I eat fried chicken or try the healthier-sounding pita wrap? Where is my car parked? To combat the mental overload, the mind goes into a state resembling the whiteout experienced by mountain climbers trapped in a blinding snowstorm. Suddenly, everything looks the same. The shopper is unsure where to go next and cannot remember what he or she came for in the first place. The mind enters this state deliberately so that the shopper has no choice but to leave. Some kids can be in a shopping mall for hours, but they are the exception to the rule.

But no part of everyday life so quickly triggers the mind’s protective shutdown mode as the favorite pastime of the new millennium: online surfing. A computer user sits down with the intention of briefly checking his or her e-mail or looking up a fact for a research paper. But once tapped into the immense storehouse of information, entertainment, and seemingly intimat3e personal connections that the Internet offers, the user loses all sense of time and priorities. Prospects flood the mind: Should I explore the rise of Nazi Germany? Play a trivia game? Hear the life story of a lonely stranger in Duluth? With a mind dazed with information overload, the user numbly hits one key after another, leaping from topic to topic, from distraction to distraction. Hours fly by as he or she sits hunched over the terminal, unable to account for the time that has past.

These poor victims are merely trying to cope with the mind-numbing inventions of modern life and are not responsible for their glazed eyes and robotic motions. People need to be aware of them and treat them with kindness and understanding. Going out of the way to bring these coma sufferers back to real life is the job of all those who have managed to avoid the side effects of television, shopping, and the Internet; otherwise, humanity will suffer.

Directions: Answer these questions in the spaces below or on your own paper.

1. In your own words, write the main idea of the essay.___________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

2. What is the author’s purpose, and how can you determine this? __________________________________

3. Which sentence in paragraph 3 of “Altered States” should be omitted in the interest of paragraph unity? (Write the opening words.) ______________________________________________________________

4. What three pieces of evidence does the writer offer to support the statement that the Internet is an “immense storehouse of information, entertainment, and seemingly intimate personal connections:?

_________________________ ________________________ ___________________________

5. What sentence indicates that the author has used emphatic order, saving his most important point for last? (Write the opening words.) ______________________________________________________________

6. Which sentence in paragraph 1 begins with a change-of-direction signal phrase? (Write the opening words.) ______________________________________________________________________________

7. Which sentence in paragraph 2 begins with an illustration/exemplification signal phrase? (Write the opening words.)________________________________________________________________________

8. Which sentence in paragraph 5 begins with a concluding signal word? (Write the opening words.) __________

_____________________________________________________________________________________

9. Fill out this DIAGRAM OF AN ESSAY for “Altered States”:

Thesis Statement ____________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

Topic Sentence 1 _____________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________

Detail 1 __________________________________________________________________

Detail 2 __________________________________________________________________

Detail 3 _________________________________________________________________

Topic Sentence 2 _____________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________

Detail 1 __________________________________________________________________

Detail 2 __________________________________________________________________

Detail 3 _________________________________________________________________ Topic Sentence 3 _____________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________________

Detail 1 __________________________________________________________________

Detail 2 __________________________________________________________________

Detail 3 _________________________________________________________________

Summary and/or Closing Remarks _____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________

Franceschini updated fall 2015

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