Higher Education

The Call to Write, Brief Edition, 5th Edition

  • John Trimbur Emerson College
  • ISBN-10: 0495897531  |  ISBN-13: 9780495897538
  • 672 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2008, 2008
  • © 2011 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $129.00
  • Newer Edition Available
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Connecting writing to everyday life, THE CALL TO WRITE, Brief Fifth Edition, continues its long tradition of breaking new ground in composition. Organized by genres, including letters, memoirs, public documents, profiles, reports, commentaries, proposals, and reviews, this innovative rhetoric gives students the practice they need to write in college and the public sphere. An emphasis on public writing promotes civic involvement, while relevant, provocative readings help students understand the concept of being "called to write" in response to a personal, community, or societal need.

Features and Benefits

  • A diverse range of public writing models, including speeches, news stories, websites, op-ed pieces, graphic novels, graffiti, listservs, and newsletters, is represented throughout the book.
  • Part II offers highly structured, core chapters on writing in different genres: letters, memoirs, public documents, profiles, reports, commentaries, proposals, and reviews. All chapters in Part Two open with annotated readings so that students are able to see how the reading tips covered in the opening section, "Thinking about the Genre," can be applied.
  • "For Critical Inquiry" questions in Part II ask students to read closely and carefully, to understand their response as readers and the decisions writers make when they take up the call to write.
  • Student-written pieces, literary and popular essays, and writing from various collegiate disciplines and professions also are included as models for writing.

Table of Contents

Guide to Visual Design.
Introduction: The Call to Write. Identifying and Responding to the Call to Write. Reflecting on Your Writing.
1. What Is Writing?
Analyzing Literacy Events. Writing in Everyday Life. Lists. Keeping a Literacy Log. Writing in the Workplace. FEMA and Katrina. Memo to a Thief. Writing in the Public Sphere. Ethics of Writing: Graffiti. Gallery of Signs. Writing in School. High School Research Paper. College Response Paper. Analyzing a Literacy Event. Frederick Douglass, from "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass". Eudora Welty, from "One Writer''s Beginnings". Margaret J. Finders, from "Just Girls: Hidden Literacies and Life in Junior High". Writing Assignment: Analyzing a Literacy Event.
2. Understanding The Rhetorical Situation: The Choices Writers Make.
The Rhetorical Situation Writer''s Orientation Audience Genre. ACORN Katrina Survivors Association. Case Study: The Somali Pirates. Strategies for Reading First Questions to Ask of Readings. Doing a Close Reading. Underlining. Annotation. Fred C. Inkles, "Kill the Pirates". Summary. Sample Summary of "Kill the Pirates" Describing the Writer''s Strategy. Sample Description of a Writer''s Strategy. Writing Strategies. Exercise: Doing a Close Reading. Johann Hari, "You Are Being Lied to About Pirates". Ethics of Reading: Boredom and Persistence. Analyzing the Rhetorical Situation: The Somali Pirates Writer''s Orientation Audience. Genre. Checklist: Analyzing the Writer''s Language. Tone. Denotation/Connotation. Figures of Speech. Stereotypes. Analysis of a Rhetorical Situation. Kevin Powell, "My Culture at the Crossroads". Sample Analysis. Writing Assignment: Analyzing the Rhetorical Situation.
3. Persuasion And Responsibility: Analyzing Arguments.
Working Together: Successful Persuasion. Understanding Argument. What Is Argument? Dealing with Reasonable Differences. Ethics of Writing: The Writer''s Responsibility. Darcy Peters and Marcus Boldt: Exchange of Letters. What Do Readers Expect from Arguments? Sample Argument: Katie DiMartile, "Roadside Memorials". Entering a Controversy. Analyzing Issues. Types of Issues. Issues of Substantiation. Issues of Evaluation. Issues of Policy. Sample Exploration of a Controversy. Taking a Position: From Issues to Claims. Developing a Persuasive Position. What Are the Rhetorical Appeals? Analysis of Persuasive Appeals. Malcolm X, from "The Ballot or the Bullet" Ethos. Pathos. Logos. Constructing an Appropriate Rhetorical Stance. Sample Letters of Application. Working Together: Rhetorical Stance. Making an Argument. What Are the Parts of an Argument? Claims, Evidence, and Enabling Assumptions. Sample Evaluations. Claims. Evidence. Questions to Ask About Evidence. Enabling Assumptions. Sample Interviews. Working Together: Analyzing Claims, Evidence, and Enabling Assumptions. Differing Views 81. Summarize Differing Views Fairly and Accurately. Refuting Differing Views. Conceding Differing Views. Negotiating Differing Views. Qualifiers. Negotiating Differences. Beyond Pro and Con. Dialogue with Others. An Electronic Exchange of Views. Recognizing Ambiguities and Contradictions. Anna Quindlen, "Abortion Is Too Complex To Feel All One Way About". Locating Common Ground. Call for a Moratorium on Executions. Rhetorical Analysis of an Argument. Sample Analysis of the Argument in "Call for a Moratorium on Executions". Writing Assignment: Analyzing an Argument.
Introduction: Genres of Writing. Writing and Genre Knowledge.
4. Letters.
Thinking About the Genre. Readings. Open Letter. Meth Science Not Stigma: Open Letter to the Media. Letters to the Editor. Mark Patinkin, "Commit a Crime, Suffer the Consequences". Letter from Kristin Tardiff. Letter from John N. Taylor Text Messages. Charles McGrath, "The Pleasures of the Text". Letter of Appeal. Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Report: DRC: Treating Victims of War. Letter as Essay. James Baldwin, "My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew". Ethics of Writing: Using the Internet. Further Exploration: Letters. Rhetorical Analysis. Genre Awareness. Writing Assignment: Letters. Invention. Identifying the Call to Write. Understanding Your Readers. Background Research: Finding Models. Planning. Establishing the Occasion. Arranging Your Material. Working Draft. Beginnings and Endings: Using an Echo Effect. Using Topic Sentences. Peer Commentary. Revising. Strengthening Topic Sentences for Focus and Transition. Writers'' Workshop. Michael Brody, Letter to the Editor. Michael Brody''s Commentary. Reflecting on Your Writing.
5. Memoirs.
Thinking About the Genre. Writing from Experience. Readings. Annie Dillard, from An American Childhood. Dave Marsh, "Fortunate Son". Gail Caldwell, "Teenage Angst in Texas". Audio Memoirs. Story Corps Graphic Memoirs. Marjane Satrapi, from Persepolis. Art Spiegelman, from "In the Shadow of No Towers". Richard Hoffman, "The Ninth Letter of the Alphabet: First-Person Strategies in Nonfiction". Ethics of Writing: Bearing Witness. Further Exploration: Memoirs Rhetorical Analysis Genre Awareness. Writing Assignment: Memoirs. Invention. Past and Present Perspectives. Background Research: Putting Events in Context. Planning. Arranging Your Material. Selecting Details. Working Draft. Beginnings and Endings: Framing Your Memoir. Peer Commentary. Revising. From Telling to Showing. Writers'' Workshop. Jennifer Plante''s Commentary. Jennifer Plante, Sunday Afternoons. Reflecting on Your Writing.
6. Public Documents.
Thinking About the Genre. Writing from Experience. Readings. Manifestos. Declaration of Independence. First Things First 2000. Encounters with Public Documents. Abraham Verghese, from My Own Country. Ellen Cushman, from The Struggle and the Tools. Petitions. Amnesty International, Call on Kenya to Ease the Suffering of Nairobi''s 2 Million Slum Dwellers. Kevin M. Bartoy, "Stimulate the Economy--Forgive Student Loans". Jason Pierce, "Tiger Woods--Stand Up for Equality--Augusta National Golf Club". Mission Statements. NRA Foundation. PEN Center USA. The Hiphop Archive. Advocacy Campaign. Greenpeace, Kleercut Campaign. Further Exploration: Public Documents. Genre Awareness. Writing Assignment: Public Documents. Invention. Clarifying Purpose, Audience, and Genre. Background Research: Understanding the Rhetorical Situation. Planning. Readability and the Visual Design of Public Documents. Working Draft. Tone and Rhetorical Distance. Peer Commentary. For the Design and Production of a Document. For Analysis of a Document. Revising. Locating Common Ground. Writers'' Workshop. The Warehouse State Honor Code. Reflecting on Your Writing.
7. Profiles.
Thinking About the Genre. Writing from Experience. Readings. Paul Buhle, "Insurgent Images: Mike Alewitz, Muralist". Profiles and Publicity. Poster. Iwaskai Library, Emerson College. Phonak Ad. Profile of a Community Organization. Somini Segupta, "An Empire for Poor Working Women, Guided by a Gandhian Approach". Photo Essay. Richard Misrach (photographs), Jason Berry (essay), "Cancer Alley: The Poisoning of the American South" Soundmap. "Folk Songs for the Five Points". Interview. Claudia Dreifus, "A Conversation with Pauline Weissner: Where Gifts and Stories Are Crucial to Survival". Ethics of Writing: Responsibility to the Writer''s Subject. Further Exploration: Profiles. Rhetorical Analysis. Genre Awareness. Writing Assignment: Profile. Invention. Finding a Subject. Clarifying Your Purpose. Background Research: Deciding What Information You Need. Planning. Deciding on the Dominant Impression. Arranging Your Material. Working Draft. Beginnings and Endings: Letting Your Subject Have the Last Word. Peer Commentary. Revising. Establishing Perspective from the Beginning. Writers'' Workshop. Richard Quitadamo, "A Lawyer''s Crusade Against Tobacco" [Working Draft]. Richard Quitadamo''s Commentary. Reflecting on Your Writing.
8. Reports.
Thinking About the Genre. Writing from Experience. Readings. News Reports. Associated Press, "Mentally Ill People Aren''t More Violent, Study Finds". Fox Butterfield, "Studies of Mental Illness Show Links to Violence". Fact Sheets. The Sentencing Project, "Facts About Prisons and Prisoners". National Report. Jeffrey S. Passel and D''Vera Cohn, Pew Hispanic Center. Executive Summary. A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants. Bill Marsh, "Warmer, Fuzzier: The Refreshed Logo". An Informational Web Site Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University, "The Triangle Factory Fire". Scholarly and Popular Articles. Richard B. Felson and George Gmelch, "Uncertainty and the Use of Magic". George Gmelch and Richard Felson, "Can a Lucky Charm Get You Through Organic Chemistry?" Further Exploration: Reports. Rhetorical Analysis. Genre Awareness. Writing Assignment: Report. Invention. Clarifying Your Purpose and Your Readers'' Need to Know. Background Research: Surveying the Information at Hand. Planning Organizing the Information. Drafting Introducing the Topic. Peer Commentary. Revising Getting the Right Order. Writers'' Workshop. Michael E. Crouch, "Lost in a Smog"--Draft in Progress. Reflecting on Your Writing.
9. Commentary.
Thinking About the Genre. Writing from Experience. Readings. Eric Liu, "Remember When Public Spaces Didn''t Carry Brand Names?" Lundy Braun, "How to Fight the New Epidemics". Spoof Ads. Adbusters. Blogs. Mike Rose, "Portraits of Thinking: An Account of a Common Laborer". Art as Social Commentary. Asma Ahmed Shikoh, "Ethics of Writing: In Whose Interest?" Further Exploration: Commentary. Rhetorical Analysis. Genre Awareness. Writing Assignment: Commentary. Invention. Naming the Topic. Background Research: Assessing Your Knowledge of the Topic. Identifying the Issue. Planning. Framing the Issue. Planning the Introduction. Planning the Ending. Working Draft. Emphasizing Your Main Point and Distinguishing Your Perspective. Peer Commentary. Revising. Maintaining a Reasonable Tone. Writer''s Workshop. Rachel Smith, First Draft. Rachel Smith, Revised Version: Socially Acceptable Discrimination? Interview with Rachel Smith. Reflecting on Your Writing.
10. Proposals.
Thinking About the Genre. Writing from Experience. Readings. Jennifer Gordon, "Workers Without Borders". Visualizing the Debate About Undocumented Immigrants Federation for American Immigration Reform Movement for an Unconditional Amnesty. Community Group Proposal. The Be Green Neighborhood Association, "Proposal for a Neighborhood Street Tree Program". Research Proposal. Lucia Trimbur, "Training Fighters, Making Men: A Study of Amateur Boxers and Their Trainers". Tricia Rose, "Beware the Manipulation of the Funk". Ethics of Writing: Problems and Conflicts. Further Exploration: Proposals. Rhetorical Analysis. Genre Awareness. Writing Assignment: Proposals. Invention. Background Research: Formulating the Problem. Assessing Alternatives. Planning. Relative Emphasis on the Problem and the Solution. Developing a Working Outline. Working Draft. Matching Problems and Solutions. Peer Commentary. Revising. Writers'' Workshop. Proposal for a Campus Coffee House. Writers'' Commentary. Reflecting on Your Writing.
11. Reviews.
Thinking About the Genre. Writing from Experience. Readings. Reviews. Sasha Frere-Jones, "The Queen: Beyonce, At Last". Notice Reviews. Christian Hoard. "Beyonce, I Am … Sasha Fierce". Manohla Dargis, "Orphan''s Life Out of Hell Could Be a Game Show in Mumbai". Travel Guides. "DK Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides: San Francisco". Eric Weiner, "Slum Visits: Tourism or Voyeurism?" Ethics of Writing: Reviewing as a Partisan Activity. Further Exploration: Reviews. Rhetorical Analysis. Genre Awareness. Writing Assignment: Reviews. Invention. Exploring Your Topic. Establishing Criteria of Evaluation. Assessing Your Criteria. Planning. Considering the Relation Between Description and Evaluation. Using Comparison and Contrast. Working Draft. Distinguishing Your Views. Peer Commentary. Revising. Options for Meaningful Endings. Writers'' Workshop. Denise Sega, "More Than Just Burnouts" [Working Draft]. Reflecting on Your Writing.
Introduction: Doing Research and the Need to Know.
12. The Research Process: Critical Essays And Research Projects.
Understanding the Genre: Critical Essays and Research Projects. What Are Faculty Looking For? Understanding Academic Writing. Sample Student Papers for Analysis. Sample Critical Essay in MLA Format. Robert Ogden, "Jigsaw Falling Into Place?: Radiohead and the Tip-Jar Model". Sample Research Paper in APA Format. Andy Mgwanna, "The Prison Privatization Debate: The Need for a New Focus". The Research Process: An Overview. Defining a Research Question. Analyzing the Assignment. Preliminary Research. Developing a Research Question. Writing a Proposal. Finding Sources. The Web and the Library: What They Offer Research Projects. What the Web Is Good For. What the Library Is Good For. How to Identify Relevant Sources. Keeping a Working Bibliography. Evaluating Sources. Making an Argument. Planning and Drafting Your Project. A Closing Note.
13. Working With Sources.
Working with Sources to Answer Your Research Question. What Is Plagiarism? Avoiding Plagiarism: How to Cite Properly. What Do I Have to Cite? Problem 1: Copying and Failing to Cite Properly. Problem 2: Copying Sentence Structure and Failing to Cite Properly. Options for Integrating Sources. Short Quotations. Words. Phrases. Sentences. Long Quotations. Fitting Quotations to Your Sentences. Ellipses. Brackets. Quotations Within Quotations. Checklist for Using Quotes Effectively. Do You Need the Quote? Is It Clear Where Sources Start and Stop? Are Sources Used Purposefully or Just Strung Together? Do You Provide Commentary Where It Is Needed? Documenting Sources: MLA and APA Style. In-text Citations. Sources with One Author. Sources with Multiple Authors. Sources with No Author Listed. Electronic Sources. Indirect Quotations. Works Cited (MLA) and References (APA). Books. Two Listings by One Author. Books with Multiple Authors. Books by a Corporate Author or Organization. Books by an Anonymous Author. An Edition of an Original Work. An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword. Edited Collections. Works in Collections and Anthologies. Translations. Books in a Later Edition. Dictionary Entries and Encyclopedia Articles. Government Documents. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertations. Articles in Periodicals. Magazine Articles. Newspaper Articles. Editorial. Review. Letter to the Editor. Online and Electronic Sources. Web Sites. Web Sites: Secondary Pages. Online Books and Reports. Online Scholarly Articles. Online Magazine or Newspaper Articles. Sources Accessed Through Online Subscription Service. Online Posting to Electronic Forum. Email. Miscellaneous Sources. Films and Videocassettes. Television and Radio Programs. Records, Tapes, and CDs. Interviews. Lecture or Speech.
14. A Guide To Print, Electronic, And Other Sources.
Types of Print Sources. Books. Periodicals The Library The Library Catalog Reference Books Electronic Resources. Electronic Databases. Search Engines. How to Use Keywords. Government Publications. Other Sources. Performances and Events. Museums. Media.
15. Fieldwork And The Research Report.
Ethics of Research: Informed Consent. Understanding the Genre: Research Reports. Luis Ramirez, "Food Sources in South Providence". Designing a Field Research Project. Writing a Proposal. Observation. The Process of Observation. Planning. Three Consideration to Take into Account When You Do Observations. Conducting Observations. Analyzing Your Notes. Interviews. The Interview Process. Planning. Four Types of Interviews. Setting Up the Interview. Conducting an In-person or Telephone Interview. After the Interview. Analyzing the Transcript. A Final Note on Interviews. Surveys. The Process of Designing and Conducting a Survey. Getting Background Information. Selecting Participants. Ethics of Research. Designing the Questionnaire. Types of Questions. Conducting the Survey. Compiling, Analyzing, and Presenting Results.
Introduction: Understanding the Writing Process. Reflecting on Your Writing.
16. The Writing Process: A Case Study Of A Writing Assignment. Case Study of a Writing Assignment. Invention. Understanding the Call to Write. Understanding Readers. Exploring the Topic. Planning. Drafting. Peer Commentary. Describe the Writer''s Strategy. Analyze the Organization. Evaluate the Argument. Revising. Final Touches. Directions for Editing. Directions for Proofreading. Talking to Teachers. Going to the Writing Center.
17. The Shape Of The Essay: How Form Embodies Purpose.
Thinking About Form. Three Patterns of Organization. Top-down Order. Sara Boxer, "I Shop, Ergo I Am: The Mall as Society''s Mirror". Culminating Order. Ellen Goodman, "Minneapolis Pornography Ordinance". Open Form. Joan Didion, "Los Angeles Notebook". Seeing Patterns of Organization: How Form Embodies Purpose. Top-down Order. Culminating Order. Open Form. A Note on Mixed Form. Putting the Parts Together. Introductions. Endings. Connecting the Parts: Keeping Your Purposes Visible. Use Reasons to Explain. Laurie Ouellette, from "Building the Third Wave". Create Topic Chains. Use Transitions. Common Types of Transitions. Designing Paragraphs. Seeing Paragraphs: The Visual Dimension. Unity and Coherence: The Psychological Dimension. Topic Sentences and Unity. Discussion and Unity and Coherence. A Note on the Placement of Topic Sentences.
18. Working Together: Collaborative Writing Projects.
Collaborative Writing. Working Together: Exploring Experience. Guidelines for Collaborating in Groups. Recognize That Group Members Need to Get Acquainted and That Groups Take Time to Form. Clarify Group Purposes and Individual Roles. Recognize That Members Bring Different Styles to the Group. Recognize That You May Not Play the Same Role in Every Group. Monitor Group Progress and Reassess Goals and Procedures. Quickly Address Problems in Group Dynamics. Encourage Differences of Opinion. How to Work Together on Collaborative Writing Projects. Organizing the Group. Group Size. Group Composition. The First Meeting. Division of Labor, or Integrated Team? Organizing the Project. The Proposal. Productive Meetings. Progress Reports. Confidential Self-Evaluation. Drafting, Revising, and Editing. Giving Credit. Final Presentation. Online Collaboration. Reflecting on Your Writing.
Introduction: Delivering the Message.
19. Visual Design.
How Visual Design Embodies Purposes. Identification. Information. Textual Graphics. Representational Graphics. Numerical Graphics. Ethics of Information Design: Data Distortion. Persuasion A Note on Reading and Seeing. Visual Design: Four Basic Principles. Use the Four Principles to Redesign Documents Redesigning a Resume. Redesigning a Flyer. Working with Type. Serif and Sans serif Typefaces. Display Typefaces. Mixing Typefaces. Visual Design Projects. Preliminary Considerations. Working Sketches. Flyers. Newsletters. Brochures.
20. Web Design.
The Rhetorical Purposes of Web Design. Identification. Information. Persuasion. The Structure of Web Design. The Visual Design of Web Sites. Writing Assignment: Planning a Web Site. Reflecting on Your Writing.
21. Oral And Powerpoint Presentations.
Understanding the Differences Between Written and Oral Presentations. Developing an Oral Presentation. Preliminary Considerations. Planning the Oral Presentation. Designing PowerPoint Slides. Designing Visuals. Using Visual Aids in a Presentation. Rehearsing Your Presentation. Guidelines for Evaluating Oral Presentations. Further Thoughts on PowerPoint. Edward R. Tufte, "PowerPoint Is Evil". Ellen Lupton, "PowerPoint Do''s and Don''ts".
22. Essay Exams.
Analyzing Essay Exams. Surveying the Format. Analyzing Exam Questions. Identification Items (IDs). Short-Answer Questions. Essay Questions. Common Essay Exam Questions. Planning Your Answer. Writing a Good Answer. Sample Essay Answers.
23. Writing Portfolios.
Some Options for a Writing Portfolio. A Reflective Letter. Jennifer Principe, Sample Reflective Letter. Revised Writing Assignments. A Case Study. John Urban, Introduction, "Putting the Life Back into Premedical Education" [Working Draft, Peer Commentary, and Final Draft]. Peer Commentary. John Urban, "Putting the Life Back into Premedical Education" [Final Draft]. Peer Commentary. Margaret King, Sample Introduction to Peer Commentary Commentary on Collaborative Writing. David Sanchez, Sample Introduction to Collaborative Writing. Samples of Exploratory Writing. John Hogan, Sample Introduction to Exploratory Writing. Miscellaneous.

What's New

  • The fifth edition features a new emphasis on global and transnational issues, with current readings and visuals.
  • The organization and design of chapters have been simplified and streamlined to enhance readability.
  • Revised Chapter 2, "Understanding the Rhetorical Situation: The Choices Writers Make," deepens the emphasis in this chapter on how writers encounter rhetorical situations and how they decide on their purpose and choice of genre.
  • Revised Chapter 3, "Persuasion and Responsibility: Analyzing Arguments," clarifies and provides new examples of types of issues and the parts of an argument.
  • Readings and visuals in the genre chapters in Part II have been updated, including an extended discussion of scholarly and popular articles in Chapter 8, "Reports."
  • New MLA guidelines for citation and formatting, based on MLA's 2009 update, appear in Chapter 12, "Working with Sources."

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Efficacy and Outcomes


"The choices of genres are appealing, and the support surrounding readings and assignments in the genres have depth and work well in the classroom."

— Kathleen Smith, Merrimack College

"Call to Write is the clearest genre-based rhetoric on the market. Trimbur speaks our language--the language of rhetoric and composition."

— Kevin Brooks, North Dakota State University

"I describe Trimbur as a genre-focused, real-world-rhetoric text with a progressive theoretical understanding of the relation between social context and rhetorical effectiveness."

— William B. Lalicker, West Chester University


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Meet the Author

Author Bio

John Trimbur

John Trimbur is a specialist in composition and writing studies, with interests in cultural studies of literacy and the politics of language in the United States and South Africa. He holds a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from State University of New York, Buffalo. Trimbur is the director of the First Year Writing Program at Emerson College in Boston. He has published widely on writing theory and has won a number of awards, including the Richard Braddock Award for Outstanding Article (2003) for "English Only and U.S. College Composition," the James L. Kinneavy Award (2001) for "Agency and the Death of the Author: A Partial Defense of Modernism," and the College Composition and Communication Outstanding Book Award (1993) for _The Politics of Writing Instruction: Postsecondary_. He also was a visiting professor at the Centre for Higher Education Development and a resident fellow at the Centre for Rhetorical Studies, both at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.