ERF 11-13-2014- Writing (Mirror, mirror…)

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…
Most debates are more complicated than simple “pro” and “con” positions suggest.
Successful analysis of an issue requires you to discuss the conflicting values and ideas
surrounding the issue and why it is difficult to resolve. While it is necessary and
important to identify facts and opinions coming from supporting and opposing
perspectives on a given issue, the critical component of issue analysis is understanding
the underlying ideological and philosophical values in opposition.
To reach such critical understanding, you should think about your own personal
experiences with the issue and the knowledge you have gained from your high school
coursework – not just English, but also in social studies, science, etc. Your knowledge
base on the issue or related topics will help you identify motivations and justifications of
the opposing perspectives and put the debate as a whole in context. Consider the issue
of whether you and your peers, often derided as the “Entitlement Generation,” are more
narcissistic and selfish than previous generations of teenagers. A 2008 New York Times
article reported the following discrepant viewpoints:
“Research in the journal Psychological Science next month will show
that there have been very few changes in the thoughts, feelings and
behaviors of youth over the last 30 years. However, researchers at San
Diego State University have found that narcissism is much more
prevalent among people born [after the] 1980s than in earlier generations.”
Adapted from Stephanie Rosenbloom, “Generation Me vs. You Revisited.” © 2008 by The New York Times.
If asked to discuss the likely reasons for this difference in opinion and the issues in
conflict between opposing perspectives, what would you say? One way to tap into your
personal knowledge on this topic is to create a mind map before you begin writing. In a
mind map, you place your issue at the center of the page and write down notes and
ideas that come to you about it. Commonly, mind map users try to answer the SIX
journalistic questions: Who? What? Why? How? Where? When?
Use the organizer on the next page to collect ideas about the narcissism of your
generation. Write down as much as you know and feel, making sure to also respond to
each of the SIX questions Who? What? Why? How? Where? When?