English 100

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English 100
Instructor: Hu
Essay Prompt: (Please choose only one of the following. Do not answer both.)
1)
For the past five weeks, we have examined the detailed intricacies that language and
usage of language possesses. The actor, Robin Williams playing an inspiring teacher in the film
Dead Poet’s Society, tells his students “words and ideas can change the world.” Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. says, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
They certainly portray language as an omnipotent tool.
Judge for yourself-- how powerful a tool is language? How does its usage, misuse and abuse
manifest in our lives, whether used by politicians, businessmen or advertisers? Can we actually
feel the force and the brunt of language? Are we truly manipulated, affected, daunted,
mesmerized? As you write your essay, be sure to engage the ideas of the authors and articles
we’ve discussed (mainly IPA and William Lutz). What is language and usage of language
actually capable of making us do and believe?
2)
Television was “invented” in the 1950’s. It has now been fifty years since the advent of
television into our lives as a tool, phenomenon and shaping force. What started out as a pictorial
extension of the radio has now evolved to become such a dominating medium in our lives as well
as of our lives. We are currently the third generation to be raised on (and by) television. In fact,
many parents today literally use TV as a babysitter.
For your paper, discuss in depth, some of the major effects television has had on us over
the last fifty years. What do you consider to be the three most prominent and lasting results of
television? How has each of these shaped our lives and the way we live today? Be sure to
constantly engage the ideas/thoughts of Joshua Meyrowitz, Henry Perkinson, Neil Postman (two
articles) and Barbara Ehrenreich. Offer textual evidence as well as your own examples.
Essays should be approximately four pages in length, and in proper MLA format. Good
luck.
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