(2.5 – 3 pages) Article Summary & Critical Response

The AssignmentThis assignment will have two parts:I attached the article + full instruction and SamplePart 1: The Summary.The SummarySummarize in 150-200 words the article your instructor has chosen from the assignment “Working at McDonald’s). In this summary, you should relay the article’s main points, completely and accurately, in your own words. If you find yourself in a situation in which the author’s words needed to be quoted directly (perhaps for emphasis), you must make it clear that these words are the author’s by using quotation marks appropriately. You will not want to quote anything over one sentence in length, and you will want to limit yourself to no more than 2-3 direct quotes, if you use any at all. Remember that the whole point of this portion of the assignment is for you to restate the author’s points objectively in your own words.Part 2: Critical ResponseWrite a two-page (minimum of 400-500 words) response to the article “Working at McDonald’s”.Before you even begin drafting, you will want to decide on the terms of your response. Once you decide on the terms (or grounds) of your response, you’ll want to figure out how you can support your points—using logic, outside evidence—whatever is appropriate. Your response cannot be based on simply your opinion about the issue.
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Amitai Etzioni
E[ Working
at McDonald’s 315
The passive voice can be awkward, pompous, wordy, and downright ugly.
Sometimes it can even be sinister.
Thke a close look at that passage describing the new grading system’ The
students are being acted upon: they “will be characterized”; they “will no longer
be commended”; they “will be told”; they “will not be described.” Who is
responsible for these actions? Who do we complain to if we think the grading
system is stupid or pernicious? The school board? The principal? The teachers?
City Hall? Use of the passive voice makes these questions difficult or impossible to answer. Perhaps we are meant to sigh, shrug, and put the blame on the
impersonal forces of Fate or Change or The Authorities. The passive voice,
then, can sometimes involve moral issues even though it is most often a stylistic concern. Note the evasion of responsibility in the following sentences;
.
.
Funding was reduced for the hunger program.
The Accounts Receivable department has been determined to be 35 per-
.
cent overstaffed.
Fred was deemed to be a disruptive influence.
In fairness, for some special situations the passive voice can be altogether
acceptable. When the person or thing or gloup that does the acting is unknown
or unimportant, the passive voice often sounds normal and natural-more so
than the active voice in some cases-and there’s no leason to avoid it. The passive sometimes works well, too, when the writer deliberately wants to sound
formal and impersonal:
o
.
o
The flight was canceled because of mechanical difficulties.
In the Middle Ages, Aristotle was often referred to as “The Philosopher.”
Payment must be received within ten days, or legal steps will be taken.
Watch out for the passive voice, then. It shouldn’t always be avoided, but
most of the time the active voice works better-much better.
WORKING AT MCDONALD’S
Amitai Etzioni
A sociology professor and the founder of the Communitarian Network, Amitai
Etzioni has been referred to as the “guru” of the communitarian movement.
He has written more than two dozen books, is frequently heard on radio and
television, and has published numerous articles in newspapers and magazines.
Here, Etzioni furns these credentials toward a consideration of the seemingly
innocuous topic of after-school jobs for teenagers.
I
Wonos ro Cnrcx:
entrepreneurship (paragraph
gumption
(Z)
6)
(14)
(16)
alienation
emulate
trite (18)
intrinsic
(19)
r McDonald’s is bad for your kids. I do not mean the flat patties and the white-
flour buns; I refer to thejobs teenagers undertake, mass-producing these choice
items.
z
As many as two-thirds of America’s high school
juliors and
seniors now
holddownpart-timepayingjobs,accordingtostudies’Yu”yoftheseareinfastsymbol’
food chainq of which McDonald’s is the pioneer, trend-setter and
sAtfirst,suchjobsmayseemrightoutoftheFoundingFathers,education
youngmanual for how tt bring up self-reliant, work-ethic-driven, productive
involvement,
sters. But in fact, theselobs undermine school attendance and
skew the
simultaneously
and
life,
later
in
impart few skills that will be useful
dollar.
a
of
worth
the
values of teen-agers-especially their ideas about
+ It has been a longstanding American tradition that youngsters ought
-to
than the
get paying jobs. In dklor”, few pursuits are more deeply revered
,r”*ipup”, route and the sidewalk lemonade stand. Here the youngsters are to
(papers are delivered
learn how sweet are the fruits of labor and self-discipline
(if you price your
early in the morning, rain or shine), and the ways of trade
lemonade too high or too low . . .)’
sRoyRogers,BaskinRobbins,KentuckyFriedChicken,-etal’mayatfirst
They provide very
seem nothing but a vast extension of the lemonade stand.
well comlarge numbeis of teen jobs, provide regular employment, pay quite
a
to many other teen jots and, in the modern equivalent of toiling over
p;d
hot stove, test one’s stamina.
o closer examination, however, finds the McDonald’s kind of job highly
uneducational in several ways. Far from providing opportunities for entrepreneurship (the lemonade stand) or self-discipline, self-sup-ervision and self-scheduling (the paper route), most teen jobs these days are highly structured-what
social scientists call “highly routinized.”
z True, you still hure to-harre the gUmption to get yourself over to the hamburger stand, but once you don the prescribed uniform, your task is spelled
outln minute detail. The franchise prescribes the shape of the coffee cups;
the weight, size, shape and color of the patties; and the texture of the napkins
(it uny)Irt”sh coffee is to be made every eight minutes. And so on. There is
no room for initiative, creativity, or even elementary rearrangements. These
not
are breeding grounds for robots working for yesterday’s assembly lines,
tomotrow’s high-tech Posts.
s There are very few studies on the matter. One of the few is a 1984 study by
Ivan Charp”, urd Bryan Shore Fraser. The study relies mainly on what teenof
agers write in response to the questionnaires rather than actual observations
such
skills
fast-food jobs. The authors argue that the employees develop many
Amitai Etzioni ffi Worki
at McDonald’s 317
has how to operate a_food-preparation machine and
a cash register. However,
little attention is paid to how iong it takes to acquire ,”.h
s
significance is.
,;[ii
“;;h;;;;;
what does it matter if you spend 20 minutes to rearn to use a
cash reg-ister,
and then-“operate” it? Ahat “skilr” have you acquired?
It is a rong *.y”f.”;
learning to work witha lathe or carpenter tools in the olden
days or to program
computers in the modern age.
A study by A. v. Harrell and p. w. wirtz found that, among those students who worked at.least 25 hours per week whire in school,
theiiunemployment rate four years later was half of that of seniors who did
not work. This is
an impressive statistic. It must be seen though, together with
the finding that
many,who begin as part-time emproyees in fast-food chains drop
out of”high
scho-ol and are gobbled up in the world of low-skill jobs.
11 Some say that while these jobs are rather
for college-bound, white,
‘ middle-class youngsters, they are “ideal” unsuitei
for lower-class, “non-academic,,;
minority youngsters. Indeed, minorities are “over-represented,, in these jobs
(21 percent of fast-food employees). while it is true
t’hat these places provide
income, work and even some training to such youngsters, they
also ierd to
perpetuate their disadvantaged status. They provide no .u.””i
ladders, few
marketable skills, and undermine school atteniance and involvement.
The hours are often long. Among those 14 to 17, a third of fast-food
employees (including some schoor dropouts) rabo, more than
30 hours per
week, according to the charper-Fraser rtray- only 20
percent work 15 hours
or less. The rest: between 15 and 30 hours.
13 often the stores close late, and after closing one must clean up and tally
up’ In affluent Montgomery count, Md., where child rabor would
not seem
to-be a widespread economic,ecessity, 24 percent of
the seniors at one high
school in 1986 worked as much as five to serre., days a
week; 27 percent, three
to- five. There is just no way such amounts
of work wiil not interf’ere with
school work, especially homework. In an informal survey
pubrished in the
most recent yearbook of the high school, 58 percent of
senitrs acknowledge
that their jobs interfere with their school work.
14
charper-Fraser study sees merit in learning teamwork
and working
-The
under supervision. The authors have a point here. Fio*”rr”r,
it must be noted
that such learning is not automaticany eiucational
or whoresome. For exampre,
t2
much of the supervision in_fast-food places leans toward
teaching one the wrong
kinds of compliance: blind obedi”rr.”, o, shared alienation
with the ,,boss.,,
15 supervision is oftenboth tight and woefuily inappropriate.
Today, fast_food
chains and other such places oiwo.k (record rrrrpi
ur*ring aneys)’k”ep .ost,
dowl by having teens supervise teens with oftenlo adurt
# tn” premises.
16 There is no father_or mother figure with which to identify,
to
emurate,
to provide a role model and guidance. The work-culture
varies from one
place to another: Sometimes it i, u tightry run shop (must
keep the cash
318
Chapter
10
Arqumentation
registers ringing); sometimes a rather loose pot party interrupted by custom-
ers. However, only rarely is there a master to learn from, or much worth
learning. Indeed, far from being places where solid adult work values are
being transmitted, these are places where all too often delinquent teen values dominate. Typically, when my son Oren was dishing out ice cream for
Baskin Robbins in upper Manhattan, his fellow teen-workers considered
him a sucker for not helping himself to the till. Most youngsters felt they
were entitled to $50 severance “pay” on their last day on the job.
rz The pay, oddly, is the part of the teen work-world that is most difficult to
evaluate. The lemonade stand or paper route money was for your allowance.
In the old days, apprentices learning a trade from a master contributed most,
if not all, of their income to their parents’ household. Today, the teen pay
may be low by adult standards, but it is often, especially in the middle class,
spent largely or wholly by the teens. That is, the youngsters live free at home
(;aftet all, they are high school kids”) and are left with very substantial sums
of money.
Where this money goes is not quite clear. Some use it to support themselves, especially among the poor. More middle-class kids set some money
aside to help pay for college, or save it for a major purchase-often a car. But
large amounts seem to flow to pay for an early introduction into the most trite
aspects of American consumerism: flimsy punk clothes, trinkets and whatever
else is the last fast-moving teen craze.
le one may say that this is only fair and square; they are being good American consumers and spend their money on what turns them on. At least, a cynic
might add, these funds do not go into illicit drugs and booze. on the other
hand, an educator might bemoan that these young, yet unformed individuals,
so early in life driven to buy objects of no intrinsic educational, cultural or
social merit, learn so quickly the dubious merit of keeping up with theJoneses
in ever-changing fads, promoted by mass merchandising.
20 Many teens find the instant reward of money, and the youth status symbols
it buys, much more alluring than credits in calculus courses, European history
or foreign languages. No wonder quite a few would rather skip school-and
certainly homework-and instead work longer at a Burger King. Thus, most
teen work these days is not providing early lessons in the work ethic; it fosters
escape from school and responsibilities, quick gratification and a shortcut to
the consumeristic aspects of adult life.
2t Thus, parents should look at teen employment not as automatically educational. It is an activity*like sports-that can be turned into an educational
opportunity. But it can also easily be abused. Youngsters must learn to balance
the quest for income with the needs to keep growing and pursue other endeavors that do not pay off instantly-above all education.
22 Go back to school.
18
WHAT DID THE WRITTR
SAY
AND WHAT DID YOU THINK?
1. {hy does the author say that part-time jobs are not especially
2.
3′
4.
educational?
Alhat values are teen jobs often teaching, according to Etzioni?
How does Etzioni respond to the claim that these jobs “are ‘ideal, for
lower-class,’non-academic,’ minority youngsters’, (paragraph 1 1)?
Does your experience support or refute Etzioni,s argument?
HOW DIDTHE WRITTR SAY IT?
1. ,rho is the audience for this argument? How can you tell?
2. How
3.
4.
does the author address the audience’s preconceptions and objections to his argument?
In paragraph 13, the author cites statistics about teen employment and
says, “There is just no way such amounts of work will not interfere
with school work, especially homework.” Is this statement logically
self-evident? Is the yearbook survey cited after this statement enough
support for Etzioni’s conclusion?
The essay closes with a paragraph encouraging balance between work and
education followed by a single-sentence paragraph stating, “Go back to
school.” Are these points contradictory? {hy end the essay this way?
Inseparable from Etzioni’s presentation of his own point of view about teenagers working at McDonald’s is his attack on what he considers conventional
attitudes. His explicit rejection of those attitudes gives his thesis a dimension
that it would not otherwise have had.
Getting started is a problem for many writers, and Etzioni here demonstrates one of the most effective ways of dealing with the problem: Many people
think such and such, but. . . .Instead of opening with a direct and sometimes flat
statement of your thesis, let your thesis emerge as a response to some other
people’s ignorance or superstition or sentimentality or general wrongheadedness. Your thesis will then exist in a dramatic context, not an intellectual vacuum, and will have built into it the appeal of a lively argument.
_ Most people think such and such about jobs for teenagers, says Etzioni,
but. . .. with a thesis that spanking small children is often the best method of
handling certain difficulties, you might begin with a few satirical references
to the belief that three-year-olds appreciate the fine points of logic and that
the ideal family is a loosely organized debating society. With a thesis that
country music is fun, you might begin by observing that respectable people
The Assignment:
This assignment will have two parts:
Part 1: The Summary.
The Summary
Summarize in 150-200 words the article your instructor has chosen from the assignment
“Working at McDonald’s). In this summary, you should relay the article’s main points,
completely and accurately, in your own words. If you find yourself in a situation in which
the author’s words needed to be quoted directly (perhaps for emphasis), you must make it
clear that these words are the author’s by using quotation marks appropriately. You will not
want to quote anything over one sentence in length, and you will want to limit yourself to
no more than 2-3 direct quotes, if you use any at all. Remember that the whole point of this
portion of the assignment is for you to restate the author’s points objectively in your own
words.
In general, I recommend you structure your first sentence something like this:
In “Working at McDonald’s,” Amitai Etzioni argues that…
This will function as the thesis statement of your summary, so this first sentence will need to
convey the main point(s) of the article to give your reader an overall view.
Sample
Summary of “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names”
In “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names,” Richard Estrada
argues that sports teams should not be allowed to continue using ethnicbased names and mascots. Estrada claims that teams such as the Braves,
Indians, Seminoles, and Redskins—no matter how established or popular—
should change their team names and mascots, which are degrading to
Native Americans. He further suggests that the stereotypes accompanying
these mascots, such as “tomahawk chops and war chants,” dehumanize and
single out Native Americans, setting them aside from the rest of
society. “Nobody likes to be trivialized or deprived of his or her dignity,”
Estrada asserts, and yet allowing ethnic-based mascots enables—and even
promotes—such trivialization. What makes matters worse, according to
Estrada, is that such mascots target one of our nation’s least politically
powerful ethnic groups. He provides examples of other possible team names
based on other ethnic minorities (such as the “New York Jews”), which would
never be tolerated in our society. As a result, Estrada concludes that Native
Americans should be treated with simple human dignity, just like everyone
else.
178 Words
Part 2: Critical Response
Write a two-page (minimum of 400-500 words) response to the article “Working at
McDonald’s”.
Before you even begin drafting, you will want to decide on the terms of your response. Once
you decide on the terms (or grounds) of your response, you’ll want to figure out how you can
support your points—using logic, outside evidence—whatever is appropriate. Your response
cannot be based on simply your opinion about the issue.
Sample
Sticks and Stones and Contradictions
I found Richard Estrada’s article, “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team
Names,” unconvincing, and also a bit confusing. Estrada’s language seems
inflated, exaggerated, and even contradictory. His evidence is entirely
anecdotal, and as a result, we receive very few concrete facts to support his
claims. In addition, Estrada’s credibility is unclear throughout the article.
To begin with, Estrada uses many exaggerated and contradictory
phrases. For instance, Estrada claims that using ethic sports teams names
and mascots is “dehumanizing” to Native Americans (280). To
“dehumanize” is to deprive someone of human qualities, yet Estrada never
proves that this is actually what ethic sports names actually do. In fact, he
completely contradicts this notion of “dehumanization” in the previous
sentence, by discussing why these mascots were chosen in the first
place. “The noble symbols of the Redskins or college football’s Florida
Seminoles or the Illinois Illini are meant to be strong and proud” (Estrada
280). Noble. Strong. Proud. These are all human qualities; indeed, they
are qualities many people aspire to attain. So how can such symbols be
dehumanizing?
In addition, the title “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names” itself
seems to contradict Estrada’s claims. By invoking the children’s rhyme,
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,”
Estrada seems to imply that mascots and team names don’t matter at all. I
had to read the article several times before I finally grasped his
intentions. Estrada is trying to be ironic. Although his title alludes to the
children’s rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will
never hurt me,” Estrada is actually trying to prove the opposite: Words can
hurt us, and deeply. While most people are probably familiar with the
original children’s rhyme, I don’t believe that most readers will know that
they should be reading Estrada’s title ironically. This is particularly true
when we consider Estrada’s intended audience. This column was written for
the Dallas Morning News, not for the classroom setting. How many people
really critically read their morning newspapers? How many people study
such articles carefully, rather than skimming, and read them several times?
Next, Estrada’s lack of concrete evidence is problematic. Other than
references to particular teams, his evidence is entirely anecdotal and often
hearsay. For example, overhearing a father’s complaint on the radio about a
largely unrelated incident—a school dress-up day—does little to prove the
real harms of ethnic sports names and mascots. This story only shows that
one person was offended by an irresponsible decision made by a few
insensitive teachers. What Estrada needs to prove is real harm
done: Perhaps interviewing or surveying a group of Native Americans to
hear their thoughts on this subject. Perhaps citing a psychological or
sociological study that proves the lasting impacts of mascots in social
development. How does seeing these mascots affect the way people of
other races view Native Americans? How does seeing these mascots affect
the way Native Americans view themselves? Do most Native Americans feel
offended by mascots such as the Braves and the Redskins? These are all
questions Estrada needs to answer with more c …
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