Product Cover Image

Prose Reader, The: Essays for Thinking, Reading, and Writing Plus MyLab Writing -- Access Card Package, 10th Edition

By Kim Flachmann, Michael Flachmann

Published by Pearson

Published Date: May 6, 2013


Effective writing through critical thinking.


Above all others, this rhetorical patterns reader provides a comprehensive grounding in critical thinking as the foundation for close reading and effective writing.  Just as important, by exposing the reader  to interesting and insightful prose by a diversity of top writers, the reader is motivated to respond in writing and discussions.  By thinking, reading, and writing on three increasingly difficult levels - literally, interpretively, and critically - readers can better learn the processes and skills necessary to be successful in all their writing experiences.

Table of Contents

Thematic Contents

Preface to the Instructor

Part I: Critical Thinking—The Key to Success

1 Why Learn How to Think Critically?

Levels of Thinking

In-Text Critical Thinking Questions

2 What Exactly Is Critical Thinking?

Looking to the Future with a Critical Eye: A Message for High School Graduates by LINDA ELDER

The Role of Critical Thinking in Effective Decision Making by BRIAN DENIS EGAN

*The Importance of Critical Thinking by LANE WALLACE

3 What Do I Need to Know About Reading and Writing Critically?

Reading Critically

Writing Critically

Reading and Writing Inventories

Some Final Thoughts

The Reading and Writing Processes

Part II: Reading and Writing Critically

4 Description: Exploring Through the Senses

Defining Description

Thinking Critically Through Description

Reading and Writing Descriptive Essays

Student Essay: Description at Work

Some Final Thoughts on Description

RAY BRADBURY Summer Rituals

The description of a simple, comforting ritual—the putting up of a front-porch swing in early summer—confirms the value of ceremony in the life of a small town.

KIMBERLY WOZENCRAFT Notes from the Country Club

Have you ever wondered what being in prison is like? Kimberly Wozencraft takes us for a no-nonsense tour of the “correctional institution” in Kentucky that was her home for more than a year.


Do you enjoy watching people? Prairie Home Companion creator Garrison Keillor draws some hilarious conclusions about pedestrians on a busy New York City street as they jump over a small stream of water.

MALCOLM COWLEY The View from 80

In this humorous, touching, and ultimately optimistic essay, the author introduces us to the unfamiliar “country” of old age.


John McPhee’s skill with richly detailed prose is captured in this compelling description of two very different natives of “The Pines,” a wilderness area in the eastern United States.

Chapter Writing Assignments

5 Narration: Telling a Story

Defining Narration

Thinking Critically Through Narration

Reading and Writing Narrative Essays

Student Essay: Narration at Work

Some Final Thoughts on Narration

LEWIS SAWAQUAT For My Indian Daughter

A Native American author responds to prejudice with a search for ethnic and cultural pride.

MAYA ANGELOU New Directions

Deserted by her husband, a proud and determined Annie Johnson decides to “step off the road and cut … a new path” for herself.


This fascinating essay describes how Brenda Combs, a homeless crack addict, rose out of the gutter to become an award-winning schoolteacher in Phoenix.


The only daughter in a large family, Sandra Cisneros feels overwhelming pride when her father praises her skill as a writer.

RUSSELL BAKER The Saturday Evening Post

In this autobiographical essay, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Russell Baker offers a nostalgic look at his childhood days in the small town of Morrisonville, Virginia.

Chapter Writing Assignments

6 Example: Illustrating Ideas

Defining Examples

Thinking Critically Through Examples

Reading and Writing Example Essays

Student Essay: Examples at Work

Some Final Thoughts on Examples

BILL COSBY The Baffling Question

Why do people have children? Comedian Bill Cosby presents several hilarious and ironic reasons in this perceptive look at the effects kids have on our lives.

RICHARD RODRIGUEZ Public and Private Language

Do you speak the same language in public that you do in private with your family and friends? Richard Rodriguez argues for the importance of both forms of communication.

HAROLD KRENTS Darkness at Noon

How should we treat the handicapped? Blind author Harold Krents gives us a few lessons in judging people on their abilities rather than their disabilities.

JOEL STEIN You Are Not My Friend

Hey, dude … Wanna meet on Facebook? Humorist Joel Stein rails against the insincerity of social networking sites.

BRENT STAPLES A Brother’s Murder

Brent Staples’s horrifying description of his brother’s inner-city killing lays bare the decay of urban America and its effect on the young African-American men who are imprisoned there.

Chapter Writing Assignments

7 Process Analysis: Explaining Step by Step

Defining Process Analysis

Thinking Critically Through Process Analysis

Reading and Writing Process Analysis Essays

Student Essay: Process Analysis at Work

Some Final Thoughts on Process Analysis

JAY WALLJASPER Our Schedules, Our Selves

Are you bound to your Blackberry, enslaved to your daily routine? Jay Walljasper argues that we’ve booked ourselves so tightly that “there’s no time left for those magic, spontaneous moments that make us feel most alive.”

JESSICA MITFORD Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain

In this chilling and macabre essay, celebrated “muckraker” Jessica Mitford exposes the greed and hypocrisy of the American mortuary business.


How resilient would you be in a crisis? Author Alice Kelly asks five crucial questions that help predict the difference between confidence and chaos in our response to adversity.

MALCOLM X Learning to Read

Do you remember the day you learned to read? Malcolm X was in prison when he first became enchanted with language and literature.


In this excerpt from her best-selling book, the author explains how training as a domestic worker taught her that dusting furniture had an “undeniable logic and a certain kind of austere beauty.”

Chapter Writing Assignments

8 Division/Classification: Finding Categories

Defining Division/Classification

Thinking Critically Through Division/Classification

Reading and Writing Division/Classification Essays

Student Essay: Division/Classification at Work

Some Final Thoughts on Division/Classification

TAMALA EDWARDS Multi-Colored Families

Mixed-race marriages and transracial adoptions have created special challenges for the parents and children involved, but also a new and important dialogue about America’s evolving family traditions.

*SCOTT RUSSELL SANDERS The Men We Carry in Our Minds

Are you a “toiler” or a “warrior”? The men Scott Russell Sanders describes in this essay fall neatly into one of these two interesting categories.

*SARAH TOLER Understanding the Birth Order Relationship

Are you an only child? A middle child? Or the youngest in your family? According to the author, our birth order can have a powerful effect on the way we live our lives.

AMY TAN Mother Tongue

In this provocative and intriguing article, author Amy Tan examines the relationship between her mother’s “fractured” English and her own talent as a writer.


Ever stretched the truth? Stephanie Ericsson catalogs the ten worst kinds of falsehoods, from “white lies” to “delusion.” Which is your favorite?

Chapter Writing Assignments

9 Comparison/Contrast: Discovering Similarities and Differences

Defining Comparison/Contrast

Thinking Critically Through Comparison/Contrast

Reading and Writing Comparison/Contrast Essays

Student Essay: Comparison/Contrast at Work

Some Final Thoughts on Comparison/Contrast

*AMY CHUA How Chinese Mothers Are Superior

Why do so many Asian students excel in school? According to Amy Chua, it’s because

their mothers are much more demanding than their Western counterparts.

*NANCY GIBBS Dads Are Dudes

Modern fathers are more nurturing than those of thirty years ago, claims the author, which bodes well for future generations of children.

*MOTOKO RICH Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?

Is surfing the Net ruining our minds? New York Times reporter Motoko Rich presents a balanced and intriguing analysis of the dangers and rewards of spending too much time online.

GLORIA STEINEM The Politics of Muscle

Feminist Gloria Steinem examines the extent to which strength means sexual power.

*GRAEME WOOD Re-Engineering the Earth

Zeppelins spewing sulphur dioxide. Frisbee-size ceramic disks launched into the sky. Sea water sprayed into the clouds. These are just some of the intriguing ideas scientists have come up with to slow down global warming before we all burn to a crisp.

Chapter Writing Assignments

10 Definition: Limiting the Frame of Reference

Defining Definition

Thinking Critically Through Definition

Reading and Writing Definition Essays

Student Essay: Definition at Work

Some Final Thoughts on Definition

MARC GELLMAN Worry. Don’t Be Happy.

Have you ever heard the expression “All I want is that my children should be happy”? Rabbi Marc Gellman tells us what’s wrong with this simple parental request.


Robert Ramirez lovingly describes the “feeling of family” in a typical inner-city barrio.

CLAUDIA WALLIS AND SONJA STEPTOE How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century

What’s wrong with America’s schools? Plenty, say two Time magazine correspondents, who offer advice about how to drag our antiquated educational system into the new millennium.

MARY PIPHER Beliefs about Families

What is a “family”? Psychologist Mary Pipher attempts to answer this intriguing question by examining the effect that different categories of family members have on our ability to function in the world around us.

LYN MIKEL BROWN AND MEDA CHESNEY-LIND Bad Girls, Bad Girls, Whatcha Gonna Do?

Why is today’s world so filled with “nasty girls”? The problem, argue the authors, is caused by a culture that “denigrates, commodifies, and demoralizes women.”

Chapter Writing Assignments

11 Cause/Effect: Tracing Reasons and Results

Defining Cause/Effect

Thinking Critically Through Cause/Effect

Reading and Writing Cause/Effect Essays

Student Essay: Cause/Effect at Work

Some Final Thoughts on Cause/Effect

STEPHEN KING Why We Crave Horror Movies

Seen any good horror movies lately? Best-selling author Stephen King explains why we are so fascinated by films that appeal to our darker instincts.


An angry and frustrated Michael Dorris describes the long-term damage done to his adopted son, Adam, by the ravages of fetal alcohol syndrome.

*DANA GIOIA On the Importance of Reading

Why should we read literature? “Let me count the ways,” says former National Endowment for the Arts chair Dana Gioia, as he details the intellectual and spiritual nourishment conferred upon us by imaginative works of art.

*JOE KEOHANE How Facts Backfire

Are you sure you’re right about that? According to Joe Keohane, the more certain we are about our opinions, the more likely it is that we are relying on “beliefs” rather than “facts.”

ALICE WALKER Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self

Looking back on an accident suffered many years ago, Alice Walker analyzes the connection between physical beauty and her own self-image.

Chapter Writing Assignments

12 Argument and Persuasion: Inciting People to Thought or Action

Defining Argument and Persuasion

Thinking Critically Through Argument and Persuasion

Reading and Writing Argument/Persuasion Essays

Student Essay: Argument and Persuasion at Work

Some Final Thoughts on Argument and Persuasion

FRANK FUREDI Our Unhealthy Obsession with Sickness

Are you so worried about your health that it’s making you sick? Sociologist Frank Furedi explains why the concept of “illness” is increasingly important in our modern world.

BARRETT SEAMAN How Bingeing Became the New College Sport

Wanna grab a beer before class? Barrett Seaman paints a sobering picture of the vast numbers of soused students in America’s colleges and universities.

DAVE GROSSMAN We Are Training Our Kids to Kill

Retired Col. Dave Grossman questions the role models we are creating for our kids through violence on TV. In this essay, he challenges us to regain control of child abuse, racism, and poverty in American society.

PHOTO ESSAY Tag, You’re It!

Art or graffitti? What is your opinion about these drawings on public property?


Malnourished models and the trendy fashion industry are tempting targets in this hilarious essay by Time Magazine reporter Belinda Luscombe.

Opposing Viewpoints: Immigration

MICHAEL SCOTT America Must Take Stronger Measures to Halt Illegal Immigration

RICHARD RAYNOR Illegal Immigration Does Not Threaten America

Is the United States “under year-round siege by hordes of illegal aliens,” as Michael

Scott claims, or is Richard Raynor correct when he argues that “America is an immigrant nation” that desperately needs the drive, generosity, and energy of people from other countries?

Opposing Viewpoints: Postconviction DNA Testing

TIM O’BRIEN Postconviction DNA Testing Should Be Encouraged

JAMES DAO In Same Case, DNA Clears Convict and Finds Suspect

PETER ROFF Postconviction DNA Testing Should Not Be Encouraged

How reliable is DNA evidence in the courtroom? Tim O’Brien, James Dao, and Peter Roff debate the issue from three different sides.

Chapter Writing Assignments

13 Thinking, Reading, and Writing in Different

Literary Forms: Combining Rhetorical Modes


ROGER ROSENBLATT “I Am Writing Blindly”

What is the basic, primal urge that drives us to communicate with each other? In this brief yet brilliant essay, Roger Rosenblatt examines the reasons why we write “blindly” to the world around us.

RITA MAE BROWN Writing as a Moral Act

Novelist Rita Mae Brown argues persuasively that good writers should always tell the truth. “If you aren’t reading books that challenge you, you’re reading the wrong books,” she claims.



Set in the segregationist South, Wright’s short story illustrates the triumph of one brave man’s lust for learning over a society that seeks to keep him “in his place.”


During a hot summer in Oakland, surrounded by drug dealers and social misfits, author Jessica Anya Blau investigates the mysterious relationship between art and life.



United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins praises the art of scribbled comments in the margins of books, which often reveal volumes about the people who write them.


William Stafford describes through brilliant and evocative metaphors the very moment he realized he had to be a poet.

Chapter Writing Assignments

Part III Reference: Reading and Writing from Sources

R-1 Introducing the Documented Essay

R-1.1 Defining Documented Essays

R-1.2 Sample Documented Paragraph

R-1.3 Documented Essay Reference Chart

R-2 Reading a Documented Essay

R-2.1 Preparing to Read a Documented Essay

R-2.2 Reading a Documented Essay

R-2.3 Rereading a Documented Essay

R-2.4 A Checklist for Reading Documented Essays

R-2.5 Reading an Annotated Essay

*ALLAN GOLDSTEIN “Our Brains Are Evolving to Multitask,” Not! The Illusion of Multitasking

R-3 Preparing to Write Your Own Documented Essay

R-3.1 Choosing a Topic

R-3.2 Writing a Good, Clear Thesis Statement

R-4 Finding Sources

R-4.1 Sources That Are Relevant, Reliable, and Recent

R-4.2 Consulting Academic Databases

R-4.3 Searching for Websites

R-4.4 Using the Library

R-5 Avoiding Plagiarism

R-5.1 Types of Material

R-5.2 Acknowledging Your Sources

R-5.3 Direct Quotation, Paraphrase, and Summary

R-6 Staying Organized

R-6.1 Taking Notes on Sources

R-6.2 Making a Working Outline

R-7 Writing a Documented Essay

R-7.1 Writing the Introduction

R-7.2 Writing the Supporting Paragraphs

R-7.3 Using Your Sources

R-7.4 Writing Your Conclusion

R-7.5 Creating Your Title

R-7.6 A Checklist for Writing Documented Essays

R-8 Documenting

R-8.1 Introducing Your Sources

R-8.2 Documentation Format

R-8.3 MLA versus APA

R-8.4 Sample Student References

R-9 Revising and Editinga Documented Essay

R-9.1 Revising


Glossary of Useful Terms


Index of Authors and Titles