Jennifer Medina’s essay “Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm/Chemaly’s “What’s Really Important About ‘Trigger Warnings’?

Base your answers on Jennifer Medina’s essay “Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm”:

1. Does Medina’s essay seem balanced, or does it seem biased toward one particular side of the issue? Explain.

2. What is Medina’s purpose in writing this essay? Does she want to change people’s minds? Move them to action or persuade them? Something else? Explain.

3. What is Medina’s thesis statement? Where does she state it (in what paragraph)? Why does she state it where she does? Explain. Write down the thesis statement word for word as it appears in Medina’s essay. In other words, quote it. Remember to embed the quote correctly by using a lead-in and parenthetical citation. Pay attention to the placement of the period after the parenthetical citation (see illustration above).

4. What is the purpose of the rhetorical questions (Links to an external site.) in paragraph 1? Does Medina answer these questions in her essay? If she does, mention the rhetorical questions that she answers (remember to embed quotes). If she does not answer any of these rhetorical questions, do you think she should have?

5. Every responsible writer seeking to establish their authority and appeal to reason (logos) provides evidence to support their argument as well as every the claim that they make in their essay. Identify two (2) claims that Medina makes in her essay and mention one example of evidence that she uses to support it. I’ll do one as an example for you:

Medina states that the debate about trigger warnings in college classrooms “has left many academics fuming, saying that professors should be trusted to use common sense and that being provocative is part of their mandate” (Medina 622). She quotes professor Lisa Hajjar, a sociology professor, who says that “Any kind of blanket trigger policy is inimical to academic freedom” (Medina 622).

I have color coded Medina’s claim in red and the evidence that she used to support it in blue to make it easier for you to differentiate one from the other. Notice that the evidence that Medina used here are the words of an actual academic (a professor) who can attest to Medina’s claim that some academics are, as she says, “fuming” over the issue of trigger warnings. You can tell that Prof. Hajjar is fuming because of the words that she uses, especially “inimical”. *You do NOT have to color code your answer to this question.

B) Base your answers on Soraya Chemaly’s “What’s Really Important About ‘Trigger Warnings’?”

6. Chemaly begins her argument by mentioning Jennifer Medina’s essay “Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm”. Why does Chemaly begin her essay this way?

7. Chemaly claims that arguments about trigger warnings are for discussions of “deeper problems”. In the manner of a complete sentence, mention these “deeper problems”. Do you agree or disagree with her claim? Explain why.

8. According to Chemaly, what is the problem with “common sense”? Do you agree or disagree with her claim? Explain.

9. Every responsible writer seeking to establish their authority and appeal to reason (logos) provides evidence to support their argument and every the claim that they make in their essay. Chemaly is no exception. Chemaly makes a claim at the bottom of p. 627. What claim does she make there? Quote her claim. What evidence does she provide to support it (see p. 628)?

10. In her essay, Chemaly addresses arguments that oppose hers. Mention two of these opposing arguments. What does she say to refute each of these arguments? Evaluate how effective are her rebuttals.
Make sure to provide parenthetical documentation after every quote. Include the last name of the author and the page number of the quote in the parenthetical documentation. When you provide the page number, use the page number of the document scan itself, not the page number of the PDF file. This means that page numbers for “Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm” start on page 621, not on page 1.

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