The Miller College Reader, 12th edition

  • George Miller, 
  • Jon Miller

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The Miller College Reader will help you learn how to organize your writing around structural patterns and how to identify different ways to convey information. The text teaches you how to apply skills such as description, comparison and analysis across a range of subject matter you may encounter in your academic work.

Published by Pearson (July 14th 2021) - Copyright © 2018

ISBN-13: 9780137518753

Subject: Composition

Category: Readers

Table of contents

How to Read and Then Analyze an Essay
Exploring the Links Between Reading and Writing
Practicing Active Reading: A Model
John James Audubon, "The Hurricane"
Analyzing an Essay
Reading a Visual Image
Practicing Reading a Visual: A Model
Sample Analysis: How to Write an Essay
Getting Ready to Write
Practicing with Clues in an Assignment
Writing a Draft
How to Revise an Essay
Understanding What Revision Is
Developing Your Own Revising Skills
Getting Help from Other Readers
Making Sure to Proofread
Writers at Work
A Student Writer: Tina Burton's "The Watermelon Wooer"
A Professional Writer: Gordon Grice's "Caught in the Widow's Web"
Gordon Grice, "Caught in the Widow's Web"

Chapter 1: Gathering and Using Examples
Getting Ready to Write
How Important Are Examples in Your Writing?
How Do You Gather Examples from Your Experiences?
How Do You Gather Examples from Outside Sources?
How Many Examples Do You Need?
How Do You Place Examples in Your Essay?
Are your Examples Good Choices?
How Did you Order or Arrange Your Examples?
Did You Make Transitions As You Moved from Example to Example?
Analyzing Examples
In an Academic Text
In a Literary Text

Bret Lott, "Night"

In a Visual

Brian Doyle, "Cut"
"The guys who made the basketball team are listed on a piece of paper on the dense wire-webbed glass of the gymnasium door."

Helen Keller "Acquiring Language," from The Story of My Life
"Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. As we returned to the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life."

Rick Reilly, "Getting a Second Wind"
"One day five years ago bubbly, gorgeous soccer goalie Korinne Shroyer came home from eighth grade, found her father's revolver in his closet, and fired a bullet into her skull."

Oscar Casares, "Ready for Some Fútbol?"
"Speedy Gonzales, the famous cartoon star of the fifties and sixties, has been in the news again lately."

Deborah L. Rhode, "Why Looks Are the Last Bastion of Discrimination"
"Unattractive people are less likely to be hired and promoted, and they earn lower salaries, even in fields in which looks have no obvious relationship to professional duties."
Additional Writing Suggestions Using Examples

Chapter 2: Narration
Getting Ready to Write
What Is Narration and What Are Its Elements?
What Are the Common Forms of Narrative Writing?
What Do You Write About If Nothing Ever Happened to You?
What Do You Include in a Narrative?
How Do You Structure a Narrative?
How Do You End a Narrative?
How Do You Tell a Narrative?
How Do You Write Dialogue?
How Do You Revise a Narrative?
Analyzing Narration
In an Academic Text
In a Literary Text

Ron Wallace, "Worry"

In a Visual

Langston Hughes, "Salvation"
"I was saved from sin when I was going on thirteen."

Frederick Douglass, from "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass"
"I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By far the larger part of slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs."

Lynn Bernardini, "Does This Date Mean Anything to You?"
"‘Yes,' I whispered to the stranger on the phone... . On that date, I gave birth to a son."

Tom Haines, "Facing Famine"
"What comes from knowing people who, with an empty grain basket or a thinning goat, edge closer to death?"

Maggie Thach Morshed, "Burden of Love"
"Ultimately, this is the thing I'm scared to face: that when I become Ghandy's sole caretaker, his life will eclipse mine, and whatever I have done or accomplished in life will mean nothing."'
Additional Writing Suggestions Using Narration

Chapter 3: Description
Getting Ready to Write
What Is Description?
Why Record Sense Impressions in Words?
How Do Objective and Subjective Description Differ?
What Do You Include or Exclude from a Description?
How Do You Describe an Object or a Place?
How Do You Describe a Person?
How Do You Organize a Description?
How Do You Revise a Description?
Analyzing Descriptions
In an Academic Text
In a Literary Text
In a Visual

Sonya Lea, "First Bath"
"His shoulders hang low and his back is bowed. His body is forty pounds lighter than it was a few days ago, before the cancer surgery, before the blood loss that caused his mind to empty its memories."

Margo Barnes, "Falling"
"She never like a boy before. Her mother, a third grade teacher, called the boy a hood. You stay away from him, she said."

Henry David Thoreau, from "Walden: The Pond and The Pond in Winter"
"This pond is so remarkable for its depth and purity as to merit a particular description."

Alisa Wolf, "The Day Nana Almost Flew"
"I soon learned what should have been obvious -- Nana was suffering from dementia."

Keith Pandolfi, "The Case for Bad Coffee"
"I wasn't always like this. I used to spend silly amounts of money on sturdy brown bags of whole-bean, single origin, locally roasted coffee at the gourmet market down the street."

Additional Writing Suggestions Using Description

Chapter 4: Division and Classification
Getting Ready to Write
What Is Division?
What Is Classification?
How Do You Choose a Subject to Write About?
How Do You Divide or Classify a Subject?
How Do You Structure a Division or Classification Essay?
How Do You Revise a Division or Classification Essay?
Analyzing Division and Classification
In an Academic Text
In a Literary Text
In a Visual

David Bodanis, "What's in Your Toothpaste?"
"So it's chalk, water, paint, seaweed, antifreeze, paraffin oil, detergent, peppermint, formaldehyde, and fluoride -- that's the usual mixture raised to the mouth on the toothbrush for a fresh morning's clean."

Liam Wiesenberger, "The Reward of Immigrant Parents"
"Being a first-generational American is an absolute blessing ... and my split cultural identity is something of which I am fiercely proud."

Thomas Goetz, "Does the Pleasure of Lighting Up Outweigh the Consequences?"
"His dentist told him that smoking has severely aggravated his gums. If he didn't quit smoking, he was likely to start losing his teeth."

Pico Iyer, "This Is Who I Am When No One Is Looking"
"My secret life, as Leonard Cohen calls it, also happens to be my deepest and my best life."

Sherrod Blankner, "Why I Paint"
"So why paint? Once my grandmother said to me ‘sometimes I wonder why you don't just take a photograph?' That was a rather disappointing day for me."

Bernard R. Berelson, "The Value of Children: A Taxonomical Essay"
"Why do people want children? It is a simple question to ask, perhaps an impossible one to answer."
Additional Writing Suggestions Using Division and Classification

Chapter 5: Comparison and Contrast
Getting Ready to Write
What Is Comparison and Contrast?
How Do You Choose a Subject?
Must You Always Find Both Similarities and Differences?
How Do You Structure a Comparison and Contrast Essay?
How Do You Use Analogy, Metaphor, and Simile?
How Do You Revise a Comparison and Contrast Essay?
Analyzing Comparison and Contrast
In an Academic Text
In a Literary Text
In a Visual

Mark Twain, "Two Views of the Mississippi"
"Now when I had mastered the language of this water and had come to know every trifling feature that bordered the great river as familiarly as I knew the letters of the alphabet, I had made a valuable acquisition. But I had lost something, too."

Suzanne Britt, "Neat People vs. Sloppy People"
"I've finally figured out the difference between neat people and sloppy people. The distinction is, as always, moral. Neat people are lazier and meaner than sloppy people."

C.B. Anderson, "Close to Shore"
"Thomas was your father. You were fourteen. You wore size-five clothes from your mother's closet and began to restrict your eating."

Libby Sander, "Colleges Confront a Gender Gap in Student Engagement"
"Men and women, it turns out, tend to view college differently -- and those differences often shape their willingness to get invested in academic pursuits and other activities."

Lillian Li, "Snapchats and Secrets"
"A Snapchat photo can be as worthless as a secret told twenty times."

Meghan Daum, "Virtual Love"
"It was the courtship ritual that had seduced us. E-mail had become an electronic epistle, a yearned-for rule book. It allowed us to do what was necessary to experience love."

Additional Writing Suggestions Using Comparison and Contrast

Chapter 6: Process
Getting Ready to Write
What Is Process?
How Do You Choose a Process Subject?
How Do You Structure a Process Essay?
How Do You Revise a Process Essay?
Analyzing Process
In an Academic Text
In a Literary Text

Janice MiriKitani, "Recipe"

In a Visual

Nicole Perlroth, "How to Devise Passwords That Drive Hackers Away"
"It is absurdly easy to get hacked. All it takes is clicking on one malicious link or attachment."

Tarn Wilson, "Go Ahead: Write About Your Parents, Again"
"By understanding the stories we have inherited, we understand ourselves better."

Tori Reid, "How to Choose a College Major When You're Stuck"
"Choosing a college major is a big decision that -- if made hastily -- can land you in an unemployment line, back in school, or working in a career you chose for the wrong reason."

Dara Mathis, "The Strange and Wonderful Ways Being a Military Child Changed My Life"
"When people asked me where I was from, I used to say ‘Everywhere and nowhere.'"

Nora Ephron, "Revision and Life: Take It from the Top -- Again"
"I have been asked to write something for a textbook that is meant to teach college students something about writing and revision."

Jennifer Kahn, "Stripped for Parts"
"None of this is what I expected from an organ transplant."

Additional Writing Suggestions Using Process

Chapter 7: Cause and Effect
Getting Ready to Write
What Is Cause and Effect?
How Do You Choose a Subject?
How Do You Isolate and Evaluate Causes and Effects?
How Do You Structure a Cause-and-Effect Analysis?
How Do You Revise a Cause-and-Effect Essay?
Analyzing Cause and Effect
In an Academic Text
In a Literary Text

Ellie Schoenfeld, "Barbie's Little Sister"

In a Visual

Roxane Gay, "There Are Distances Between Us"
"These two points are connected in ways we will never fully understand but they are connected. You are there and I am here."

James Paul Gee, "Games, Not Schools, Are Teaching Kids to Think"
"The fact is, when kids play video games they can experience a much more powerful form of learning than when they're in the classroom."

Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, MD, "Tattoos and Body Piercing: Self-Expression or Self-Mutilation?"
"One of my acquaintances, a self-described ‘tattoo addict,' said she was amazed at how costly and painful it has been to have them removed."

Michael Godsey, "When Schools Overlook Introverts"
"This growing emphasis in classrooms on group projects and other interactive arrangements can be challenging for introverted students who tend to perform better when they're working independently and in more subdued environments."

Steve Dehner, "What a Stone Weighs"
"More than once in the ten years since Paul died -- in a wreck the day before Thanksgiving -- more than once we had tried to take up the task of getting a marker in place."

Elizabeth Day, "How Selfies Became a Global Phenomenon"
"The pose is important. Knowing self-awareness is conveyed by the slight raise of an eyebrow, the sideways smile that says you're not taking it too seriously. A doe-eyed stare and mussed-up hair denotes natural beauty, as if you've just woken up and can't help looking like this."

Additional Writing Suggestions Using Cause and Effect

Chapter 8: Definition
Getting Ready to Write
What Is Definition?
What Is the Difference between Denotation and Connotation?
How Much Do You Include in a Definition Essay?
How Do You Structure a Definition Essay?
How Do You Revise a Definition Essay?
Analyzing Definitions
In an Academic Text
In a Literary Text
In a Visual

Sarah J. Lin, "Devotion"
"When I was twelve years old, a boy named Sherman decided he loved me. Sherman was nine years older than me and had been born with Down syndrome."

Shahnaz Habib, "Hospitality"
"Hospitality is when she walks into your restaurant, a tired young woman in fading clothes, because it is the only one that is still open past midnight on Atlantic Avenue and orders the cheapest thing on the menu."

Judy Brady, "I Want a Wife"
"I belong to that classification of people known as wives. I am A Wife."

Jeet Heer, "I Didn't Create the Twitter Essay Genre. I Just Made It Popular"
"With a properly focused topic, a set of tweets allows you to ruminate on a subject, to circle around it: to make an essay."

Jhumpa Lahiri, "My Two Lives"
"Like many immigrant offspring I felt intense pressure to be two things, loyal to the old world and fluent in the new."

Amy Tan, "Mother Tongue"
"Language is the tool of my trade. And I use them all -- all the Englishes I grew up with."

Additional Writing Suggestions Using Definition

Chapter 9: Argument and Persuasion
Getting Ready to Write
What Is the Difference Between Arguing and Persuading?
What Do You Already Know About Arguing and Persuading?
How Do You Analyze Your Audience?
What Does It Take to Convince a Reader?
How Do You Connect Your Thesis and Your Evidence in an Argument?
How Do You Make Sure That Your Argument Is Logical?
How Do You Structure an Argument?
How Do You Revise an Argumentative or Persuasive Essay?
Analyzing Argument and Persuasion
In an Academic Text
In a Literary Text

Wilfred Owen, "Dulce et Decorum Est"

In a Visual

Debate Casebook: Is College for Everyone and Just How Valuable Is a College Education?

Katherine Porter, "The Value of a College Degree"
"Many wonder whether the high cost of tuition, the opportunity cost of choosing college over full-time employment, and the accumulation of thousands of dollars of debt is, in the long run, worth the investment."

Linda Lee, "The Case Against College"
"America is obsessed with college."

Reading and Interpreting Data
Using Data in Writing
Perspectives for Argument: "Are Too Many Students Going to College?"
Who Should and Shouldn't Go to College?
How Much Does Increasing College-Going Rates Matter to Our Economy and Society?
Economists Have Cited the Economic Benefits That Individual Students Derive from College. Does That Still Apply?
At What Point Does the Cost of College Outweigh the Benefits?
Developing an Argument from a Thesis
Constructing an Argument Using Multiple Sources
Debate Casebook: Should Colleges Be Allowed to Ban Alcohol on Their Campuses?

Jessica Gross, "Yes, Colleges Should Be Allowed to Ban Alcohol on Their Campuses"
"Instituting a ban on alcohol is just another way of tailoring a college's package."

Mike Dang, "No, Colleges Should Not Be Allowed to Ban Alcohol on Their Campuses"
"You know that law we have in the U.S. that says only adults aged 21 and over can buy and drink alcohol? Yeah, it hasn't kept minors away from the bottle, and throwing a ban at them won't either."

Perspectives on College Drinking
Academic Problems
Factors Affecting Student Drinking
Addressing College Drinking
Constructing an Argument
Debate Casebook: Should You Volunteer Your Time?

Commentary Editor, "Habitat for Humanity: The Pros and Cons of Philanthropy"
"Habitat and similar organizations do a number of wonderful things for families throughout America ... but as houses are erected, so too are barriers separating the ‘selfless' volunteers from ‘needy' recipients."

Charity Navigator, "Guide to Volunteering"
"A well-informed volunteer is not only more likely to make a commitment to charity, but also more apt to make a significant impact on that organization's work."

Constructing an Argument
Debate Casebook: Are You Willing to Save a Child's Life?

Peter Singer, "The Singer Solution to World Poverty"
"The formula is simple: whatever money you're spending on luxuries, not necessities, should be given away."

Perspective on Singer's Argument
Statistics About Need and How to Help
The Measles and Rubella Initiative (
Malaria (
Food for the Poor (
Food Recovery Network (
Additional Writing Suggestions Using Argument and Persuasion

Chapter 10: The Research Paper
Getting Ready to Write
What Is a Research Paper and Why Are You Writing One?
How Much of a Research Paper Is Direct Quotation from Sources?
How Do You Find a Topic for a Research Paper?
How Do Subject, Topic, and Thesis Differ?
Starting Your Research
How Do You Plan a Search Strategy for Gathering Information?
How Do You Find Sources Published in Magazines and Journals?
How Do You Locate Books on Your Subject?
How Do You Locate Online Sources for Your Paper?
How Do You Evaluate Your Sources?
How Do You Interview People for a Research Paper?
How Does Researching Help You Write Your Paper?
How Do You Integrate Sources Into Your Paper?
How Do You Shorten a Quotation Using an Ellipsis?
Why Do You Need to Acknowledge and Document Your Sources?
Why Are Sources Cited Differently in Magazine and Newspaper Articles?
What Documentation System Do You Use in Your Paper?
What If Courses in Your Major Require a Different Documentation Style?
Can You Find Software Programs to Help with Documentation?
How Do You Work Quotations Into Your Text?
What If Quotations Are Too Long to Work Into a Sentence?
What Should You Check in Your Final Review?
How Do You Prepare a "Works Cited" or "References" Page?
Student Research Paper
Glossary and Ready Reference

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