An important skill for writing academic arguments is the ability to analyze the words of others. One of my favorite strategies is to use a quote sandwich, and not just because it is another food metaphor.
A quote sandwich tends to help the writer stay close to the text, which is super helpful, by providing a template that requires the writer to refer back to the quote in many ways.
In this tasty writing morsel, the writer is expected to…
introduce the ideas of someone else in the conversation
present those ideas in their original form (as a direct quote)
paraphrase someone else’s ideas (in the writer’s words)
and, most importantly,
explain the significance of someone’s else ideas in relation to the writer’s own ideas.
Introduce, Quote, Paraphrase, Analyze/Connect
–>Contextualize the text as a whole
–>transition into a direct quotation
–>rephrase it in your own words
–>explain the importance or significance
The tips for making a quote sandwich have been posted on the UW Bothell Writing Center. Check it out!
Here are a few of the yummy quote sammies we came up with together in a previous 211 class on technology and literacy.
In the first chapter of Dennis Baron’s books A Better Pencil, he references the past to reflect on the ongoing struggle to trust technology, “When writing was a new and uncommon practice, it was letters on a page, not face-to-face speech, that sparked distrust” (Baron 5). Mankind has always had more faith in the tried and true. Whether branching out from grassroots campaigning to utilizing social networking, passing notes to texting, or the divide between direct and online interaction, there will always be a sense of misgiving.
In Baron’s A Better Pencil, he puts into perspective for us the importance of words or writing on familiar items, he points out, “We’ve come to expect writing on many things that aren’t primarily documents, and if everyday items such as paper money, soda cans, and cereal boxes were suddenly stripped of their words, we’d notice the glaring absence of text, and we might even question their contents and worth”(7). Baron points out the presence of the words on trivial items as solidifying the officiality of writing and words. Words have become tied to the worth of the product because they signify our projected expectations about the quality and value of the product.
Dennis Barron, in chapter 2 of his book A Better Pencil: Readers, Writer, and the Digital Age, delves into the possibility of censorship in a society, free government or not. Totalitarian governments do not always benefit from educated societies, but even in democracy, Barron hints at problems created by information access when he states: “But book learning can also threaten the status quo, and political systems, whether ancient or modern, don’t necessarily want their citizens educated beyond what the established authorities deem good for them.” Barron implies that governments face tough decision to use censorship to protect and control people as new technology arises, and citizens self educate. Governments have trouble controlling new learning tools because of the digital format and high accessibility. The open source nature creates a conflict with freedom of speech and government censorship. The dangerous result is a threat to political, economic and moral stability, which must be accounted for by governments and people alike.
When dealing with technology, A Better Pencil understands the two significant faces that communication technology has to offer, the modern and historical aspect. Dennis Baron demonstrates this understanding by citing Henry Petroski, “The common No. 2 pencil represents a subtle complexity dressed in apparent simplicity” (34). Just like the seemingly simple pencil that is deceivingly complex, technology has two faces as well. The modern aspect of technology recognizes evolutionary growth and its role in society, while Baron goes down a different path to also analyze the historical aspect and appreciates the birth and foundation of technology. This is important because one aspect of this focuses
Dennis Baron’s A Better Pencil explains his meaning of the fear in communication technology from the past to the present. The fear is depicted by the fact that “Plato warned his fellow Athenians 2500 years ago that new technology of writing would weaken human memory” (43). The fear of new technology has been around for many years and Baron shows how technology is often first feared before eventually evolving to a necessity.
In the book, A Better Pencil, Dennis Baron explains how the typescript was used for the professional life of work and business but the rules of ettiqutte dictated that some documents be handwritten (65). “The handwritten letter was perceived as more direct, more polite, more personal, than the typescript”(65). When talking about the handwritten letter versus the typescript the handwritten letter is seen as more straightforward, vulnerable, and sincere. While the typescript perceived as impersonal and professional. The significance of the written word shows a person’s sincerity and emotion which the typed word cannot.
In the book Better Pencil, Dennis Baron explains that writing by hand gives a sense of individuality and a connection. “WIMA’s Waller expresses a common belief that handwriting offers a direct, almost physiological connection between the brain and the word, a connection which computers are accused of disrupting” (Baron 51). The use of keyboards might disrupt the connection between the brain and the word. This is important because if keyboards are replacing “tedious” penmanship lessons, people wont be able to connect with their brain when writing physically. People have different handwriting and each of it shows their own personality. When they type on a computer, it may hide their personality and characteristics of their handwriting since they can easily change the style and the size of fonts.
In a excerpt from Dennis Baron’s A Better Pencil, he describes the irreplaceable emotional involvement in handwriting and use of good penmanship. He states, “Complaints that writing machines bring impersonality, killing off both handwriting and the soul, are just one more way of saying that old ways were better (Barron 54)”. Barron implies that handwriting is a valuable but dying art form, which supports the notion that penmanship needs to be preserved. He emphasizes the importance of protecting the use of handwriting in our lives today.
Prior to social networking, people relied on face-to-face with close friends and family to express their emotions. In chapter 1 of, A Better Pencil, Dennis Baron states, “So thoroughly has writing taken our lives that we have all become Prousts, externalizing our thoughts, once our most private activities, as we keyboard our way through work and study and what little free time may remain in a ceaseless stream of emails, MySpace posts, instant messages, and Twitters collected, backed up, and stored for eternity in computer memory banks all over the world” (Baron, 10). Nowadays people use social networking sites as an outlet for every qualm, excitement, or anxiety, whether it is noteworthy or not. This freedom of digital speech blinds people from the possible repercussions that exist such as putting a future job in jeopardy, cyber bullying, and/or crossing legal. People should realize that the more information they share with the world, the more their privacy diminishes.
Literacy as we know it is disappearing, and therefore is being redefined. In A Better Pencil, Dennis Baron states, “It is still not clear whether computers will increase or limit literacy, or whether computer mediated literacy is an improvement over what came before it” (xiv). From what Baron is stating, technology has facilitated a decrease in literacy to lows we as a society have never seen before. If the amount of effort it takes to get by decreases, then society is going to reap what it sews when it comes to literacy.
Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) commented on the handwritten word in chapter four of A Better Pencil, by Dennis Baron, a book about readers, writers and the digital revolution talks about what the feels about the handwritten word. The WIMA website tells us, “There’s something poetic about grasping a writing instrument and feeling it hit the paper as your thoughts flow through your fingers and pour into words” (Baron, 49). What WIMA means is that one just can’t get the same satisfaction out of your writing using a computer as you can using a writing instrument. We would argue that computers take away the intimacy, feeling, and emotion of writing using a pencil. A keyboard can be seen as a barrier between your words and the paper, corrupting and disconnecting the writer from the written.
The world has historically had divides and imbalances due to social class, cultural differences, money and ultimately power. In “A Better Pencil” by Dennis Baron, he states that “These technologies of the world are never neutral. At the very least they limit who in a given society gets to write and read”( Baron, 23). Baron is arguing that as technology continues to develop there will also continue to be inequalities in access. It appears that the speed at which technology is advancing will continue to increase compared to the rate at which the ‘have-nots’ develop literary skills and gain access to such technologies. Regardless of the fact that technological advances will offer unequal benefits initially, in the long run it is more likely that benefit will become more widely distributed.
In Baron’s book “A Better Pencil”, he discusses how our technology has advanced overtime, while our literacy has declined such as our handwriting abilities. Although, Baron suggests that there is a actually a blending of technologies in our society. Baron states “..access to the mysteries of the written word is reserved for people who can manipulate its technologies-welding the pen, reading the scroll, keyboarding and uploading the prose” (23). Baron means that in order to understand the written word effectively, people must be able to read, write, and embrace new technology. This is important because technology is evolving so rapidly and as a society we must be able to evolve with it in order to become stronger in the literary world.
In Dennis Baron’s A Better Pencil, he discusses how technology has influenced society and writing. He evaluates the benefits and concerns that writing has brought about. Baron writes “although there are millions of people around the globe who cannot read, there’s no doubt that the world is filled with print” (7). The fact that writing is everywhere shows the power of writing, however, the millions of people who can’t read shows that writing is only accessible for a certain group of people. With so many people who understand written word, there’s a trust factor between those who can read and those who can’t.
In chapter one of A Better Pencil written by Dennis Baron states ,”As for speech, well, people lie, or forget,, or they change their minds. Better to get it in writing” (Baron 8).Currently, society’s attitudes have shifted from not trusting a written text to not trusting a verbal statement. People lost interest and reliance on someone’s “word” and face-to-face interaction. He or she now prefers to have important dialogues and state of affairs documented, dated and signed, saved and/or printed for their own personal records to refer to if need be. Writing became more socially accepted and the way people held someone accountable for what he or she said.