Book review: Models for Writers: Short Essays for Compostion, 8th ed.

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Author:Alfred Rosa
Reading Level (Conceptual):College-prep
Reading Level (Vocabulary):College-prep
Year of publication:1997

by Alfred Rosa and Paul Eschholz Published by Bedford/St Martins Models for Writers seems to be very appropriate for the in-the-box sort of essay required on SATs and college applications. The target audience is a first year college student, yet the text does not pander or seem to assume the student can not think for him/herself. Also the text is not excessive on what I can best term to be "hip and cool": this being the attempt by the authors/publisher to appeal to some imagined college teen fixated upon MTV, fashion dictates, etc. The book also seems very appropriate for the younger teen. This is in contrast to many of the books that had essays dealing with the angst of teenhood to excess. There are many excellent samples of essays, many by well known authors, to illustrate the various points the book is trying to teach.

We are just beginning to use this book but to date, find the arrangement and presentation of the book very acceptable. The book clearly breaks down the elements of the essay and spends a full chapter (with outstanding examples), on this. Thesis, Unity, Organization, Beginnings and Endings, Paragraphs, Transistions, and Effective Sentences all merit separate chapters. A portion of the book is devoted to discussion and examples of the language of essays (Diction and Tone, Figurative Language). The balance of the text is devoted to different types of essays: Illustration; Narration; Description; Process Analysis; Definition; Division and Classification; Comparison and Contrast; Cause and Effect; and finally Argument. A nice plus of this text is the inclusion of a Thematic Contents which lists the essays used for example by theme: Family; Friends and Friendship; People and Personalities; Life and Death; Men and Women; The Minority Experience; Science and Technology; Observing Nature; Work and Play; Language and thought; Enduring Issues; Popular Culture; Education; The Urban Experience; Health and Medicine; Writers and Writing.
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