choose one of Core readings about Social Networking and the Internet, is Has Transformed My Students’ Writing—for the Better)

Part one:

Part Two:

MLA style

wp1——Summary and Response paper—-at least 750 words
7 Brandon Cover Letter Prof. Sands, This letter in regards to my first writing project for your class should hopefully provide you with a summary and review of the article “Lost in the Meritocracy” by Walter Kirn. The feedback given by my peers in class was not helpful at all. Only one person reviewed my submission, and she pretty much stated that the article was fine and didn’t need any revision. Luckily, I emailed you with this problem, and you sent a review that was significantly more helpful. I made a greater effort for the final draft to sight all paraphrasing done in the paper, I broke both the summary and the review into more concise paragraphs to highlight each individual point that I was trying to make, I wrote introductory and conclusion paragraphs, and I tried to reword several sentences that were written poorly. I also tried to elaborate more thoroughly on several points that I alluded to in the rough draft. In my introductory paragraph I tried to pull the reader in, and make them want to read this paper. The biggest issue I had in writing the final draft was the rewording of several sentences. In an attempt to overcome this I read the sentences out loud and tried to hear the wording for what it was. Then I rewrote the sentences and repeated the process till the sentences met my satisfaction. I hope the following submission meets all the requirements of the assignment. Sincerely, Jerry Brandon Jerry Brandon Professor Paschke-Johannes Eng111 3 September 2014 Summary and Review of “Lost in the Meritocracy” In modern society, it is not uncommon for students to want to do well. The unfortunate down side to this is that it can often lead students to believe that doing well and receiving good grades is the most important part of the educational process. Learning and growing as a person should be the true purpose of the education system. Books were rarely written so the readers can sound smart at parties. Rather they were written to teach or to entertain the reader. The purpose of this article was to show the folly in trying to use education strictly to succeed, that sounding well-read and intelligent is different from being well-read and intelligent. “Lost in the Meritocracy” is an article that details various time periods throughout the undergraduate college years of its writer, Walter Kirn. It starts with the author detailing a bus trip from his high school town to take the SAT, and within a few paragraphs the reader starts to get a sense of who the writer is (Kirn 1). He is a young and intelligent person from a modest background whose only real desire is to continuously win and do well. He even states, “I lived for prizes, praise, distinctions, and I gave no thought to any goal higher or broader than my next report card,” (Kirn 3) very early on in the article. After doing well on his SAT scores the nameless protagonist gets accepted to Princeton, and proceeds to do well academically, but never really learns anything except how to succeed academically. The author finds himself with a group of roommates that come from wealthy elitist backgrounds and realizes early on that he is going to be a social outcast throughout his college years as a result of his poverty and the need for money to impress this group (Kirn 4). At one point this even becomes a point of hostility for the main character. He snuck into a party t and decides that the only way to truly insult the people there would be have sex with one of the women at the party who was beyond his social league. He states, “Like a frustrated stable boy in an old novel, I wanted to seduce and ruin her” (Kirn 7). To the writer’s credit, when the situation actually presented itself he found himself incapable of going through with it (Kirn 8). As the article goes on, the author found a drug problem that could be summed up in less than one page and overcame it by his pure desire for merit. The author found that his desire for knowledge never actually existed, just a desire to succeed, to sound smart, and to use these tools as a method for fooling people into believing that he is smarter and more accomplished than he actually is (Kirn). It isn’t until the author finished school and achieved the goals that he wanted that he actually picked up a book for the pure enjoyment of the book. Personally, I did not care for this article, and the point the author was trying to make was done with minimal success. The author’s style of writing reminded me of a quote from Kurt Vonnegut, “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college” (Vonnegut). When I started reading this story that quote immediately came to mind. Kirn’s style is pretentious and I got a strong impression that it is blatantly obvious that this person wants me to think he is smart. This was made obvious with statements like, “With no stored literary material about which to harbor critical assumptions, I relied on my gift for mimicking authority figures and playing back to them their own ideas disguised as conclusions that I’d reached myself” (Kirn 5-6). The author has nothing nice to say about virtually every other character in this story. Toward the end of the article, when a woman comforts him for performing poorly on an interview he immediately insults the lady in the article for getting the scholarship, saying, “Later I found out that one of [the winners] was the girl who’d tried to boost my spirits, which made her gesture seem patronizing in retrospect. She knew she was bound for the sharp end of the pyramid, and was merely practicing her royal manners” (Kirn 14). Statements like this make it difficult to sympathize with the protagonist. I also didn’t find the story to be incredibly original. The story of a person who is trying to find himself through his college years, experiments briefly with drugs, but ends up pulling it together by the end is one that has been told many times before. This article read like the author wanted the reader to think of the main character like many people identify with Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. But aside from being self-obsessed, pretentious and annoying the two really don’t have much in common. The final point I would make is that if the author was trying to prove that he learned a lesson, then he shouldn’t spend fifteen and a half pages of a sixteen page long article going on and on about how intelligent he is, and then put that he learned his lesson in the last two paragraphs of the last page. He states, “Assuming that the books were chiefly decorative, I’d never even bothered to read their titles, but that night, bored and sick, I picked one up: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Then I did something unprecedented for me: I carried it back to my bedroom and actually read it- every chapter, every page” (Kirn 16). Statements like this makes it sound like he’s aware of the issue, but there is no great in-depth attempt to fix it. By the time the reader is this far into the article I had already made up my mind about the main character, and four sentences isn’t going to change that. In conclusion, the article “Lost in the Meritocracy” has a very valid point that it is trying to make. I personally wouldn’t recommend this story to other readers. The story is easy to follow, but isn’t incredibly original. You get a good feel for whom the protagonist is, but I found it difficult to sympathize with his plight. It is in my opinion that morals that this story is trying to teach were done with minimal success. Work Cited Vonnegut, Kurt, and Daniel Simon. A Man without a Country. New York: Seven Stories, 2005. Print. Kirn, Walter. “Lost in the Meritocracy”. The Atlantic. The Atlantic magazine. 1 Jan. 2005. Web. 3 Sept. 2014.