Unit 1 Assignment 2, due Sunday, Sept 1 at 5pm

pdf version of this here

In this post, we ask you to read a short passage that you choose really carefully, and then to consider what larger questions the passage raises. You can choose any short passage (about 100 words or fewer) from any of the readings so far (Brooks, Morrison, Spivak, Maalouf, Locke, Declaration of Independence, Diderot). Your passage should be one you did not initially understand. Something difficult. In one substantial paragraph, write about your struggle with that selected passage and what understanding you eventually attained about how the passage supports a bigger point your author is trying to make. For example, you might start with, “when I first read this passage” and explain what you thought it meant, or that you were initially baffled. Explain what you did to try to figure it out. (Look up words? Go back to other texts? check your notes on class this week? Talk to a your fellow Humesters? – we love this last teachnique!) Then in a sentence or two state the resulting claim: “this passage means x,” “this passage does y,” “this passage matters for p because q,” etc. And finally, connect your passage to a question from our discussions this week or at Sapere Aude.

Put another way:
In your post, please do the following:

1) Type your passage.

2 ) Explain why you selected this difficult passage. (“I chose Maalouf’s section on x because …”) and how you came to understand it better.

3) Explain briefly how the passage you selected connects to one big argument or point that its author is trying to make. (“I think Morrison says x in order to do y…”; “I think Locke’s example of p informs his bigger claim q…”).

4) Identify one question from our discussions that your passage addresses.

Write about 200 words, not including your passage. (FYI, a page double-spaced in 12 point Times New Roman is about 250 words.) We expect this exercise should take you an hour or so, after you’ve done the reading. It’s not a paper, but a blog post. We want to see you thinking “out loud” on the page here.

Use the first person “I” in your explanations.

Since this is blog post, there are minimum options for formatting. Go with the flow of the site.

You can use any passage that you choose. Here are three examples, but you can select any passage.


1) God gave the world to men in common, but since He gave it them for their benefit and the greatest conveniencies of life they were capable to draw from it, it cannot be supposed He meant it should al- ways remain common and uncultivated. He gave it to the use of the industrious and rational (and labour was to be his title to it); not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious (paragraph 33)

2) There cannot be a clearer demonstration of anything than several nations of the Americans are of this, who are rich in land and poor in all the comforts of life; whom Nature, having furnished as liberally as any other people with the materials of plenty—i.e., a fruitful soil, apt to produce in abundance what might serve for food, raiment, and delight; yet, for want of improving it by labour, have not one hundredth part of the conveniencies we enjoy, and a king of a large and fruitful territory there feeds, lodges, and is clad worse than a day labourer in England. (paragraphs 40, 41)

3) We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

HOW TO (a review, but not that kind)

Write your post in your red notebook or in a word doc somewhere; don’t compose on the blog;

then . . .

log in to our site;

click new post at the top;

put your name in in the title field, then your title, maybe with a key word from you passage;

tag your section prof. under categories on the right;

copy and paste in or transcribe your passage and words into the body of your post;


fix your typos: