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Jill Student

Prof. Chiang-Schultheiss
English 100, M 11:00 a.m.
October 1, 2001

Television: the Undiscovered Drug

After a long, hard day of school and work, I trudge up the stairs to my apartment. As
I approach the door, I can already hear the mumbles of the television. I open the door and
am not surprised to see my sister on the couch, hand on remote, flipping through channels.
I am now accustomed to this picture. My sister could be crowned couch potato queen. She
watches television day and night--so much that my cousins and I now refer to her as the
Human TV Guide. She knows what's on at a specific time on a specific channel. She has the
channels of different stations of different areas memorized. She could tell you what channel
MTV is in Torrance. She could tell you what channel USA is in Rowland Heights. She could
tell you what channel TNT is in Fullerton. My sister has
memorized practically everything there is to know about television. [DCS1]Yet, she has
difficulty memorizing the multiplication table, all due to the effects of watching television
endlessly.[DCS2]Television has had a detrimental [DCS3]effect on many youths[DCS4].
Television has dulled the mind of an average youth[DCS5]. Youths today is used to
having their information passed to them on a silver platter. Not as many youths like to read
anymore because it involves too much work. My sister hates to read, not only because there
are words involved in that activity, but also because it is now impossible for her to visualize
the world presented within the book. It is also impossible for her to focus on a book because
of the short attention span she has developed, and reading books just takes too much time
for her. Television presents the world to her, a different world every thirty minutes, which
holds her attention. This now leaves her no mental work to do, except to decide which
channel she would like to watch. Because watching television requires no mental work, the
brains of the adolescents that watch television are not stimulated enough. This may lead to
a slower learning process, which would then explain my sisters inability to memorize the
multiplication table.
Television consumes time youths should be dedicating to more important and more
essential things in their lives[DCS6]. Television takes away time that should be devoted to
homework. When my sister gets home from school, she will immediately flip the television
on, leaving her homework for later. When she finally decides to do her homework, the
television will remain on, and she will sit on the couch with her books propped up in front of
her, giving it only half of her attention. Homework takes longer to complete, and it probably
will not be her best work since only half of her concentration was focused on it. Television
also takes time away from quality family time. Most adolescents do not have a strong family
connection. Families whose only time together is at the dinner table will waste precious

quality time with their heads turned towards the television. The youth of today lose the
strong morals and values they can get when spending time with their family. Television can
even take away time from friends. When I spend time with my friends, I like to talk with
them or go out. When my sister spends time with her friends, they spend the whole day
watching the television. Their conversation revolves around what they are watching on the
television. Most teens have the majority of their day devoted to the television.
Television has exposed a world of violence, drugs, and sexual immorality to our
youth, causing them to be apathetic towards these issues. [DCS7]Many television shows
have made at least one of the three aspects, violence, drugs, and sexual immorality, a
normalcy. The Simpsons [DCS8]is a show that is enjoyed by many teens. This show depicts
violence as something comedic. Regularly, in this show, the father chokes his son at least
once, and the children watch a cartoon show called Itchy and Scratchy, in which a cat and
mouse try to kill each other. Our youths today find this violence funny. When they
encounter violence in real life, they do not consider it serious because they experience it
everyday on the television. Characters in television shows such as Married with
Children smoke, and although there are commercials advertising against smoking more than
ever, smoking on the television gives our youths a different message. This advertises for
the cigarette companies for practically free. In The Drew Carey Show, all the main
characters spend their free time in a bar drinking. They even make and sell their very own
beer. Cheers is another show that advocates drinking. Most of the show takes place in a
bar. These characters in television shows have influence on our youth. Sexual immorality
has also become common, which is exemplified by a show called Friends. Friends depicts
each of their characters as people who sleep around. Sex is an integrated part of their lives
and is expected when any one of the characters have a significant
other. Undeclared revolves around college life in which college students have sex with each
other just for fun. Adolescents of today model their behavior after characters like these
who live in worlds of violence, drugs and sexual immorality, and they do not realize that
what they are doing is wrong because to our youth, whatever they see and hear on
television is right.
When television was first invented, its purpose was to bring the family together and
perhaps present a way in which we could receive information faster. In modern times, the
television has managed to affect our youth in ways we would not have imagined. The family
gathering concept has disappeared. We have accomplished a faster way to transmit
information, but it was a little too much information a little too fast for the wrong audience.
Television has taken over our way of life and we must stop the effects it has had on our
youths and our society before it is too late.


Instructor Comments[DCS10].
[DCS1]Anecdote section: It tells a brief story to engage the reader. Its purpose is also to
prepare the reader for the essay by establishing the general subject matter: television

[DCS2]Here is a bridge statement that leads the reader from the anecdote into the
thesis. Notice how the last phrase, due to the effects of watching television
endlessly narrows and focuses the subject of the essay. Already this is a sign of a skilled
writer in control of her essay.
[DCS3]Excellent diction. The writer could have said negative, but consider the power
that the word detrimental carries. It is a far more precise word choice than other dull,
boring adjectives like bad or negative, etc.
[DCS4]The thesis statement: It is direct, clear, and specific. The claim it makes is an
arguable assertion. You can tell that the essay will then explain the detrimental effect(s)
television has had on youths. The writer could have mapped out the various negative
effects she thinks television has had on youths, but she chose to use a generalized
thesis. Either one will work, and neither one is particularly better than the other.
[DCS5]Here is the writers first claim that is constructed in the topic sentence. Its not too
specific and not too general. The rest of this paragraph will use concrete examples to
illustrate this claim. It is like a mini-thesis in its own right. You can tell it relates to the
thesis statement because dulling the mind is a detrimental effect.
[DCS6]Also a detrimental result of too much TV watching, this second claim expands the
ways television has had a harmful effect on youths. The writer is building her case. Can
you find any sentences within this paragraph that do not develop this topic sentence? Are
the examples convincing or believable?
[DCS7] Careful readers will notice in the final topic sentence that this last detrimental
effect is more severe than the first 2 sub-claims (topic sentences). It is obvious that this
writer is using ascending order of importance (see lecture notes) to convince her readers of
her thesis. If her audience had any doubts that television viewing has harmful effects, this
paragraph clinches their skeptical minds. Do you think the writer makes the connection
between television viewers and TV's detrimental effects?
[DCS8]Take a look at this title and the others that are underlined. The writer has carefully
followed the correct formatting for titles of television shows which fall into the category
ofmajor works, and they get italicized.
[DCS9]Here is a GREAT conclusion paragraph. It goes beyond the sophomoric summary of
her points and pushes the reader to think about the larger social context of television,
family, and society. In the final sentence, it makes a call to action on behalf of the
audience. She wants us to do something. Now the fact that she does not prescribe what
we should do is not a problem. For if she had gone into a discussion of what we could do,
her essay would suddenly become un-unified. It would digress, go off on a tangent. Here,
she is able to tightly hold together the essay without bringing up unrelated material. A
prescription for what her readers could do would be a topic for a different essay: a problemsolution essay.
[DCS10]Overall, this is a passing essay in terms of structure and development. It clearly
meets the objectives stated in the essay assignment. It is unified, coherent; it uses
concrete examples, and it does not center on the writer herself. The paper uses examples
outside the writer, but notice that several examples are limited to the writer's sister. And
you can see that this writer knows what it means to write public discourse. When you ask
who the intended audience is, immediately you know that it is not a piece of personal
writing; instead, the prose acknowledges that educated readers will likely read the piece
and keeps them in mind while writing. Notice that hardly any grammatical or mechanical
errors exist. The prose is clean, clear, and coherent. This a passing paper. The only
developmental weakness is that the essay uses 3 sub-claims rather than 4 or more, and it
looks like the tried and true 5-paragraph essay structure. Nevertheless, it is a solid
effort. I would expect the student to gain confidence and graduate to writing a more
complex essay next time.

1. Instructions

Determine what topic you want to write about. Ask yourself what areas interest you and write them down. Try not to think too much-the purpose of a brainstorming session is to write freely. If listing topics does not work for you, try doing a "freewrite" for three
minutes, writing whatever comes to mind without stopping.

Decide what type of essay you want to write. Who is your audience and what do they expect from your essay? Three common essay
types are analytical, expository and argumentative. An analytical essay investigates a concept and presents the results to the reader.
Expository essays inform the reader of a certain topic. An argumentative essay supports a specific assertion with proof.

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Choose what point you want to make about your topic. Write your thesis in the form of a complete sentence because it will give you
direction in the rest of the process. A good thesis must clearly state what you intend to do in your essay.

Write a list of personal anecdotes that are related to your topic and thesis. Choose several anecdotes that support your thesis.

Write an introduction that grabs the attention of the reader. Use one of your anecdotes to explain the topic and connect with the
reader. End the introductory paragraph with your thesis statement.

Write the essay body. Use other examples on your list to support your thesis. Make each body paragraph begin with a sentence that
clearly defines the point, and then provide your example. Do not worry too much about spelling or grammar; this is just the time to
get your ideas on paper.

Write a concluding paragraph that sums up your points and how they relate to your thesis. Restate your thesis one final time.

Review what you have written. Read your examples. Do they clearly and carefully support your thesis? Did you properly define your
topic? Take this time to correct any spelling or grammatical errors you might have made in your rough draft.

Rewrite your essay to fix any mistakes made in the first draft. Read your draft out loud to make sure it communicates your points
naturally. Give your essay a title that gives the reader an idea of what he will be reading in your essay.

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