Page 1

By Britney Kotz


Ever Changing Morality Perceptions, Ever Changing Literature

Britney Kotz Mrs. Karen Redding English 1102 06 December 2011


Ever Changing Morality Perceptions, Every Changing Literature Table of Contents Analytical Cover Letter…………………...……………………………………………...……1 Quality Comparison……………………………………………………………………...……3 Least Successful Paper (The original final draft submitted to me) ……………...……6 Most Successful Paper (The original final draft submitted to me)….……………...…10 “What’s the Difference?” Paragraphs Revision Samples Least Successful Paper (with mark-up) ……………………………...………….……16 Least Successful Paper (new final version) …………..……………...………….…20 Most Successful Paper (with mark-up) ……………………………...………….…24 Most Successful Paper (new final version) …………..……………...………….…29 Free Choice Essay (with mark-up) ……...…………………………...………….……34 Free Choice Essay (new final version) …….………………………...………….……39


December 6,  2011     Karen  P.  Redding,  M.A.   Assistant  Professor  of  English   Gainesville  State  College   Oconee  Campus   503  Oconee  Classroom   1202  Bishop  Farms  Parkway   Watkinsville,  GA  30677     Dear  Mrs.  Redding,     This  semester  has  allowed  my  writing  skills  to  blossom  into  something  I  am  now   proud  of.  Not  only  did  I  become  confident  in  composition,  but  also  my  ability  to  critically   analyze  a  broad  range  of  literature,  from  movies,  books,  graphic  novels,  academic  journals   and  more.    Through  class  and  online  discussions  I  have  acquired  an  understanding  of   diverse  perceptions  from  my  peers.  This  type  of  open  discussion  allowed  for  a  deeper   understanding  of  human’s  perceptions  of  morality,  which  was  the  overall  theme  of  the   class.  My  essays  written  about  this  topic  gradually  strengthened  throughout  the  semester,   giving  me  great  confidence  now  in  composition  and  analysis.             Prior  to  taking  this  course  I  felt  self  conscious  and  unaware  of  how  to  properly   compose  a  thesis  statement.  After  numerous  approaches  and  drafts  written  this  semester,  I   now  feel  confident  in  creating  an  intellectual  thesis  statement.  In  my  final  essay,  “A  Soldiers   Life  of  Drudgery,”  I  successful  composed  a  scholarly  thesis,  “O’Brien  utilizes  a  repetitive   style  of  the  phrase  “the  things  they  carried”  to  illuminate  the  drudgery  of  a  soldier’s   monotonous  life  at  war”  (Kotz,  Essay  3).  I  also  learned  the  importance  of  introductory   sentences  in  papers,  subsequently  leading  to  strong  compositions  like,  “During  the  Cold   War,  America  controlled  the  strongest  weapon  in  military  history”  (Kotz,  Essay  2).  The   critique  essay  informed  me  of  the  systematic  and  proper  way  to  organize  evidence  from   secondary  resources  along  with  my  corresponding  argument,  for  example,  “Robichaud   declares,  ‘[Dr.  Manhattan]  can’t  reason  properly  about  what’s  right  and  wrong,’  making  this   physically  equipped  character  nearly  worthless…”    (Kotz,  Essay  2).  Not  only  have  my   support  and  arguments  developed,  my  conclusions  have  grown  stronger  as  well.  The  final   few  statements  in  a  paper  can  make  a  big  difference  in  a  composition’s  overall  credibility,   that’s  why  I  now  focus  largely  on  this  part  of  the  piece.  My  essay  “Consequences  of  the   Ultimate  Man,”  closes  with  stimulating  thoughts,  “Discovering  such  damaging  effects  of   extreme  intellect  and  psychical  strength  reverses  ideas  of  ever  longing  for  such  gifts.   Robichaud’s  article  clearly  demonstrates  reasons  for  these  effects,  making  the  Watchman   an  even  more  intriguing  read”  (Kotz,  Essay  2).  Overall,  my  supportive  and  argumentative   development  has  improved  into  more  intellectual,  and  insightful  work.       A  vital  part  of  composing  essays  is  incorporating  information  about  the  literature   being  analyzed.  This  makes  MLA  style  an  important  part  of  the  writing  process,  including   and  citing  concrete  details  from  text.  I  have  learned  how  to  properly  include  parenthetical   citations  throughout  my  essays,  which  give  them  credibility  for  my  arguments.  Direct   quoting  can  be  seen  in  my  synthesis  essay,  “In  Jacobs  words,  “If  the  individual  people  of   America  survived  then  nation  of  America  would  survive”  (Jacobs  401).”  Summarizing  and   paraphrasing  secondary  sources  is  also  used  commonly  in  my  papers,  for  example,  “Dr.    

1    


Manhattan would  not  perform  due  to  his  lack  of  moral  decision  making  process  of  his  own   (Robichaud  10)”  (Kotz,  Essay  2).  In  pervious  English  classes  I  have  received  mixed   information  on  how  to  create  a  “Works  Cited”  page,  but  I  now  formally  know  how  to   address  this  last  page  of  a  paper.       Like  I  mentioned  previously,  my  writing  is  something  I  am  now  proud  of.  This  is  due   to  the  particulars  of  this  course,  having  to  constantly  reference  the  “38  Picky  Rules”  when   composing  draft  after  draft.  I  had  previous  issues  of  writing  in  “passive  voice”  and  now  I  am   working  on  my  “active  voice”  throughout  my  essays.  These  rules  combined  with  lessons   from  class  have  furthered  my  education  in  developing  insightful  thesis  statements,   stimulating  introductions  and  conclusions,  and  most  importantly,  creating  intuitive  body   paragraphs  in  between.  My  arguments  have  grown  stronger  and  my  use  of  concrete   support  has  become  more  influential.  This  course  has  matured  my  writing  abilities,  giving   me  confidence  to  take  on  diverse  pieces  of  literature  or  subjects.       Thank  you  for  the  knowledge  and  supportive  criticism  you  have  shared  to  make  me   a  better  writer.     Sincerely,    

Britney Kotz

2    


Quality Comparison Revisiting an essay written weeks ago is fairly amusing. Upon finishing a paper, one believes their work is complete to the best of its ability. Rereading this same piece of work after a period has lapsed, one is likely to change their mind about their paper’s flawlessness. This situation happened to me as I revisited my first paper written this semester, “The Individuals War,” and also my second paper written, “Consequences of the Ultimate Man”. My second essay was the most suitable essay written this semester, including developed commentary and analysis throughout. My weakest essay, “The Individuals War,” lacked the proper writing fundamentals for a successful paper. As the semester proceeded my writing strengthened as I spent more time learning the particulars in composition and analysis. Both essays had similar flaws found throughout. This issue was that my writing became too “wordy,” full of unnecessary adjectives. For example, from my first essay, “The Individuals War,” I unnecessarily added descriptions, seen in my sentence, “However, these articles truly show the importance of individual responsibility” (Kotz, Essay 1). Revising this essay, I found myself taking out adjectives like “truly” used here. Also, seen in my second essay, adjectives are not their best, “This isolated man gives structure to the novel, bringing to light the good and bad characters” (Kotz, Essay 2.) The word “bad” sounds amateur, therefore the revised version of the essay includes the more appropriate adjective “evil.” After revising the two essays “word choice” was a common issue seen in both, but my first paper had more flaws then just that. The original piece, “The Individuals War,” includes confusing sentence structures and awkward phrasing throughout. For an example of awkward phrasing, “These patriotic ideas spread from children to adults, and it soon became known that to survive the bombs, you must stay faithful to yourself and your country, or in Jacobs words…” (Kotz, Essay 1). Not only is this

3  


a confusing sentence, it is also a run on sentence. The revised essay reworks this combination of words to: “These patriotic ideas spread from children to adults, and it soon became known that survival stemmed from faith in yourself and your country. In Jacob’s words…” Another weakness in my first essay is my lack of necessary information for readers to understand my point being made, for example in the sentence, “However, during this time it was common for the young boys in the family to take on these fatherly responsibilities,” I should have included the line, “while they were absent, off at war” (Kotz, Essay 1). This first paper was written to the best of my ability at the time, but with acquired information, revised to its fullest potential. My second essay, “Consequences of the Ultimate Man,” was a paper I was very proud of when I initially submitted it. I still believe the original is a strong, well written paper, successfully composed of critical analysis. After revisiting it after some time I found only the weakness being occasional awkward phrasing. “Another theory Robichaud addresses that I agree with is that Dr. Manhattan is an important asset to the costumed heroes,” is an example of a sentence that was revised to be written more smoothly (Kotz, Essay 2). The essay’s strength included a hooking first sentence, “During the Cold War, America controlled the strongest weapon in military history” (Kotz, Essay 2). Another strong aspect of my essay was the topic sentences, and further supported throughout the paragraphs, “Though most of Christopher Robichaud’s claims are legitimate, some are not as agreeable in his article” (Kotz, Essay 2). This composition consisted of many things necessary to make a formal, academic analysis of literature. Both “The Individuals War” and “Consequences of the Ultimate Man” were thoughtfully, and critically composed, but my second paper came together with more analytical responses from acquired skills. After revisiting and revising the pieces’ weaknesses, I have composed two

4  


new essays full of characteristics my second essay was mostly full of originally. Taking time apart from an essay, and then returning to it allows writers to recognize flaws they would have never seen originally.

5   


Least Successful Paper Original: The Individual’s War The Cold War was unique in many ways. Unlike other warfare where the hostility remains primarily among the government and armed forces, the Cold War Era brought fear to all. Unprecedented threats of nuclear war on American soil caused citizens of every age, race, and gender to feel fear. Robert A. Jacobs’ proposes one solution to this crisis in his article, “There Are No Civilians; We Are All at War: Nuclear War Shelter and Survival Narratives during the Early Cold War,” where he thoroughly demonstrates the importance of individual initiative. He suggested if the individuals of America remain safe then the nation will remain safe. One way that the American people attempted to abide by this theory is expressed in, “Backyard Desperados: American Attitudes Concerning Toy Guns in the Early Cold War Era,” an article written by Angela F. Keaton, which depicts young, white, American boys instilling feelings of confidence within themselves and their families by owning toy guns. Thus, illustrating the power of plastic. These feeling of strength and confidence were essential during this hostile time. Both Jacobs and Keaton understood the importance of individual responsibility among the American people. As a result, citizens acted in extraordinary ways to protect themselves, which would ultimately secure the safety of the nation. The Cold War was one of the rare times in American history where citizens truly felt vulnerable and on their own. Because of this they did not fully understand their responsibilities during this chaotic era. In order to feel confident in their actions and their choices they looked to the media for answers. Jacobs article discusses one of the medias attempts to instill confidence through texts such as Richard Gerstell’s ,“How to Survive an Atomic Bomb.” His book addresses how long to protect yourself in a bomb shelter and even includes what Americans

6


should think about during these times, “Lie down,” “Cover your face,” “Always follow instructions,” and many other points of advice (Jacobs 405). Jacobs notes that the governments hared this extreme confidence in their citizens as they suggested, “If you took steps, if you were prepared, if you were vigilant… you could do it yourself” (Jacobs 406.) This idea of individual responsibility enabled the people of this nation to stand up strong and act smart for not only themselves but for the good of the country. While this form of media taught the people how to act during an imminent danger, the American people still needed direction for how to cope with everyday life. As young males became more and more interested with the heroics of Western television toy guns became an important sense of self-protection. While mothers seemed weary of the violence this entailed, March 1950’s Saturday Evening Post confirmed these child gun play actions were common around the nation. Authors even recommended mothers and fathers to promote this kind of behavior since this peculiar trend had a “tremendous practical value” (Keaton 185.) Here the media is providing a way for families to feel as though there is safety within their homes even though it seems to be coming from a peculiar place. While these children may seem too young to provide a sense of security the media is suggesting that encouragement can come from even the smallest individuals in society, and that symbol of protection can be more than enough to provide a feeling of protection. These ideas of individuals contributing to the greater good through a means of personal responsibility and protection are at the very root of American patriotism. In his article, Keaton discusses what he feels these toy guns truly represents when he says, “The Cowboy is a patriot.” (Keaton 186.) These patriotic ideas spread from children to adults, and it soon became known that to survive the bombs, you must stay faithful to yourself and your country. If the individual people of America survived then nation of America would survive (Jacobs 401.) These toy

7


firearms allowed young boys to feel assertive, aggressive, and secure – which were valuable attributes in a climate of nuclear uncertainty. Previously, it was a father’s responsibility to guide their sons to grow up nationalists prepared to defend the country in hostile times like these (Keaton 189.) However, during this time it wasn’t uncommon for the young boys in the family to take on these fatherly responsibilities while the children may not have fully understood their significance, it was truly an important act of patriotism. The Cold War was an extremely difficult time for all of America. However, these articles truly show the importance of individual responsibility in times of crisis and how this responsibility can be upheld. While Jacobs illustrates the nations need for individuals to preserver, Keaton more specifically revealed that this responsibility lied within the indulgences of the young men throughout the country. These ideas are illustrated primarily through the media and the importance of patriotism.

8


Works Citied Jacobs, Robert A. “There Are No Civilians; We Are All at War: Nuclear War Shelter and Survival Narratives during the Early Cold War.” Journal of American Culture 30.4 (2007): 401-416. Web 27 Aug. 2011. Keaton, Angela F. “Backyard Desperadoes: American Attitudes Concerning Toy Guns in the Early Cold War Era.” Journal of American Culture 33.3 (2010): 183-196. Web 27 Aug. 2011.

9


Most Successful  Paper  Original: Consequences of the Ultimate Man During the Cold War, America controlled what they thought was the strongest weapon in military history. His name was Dr. Jon Osterman, more commonly known as Dr. Manhattan after getting caught in an Intrinsic Field Subtractor accident. This catastrophe turned a righteous man into having a corrupt soul. He became the most intellectual and physically powerful man on Earth, but due to his extraordinary abilities, including his extensive knowledge of all things, his outlook upon and respect for humans slowly dwindled. Dr. Manhattan was viewed in two contradicting ways: as a hero for his ability to protect the nation and as a monster for his immoral nature. The article “The Superman Exists, and He’s American: Morality in the Face of Absolute Power” written by Christopher Robichaud depicts the amoral attributes of Dr. Manhattan’s character from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s graphic novel, Watchmen. This article specifically challenges the theory of moral emotions of a supernatural being when it states, “It seems plausible that the atomic accident that led to his disintegration and subsequent reintegration, while granting him powers almost beyond our imagination, nevertheless robbed him of the capacity to experience moral emotions” (Robichaud 8). This moral reasoning is the overall theme in the article, how this godly character may be the most intellectual creature in the universe but that does not necessarily mean he can distinguish between right and wrong. This article demonstrates Dr. Manhattan’s detachment from the world, and the reasons for it. While there are some inconsistencies and potentially invalid points in Robichaud’s article, his prominent ideas of Dr. Manhattan’s lack of morality and general disconnect from society are consistent with how I perceived Jon Osterman’s character in Watchman. Christopher Robichaud’s article consists mostly of valid ideas explained thoroughly with

10


supporting evidence towards Manhattan’s absence of morality. For instance, Robichaud suggests a logical point that Dr. Manhattan has some kind of lack in “crucial emotional capacity” compared to the rest of humanity (Robichaud 7). This loss of emotion is not replaced with his power or intelligence, which most might think. Christopher argues there are plenty of geniuses in the world that are just as intelligent as Dr. Manhattan but, in contrast, do not think of others as morally insignificant. There are also plenty of parents who have supreme power over their infants or children, but do not think of them as unimportant (Robichaud 7). From these examples it is clear that by supporting his ideas with real life comparisons, Robichaud is able to strengthen his argument dramatically. Another logical stance is taken when Robichaud objects, “the explanation of Dr. Manhattan’s moral ambivalence can’t rest solely on the nature of his intelligence or abilities” (Robichaud 7). This idea is reasonable in that intelligence alone does not translate to proper emotions. You can have both intelligence and emotions, or neither, however, having one does not result in an automatic adaption of the other. Going along with this theory of Dr. Manhattan lacking emotions, Robichaud presents another reasonable thought that humans need emotions to form concepts of what is right and wrong. He states, “If Dr. Manhattan lacks moral emotions, he no longer possesses the things needed to properly form beliefs about what’s morally right and wrong…this explains his inability to judge humans as having the value we all believe them as having” (Robichaud 9). Robichaud address this theory in a logical manner referencing Jon Osterman’s inabilities to grasp his girlfriend’s emotional needs and, also, America’s fears of nuclear war. As an example from the graphic novel, Moore and Gibbons illustrate the superhuman’s lack of sympathy of frightened Americans when Manhattan exclaims, “I am tired of this world; these people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives” (Moore, Chapter 4 p.25). Subsequent to this comment Dr. Manhattan leaves planet Earth to

11


isolate himself on Mars. He clearly does not realize the potentially horrific consequences of this brash action in leaving the country in such a vulnerable state, especially in the heat of nuclear threats. This reassures Robichaud’s claim that harsh consequences occur when lacking moral emotion. He explicitly states that Dr. Manhattan’s inability to perceive what is right and wrong is a major issue in regards to connecting to normal citizens. Robichaud argues these valid points, developing explanations and responses to Jon Osterman’s actions throughout the novel. Though most of Christopher Robichaud’s claims are legitimate, some are not as agreeable in his article. Robichaud makes an inaccurate testimony that emotions are exemplified through actions. The author claims, for example, that if a woman were to witness a cat being burned alive and thought this was wrongdoing, but did not take action to stop it, then her emotions did not include her feeling bad for the cat. This is a sweeping statement of “emotions [link] to action” (Robichaud 10). Connecting Christopher’s point to Watchman, this theory would suggest that Dr. Manhattan would not take action to defend the citizens of the United States, even if he were requested to do so by the officials (linking his emotions to his job order.) This idea is sometimes true, but not always, which makes the authors claim difficult to believe. Christopher Robichaud makes another questionable point referencing God in his article. Religion is a subjective view, but, Robichaud continues to argue God’s will being more powerful than government law, stating “morality gets its force from God” and not from the moral laws (Robichaud 11). The belief of God is not present in the world’s whole population, making his statement invalid to some. Writing a piece on Dr. Manhattan is difficult due to his “God-like” characteristics, so it makes sense that Robichaud would address the subject of religion, but it is simply a difficult area to persuade in a relatively short article. Christopher Robichaud’s few invalid points make parts of his article seem somewhat illigitimate, but the majority of his piece

12


properly argues theories that are supported by acceptable concepts. As having read the graphic novel, Watchman, I have comprised the same thoughts as Robichaud, believing that Dr. Manhattan’s character is disconnected with mankind due to his lack of morality, combined with his extraordinary powers isolating him from reality. Robichaud claims, “The idea of a morally ambivalent god is not comforting,” illuminating the idea that millions of Americans are weary of trusting Dr. Manhattan to follow through with government orders in desperate times (Robichaud 10). Unfortunately, history shows that Dr. Manhattan has chosen not to use his gift to help innocent lives. In the novel, the cruel character, the Comedian, was bothered by a woman he impregnated, so he consequently pointed a gun at her stomach and fired, killing both the woman and her baby. Dr. Manhattan watched the entire event happen prompting the Comedian to verbalize his conclusion about Jon, “You watched me. You coulda changed the gun into steam or the bullets into mercury…you coulda teleported either of us to goddamn Australia…but you didn’t lift a finger! You don’t really give a damn about human beings. I’ve watched you…God help us all” (Moore Ch.2 p.15). This supports Robichaud and my beliefs of Dr. Manhattan being disconnected from normal humans, giving them reasons to distrust him, especially during such hostile times in the Cold War. Robichaud declares, “[Dr. Manhattan] can’t reason properly about what’s right and wrong,” making this physically equipped character nearly worthless, particular in a nuclear setting where split-second decisions would need to be made, but Dr. Manhattan would not perform appropriately due to his lack of moral decision making process (Robichaud 10). Another theory Robichaud addressed that I agree with is that Dr. Manhattan is an important asset to the costumed heroes group dynamics, stating he is “a unique and powerful entity in the Watchmen universe” (Robichaud 16). I believe Dr. Manhattan’s cold character allows the others around him to recognize their inappropriate

13


actions and be weary of them. He allows others to appreciate the good people in life, instead of men like himself who rarely show emotion. Laurie, Dr. Manhattan’s long term girlfriend shares her thoughts to a different man she respects and knows appreciates her when stating, “Living with him, you don’t know what it’s like…The way he looks at things, like he can’t remember what they are and doesn’t particularly care…this world to him it’s like walking through mist, and all the people are like shadows in the fog” (Moore Ch.3 p. 9). Robichaud explains the significance of this isolated man, that Manhattan gives structure to the novel, bringing to light the good and bad characters. Christopher Robichaud’s article thoroughly expresses the reasons behind Dr. Manhattan’s strange moral emotions and its effect on those around him. While Manhattan’s accident might have given him extraordinary physical attributes, he consequently lost moral emotions, isolating him from the rest of humanity. Discovering such damaging effects of extreme intellect and psychical strength reverses ideas of ever longing for such gifts. Robichaud’s article clearly demonstrates reasons for these effects, making the Watchman an even more intriguing read.

14


Works Cited Moore, Alan, and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen. New York: DC Comics, 1987. Print. Robichaud, Christopher. “The Superman Exists, and He’s American: Morality in the Face of Absolute Power.” 5-17. Print.

15


Least Successful Paper Mark-Up: The Individual’s War The Cold War was unique in many ways. Unlike other warfare where the hostility remains primarily among the government and armed forces, the Cold War Era brought fear to all.

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:11 AM Comment: Too boring  of  an  introductory   sentence    

Unprecedented threats of nuclear war on American soil caused citizens of every age, race, and gender to feel fear of the powerful Soviet Union. Robert A. Jacobs’ proposes one solution to this crisis in his article, “There Are No Civilians; We Are All at War: Nuclear War Shelter and Survival Narratives during the Early Cold War,” where he thoroughly demonstrates the importance of individual initiative. He suggests if the individuals of America remain safe then

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:13 AM Comment: Lengthy, and  repetitive.  Should   combine  sentences.     Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:14 AM Comment: Too  specific.     Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:16 AM Comment: Bad  verb.  Change  to  “in  which”  

the nation will remain safe. One way that the American people attempted to abide by this theory is expressed in, “Backyard Desperados: American Attitudes Concerning Toy Guns in the Early Cold War Era,” an article written by Angela F. Keaton, which depicts young, white, American boys instilling feelings of confidence within themselves and their families by owning toy guns. Thus, illustrating the power of plastic. These feelings of strength and confidence were essential

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:19 AM Comment: Too wordy.  Needs  to  be   condensed.  

during this hostile time. Both Jacobs and Keaton understood the importance of individual responsibility among the American people. As a result, citizens acted in extraordinary ways to protect themselves, which would ultimately secure the safety of the nation. The Cold War was one of the rare times in American history where citizens truly felt vulnerable and on their own. Because of this they did not fully understand their responsibilities

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:21 AM Comment: Can be  taken  out.    

during this chaotic era, therefore, were forced to look to the media for answers. Jacobs article discusses one of the medias attempts to instill confidence through texts in Richard Gerstell’s, How to Survive an Atomic Bomb. His book addresses how long to protect yourself in a bomb shelter and even includes what Americans should think about during these times, “Lie down,”

16

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:50 PM Comment: Too wordy  and  confusing.   Needs  to  be  simplified.  


“Cover your face,” “Always follow instructions,” and many other points of advice (Jacobs 405). Jacobs notes that the government shared this extreme confidence in their citizens as they suggested, “If you took steps, if you were prepared, if you were vigilant… you could do it yourself” (Jacobs 406). This idea of individual responsibility enabled the people of this nation to stand up strong and act smart for not only themselves but for the good of the country. While this form of media taught the people how to act during any imminent danger, the American people still needed direction for how to cope with everyday life. As young males became more and more interested with the heroics of Western television toy guns became an important sense of self-protection (Keaton 185). However, mothers seemed weary of the violence this entailed, yet, March 1950’s Saturday Evening Post confirmed these child gunplay actions were common

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:54 PM Comment: Americans still  needed  help   coping  with  the  unknown  timing  of  these   dangers  in  everyday  life.     Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:56 PM Comment: Need  clarification  of  what   “this”  is.    

around the nation (Keaton 185). Authors even recommended mothers and fathers to promote this kind of behavior since this peculiar trend had a “tremendous practical value” (Keaton 185). Here the media is providing a way for families to feel as though there is safety within their homes even though it seems to be coming from a peculiar place. While these children may seem too young to provide a sense of security the media is suggesting that encouragement can come from

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 2:59 PM Comment: Change to  “suggests”  

even the smallest individuals in society, and that symbol of protection can be more than enough to provide a feeling of protection. These ideas of individuals contributing to the greater good through a means of personal

confirms the metaphor of toy guns truly representing a love for one’s country when he says,

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 3:01 PM Comment: Weird wording.  Needs  to  be   changed  to  “In  Keatons  article,  he   confirms…”  

“The Cowboy is a patriot” (Keaton 186). These patriotic ideas spread from children to adults,

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 3:02 PM Comment: Wordy. Take  out.  

responsibility and protection are at the very root of American patriotism. In his article, Keaton

and it soon became known that to survive the bombs, you must stay faithful to yourself and your country, or in Jacobs words, “If the individual people of America survived then nation of

17

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 3:03 PM Comment: Awkward wording.  Change  to   “known  that  surviving  stems  from  faith  in   yourself  and  your  country.”  


America would survive” (Jacobs 401). These toy firearms allowed young boys to feel assertive, aggressive, and secure – which were valuable attributes in a climate of nuclear uncertainty (Keaton 189). Previously, it was a father’s responsibility to guide their sons to grow up nationalists prepared to defend the country in hostile times like these (Keaton 189). However, during this time it was common for the young boys in the family to take on these fatherly responsibilities. While the children may not have fully understood their significance, it was truly an important act of patriotism.

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 3:05 PM Comment: Add “while  they  were  absent,   off  at  war.”  

The Cold War was a particularly difficult era for the entire population of America. However, these articles truly show the importance of individual responsibility in times of crisis and how this responsibility can be upheld. While Jacobs illustrates the nations need for individuals to persevere, Keaton more specifically reveals that this responsibility lied within the indulgences of the young men throughout the country. These ideas are illuminated primarily through the media, stressing the importance of patriotism.

18

Britney Kotz 12/1/11 3:06 PM Comment: Take out.  


Works Citied Jacobs, Robert A. “There Are No Civilians; We Are All at War: Nuclear War Shelter and Survival Narratives during the Early Cold War.” Journal of American Culture 30.4 (2007): 401-416. Web 27 Aug. 2011. Keaton, Angela F. “Backyard Desperadoes: American Attitudes Concerning Toy Guns in the Early Cold War Era.” Journal of American Culture 33.3 (2010): 183-196. Web 27 Aug. 2011.              

19


Least Successful  Paper  Final  Version: The Individual’s War The Cold War was a war like no other. Unprecedented threats of nuclear war on American soil caused citizens of every age, race, and gender to feel fear of the powerful Soviet Union, where in other warfare the hostility remained solely with the armed forces and government. Robert A. Jacobs’ proposes a solution to this crisis in his article, “There Are No Civilians; We Are All at War: Nuclear War Shelter and Survival Narratives during the Early Cold War,” in which he demonstrates the importance of individual initiative. He suggests if the individuals of America remain safe then the nation will remain safe. One way that the American people attempted to abide by this theory is expressed in, “Backyard Desperados: American Attitudes Concerning Toy Guns in the Early Cold War Era,” an article written by Angela F. Keaton, which depicts young, white, American boys creating feelings of confidence not only within themselves but, also, their families by possessing toy guns. Thus, illustrating the power of plastic. These feelings of strength and confidence were essential during this hostile time. Both authors, Jacobs and Keaton, understood the importance of individual responsibility among the American people. As a result, citizens acted in extraordinary ways to protect themselves, which would ultimately secure the safety of the nation. The Cold War was one of the rare times in American history where common citizens felt vulnerable due to the army’s lack of ability to protect the nation from a nuclear bomb. Because of this, citizens did not fully understand their responsibilities during this chaotic era, therefore, they were forced to look to the media for answers. Jacobs article discusses the medias attempt to instill confidence in America. Jacobs references Richard Gerstell’s, How to Survive an Atomic Bomb, which addresses how long to protect yourself in a bomb shelter and even includes

20


what Americans should think about during these times, “Lie down,” “Cover your face,” “Always follow instructions,” (Jacobs 405). Jacobs notes that the government shared extreme confidence in their citizens as they suggested, “If you took steps, if you were prepared, if you were vigilant… you could do it yourself” (Jacobs 406). This idea of individual responsibility enabled the people of this nation to stand up strong and act smart for not only themselves but for the good of the country. While this form of media taught the people how to act during any imminent danger, Americans still needed help in everyday life coping with the unknown arrival of these dangers. As young males became more and more interested with the heroics of Western television toy guns became an important sense of self-protection (Keaton 185). However, mothers seemed weary of the violence this entailed, yet, March 1950’s Saturday Evening Post confirmed these child gunplay actions were common around the nation (Keaton 185). Authors even recommended mothers and fathers to promote this kind of behavior since this peculiar trend had a “tremendous practical value” (Keaton 185). Here the media is providing a way for families to feel as though there is safety within their homes even though it seems to be coming from a peculiar place. While these children may seem too young to provide a sense of security the media is suggesting that encouragement can come from even the smallest individuals in society, and that symbol of protection can be more than enough to provide a feeling of protection. These ideas of individuals contributing to the greater good through a means of personal responsibility and protection are at the very root of American patriotism. Keaton’s article confirms the metaphor of toy guns representing a love for one’s country when he says, “The Cowboy is a patriot” (Keaton 186). These patriotic ideas spread from children to adults, and it soon became known that survival stemmed from faith in yourself and your country. In Jacob’s words, “If the individual people of America survived then nation of America would survive”

21


(Jacobs 401). These toy firearms allowed young boys to feel assertive, aggressive, and secure – which were valuable attributes in a climate of nuclear uncertainty (Keaton 189). Previously, it was a father’s responsibility to guide their sons to grow up nationalists prepared to defend the country in hostile times like these (Keaton 189). However, during this time it was common for the young boys in the family to take on these fatherly responsibilities while they were absent, off at war. While the children may not have fully understood their significance, it was truly an important act of patriotism. The Cold War was a particularly difficult era for the entire population of America. However, these articles show the importance of individual responsibility in times of crisis and how this responsibility can be upheld. While Jacobs illustrates the nations’ need for individuals to persevere, Keaton more specifically reveals that this responsibility lied within the indulgences of the young men throughout the country. These ideas are illuminated primarily through the media, stressing the importance of patriotism.

22


Works Citied Jacobs, Robert A. “There Are No Civilians; We Are All at War: Nuclear War Shelter and Survival Narratives during the Early Cold War.” Journal of American Culture 30.4 (2007): 401-416. Web 27 Aug. 2011. Keaton, Angela F. “Backyard Desperadoes: American Attitudes Concerning Toy Guns in the Early Cold War Era.” Journal of American Culture 33.3 (2010): 183-196. Web 27 Aug. 2011.            

23


Most Successful Paper Mark-up: A Critique of “The Superman Exists, and He’s American: Morality in the Face of Absolute Power” by Christopher Robichaud During the Cold War, America controlled the strongest weapon in military history. It was a superhero that was contracted into American government service. This blue colored man gained his superhuman powers during a science experiment gone wrong. Dr. Jon Osterman was caught in an Intrinsic Field Subtractor accident. This catastrophe turned a righteous man into an internally corrupt character. He became known as Dr. Manhattan, the most intellectual and

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:42 AM Comment: Unnecessary information.  Too   wordy.  Take  out.    

powerful man on Earth. Due to his extraordinary abilities his outlook on humanity slowly dwindled away during his monotonous life of government jobs. Dr. Manhattan was viewed in two contradicting ways: as a hero for his ability to protect the nation and as a monster for his immoral nature. The article The Superman Exists, and He’s American: Morality in the Face of Absolute Power written by Christopher Robichaud depicts the character Dr. Manhattan from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s book, Watchmen. This article specifically challenges the theory of moral emotions of a supernatural being. Robichaud describes Dr. Manhattan as being a God-

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:45 AM Comment: Include/ change  to  “graphic   novel”  

like figure to American’s because of his physical abilities, and further argues that physical actions come from moral reasoning. “It seems plausible that the atomic accident that led to his

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:46 AM Comment: Not relevant.  Take  out.  

disintegration and subsequent reintegration, while granting him powers almost beyond our imagination, nevertheless robbed him of the capacity to experience moral emotions” (Robichaud 8). This moral reasoning is the biggest theme in the article, and how this Godly character may be the most intellectual creature in the universe but that does not mean he makes the right decisions. One might think decisions are a simple concept, but for a man like Jon Osterman, logically thinking causes him to act, or not act in ways a hero should. This article demonstrates Dr.

24

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:48 AM Comment: Needs commentary  about  the   quote.   Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:51 AM Comment: Terrible  adjective.  Reword.   Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:52 AM Comment: Awkward.  Reword.   Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:55 AM Comment: Change  to  “logical  thoughts”  


Manhattan’s detachment from the world, and the reasons for it. While there are some inconsistencies and potentially invalid points in Robichaud’s article, his general ideas of Mr.

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:56 AM Comment: Change Mr.  to  Dr.    

Manhattan’s lack of morality seem consistent with authors’ portal of Jon Osterman’s character in Watchman. Christopher Robichaud suggests a logical point that Dr. Manhattan has some kind of lack in “crucial emotional capacity” compared to the rest of humanity (Robichaud 7). This loss of emotions is not replaced with his power or intelligence, which most might think. There are plenty of geniuses in the world that are just as intelligent as Dr. Manhattan but, in contrast, do

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:59 AM Comment: Reword. Take  out  plural  form   of  emotions.  

not think of others as morally insignificant. And there are plenty of parents who have supreme power over their infants or children, but do not think of them as unimportant (Robichaud 7). Robichaud objects, “the explanation of Dr. Manhattan’s moral ambivalence can’t rest solely on the nature of his intelligence or abilities” (Robichaud 7). This idea is reasonable due to the countless events of emotional issues displayed throughout the novel. Going along with this

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:01 AM Comment: Include Dr.  Manhattan’s  name  

theory of Dr. Manhattan lacking emotions, Robichaud presents another reasonable point that

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:02 AM Comment: Sounds like  baby  writing.   Reword  to  something  more  intelligent.    

humans need emotions to form concepts of what is right and wrong. He states, “If Dr. Manhattan lacks moral emotions, he no longer possesses the things needed to properly form beliefs about what’s morally right and wrong…this explains his inability to judge humans as having the value we all believe them as having” (Robichaud 9). Robichaud address this theory in a logical manner referencing Jon Osterman’s inabilities to grasp his girlfriend’s emotional needs and America’s fears of nuclear war. As an example from the graphic novel Dr. Manhattan is created in, Watchman, Moore and Gibbons illustrate the God-like creature’s lack of sympathy of frightened Americans when he exclaims, “I am tired of this world; these people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives” (Moore, Chapter 4 p.25). Subsequent to this comment Dr. Manhattan

25

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:05 AM Comment: Wordy. Rearrange  words  to   read  smoother.  


leaves planet Earth to isolate himself on Mars. He does not realize this is an extremely wrong action in leaving the country in such a vulnerable state, especially in the heat of nuclear threats. This shows Robichaud’s claim that harsh consequences occur when lacking moral emotions: that Dr. Manhattan’s inability to perceive what is right and wrong is a major issue. Robichaud argues

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:07 AM Comment: The word  “wrong”  sounds   awkward.     Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:10 AM Comment: “Shows”  is  the  wrong  word   here.  

these valid points, developing explanations and responses to Jon Osterman’s actions throughout the novel. Though most of Christopher Robichaud’s claims are legitimate, some are not as agreeable in his article. Robichaud makes an inaccurate testimony that emotions are exemplified through actions. The author claims, for example, that if a woman were to witness a cat being burned alive and thought this was wrongdoing, but did not take action to stop it, then her emotions did not include her feeling bad for the cat. This is a sweeping statement of “emotions

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:13 AM Comment: Change “of”  to  “that”  

[link] to action” (Robichaud 10). Connecting Christopher’s point to Watchman, this theory would suggest that Dr. Manhattan would not take action to defend the country of America, even if he were told to by officials (linking his emotions to his job order.) This idea is sometimes true, but not always, which makes the authors claim difficult to believe. Christopher Robichaud makes another questionable point referencing God in his article. This is a subjective view on God’s will being more powerful than government law, stating “morality gets its force from God” and not from the moral laws (Robichaud 11). The belief of God is not existent in the total world’s population, making his statement invalid to some. Writing a piece on Dr. Manhattan is difficult due to his God-like characteristics, so it makes sense that Robichaud would address the subject

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:14 AM Comment: Rework. Maybe  use  the  word   “religion”  instead  of  “God”   Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:16 AM Comment: “Total”  is  awkward.  Change   wording.  

of religion, but it is simply a difficult area to persuade in a relatively short article. I agree with Robichaud’s central idea of Dr. Manhattan’s character being frightening due to his lack of morality combined with his extraordinary powers. Robichaud claims, “The idea of

26

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 2:09 AM Comment: Change to  “frightening   character”  


a morally ambivalent god is not comforting,” illuminating the idea that millions of Americans are weary of trusting Dr. Manhattan to follow through with government orders in desperate times, like if nuclear missiles were actually heading towards the States (Robichaud 10).

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 2:12 AM Comment: “For example”  

Unfortunately, history shows that Dr. Manhattan has chosen not to use his gift to help innocent lives. In the novel, the cruel character, the Comedian, was bothered by a woman he impregnated,

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 2:13 AM Comment: Use his  “physical  gift”…  

so he consequently pointed a gun at her stomach and fired, killing both the woman and her baby. Dr. Manhattan watched the entire event happen prompting the Comedian to verbalize his conclusion about Jon, “You watched me. You coulda changed the gun into steam or the bullets into mercury…you coulda teleported either of us to goddamn Australia…but you didn’t lift a finger! You don’t really give a damn about human beings. I’ve watched you…God help us all” (Moore Ch.2 pg.15). This supports Robichaud and my beliefs of this blue man not being trust worthy of Americans, especially during such hostile times. Robichaud declares, “[Dr.

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 2:16 AM Comment: “Of” changed  to  “To”  

Manhattan] can’t reason properly about what’s right and wrong,” making this physically equipped character nearly worthless, particular in a nuclear setting where split-second decisions would need to be made, but Dr. Manhattan would not perform due to his lack of moral decision making process of his own (Robichaud 10). Another theory Robichaud addresses that I agree with is that Dr. Manhattan is an important asset to the costumed heroes, stating he is “a unique and powerful entity in the Watchmen universe” (Robichaud 16). I believe Dr. Manhattan’s cold character allows the others around him to recognize their inappropriate actions and be weary of them. He allows others to appreciate the good people in life, instead of men like himself who rarely show emotion. Laurie, Dr. Manhattan’s long term girlfriend vents her thoughts to a man she respects and knows appreciates her, especially compared to her distant boyfriend, “Living with him, you don’t know what it’s like…The way he looks at things, like he can’t remember

27

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 2:20 AM Comment: Awkward wording…   Could  be  a  paragraph  break  


what they are and doesn’t particularly care…this world to him it’s like walking through mist, and all the people are like shadows in the fog” (Moore Ch.3 pg. 9). This isolated man gives structure to the novel, bringing to light the good and bad characters, and allowing perceptions of various

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 2:21 AM Comment: “evil”

character types, Dr. Manhattan being the cold, confusing “super hero.”

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 2:22 AM Comment: Make into  a  new  sentence.  

Christopher Robichaud’s article expresses the thoughts and reasons behind Dr. Manhattan’s strange moral emotions and its effect on those around him. While Manhattan’s accident might have given him extraordinary physical attributes, he consequently lost moral emotions, isolating him from the rest of humanity. Discovering such damaging effects of extreme intellect and psychical strength reverses ideas of ever longing for such gifts. Robichaud’s article clearly demonstrates reasons for these effects, making the Watchman an even more intriguing read.

28


Most Successful Paper Final Version: A Critique of “The Superman Exists, and He’s American: Morality in the Face of Absolute Power” by Christopher Robichaud During the Cold War, America controlled the strongest weapon in military history. It was a superhero that was contracted into American government service. This blue colored man gained his superhuman powers during a science experiment gone wrong. This catastrophe turned a righteous man, Jon Osterman, into an internally corrupt character. He became known as Dr. Manhattan, the most intellectual and powerful man on Earth. Due to his extraordinary abilities his outlook on humanity slowly dwindled away during his monotonous life of government jobs. Dr. Manhattan was viewed in two contradicting ways: as a hero for his ability to protect the nation and as a monster for his immoral nature. The article The Superman Exists, and He’s American: Morality in the Face of Absolute Power written by Christopher Robichaud depicts the character Dr. Manhattan from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s graphic novel, Watchmen. This article specifically challenges the theory of moral emotions of a supernatural being. Robichaud describes Dr. Manhattan as being a God-like figure to American’s because of his physical abilities, but does not cease to exclude his flaws, “It seems plausible that the atomic accident that led to his disintegration and subsequent reintegration, while granting him powers almost beyond our imagination, nevertheless robbed him of the capacity to experience moral emotions” (Robichaud 8). This moral reasoning is the most prevailing theme in the article, and how this Godly character may be the most intellectual creature in the universe but that does not automatically correspond in proper decision-making. One might think decisions are a simple concept, but for a man like Jon Osterman, logical thoughts cause him to act, or not act in ways a hero should. This article demonstrates Dr. Manhattan’s detachment from the world, and the

29


reasons for it. While there are some inconsistencies and potentially invalid points in Robichaud’s article, his general ideas of Dr. Manhattan’s lack of morality seem consistent with authors’ portal of Jon Osterman’s character in Watchman. Christopher Robichaud suggests a logical point that Dr. Manhattan has some kind of lack in “crucial emotional capacity” compared to the rest of humanity (Robichaud 7). This loss of emotion is not replaced with his power or intelligence, which most might think. There are plenty of geniuses in the world that are just as intelligent as Dr. Manhattan but, in contrast, do not think of others as morally insignificant. And there are plenty of parents who have supreme power over their infants or children, but do not think of them as unimportant (Robichaud 7). Robichaud objects, “the explanation of Dr. Manhattan’s moral ambivalence can’t rest solely on the nature of his intelligence or abilities” (Robichaud 7). This idea is reasonable due to the countless events of his emotional issues displayed throughout the novel. Strengthening the theory of Dr. Manhattans’ lack of emotion, Robichaud presents another reasonable point that humans need emotions to form concepts of what is right and wrong. He states, “If Dr. Manhattan lacks moral emotions, he no longer possesses the things needed to properly form beliefs about what’s morally right and wrong…this explains his inability to judge humans as having the value we all believe them as having” (Robichaud 9). Robichaud address this theory in a logical manner referencing Jon Osterman’s inabilities to grasp his girlfriend’s emotional needs and America’s fears of nuclear war. As an example from the graphic novel Dr. Manhattan is created in, Watchman’s authors’ Moore and Gibbons illustrate the God-like creature’s lack of sympathy of frightened Americans when he exclaims, “I am tired of this world; these people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives” (Moore, Chapter 4 p.25). Subsequent to this comment Dr. Manhattan leaves planet Earth to isolate himself on Mars. He does not realize this is an extremely immoral

30


decision of leaving the country in such a vulnerable state, particularly in the heat of nuclear threats. This proves Robichaud’s claim that harsh consequences occur when lacking moral emotions: that Dr. Manhattan’s inability to perceive what is right and wrong is a major issue. Robichaud argues these valid points, developing explanations and responses to Jon Osterman’s actions made throughout the novel. Though most of Christopher Robichaud’s claims are legitimate, some are not as agreeable in his article. Robichaud makes an inaccurate testimony that emotions are exemplified through actions. The author claims, for example, that if a woman were to witness a cat being burned alive and thought this was wrongdoing, but did not take action to stop it, then her emotions did not include her feeling bad for the cat. This is a sweeping statement that “emotions [link] to action” (Robichaud 10). Connecting Christopher’s point to Watchman, this theory would suggest that Dr. Manhattan would not take action to defend the country of America, even if he were told to by officials (linking his emotions to his job order.) This idea is sometimes true, but not always, which makes the authors claim difficult to believe. Christopher Robichaud makes another questionable point referencing God in his article. Religion is a subjective subject, especially stating God’s will as being more powerful than government law, “morality gets its force from God” and not from the moral laws (Robichaud 11). The belief of God is not existent in the entire world’s population, making his statement invalid to some. Writing a piece on Dr. Manhattan is difficult due to his God-like characteristics, so it makes sense that Robichaud would address the subject of religion, but it is simply a difficult area to persuade in a relatively short article. I agree with Robichaud’s central idea of Dr. Manhattan’s having a frightening charisma due to his lack of morality combined with his extraordinary powers. Robichaud claims, “The

31


idea of a morally ambivalent god is not comforting,” illuminating the idea that millions of Americans are weary of trusting Dr. Manhattan to follow through with government orders in desperate times, for instance if nuclear missiles were actually heading towards the States (Robichaud 10). Unfortunately, history shows that Dr. Manhattan has chosen not to use his ultimate gift to help innocent lives. In the novel, the cruel character, the Comedian, was bothered by a woman he impregnated, so he consequently pointed a gun at her stomach and fired, killing both the woman and her baby. Dr. Manhattan watched the entire event happen prompting the Comedian to verbalize his conclusion about Jon, “You watched me. You coulda changed the gun into steam or the bullets into mercury…you coulda teleported either of us to goddamn Australia…but you didn’t lift a finger! You don’t really give a damn about human beings. I’ve watched you…God help us all” (Moore Ch.2 pg.15). This supports Robichaud and my beliefs of this blue man not being trust worthy to Americans, especially during such hostile times. Robichaud declares, “[Dr. Manhattan] can’t reason properly about what’s right and wrong,” making this physically equipped character nearly worthless, particular in a nuclear setting where split-second decisions would need to be made, but Dr. Manhattan would not perform due to his lack of moral decision making process of his own (Robichaud 10). In contrast to these dishonorable thoughts of Dr. Manhattan, Robichaud addresses the blue man in a different light. He claims that Dr. Manhattan is an important asset to the costumed heroes, stating he is “a unique and powerful entity in the Watchmen universe” (Robichaud 16). I believe Dr. Manhattan’s cold character allows the others around him to recognize their inappropriate actions and be weary of them. He allows others to appreciate the good people in life, instead of men like himself who rarely show emotion. Laurie, Dr. Manhattan’s long term girlfriend vents her thoughts to a man she respects and knows appreciates her, especially

32


compared to her distant boyfriend, “Living with him, you don’t know what it’s like…The way he looks at things, like he can’t remember what they are and doesn’t particularly care…this world to him it’s like walking through mist, and all the people are like shadows in the fog” (Moore Ch.3 pg. 9). This isolated man gives structure to the novel, bringing to light the good and evil characters, and allowing perceptions of various character types. Dr. Manhattan takes claim of the cold, confusing “super hero.” Christopher Robichaud’s article expresses the thoughts and reasons behind Dr. Manhattan’s strange moral emotions and its effect on those around him. While Manhattan’s accident might have given him extraordinary physical attributes, he consequently lost moral emotions, isolating him from the rest of humanity. Discovering such damaging effects of extreme intellect and psychical strength reverses ideas of ever longing for such gifts. Robichaud’s article clearly demonstrates reasons for these effects, making the Watchman an even more intriguing read.

33


Free Choice  Essay  Mark-­‐Up:   Interview Project: Personal and Cultural Values Shaping Infant Sleeping Arrangements Imagine giving birth to a baby and then three years later still sharing a bed with that same child. This long-term, co-sleeping arrangement is common in the culture of Mayans living in Guatemala. Sleeping arrangements in the United States strongly contrasts the Mayan’s ideas, for Americans believe infants should sleep separate from their parents relatively soon after birth. Different cultures have varying perceptions of how their children should be raised; whether they should share rooms, or not share rooms; share a bed with another, or not share a bed; sleep with a transitional object, or sleep with nothing. These differences form due to the cultures beliefs on their children’s development; how sleeping arrangement as an infant might impact their child’s character when matured. Studies have revealed the extreme differences in cultural practices

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 11:43 AM Comment: Awkward wording.  Rework   and  maybe  split  into  two  sentences.     Britney Kotz 12/2/11 11:47 AM Comment: Wrong  word.  Should  say  “Each   culture”   Britney Kotz 12/2/11 11:48 AM Comment: Awkward  and  lengthy   sentence.  Maybe  cut  out  some  fluff.     Britney Kotz 12/2/11 11:52 AM Comment: Take  out  

regarding sleeping arrangements from country to country, culture to culture. To

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 11:57 AM Comment: Unnecessary and  repetitive.  

understand my culture’s perspective the United States of infant sleeping behavior I

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:02 PM Comment: “United States”  is  unnecessary.   Take  out.  

compared an American mother’s interview, I conducted, to an article written by Gilda A. Morelli, called Cultural Variation in Infants’ Sleeping Arrangements: Questions of Independence. The article discusses a study taken of 18 Utah families and 15 Mayan families, and their cultural behavior, both, on the topic of infant sleeping arrangements. My interview, being compared, was taken of a close relative of mine: Sarah Liberti, a mother living in the United States. Between Morelli’s study demonstrating the distinct differences between two culture’s practices, and my personal interview illuminating a deeper explanation of why American mothers behave the way they do, I gained a novel cultural perceptive of the traditions foreign to mine.

34


The interview led me to understand the level of importance proper infant development is to American mothers. My Aunt Sarah is a 33-year-old, middle-class woman who has lived in the United States her entire life, completely in-tune with the American way of living. She shares a home with her baby, Gemma, her husband, Patrick and their two dogs. Gemma is almost 14 months old and she is Sarah’s first and only child. Similar to many Utah mothers in Morelli’s study, Sarah brought Gemma home and immediately had the baby sleeping separate from her (Morelli 606). The separation

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:39 PM Comment: Reword. Take  out  excessive   “ands.”    

consisted of Gemma sleeping in a bassinet next to Sarah’s side of the bed. I asked the mother for her reasons in putting Gemma there, and she quickly explained, “I simply needed to watch Gemma breath during the night.” Infants sleeping next to the mother’s

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:39 PM Comment: Unnecessary adjective.  Take   out  “quickly”  

bed is a common American cultural practice for the fear of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, both mentioned by Sarah Liberti and most Utah mother’s in Morelli’s study (Morelli 606). In Sarah’s case, her baby’s sleeping arrangement changed after 8 weeks, when Sarah and Patrick decided that Gemma was ready to sleep in her own room. Unlike the Liberti family, half of the Utah families moved their babies into a separate room after

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:41 PM Comment: Add the  word  “both”  for   clarification.    

a much longer period of time, some past six months (Morelli 608). Sarah had one condition before she could leave her child in a room sleeping by herself: a video monitor. Sarah considered not only Gemma’s proper development into an independent being, but also her and Patrick’s development as good parents. The move was necessary for Gemma

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:45 PM Comment: Repetitive with  her  name.   Change  to  “She”  

to sleep more sound; Sarah did not want her husband’s snoring to keep Gemma from a good night’s sleep. Without the baby in the room, Sarah slept better, which in turn made her a more pleasant mother to Gemma during the day. With both Sarah and Gemma

35

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:49 PM Comment: The move  was  also  motivated   by  Patrick’s  snore,  as  both  parents  wanted   Gemma  to  sleep  more  sound.    


having proper sleep, the relationship grew stronger and Gemma continues to develop into a beautiful, independent human being. Sarah’s sleeping decisions for Gemma are consistent with many other choices made by Morelli’s Utah mothers, like having steady bedtime routines and letting the infant fall asleep on its own. Gemma has two nighttime events that occur almost evening before she sleeps. Sarah recites a prayer to God with Gemma in order to teach her the importance of their religion. Sarah then puts Gemma down in her bassinet or, currently, crib, awake. Gemma is awake when Sarah leaves the room, but the baby has her projector

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:51 PM Comment: Repetitive. Take  out  “Sarah”   and  rework.    

to look at. Every night, the mother winds a 15 minute timed music player and projection of moving baby sheep shinning onto the ceiling above the baby’s bed. Sarah’s reasoning for making her baby fall asleep on her own is for the frequent scenario of Gemma waking up at random hours during the night and being able to fall back asleep without the

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:54 PM Comment: Awkward word  choice.  Change   to  “circumstance”  

presence of her mother. Morelli’s study is comparable to this certain sleeping pattern, in which 11 of the 18 infants studied were expected to fall asleep on their own (Morelli 608). Unlike Gemma Liberti, 5 of the 8 babies who slept alone had a blanket or some

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:55 PM Comment: Word “study”  is  used  too   frequently.  Change  to  “findings”  

other security object to fall asleep with (Morelli 608). Sarah does not allow any sort of unnecessary object in Gemma’s crib for the fear of her health. I agree with Sarah’s thought process: if you can avoid excessive objects around the baby during sleep, the chances of her getting hurt is less likely. The mother is scared that Gemma might choke or suffocate herself with objects left in her crib. Therefore, Sarah keeps Gemma’s nursery at a comfortable 72 degrees so her baby can sleep in only a full outfit with no blanket required. Sarah raised Gemma to sleep in a certain way to develop into an individual, yet, someone who continues to share an unbreakable bond with her mother no matter the baby

36

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:58 PM Comment: Change to  “so  her  baby  sleeps   in  only  a  full  outfit….”  


or mothers location. I think every decision Sarah made and continues to make with her baby will be apart of the American customs, which, in turn, will lead Gemma into a

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 12:59 PM Comment: Beginning is  awkward.   Reword.  

successful life in the same culture as her mother. Part of studies done by Morelli are nearly identical to the Liberti’s practice, proving evidence that there is a distinct American custom in infants’ sleeping arrangements, but Morelli’s study goes deeper than my one sided interview. On the contrary to what United States citizens believe, the American customs in which infants should sleep is not the only way practiced. Each culture in the world has their own perspective on how children should be raised. Therefore, Morelli found it important to study not only citizens of the U.S. state, Utah, but also foreign cultures like the Mayan’s in Guatemala. This culture differs from American customs for they believe in co-sleeping with infants for many years past birth. I consider this is an unnecessary custom, uncomfortable for the mother and the growing baby. I believe once the baby has

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:05 PM Comment: Awkward word  choice,  take   out  the  word  “for”  

turned, at the most, one-year-old it is important to the child’s development that it sleeps on its own. This is the time in which the child begins to walk on its own, talk on its own, and therefore, it is thinking on its own. Independent sleeping should be apart of that period of change. But the Mayans have a different perceptive than the American culture and myself. The claim goes: that Mayans sleep with their babies for commitment reasons; co-sleeping creates a special kind of relationship that cannot be severed (Morelli 608). The foreign customs also involve older siblings of infants to sacrifice their own bed for the coming of a new infant in the future. Once a Mayan mother is pregnant again, she quickly begins the infant’s “moving process.” Contrary to American ways, the move is not down the hall to a different room. The move is within the same room, just moving the

37

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:08 PM Comment: Take out  my  opinions  and  the   use  of  the  word  “I”  


infant from the mother’s bed to the infant’s older brother or sister’s bed. Infants never

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:11 PM Comment: Word choice.  

sleep alone in these co-sleeping cultures (610). There is always a family member or close friend who is willing to sleep with a child as old as 7 years. One thing that the Mayan culture and the Liberti family have in common is their bedtime routine; both customs are very minuscule (Morelli 607). I agree with these scant practices before bed for if a child

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:14 PM Comment: Add a  connecting  sentence   tying  in  the  two  cultures.    

gets accustom to doing long, elaborate routines every night before bed, it will make special occasions very difficult for parents. If a babysitter or relative was watching the baby during the period of bedtime, the child might not go to sleep or rest well if the mother or father did not perform the detailed routine. Both the Mayans and Liberti family have the right idea of keeping it simple before putting a baby to sleep. Still, this is the only physical practice common between Mayans and most Americans, illustrating the

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:16 PM Comment: “only one  of  the  few”  

constant diversity between each culture. Through my investigation and comparable evidence from Gilda Morelli it is obvious that every mother, no matter what culture, consider their infant’s early development vital. Co-sleeping is common in many cultures all around the world, suggesting that the American customs are invalid to the world’s majority. American’s practice of separating from their children at a young age is an innocent act in their mind,

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:18 PM Comment: “Invalid” is  the  wrong  word   here.  Change  to  “illogical”.  

but, in turn, consequently causes “the Japanese [to] think the U.S. culture [to be] rather merciless in pushing small children toward such independence at night” (Morelli 605). Regardless of what other cultures think of each other, they all share the idea that sleeping close proximity to their baby at some point in their life is a meaningful experience. Whether is a short time period of eight weeks or a long phase of eight years, all mothers share that common goal of wanting their baby’s to mature into successful human beings.

38

Britney Kotz 12/2/11 1:20 PM Comment: Needs to  be  clarified.    


Free Choice Essay Final Version: Interview Project: Personal and Cultural Values Shaping Infant Sleeping Arrangements Imagine giving birth to a baby and then three years later still sharing a bed with that same child. This long-term, co-sleeping arrangement is common in the culture of Mayans living in Guatemala. In contrast, Americans believe infants should sleep separate from their parents relatively soon after birth. Each culture has varying perceptions of how their children should be raised; whether or not the child and parent should share rooms, share a bed with a family member, sleep with a transitional object, or sleep with nothing. These differences form due to distinctive cultures beliefs on children’s development, specifically on how sleeping arrangement as an infant might impact their child’s character when matured. To understand my culture’s perspective of infant sleeping behavior I conducted an interviewed with an American mother and compared it to an article written by Gilda A. Morelli, called Cultural Variation in Infants’ Sleeping Arrangements: Questions of Independence. The article discusses a study taken of 18 Utah families and 15 Mayan families, and their cultural behavior, both, on the topic of infant sleeping arrangements. My interview, being compared, was taken of a close relative of mine: Sarah Liberti, a mother living in the United States. Between Morelli’s study demonstrating the distinct differences between two culture’s practices, and my personal interview illuminating a deeper explanation of why American mothers behave the way they do, I gained a novel cultural perceptive of the traditions foreign to mine. The interview led me to understand the level of importance proper infant development is to American mothers. My Aunt Sarah is a 33-year-old, middle-class woman who has lived in the United States her entire life, completely in-tune with the American way of living. She shares a home with her baby, Gemma, her husband, Patrick and their two dogs. Gemma is almost 14

39


months old and she is Sarah’s first and only child. Similar to many Utah mothers in Morelli’s study, Sarah brought Gemma home and immediately had the baby sleeping separate from her (Morelli 606). The separation consisted of Gemma sleeping in a bassinet next to Sarah’s side of the bed. I asked the mother for her reasons in putting the baby there, and she explained, “I simply needed to watch Gemma breath during the night.” Infants sleeping next to the mother’s bed is a common American cultural practice for the fear of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, both mentioned by Sarah Liberti and most Utah mother’s in Morelli’s study (Morelli 606). In Sarah’s case, her baby’s sleeping arrangement changed after 8 weeks, when Sarah and Patrick decided that Gemma was ready to sleep in her own room. Unlike the Liberti family, half of the Utah families moved their babies into a separate room after a much longer period of time, some past six months (Morelli 608). Sarah had one condition before she could leave her child in a room sleeping by herself: a video monitor. The mother considered not only Gemma’s proper development into an independent being, but also her and Patrick’s development as good parents. The move was also motivated by Patrick’s snore, as both parents wanted Gemma to sleep more sound. Without the baby in the room, Sarah slept better, which in turn made her a more pleasant mother to Gemma during the day. With both Sarah and Gemma having proper sleep, the relationship grew stronger and Gemma continues to develop into a beautiful, independent human being. Sarah’s sleeping decisions for Gemma are consistent with many other choices made by Morelli’s Utah mothers, like having steady bedtime routines and letting the infant fall asleep on its own. Gemma has two nighttime events that occur almost evening before she sleeps. Sarah recites a prayer to God with Gemma in order to teach her the importance of their religion. Gemma is then put down in her bassinet or, currently, crib, awake. Gemma is awake when Sarah

40


leaves the room, but the baby has her projector to look at. Every night, the mother winds a 15 minute timed music player and projection of moving baby sheep shinning onto the ceiling above the baby’s bed. Sarah’s reasoning for making her baby fall asleep on her own is for the frequent circumstances of Gemma waking up at random hours during the night and being able to fall back asleep without the presence of her mother. Morelli’s findings are comparable to this particular sleeping pattern, in which 11 of the 18 infants studied were expected to fall asleep on their own (Morelli 608). Unlike Gemma Liberti, 5 of the 8 babies who slept alone had a blanket or some other security object to fall asleep with (Morelli 608). Sarah does not allow any sort of unnecessary object in Gemma’s crib for the fear of her health. I agree with Sarah’s thought process: if you can avoid excessive objects around the baby during sleep, the chances of her getting hurt is less likely. The mother is scared that Gemma might choke or suffocate herself with objects left in her crib. Therefore, Sarah keeps Gemma’s nursery at a comfortable 72 degrees so her baby sleeps in only a full outfit with no blanket required. Sarah practiced these bedtime routines in effort for Gemma to develop into an individual, yet, someone who continues to share an unbreakable bond with her mother no matter the baby or mothers location. I believe every decision Sarah made and continues to make with her baby will be apart of the American customs, which, in turn, will lead Gemma into a successful life in the same culture as her mother. Part of studies done by Morelli are nearly identical to the Liberti’s sleeping arrangements, proving evidence that there is a distinct American custom in infants’ sleeping arrangements, but Morelli’s study goes deeper than my one sided interview. On the contrary to what United States citizens believe, the American customs in which infants should sleep is not the only way practiced. Each culture in the world has their own perspective on how children should be raised. Therefore, Morelli found it important to study not

41


only citizens of the U.S. state, Utah, but also foreign cultures like the Mayan’s in Guatemala. This culture differs from American customs in their beliefs of co-sleeping with infants is common for many years past birth. Compared to American ways this would be considered an unnecessary custom, uncomfortable for the mother and the growing baby. In the States it is believed once the baby has turned, at the most, one-year-old it is important to the child’s development that it sleeps on its own. This is the time in which the child begins to walk on its own, talk on its own, and therefore, it is thinking on its own. Independent sleeping should be apart of that period of change. But the Mayans have a different perceptive than the American culture. The claim goes: that Mayans sleep with their babies for commitment reasons; cosleeping creates a special kind of relationship that cannot be severed (Morelli 608). The foreign customs also involve older siblings of infants to sacrifice their own bed for the coming of a new infant in the future. Once a Mayan mother is pregnant again, she quickly begins the infant’s “moving process.” Contrary to American ways, the move is not down the hall to a different room. The move is within the same room, simply moving the infant from the mother’s bed to the infant’s older brother or sister’s bed. Babies never sleep alone in these co-sleeping cultures (Morelli 610). There is always a family member or close friend who is willing to sleep with a child as old as 7 years. In contrast to the varying cultural perspectives, one thing that the Mayan culture and the Liberti family have in common is their bedtime routine; both customs are very minuscule (Morelli 607). I agree with these scant practices before bed for if a child gets accustom to doing long, elaborate routines every night before bed, it will make special occasions very difficult for parents. If a babysitter or relative was watching the baby during the period of bedtime, the child might not go to sleep or rest well if the mother or father did not perform the detailed routine. Both the Mayans and Liberti family have the right idea of keeping it simple

42


before putting a baby to sleep. Still, this is only one of the few physical practices common between Mayans and most Americans, illustrating the constant diversity between each culture. Through my investigation and comparable evidence from Gilda Morelli’s study it is obvious that every mother, no matter what culture, consider their child’s early development vital. Co-sleeping is common in many cultures all around the world, suggesting that the American customs are illogical to the world’s majority. American’s practice of separating from their children at a young age is an innocent act in their mind, but, in turn, consequently causes “the Japanese [to] think the U.S. culture [to be] rather merciless in pushing small children toward such independence at night” (Morelli 605). Regardless of what other cultures think of each other, they all share the idea that sleeping in close proximity to their baby at some point in their life is a meaningful experience. Whether is a short time period of eight weeks or a long phase of eight years, all mothers share that common goal of wanting their baby’s to mature into successful human beings.

43

perceptionsofmorality