Well is don’t really have a topic I have to create one. You have to read two articles and write about them together
find something new that emerged from the the both text
PAPER # 2
Prof. M. Masiello| English 355:100R:JH
Readings: Julia Beck, “The New Age of Astrology”
Jean Twenge, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?”
Julia Beck and Jean Twenge are concerned with, among other things, the causes and palliatives for anxiety embraced by the different generations of digital natives they discuss. The Great Recession-driven economic instability and other stressors affecting millennials, Beck tells us, has led some members of that cohort to embrace the “paradox” of a pseudoscience in which they don’t, strictly speaking, believe (“astrology is fake but it’s true”). “Many people offered me hypotheses to explain astrology’s resurgence,” Beck reports. “Digital natives are narcissistic, some suggested, and astrology is a navel-gazing obsession. People feel powerless here on Earth, others said, so they’re turning to the stars. Of course, it’s both” (Beck, 8). One wonders whether the narcissism and the felt powerlessness are meaningfully related; either way, Beck’s comment, “it’s both,” implies that millennials are complex beings. Millennials cut a somewhat different figure in Twenge’s article. Despite the omnipresent reality of stress and uncertainty, they nonetheless emerge as an individualistic generation—one against which she measures the age cohort she calls “iGen,” who may, her very title suggests, have been “destroyed” by their own smartphones. The members of iGen, too, are deeply anxious, but in different ways. Indeed, it often seems that their anxieties and comforts arise, in some sense, from the same source: the dynamics of the virtual lives their smartphones enable them to live. Beck and Twenge can be taken to offer a fragmentary but revealing history of the sufferings and coping mechanisms of two digital-native generations. But what kind of story do they tell? Using examples and direct quotations from both texts in each paragraph of your essay, construct an argument to answer the following question: Should we understand that history as one of logical continuity or of radical rupture? In other words, would you argue that millennials and iGen are, given the stories Beck and Twenge tell, points on a single line of development, or is iGen something radically new? Most importantly of all: why?
Questions to Get You Started:
Both Beck and Twenge discuss millennials. Millennials are Beck’s subject; for Twenge, they and Gen X offer a stark contrast to “iGen.” Are the two authors’ depictions of millennials compatible? If so, how so? And to what extent? If not, what does that mean for any argument you might make?
Twenge tells us that “some generational changes are positive, some are negative, and many are both” (2). Does Beck’s article force us to reevaluate or qualify this claim in any way? What, if anything, can Beck’s perspective add to the picture Twenge paints to make it either clearer or, as seems likely, more complex? And what is the significance of this?
Does Twenge’s article provide any reasons why something like astrology might comfort millennials
but not members of iGen? (Surely horoscopes are available online, but Twenge makes no mention
of such diversions in her analysis of iGen smartphone use.)
It is something of a truism, even a cliché, for preceding generations to worry about and criticize succeeding ones. Millennials were the target of incessant mockery and criticism as they grew up.
Twenge writes as a Gen Xer (but also as a professional) analyzing trends among iGen. Is her apocalypticism warranted (her titular concern that iGen may have been “destroyed” by smartphones), or do you find textual evidence, perhaps with backing from Beck, that iGen, too, has its coping mechanisms, and that it, too, will find its own, different path to survival? Are these generations different in degree or in kind?
N.B.: Remember that these questions should inform your thinking, but should not be answered as a list.
• Each paper will have a central claim – something it wants to accomplish. This claim will not be
summary, but will be an attempt to answer the prompt independently.
• Papers will quote both Beck and Twenge directly in each paragraph, work carefully with the language in each quotation, and answer the following questions about all quotations: how does it work, and
why is it important to what your paper is trying to accomplish?
• Finding connections or relationships between the texts is not enough. You must have something to
say about them. Remember that if you quote Beck saying X and Twenge saying Y, your job is always to answer the same question: So what? What do those quotations have to do with the argument you are making, using these texts, to answer my question?
• Do not generalize. Start with the texts and stay with the texts. Build your arguments out of connections you make between the texts.
• Rough Draft Due: Friday, October 16. Please upload (as a Word document ONLY) to
Assignments – Paper 2 (Rough Draft) on our Canvas site by 10:20 AM that morning. Be
prepared for a peer-review exercise that day—or over the weekend (at the
• Final Draft Due: Friday, October 23. Please upload (as an attachment) to Assignments –
Paper 1 (Final Draft) on our Canvas site by 10:20 AM that morning.
• Late rough drafts will result in a half-letter grade deduction from the final draft of Paper 1. Late final drafts will result in a full-letter grade deduction from the final draft of Paper 1.
Required formatting: sdouble-spaced, 1-inch margins, Times New Roman font (12-pt), MLA formatting. Make sure I know which author you are quoting, and from what page, at all times.
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