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University Of Maryland University College
ENGLISH 101 Term I
Intruduction To Writing
Journal # 2
My Reactions To "Fruitful Questions: by James Sollisch"
By: Cristian Rodriguez
Thursday, Sept 1, 2005


On "Fruitful Questions", James Sollisch exposes ideas using a problem-solution scheme: outlining a problem that needs solving, then proposing a solution. I enjoyed this essay for many reasons, which are listed below. The essay grabs your attention from the beginning, using parallelism in a story-like structure that makes the reader anxious to find out what comes next. The essay has a nice flow to it and humorous comments such as rhetorical questions like "How could I argue with that" and "To those of us forced as kids to eat them in salads, tomatoes will always be vegetables." I notice, a turning point on the essay from story-like to narration; "I was about to think up another set of three when…" this let me know that he was about to elaborate on his thesis.

At first glance, in the question to his kids, "What doesn't belong?" the author seems to ask a quite simple question about fruits and vegetables, which should have a linear or straight answer. However, the right answer comes in many different "shades"; essentially, this is the thesis of the essay, which is shown from the beginning. Later, the author elaborates on his thesis with examples of how this principle could be applied to many other paradigms in life. He does this while also keeping the reader interested by using transition statements like, "Something was definitely happening here." The author then goes on to support the thesis with some real life and historical examples. He reaches a spectrum of different audiences by using examples deriving from various disciplines like Copernicus (Astrology), Reuben Mattus (Economics), Edward Jenner (Medicine), and Albert Einstein (Physics) which is probably the biggest case in point; James Sollisch makes a precise and compelling argument.

"They were doing what Copernicus…", "They were doing what Reuben…", "They were doing what Edward did…" the author uses parallelism to drive the point even more onto the reader. Other techniques Sollisch uses quite nicely in support of the thesis is the use of A fortiori and contrast in the sentences "Think how much more information we have than Copernicus had four centuries ago. And he didn't…" and "Edward Jenner didn't invent preventive medicine by…; he did it by…" also accomplishing putting the reader in the shoes of the "characters" by phrasing "Think…" There is one thing; however, I would have done differently. In the cumulative sentence, "What we need as we begin to downshift onto the information highway is not more information but new ways of looking at it" I would have stated that sure, we always need new information, but more importantly, we need new ways of looking at it. I believe my example to be more appropriate and realistic.

In the ending the author finishes with a reference to a "hammer and a nail" implying the "hammer" is the way we look at things and "nails" as the results, restating the thesis; this is to me a figure-of-speech statement that still works, while sounding a bit cliché at the same time.



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