"The writer may write to inform, to explain, to entertain, to persuade," Donald Murray says, "but whatever the purpose there should be, first of all, the satisfaction of the writer's own learning." Learning, discovery, excitement, relevance, ownership: These words describe the writer's initial motives for writing. Without human curiosity and the desire to learn, rhetoric collapses into mere terminology. By giving primacy to writer's purposes and processes for reading and writing, Purpose and Process: A Reader for Writers encourages writers to take control of their reading and writing of texts.
Three basic assumptions inform the structure of Purpose and Process. First, rhetorical readers should be organized by purpose, not by strategy. Purpose and Process follows the sequence of purposes set forth in The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers, sixth edition. In both texts, the writer's purpose (to explain, evaluate, argue, or explore a subject for a specific audience in a defined context) is the ultimate guide. Strategies (definition, comparison-contrast, process analysis, classification) are subordinated to the writer's overall purpose. The strategies help writers invent and shape ideas, but they rarely control the writing situation. Writers should be encouraged to choose among strategies to achieve a purpose for a given audience. Just as writers select an appropriate voice or choose a formal or informal style, they should be able to choose rhetorical strategies that are appropriate for the writing situation.
Second, rhetorical readers should demonstrate that both writing and reading are active, constructive activities. Most teachers recognize that the process of writing is active and constructive, but too often they either ignore the transactive nature of reading or assume that comprehension is merely a matter of close reading. Writers need to learn how readers actively make meaning from texts even as texts are acting upon them. Writers learning to read actively should begin not with the text but with an understanding of their own experiences, ideas, and attitudes; they need to interact with other readers' interpretations as they read and reread; and they need to see how readers rely on their own experience and on prediction as they construct meaning in texts. As part of their interaction with texts, experienced writers and readers also reconstruct the rhetorical situation. Who is writing for whom? What is the occasion? What is the writer's purpose? Most important, writers and readers need to connect what they learn as active readers to their own writing: What do their readers know or believe? What are their readers' expectations? What strategies encourage readers to read actively?
To demonstrate how reading and writing are mutually supportive, Purpose and Process uses prereading journal assignments, reader-response activities, and collaborative annotations of texts as means to achieve active, critical reading and effective writing. It asks students to compare what they know before they read an essay with what they learn during the reading of an essay. It asks students to respond to other readers' interpretations. It asks students to construct rhetorical situations for the texts they read and the texts they write. The traditional reading/writing model invariably asks students to read the essays and then write. The apparatus in Purpose and Process asks students to write and talk before and during reading in order to make reading (and writing) more active and interactive. Prereading and collaborative response are as crucial to the reading process as prewriting and group activities are to the writing process.
A rhetorical reader should provide a diverse range of essays, including mainstream and minority authors, multicultural perspectives, and a range of topics and writing levels. Purpose and Process, fifth edition, retains from earlier editions a sampling of familiar, mainstream writers such as Annie Dillard, Donald M. Murray, Peter Elbow, Ellen Goodman, Stephen King, Lance Morrow, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mark Twain, but it adds 17 new professional essays, 10 of which were published in the last two years. The new selections include a casebook of five essays on various facets of the school voucher debate illustrating how current controversies have multiple possible points of view. In addition, the voices of women continue to be strongly represented: Julia Alvarez, Lois Smith Brady, Annie Dillard, Gretel Ehrlich, Sandra Feldman, Ellen Goodman, Ariel Gore, Jeanne Wakatsuke Houston, Anne Lamott, Margaret Lazarus, Gloria Naylor, Katha Pollitt, Emily Prager, Amy Tan, and Deborah Tannen.
Finally, Purpose and Process features a range of writing levels and styles. It has the formal, elaborate arguments of James Rachels, Edward Koch, and Martin Luther King, Jr., but it also has short, informal pieces by Gretel Ehrlich, William Least HeatMoon, and Bud Herron. Purpose and Process also represents the voices and the writing processes of a dozen different student writers. Their essay topics range from experiences in biology laboratory classes to essays on battered women and drunk driving. These essays illustrate a variety of strategies, from narrative essays based on personal experience to formal arguments supported by research materials.
The following are key features of Purpose and Process: A Reader for Writers:
Introductory Chapters on Reading and Writing: Since writers need to understand basic approaches to reading and writing, Chapters I and 2 introduce students to critical reading and textual annotation and to the various purposes and processes for writing. Essays in these chapters by professional and student writers illustrate active, constructive approaches to reading and writing.
Purposes for Writing. Purpose and Process follows a logical sequence of purposes. Chapters 3-5 (Observing, Remembering, and Investigating) model the descriptive, narrative, and research skills students need to write their essays. Chapters 6-9 (Explaining, Evaluating, Problem Solving, and Arguing) illustrate how professional and student writers write expository and argumentative prose for a variety of audiences and situations.
Processes for Writing. Writing processes vary from one writer to the next and from one situation to the next. Essays by Donald M. Murray, Mike Rose, and Julia Alvarez illustrate that writing processes are dependent upon the writer's culture and experience, the purpose, the audience, and the writing situation. Purpose and Process focuses on basic writing stages or dimensions (collecting, shaping, drafting, revising) and illustrates the individual processes of nine student writers.
Critical Reading and Text Annotation. The first reading selection in Chapters 3-9 contains examples of responses to a Prereading Journal Entry as well as a collaboratively annotated professional essay. Both the sample prereading responses and the annotations are written by actual student writers.
Thematic Clusters of Essays. Purpose and Process contains eight clusters of essay subjects: Contemporary Issues, Cultural Critique, Education, The Environment, Friends and Family, Gender Issues, Language and Literacy, and Technology, Media, and Popular Culture. See the alternate Thematic Table of Contents for a list of essays.
Essay Review Questions. Following each student and professional essay are study questions organized into four categories:
Questions about Meaning, Questions about Purpose and Strategy, Questions about Audience and Language, and Questions for Discussion and Writing. These questions, however, are designed to supplement rather than direct or preempt the student's individual and collaborative readings.
Instructor's Resource Manual. This instructor's manual focuses on strategies for teaching: how to use Prereading Journals, Write-to-Learn Activities, Collaborative Annotation Groups, and a variety of Reading/Writing Activities. In addition, the manual contains suggested responses to the questions for analysis and discussion that follow each selection.
New to the Fifth Edition. The fifth edition of Purpose and Process has been expanded to include several new sections and features. A new Research Appendix on conducting research and documenting sources guides the writer from research plan, to gathering sources, citing sources in text (while avoiding plagiarism), and using MLA documentation. Next, a section on summarizing academic texts and writing responses has been added to the critical reading strategies provided in Chapter 1, "Reading." To complement the sections on summarizing and responding, several graphic images, artwork, advertisements, and cartoons have been added to the fifth edition that help students practice reading and responding to visual texts. Finally, Chapter 9, "Arguing," now explains three kinds of argument: the traditional debate-style argument, Rogerian argument, and constructive argument. While traditional argument has its place, more and more teachers want to have their students go beyond adversarial argument and examine the multiple points of view behind most controversial topics. To that end, Rogerian argument encourages writers to open the lines of communication by reducing confrontation, and constructive argument encourages writers to see multiple "sides" or points of view in complex issues before recommending a possible solution.
I wish to thank students and their teachers from colleges across the country who have submitted their work for possible publication in the fifth edition of Purpose and Process. Their drafts and essays taught me once more that writing is a wonderful, liberating, frustrating, creative, tedious, imaginative, and personally rewarding activity.
The talented professionals at Prentice Hall have made publishing Purpose and Process not only possible but intellectually stimulating and personally enjoyable. I wish to thank Phil Miller, Gina Sluss, Brandy Dawson, Leah Jewell, Corey Good, Fran Daniele, John Ragozzine, and Karen Schultz. I also wish to thank my colleagues at Colorado State University for providing professional inspiration at every turnMike Palmquist, Kate Kiefer, Sarah Sloane, Laura Thomas, Paul Barribeau, Kerri Eglin, Sue Doe, Stephanie Wardrop, Liz Warner, Bev Atchison, Bob White, Trish Taylor, and Anne Gogela. Finally, I wish to thank Gus and Loren again for their unwavering encouragement and support.