First Paper Assignment

In a paper of 3-5 pages, critique the values expressed in McGuffey's Reader. By critique I mean not simply criticize, but rather make a critical analysis. Who, or what, do these values best serve? Why did the book appear at this time? Why did it take this particular form?

Your paper should do more than simply list the values the reader emphasizes. For example, don't just say "McGuffey's Reader teaches honesty, and honesty is a good thing." I'm looking more for an explanation of why it was necessary to stress these values at this time. Had people suddenly become less honest? Had middle class reformers suddenly become concerned about the direction American society was taking? What did they mean by "honesty?" Did it mean "obedience to authority," or did it mean "being true to yourself?"You'll need to look very closely at the stories and analyze the essages they contain. Are there any contradictions? The reader doesn't mention slavery--how does it describe freedom and independance? It talks about responsibility and obedience, but it also talks about independance of thought. Are there contradictions there? How did this book try to make children understand their world?

There is no right or wrong answer here, only an answer which shows little thought or evidence. That answer will get hammered.


Discussion