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An essay about the book “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr

closely investigate how Nicholas Carr develops his argument in The Shallows and evaluate the effectiveness of his methods. This is not a summary of the text—it is your own critical engagement with Carr’s writing. Your guide for your analysis will be Chapter 5 of From Critical Thinking to Argument; be sure to pay particular attention to the checklist on page 155.
In your analysis, you will:
• Examine the author’s thesis.
• Examine the author’s purpose.
• Examine the author’s persona.
• Examine the author’s intended audience. For both persona and audience, pay attention to Carr’s use of “we”—who is
the “we” he assumes? What characteristics do members of this “we” share? What kinds of cultural references does he
assume this “we” will get without explanation? What does he think does require explanation?
• Examine the author’s methods. This will be the most challenging part of your analysis, since Carr uses a wide variety of
methods throughout the book (quoting authorities, citing statistics, offering examples, including personal anecdotes, etc.). While your essay should identify the thesis, purpose, author’s persona and audience of the book as a whole, you may choose to focus on the methods of just one chapter, in order to more closely analyze those methods. Make sure that you identity the specific sub-purpose of that chapter within the larger purpose of the book as a whole. You may find it useful to include discussion of ethos, logos, and pathos as persuasive appeals.
• Offer an evaluation of the effectiveness of Carr’s argumentation. To what extent has Carr convinced you of his point? Which of his methods did you find the most persuasive? Which methods were least effective?
Throughout the essay you will need to provide evidence of your own assertions about Carr’s writing, in the form of quotations from the text. Be sure to thoroughly discuss any quote you include, making clear why its appearance in your essay is relevant. Use MLA format for citations within the text. See pages 247-9 of From Critical Thinking to Argument by Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau for review of citation format. You should include a Works Cited at the end of the essay, even though only one work will appear on it.
Please note that your goal is not to see how many holes you can pick in Carr’s writing; you can be appreciative and demonstrate critical thinking at the same time.

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