English 102 Essay #1

Response to Stephen King

Begin by reading:

"Reading to Write" by Stephen King

The writing assignment:

King doesn't seem too impressed with what you can learn from television. Even if you agree with him, one way to hone your craft as a writer of argument is to take the opposite side and see what you can do with it.

In urging aspiring writers to turn off their televisions when exercising so they might use that time for reading, King calls TV "the glass teat" (paragraph 11). Write a response which argues that writers have something to learn from television. How might you argue that TV is not a glass teat but a source of information about the world, as well as a place where good writing can also be found?


In a previous semester, several students responded to this assignment by saying that a beginning writer can learn from television by turning on the subtitles and learning new words. Quite aside from the fact that the subtitles are often wrong (because they are generated by a speech recognition program) and that the strategy seems more appropriate for a person in the early stages of learning English as a second language, these students missed the two points of the assignment:

  1. Argue that television is a place where good writing can also be found, and
  2. discuss the idea that television can be a source of information about the world.

As a student who is taking an English Composition course, one of your most essential skills is figuring out what the assignment is asking for. Ignoring the basics of the assignment is not a route to a good grade—even if several of your lunch friends are going in the same direction.

Mechanical details:

Due date:

This essay is worth 75 points.

Submitting Papers in This Course

  1. Go to the Blackboard folder for the date the paper is due.
  2. Follow the instructions in the "How to Submit Your Essay" file.

You will not find an upload link in the syllabus. Look at the assignment file and find the date in "Final Copy Due." Then go to the Blackboard folder where that date appears.

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Ashland University.

Revised 12/7/21 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: callen@ashland.edu.