Sample for Claims about Cause & Effect

Excerpt was originally published in The Plug-in Drug: Television, children, and the Family

Marie Winn argues that television has a negative effect on family life. In her opening paragraphs, she sets forth both sides of the controversy and then argues that the overall effect is negative:

NOTE: This piece was published in a book, and it was not constructed with the formal, academic essay in mind. For this reason, the author made stylistic decisions (such as liberally using 1st person pronouns) that students in Freshman Composition should not take when writing a formal academic argument paper.

Television’s contribution to family life has been an equivocal one. For while it has, indeed, kept the members of the family from dispersing, it has not served to bring them together. By its domination of the time families spend together, it destroys the special quality that depends to a great extent on what a family does, what special rituals, games, recurrent jokes, familiar songs, and shared activities it accumulates.

“Like the sorcerer of old,” writes Uric Bronfenbrenner, “the television set casts its magic spell, freezing speech and action, turning the living into silent statues so long as the enchantment lasts. The primary danger of the television screen lies nor so much in the behavior it produces—although there is danger there—as in the behavior it prevents: the talks, the games, the family festivities and arguments through which much of the child’s learning takes place and through which his character is formed. Turning on the television set can turn off the process that transforms children into people.”

Yet parents have accepted a television-dominated family life so completely that they cannot see how the medium is involved in whatever problems they might be having.

This excerpt was taken from The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers, a Custom Edition by Stephen Reid