Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This Week's Online Activity (Due Saturday, 3/22/2014, 11:59 PM)

Atul Gawande and Me: A Debate on "The Doctors of the Death Chamber"

For your online activity this week, I want you both to take a closer look and to reflect on your own thoughts and values when it comes to the issue of doctors and court-ordered executions.

To start, reread Atul Gawande's chapter, "The Doctors of the Death Chamber," in his book Better. As you do, make notes about how Gawande develops his discussion. In particular, notice how he breaks down the idea of tasking doctors with the job of overseeing execution into just a few main issues -- only about four specific issues, maybe five, definitely no more than that. In fact, Gawande's structure in discussing each issue is very simple, too: For each issue, he presents a specific doctor's work and ideas, then he responds to these details and ideas directly. That's it.

Now, your job is this:

1) Go ahead and choose just one of these main issues that Atul Gawande takes on. Then, in a paragraph that is no longer than 250 words, present both the point Gawande tries to respond to and his own point in response. You may treat this paragraph as a formal summary, if you like, making sure to put everything in your words only. But if quoting is your thing, go ahead and use no more than one or two quotes; just be sure to introduce each quote, then explain what it says afterward. The key, for this paragraph, is to start to integrate Gawande's ideas effectively into your own writing.

2) In another two or three (2-3) paragraphs, of at least 100-200 words each, respond to this one specific point of Gawande that you chose. But you may only a. agree, b. disagree, c. agree and disagree, or d. remain (clearly) undecided. Start by saying, directly, what your overall response is. Then go on and present anything you can use as an example, counterexample, or hypothetical case to support your own overall argument. Remember: You've got a strong argument to make and support here. Why should your readers agree? Why should they disagree? Why should they agree with some things but disagree with others? Or why should they remain undecided? Present and support this argument well.

Submission guidelines: Post your resulting summary-and-response piece on your group blog, before 11:59 PM Saturday night, 3/22/2014.

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