“Happiness is only real when shared.”

-Jon Krakauer, Into The Wild.



Seems like a relatively simple sentence, right? Not to Jon Krakauer. Here is some background on the novel, in order to better understand the context of the sentence. Jon Krakauer was an author that wrote a book about his knowledge of Chris McCandless, a man who left his life to live on his own in Alaska. Chris goes on a road trip and find out that his father has been having an affair with a woman aside from Chris’ mother. This is what motivated McCandless to leave his old life behind completely without leaving a trace and leaving his family wondering where he is. He realized that he wasn’t happy in his own home, so he thought leaving and starting over would be beneficial. Throughout his journey all the way from his hometown in Pennsylvania to Alaska, he kept a journal. The last sentence ever written in his journal, which was discovered just days after he died, was the quote above.

“Happiness is only real when shared” could mean many different things to many different people. To McCandless, it meant that he was coming to the realization that he wasn’t happy after all, all alone in the wild. He realized that in order to be happy, he had to be around other people, like his family (no matter how upset and mad he was at them). By the time he realized this, it was too late. Some critics of the novel argue that the only reason he realized this is because he was coming to terms with his death.

The root of the sentence is the word ‘happiness’. All of the other words are just accompanying factors that help bring the sentence to life. If I were to rearrange this sentence to “Only shared happiness is real”, it wouldn’t really change the format of the sentence. On the other hand, if I were to remove the word ‘only’ and make it “Happiness is real when shared”, that would mean that there were other kinds of happiness as well. This would mean that being happy comes in many different forms (which is what I believe. I don’t think it is reasonable to believe that I can’t be happy when I’m alone).

Overall, this sentence has a much deeper meaning to me personally since I read Chris McCandless’ anecdote, but to someone who hasn’t, this quote can seem fairly simple.

In the introduction of their book, They Say / I say, Graff and Birkenstein argue the proper way to write in the English language, and the difference between what the author writes, and what the reader understands. Graff and Birkenstein show that for every idea that an individual wants to write; there is a certain template that must be used. It is imperative to realize that not every paper is written the same. Critical writing is a much more complicated task than general writing. While general writing has basic templates, for example, “ Many Americans assume that …. ”, when summarizing a widely held belief, critical writing has a much deeper meaning than just putting words on a piece of paper (2).

This is where the idea of “They say … ; I say …” develops. In fact, by analyzing this part of the book, I am using this formula. The “They say ; I say” template does the following. It helps the writer describe and summarize what the author is explaining, which is the “They say” part of the equation. When the writer evokes a response to what the author is saying, that is the “I say” part of the template. This not-so-complicated idea is used mostly in academic writing. Academic writers who write scholarly articles and use critical writing in their papers usually have more than one perspective in their papers. Graff and Birkenstein argue that in order to have a good foundation for this paper sources are extremely important. There must also be a deep understanding of the topic so that the person reading the paper believes that the writer actually deeply analyzed and researched their topic.

Another big idea that Graff and Birkenstein explore in the introduction of their book is that there must be some sort of argument within their writing. Arguments usually come from something that an author that does (or doesn’t do) or says (or doesn’t say) that may stir up some attention with a crowd. An argument must make an impact. It must make the reader accept the argument, and convince them that although they may not believe the argument, they are willing to understand the opposing side. I believe that if a writer is really motivated to write about a certain issue, then their passion will be seen, which could also inspire the reader. Graff and Birkenstein explain that there is also a hidden reason as to why people start writing about a certain subject. As it is said in the book, “Clearly, King would not have written his famous letter were it not for his critics, whose views he treats not as objections to his already-formed arguments but as the motivating source of those arguments, their central reason for being.” (6). This quote shows that Graff and Birkenstein argue that there is always a motivation behind writing.

Another important aspect of writing is having templates. As Graff and Birkenstein explain, templates equate to creativity.  Creativity is one of the most important aspects of writing. Using templates throughout this book will not only help a writer figure out how they will structure the rest of their paper, but also help him or her think of more creative ideas as they begin to write.

They Say ; I say template

They Say ; I say template


The above picture explains perfectly the difference between “They say” and “I say”. As seen on the left, “They say” is mostly referring to the author or narrator of the piece depending on the way it is written. It is about another author arguing, assuming, agreeing, arguing etc. The “I say” side is about personal opinion, such as how the reader may have interpreted the author’s argument, and how it differs. Overall, the “They say ; I say “is very helpful in certain situations. To reiterate what Graff and Birkenstein have been saying throughout the introduction, this template is extremely useful for a writer who is looking to improve their writing skills. It is especially useful for academic papers, or papers where one writer argues a certain idea, which ultimately should be how every paper is written.


Works Cited

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.

In his introduction to City of Rhetoric, David Fleming expresses the huge difference between the North and the South of Chicago when it comes to racial discrimination. While Fleming explains how the ‘North side’, as the locals call it, was known to be one of the most troubled neighborhoods, the south side was believed to be an elite group of people that had very much self interest. It was run by the African American matriarchy, which might also have been part of the reason why the Southern Chicagoans did not pay much attention to it. In the late 1990s, when it came to white middle classed families, racism was an intrinsic trait. In fact, the people committing these ra

cist endeavors may not even have been aware that they were doing so. It can even be argued that racism and discrimination is still instilled in some communities to this day.

Throughout the introduction to the book, Fleming continually talks about how most families in the South were not comfortable being around African American people, and how the presence of African Americans was not justified. In the beginning, there is much proof that white families dominated every part of Chicago. When the first few African American families settled there, there wasn’t a lot of protest. As described in the book, “… the coming of blacks to the Italian North Side was relatively peaceful: perhaps because the number of blacks was not at first very large or because the two groups were equally destitute or because Italians got along better with blacks than other immigrant groups did.” (3).

Cabrini Green was an organization that was created in order to better the Northern community and brings awareness to the rest of Chicago on what kind of events are happening regarding discrimination. There was a building that was supposed to help the members of the society to live a normal life with the same privileges as anyone else. Unfortunately, at first, this organization did not seem to sway the thoughts of the Southern Chicagoan community. As it explains, “Cabrini Green was now largely hidden from the rest of the world and only noticed when violence there became too horrendous to overlook.”” (7).  This part of the community was extremely underdeveloped. There were no shopping centers, movie theatres, banks, or any other general institution that neighborhoods usually have. It got to the point where it was so bad, that outsiders started to offer to step in and help. This is saying a lot, since usually the outsiders refused to even recognize that part of town. The sudden interest of Cabrini Green sparked change in the neighborhood, but still, no one knows the exact reason why people started to help in the first place. Were they genuinely concerned for the lives of the people who lived in that neighborhood? Were they being offered money to act like they cared? I personally found it very odd that people were suddenly so focused on helping out other people when they haven’t even be acknowledging them.

David Fleming makes some great points throughout the introduction, including some personal anecdotes of what he saw when he began visiting Cabrini Green for the first time. I believe that these people have the ability to completely change the negative connotation that this neighborhood holds, as long as the people around them who are helping are actually motivated to do so.

Cabrini Green: Before and after

Before the construction

Before the construction

After the construction

After the construction

As I was researching the history of Cabrini Green and all that it has done for the community, I was very surprised to see what it was like before and after the public started to help. Above are two pictures showing what Cabrini Green was like before and after. As seen, before, there are piles of garbage in and around the building, which shows that it was definitely not a place that many people took care of. On the right, however, the building looks much more developed and cleaned up. This shows the power that people have on a society; the power that we have to make a difference.


Works Cited

CLIFFORD, By STEPHANIE, WGN-TV News Desk WGN News – May 18, 2010, WGN-TV News Desk, and BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporter. “The Transformation of a Neighborhood.” Home. N.p., 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2016

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany: SUNY, 2008. Print.


“Education is an important tool that is applied in the contemporary world to succeed, as it mitigates the challenges which are faced in life. The knowledge gained through education enables individuals’ potential to be optimally utilized owing to training of the human mind. This opens doors of opportunities enables individual to achieve better prospects in career growth.”


This is the opening introduction of an essay of education, and why it is so important in the modern world. This introduction does, in fact, follow Graff’s forms. Graff explains that in every introduction, there is a part that explains what the author thinks about the certain topic, and what the rest of the world may believe about the topic. This introduction expresses that some may think that education is a topic that should be taken for granted, while the author believes that it is one of the most important aspects of the modern world.

Source: http://www.thetouchofclasschoir.com/essay-example-on-importance-of-education-in-the-modern-world.html


“A society which is uneducated cannot think on rational lines. In the medieval period, long before the renaissance, people often fought mindless wars that resulted in bloodshed, as they were illiterate and ignorant. Importance of education in modern times cannot be understated as it forms an integral part of our lives in following ways:”


This second introduction is similar but also different in many ways. It is similar because both introductions talk about education and the importance of it, but this introduction does not really follow Graff’s form. It describes how life was in the past, and how much it has changed for future generations.

Source: http://myessaypoint.com/importance-of-education-in-our-life

Yesterday I attended an event that was 4 hours long. I went to a restaurant with my family afterwards.


My professors are all very knowledgeable and wise. I would like to go to office hours to get to know them better.


I saw my cousin shopping at the mall yesterday; she was trying on a pretty red dress.


There are times where I can’t concentrate on homework; I usually listen to music instead.


If I changed around the first sentence from a period to a semi colon, it would make the two statements related. Since there is a period at the end, the two statements I made could be completely unrelated. The difference is, for the third sentence, if I put a period instead of a semi colon, the overall meaning wouldn’t make much sense. It would make it look more like a run-off sentence, because the second part doesn’t make sense without the first part attached.