Response to question-The Norton Reader: “An American Childhood,”


The Norton Reader: “An American Childhood,” Annie Dillard, pp. 47; Respond to question #1

The Norton Reader: “Shooting an Elephant,” George Orwell, pp. 4367; Respond to question 1

 The Norton Reader: “In the Kitchen,” Henry Louis Gates, pp. 135; Respond to question 3

 The Norton Reader: “Get a Knife, Get a Dog, but Get Rid of Guns,” Molly Ivins, pp 214; Respond to question 3

Sample paper

Response to question

Question 1

Annie Dillard, the author of the essay an American childhood has used a variety of examples in his essay to show the reader the character behavior of her mother and how she used to amuse herself at the expense of others. Her mother was a freethinker and spirited as shown in the story that would create a joke out of nothing and did everything within her power to make sure that she is not bored. However, it is worth noting that at times she would put other people in trouble unknowingly through her jokes while she sat watching the results. For example in that occasion when she approached a young couple at the park and pretended to be an earlier lover of the young man, she eventually put him into trouble with his girlfriend (Dillard, Recorded Books, & LLC, 2014). On other occasions, she used her jokes to correct people especially her children when they made mistakes and to show them that they do not know everything. These examples show that she is a jovial person who likes to create a friendly environment.

Question 2

George Orwell had various reasons for shooting the elephant. To begin with, it was legally acceptable for him to shoot him since he was violent and the owner had failed to control him.  Moreover, the other person who would have taken control of the situation would have been 12 hours late considering that he had gone the wrong way in search of the animal. Finally, he had to shoot him to show the native and Indians has the total control of the country and everything else as well as showing them that the whites were not afraid of anything and to protect their reputation and dignity (Peterson & Brereton, 2008,). The above reasons can be easily grouped into political, social, personal and circumstantial given the circumstances surrounding the incident.

  1. Political – he wanted to show that the whites are always in power and control everything
  2. Social – wanted to show the natives and the Indians that the whites are above all other races and are not afraid of anything
  • Personal – he wanted to protect his reputation as it would have been heartbreaking to see all those people laugh at him apart from wanting to win over the town.
  1. Circumstantial – he was the only person who would have taken care of the problem given that hunters were 12 hours away.

Question 3

Assimilation this context refers to the acceptance of changes and shifting from initial mentality and attitude to another point of view. According to the writer, Africans can adapt to new ways and changes, but their brain and perspective are likely to remain the same. The phrase means that Africans will always remain Africans in their mind despite the changes in their lives.  They treasure their culture and believe so much to let them go. The essay shows that Africans hold to their culture forever.

Question 4

In the essay, the author tries to compare guns and automobiles especially on their use and licensing.  According to him, up to date, most individuals have not learned how to use their cars properly which is the same case for the guns. Just like an automobile, the gun cannot kill on its own and needs human assistance for it to perform the act (Peterson & Brereton, 2008,). As a result, security agencies should license the guns and their owners, restrict their use to sober adults and keep tabs on who sells them and to who just like what is done to automobiles. However, the author feels that guns kill people and everything around them, unlike automobiles.


Dillard, A., Recorded Books, & LLC. (2014). American childhood. Place of publication not identified: HarperCollins e-Books.

Peterson, L. H., & Brereton, J. C. (2008). The Norton reader: An anthology of nonfiction. Princeton, NJ: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.

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