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Hidden Intellectualism Analysis Essay

Getting Started:
Make sure you understand the meaning of analysis; according to the Norton Field Guide, “Your goal in analyzing a text is to lead readers through careful examination of a text to some kind of interpretation or reasoned judgment” (69). Consider it your job to attempt to define and explain what you see in Graff’s “Hidden Intellectualism.” Rather than just answering the question, “What is here?” Think about why and how the text uses particular details to communicate something to an audience. Remember that this analysis should not be a list. Instead of describing everything about the text, focus on the most important aspects of “Hidden Intellectualism” and begin to interpret it by ascribing meaning to these details.

Completing the Assignment:
1. Start by identifying basic information about the text. What is it? Where did it come from? Who made it? 2. Revisit the preliminary work we do in class to understand “Hidden Intellectualism.” 3. Use the reading strategies that your book suggests (pgs. 396-413). Brainstorm by breaking the source down into its significant parts and describing those parts in detail, talking about the patterns and connections between them, and, most importantly, making explicit the possible implicit meanings of what you see. 4. When you begin your analysis, remember to be specific; examine the text line-by-line, teasing out the meanings and implications. This will allow you to observe patterns or connections between elements.

Formatting and Length Requirements
3-4 pages in length (this means that you need to have written at least 3 full pages—just making it to the top of page 3 will be considered short) Typed, double-spaced with 1-inch margins in Times New Roman, 12pt font Use MLA style citation and format and include a Works Cited page. Your Works Cited page will likely only include your primary source that you are analyzing. We will go over this in class.

Hidden Intellectualism, By Gerald Graff Essay

In “Hidden Intellectualism,” Gerald Graff pens an impressive argument wrought from personal experience, wisdom and heart. In his essay, Graff argues that street smarts have intellectual potential. A simple gem of wisdom, yet one that remains hidden beneath a sea of academic tradition. However, Graff navigates the reader through this ponderous sea with near perfection.
The journey begins at the heart of the matter, with a street smart kid failing in school. This is done to establish some common ground with his intended audience, educators. Since Graff is an educator himself, an English professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago, he understands the frustrations of having a student “who is so intelligent about so many things in life [and yet] seems unable to apply that intelligence to academic work” (380). Furthermore, Graff blames schools for not utilizing street smarts as a tool to help improve academics; mainly due to an assumption that some subjects are more inherently intellectual than others. Graff then logically points out a lack of connection “between any text or subject and the educational depth and weight of the discussion it can generate” (381). He exemplifies this point by suggesting that any real intellectual could provoke thoughtful questions from any subject, while a buffoon can render the most robust subjects bland. Thus, he is effectively using logic and emotion to imply that educators should be able to approach any subject critically, even non-traditional subjects, lest they risk being labeled a buffoon.
After a smooth start, Graff makes a slight misstep when trying to ram the above point home with this punch line: “That’s why a George Orwell writing on the cultural meanings of the penny postcards is infinitely more substantial than the cogitations of many professors on Shakespeare or globalization” (381). It appears that Graff forgot the most important thing about comedy, timing. Hence, his punch line is wordy and dated. In this age of computers, where even hand written letters are in danger of becoming extinct, many readers may not know what a penny postcard is. Although the punch line fails to deliver, the reader can still understand the gist of what Graff is implying. Thus, it does not detract from the overall effectiveness of his argument, but it does show his age; a tactic that Graff intentionally repeats as support for his next major point.
Although students need examples of intellectually challenging literature, Graff believes that students who tackle literature from their own interests first are more likely to read the challenging ones. In support of this belief, Graff offers his own experiences from his adolescent years beginning in the late nineteen forties. In which, Graff describes himself as a typical anti-intellectual teen caring only for sports and sports related literature (381). He continues by describing his multicultural neighborhood, in post-WWII Chicago, where he recounts the difficulties of...

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