Sample English Paper on American Literature


In analyzing different works of literature, it is possible to retrieve mountains of pertinent information that resonate with human societies. For instance, literature provides insights into what dominant themes inspire authors, encounters in life, and decision-making, which may be critical to informing human interactions, personal development, and social movement. In this regard, I will explore various texts including: “The Boston Photographs,” Why Video Games Matter?,” “Why We Shouldn’t Shield Our Children from Darkness,” and “Why I’m Giving up Preventive Care” to determine the various motivations that inspire the authors’ position. Besides, understanding the prevailing situations will be essential to contextualize the authors’ perspective to make them suitable for our cases. Despite addressing highly diverse subjects, the contemporary literature works in this analysis exhibit close relatedness because they address pervasive human society issues such as dilemmas from diverse opinion, the intrigues of decision-making, and the difficulties that people contend with when experiencing personal life, careers, and interactions within societies.

Evaluation of Literature Works


            Matt de la Pena in the article “Why we shouldn’t shield children from darkness” presents a vivid exploration of the turbulent world and the tribulations individuals experience during life’s course. The author says, “Minor episodes of loss are just vital to the well-adjustment child development as a moment of joy.” this profound statement follows a minor’s revelation of knowledge about the darkness of the world (Pena, p.768).

Nora Ephron delves into an exploration of the role of photojournalism, which becomes the inspiration of her work, “The Boston Photographs”. She distinguishes between revealing the appealing features of a photograph and revealing the devastating disasters of life. In her view, Nora believes that the primary purpose of a picture is to disturb a reader to create an evocative thought (Ephron, p.687).

Barbara Ehrenreich, in her essay, “Why I’m giving up on preventive care” puts forward an emotional and conscious resistance to the numerous preventive tests that healthcare providers bombard adults, predominantly middle-aged adults. The author deviates from the norms of people within her class who understand the need for observing health practices and maintaining treatment schedules (Ehrenreich p.158).

Tom Bissell Extra Lives is distinct from other books on this subject as it presents a blending memoir of shared criticism and first-rate reportage. In his articles, he does not intend to present criticism for video games, the industry or its technical aspects. Bissell emphasizes that his writing is purely from the perspective of a writer who enjoys playing many games. Besides, he explains that the pages contain his opinions and thoughts about what such games make individuals feel when they play these games..


            According to Pena, it is important to grasp is that not all children are raised in the situations; some grow up with greater freedom depending on their backgrounds and parents’ upbringing (Pena, p.770). However, because of the dangers and brutality of the world, some parents become overprotective while raising their kids. On the contrast, some parents believe that it is essential to grant children to experience the world to some extent as they try to foster independence and responsibility.

In the debate about what should and should not be published, Nora explains that the function of photographs should not sugarcoat the events of life; thus if death and grief are captured in the frame, journalists should not hesitate to publish it (Ephron, p 686). Further, she emphasizes the significance of photojournalism praising its strength compared to any other form of written journalism.

Barbara Ehrenreich discusses an intriguing subject about changing perspectives about preventing care and the appropriate age to die. The author alludes that over time her perspectives about aging have gradually changed (Ehrenreich, p.161). She challenges exposure to different tests, some of which increase the risk for the same conditions patients are screening to detect. Besides, some of the medication that physicians prescribe for patients turn out to cause some of the very issues they are meant to prevent.

In his works, Bissell highlights the topics that most video game developers major on such as violence, addiction, and whether they should be considered as an art (Bissell, p.613). On the subject of addiction and obsession with video games, Bissell narrates that video games tend to give the greatest form of pleasure that other forms fail to offer. This argument presents the perception of the world of gamers who would consider Bissell’s essay as an advocate of their stances.


Although all these authors assume different approaches and touch on various subjects, they present fathomable themes about pertinent issues in society. Pervasive in these discussions are the themes of varying opinions, making decisions that increase our pleasure, and struggles and tribulations in life. It is agreeable from all angles that all individuals hold varying perspectives about different subjects. For instance, Bissell emerges with a controversial topic about video games. Although not everyone will agree with the aesthetic in video games, Bissell, together with other gamers, finds pleasure when they spend time to venture deluded wastelands as they pursue to accomplish an imaginable mission. Varying opinions also present in Barbara Ehrenreich’s essay about quitting preventive care. Against most people’s advice in her class, the author makes a bold resolution to stop pursuing some practices that health providers prescribe for patients. Against the opinions of many proponents, Ehrenreich finds it worthwhile to pursue her decision because, to some extent, the greed of care providers inspire them to recommend unnecessary tests and treatment for patients. While everyone might object to her move, she is entitled to her position.

In her article about Boston Photographs, Nora Ephron illustrates the theme of divergence in thoughts in opinions. For instance, she discusses the divergent views, including the director, about using specific photographs that may be considered appropriate or inappropriate by some populations. Nonetheless, Ephron maintains her position that photojournalism’s essence is to relay the message as it is and not to sugarcoat things. In this regard, she contradicts many who feel that pictures are defined by their quality of the image. Lastly, in the discussion about why we should not shield children from the darkness of the world, Matt De La Pena introduces us to the varying stances parents have when they are raising children. Some feel it is in order to let our children experience some challenges in the real world. However, others maintain that it is in order to maintain a protective shield around our children as they grow. This discussion ends with an intriguing situation where the child challenges the author and other listeners about the connection with an adult’s perception of the world’s darkness.

The second bit of relatedness among these essays presents in the aspect of making decisions that enhance our pleasures. In one perspective, Bissell seems content with his decision to pursue unmatched levels of pleasure from video games. In the hypothetical setting, Bissell finds it unworthy to bear the pressure of election results and prefers to do the things that generate pleasure without a second thought about what other may think of his addiction. While most people attribute the surging violence in the society to addiction to video games, Bissell and other gamers are content that it produces appositive outcome for them. Similarly, Barbara Ehrenreich stands against the expectations of many in an emotional and thoughtful decision to quit adhering to the preventive care practices including screening for various illnesses. As a result, the society may brand her a deviant. However, her decision is informed by the realization that some of the tests and prescriptions recommended are ineffective and only exploit service user.

Although many may discredit her argument, she has made up her mind to pursue the things that enhance her wellness including eating healthy and tasty foods. The aspect of staunch decision making presents in Rona Ephron position about utilizing photographs that other criticize. Her judgement presents the case that requires one to uphold objectivity in dispensing their mandate. She is of the opinion that photojournalism plays a critical role to information about the actual situation on the ground opposed to sugarcoating incidences to appease a section. She emphasizes her position of not compromising the smallest ounce of honesty to appease a section of readers or facilitators. Lastly, in the discussion about shielding our children against the darkness of the world, it is crucial that we make the most appropriate decision depending on ours situations. Some experiences may harm our children if we do not insulate them. However, it is important to let children experience some of the real world because we may not always have their backs.

Another relationship between the four essays emerges in the theme of pervasive struggle and tribulations that persist throughout one’s life. In the discussion, whether we should shield our children from the world’s darkness demonstrates the struggles that individuals endure throughout life. Because of the different backgrounds, individuals grow up within; their reactions vary significantly when subjected to varying situations. Besides, our resilience builds on our exposure during our early days. This essay has enormous power, which is often overlooked in discussions about restriction, censorship, and protecting children. The importance of these discussions is to get over isolation. In Ephron’s argument about “The Boston Photographs,” the reader comes to terms with the struggles journalists endure in their course to dispense their mandate.

A significant dilemma for journalists is which representations to use to ensure a fair reception of information among media consumers. Besides, the photographs in the frame depict the deplorable conditions within which societies exist. Some of these conditions require a quick address to enhance human life. The photograph highlights the lack of necessary facilities to make human experience more satisfactory and livable. In the essay about video games, Bissell presents the struggles gamers and the contemporary world endures. In his personal life, the author suffers from an addiction to drugs as he tries to cope in Las Vegas. This is not a unique case for the author alone as it reflects the existing trends in society. Besides, most games’ themes revolve around pertinent issues of human communities, such as violence, which reveals some of the tribulations facing human societies. Lastly, Barbara Ehrenreich uses her experience to describe the struggles individuals endure as they pursue better health. In the contemporary setting of a capitalist society, individuals and corporates seem to focus on making profits, which is why some physicians recommend unnecessary tests and medication for undetectable illnesses. These conditions resonate with the modern world’s exploitation of the meek.


In debate whether we should shield our children against the darkness of the world, Matt de la Pena just like some parents believe that it is essential to grant children to experience the world to some extent as they try to foster independence and responsibility. However, this can be easier said than done, considering the world has become more dangerous than it was a couple of decades ago.

            From her position about what should and should not be published, Nora explains that the function of photographs should not sugarcoat life events; thus, if death and grief are captured in the frame, journalists should not hesitate to publish it. In this context, it is valid to claim that images can produce either positive or negative outcomes; however, people will always have varying opinions. However, journalist need to maintain their objectivity and avoid sugarcoating situations.

Barbara Ehrenreich believes that some of the medication that physicians prescribe for patients turns out to cause some of the very issues they are meant to prevent. From a cynical context, one might argue that these pharmaceuticals exist to transform patients into raw materials for profit-hungry players in the industry. At this point, a reader begins to appreciate Ehrenreich’s conscious decision to pursue the quality of life and view the obsession with enhancing one’s health as a time-waster and possibly counterproductive.

Bissell utilizes the first-person position featuring as the shooter to denote the theme of violence as he ponders on the effects of games on decision moral or immoral choices (Bissell, p.611). A startling aspect of his essay is the honest admission of his addiction to drugs while in Las Vegas, one he attributes to his love for video games. In this narration, he draws similarities between cocaine use and playing video games, which are highly addictive.


Different experiences in our lives shape how we interact with others and go about our duties and issues. Besides, it exposes one’s mind to a range of new concepts that are crucial for various life processes. The exploration of different literature works reveals the intrigues individuals endure and the dilemmas humans experience when making decisions that will count for the rest of their lives. These encounters go a long way to determine the kind of people we perceive ourselves and what others think of us. However, what others may think of us is not essential. This point cements the need to appreciate the diversity that allows humans to have conviction about different subjects and circumstances. In this regard, humans must demonstrate sensitivity to an array of factors, including morals; self-awareness, determinism, and respect for divergent ideas come in handy when navigating the course of life.



Works Cited

Bissell, Tom. “Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter.” The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction, edited by Melissa A. Goldthwaite et al., 15th ed., W. W. Norton, 2020, pp. 608–16.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. “Why I’m Giving Up on Preventive Care.” The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction, edited by Melissa A. Goldthwaite et al., 15th ed., W. W. Norton, 2020, pp. 158–64.

Ephron, Nora. “The Boston Photographs.” The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction, edited by Melissa A. Goldthwaite et al., 15th ed., W. W. Norton, 2020, pp. 685–91.

Peña, Matt de la. “Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children from Darkness.” The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction, edited by Melissa A. Goldthwaite et al., 15th ed., W. W. Norton, 2020, pp. 768–70.