Practice in Integrating Quotations:

“The Culture of Cruelty” by Daniel Kindlon and Michael Thompson


Exercise: Read the student essay on A Separate Peace. Then look for three places in the essay to integrate quotations in some form into the text. You may appropriate full sentences, words or phrases. Be prepared to explain your logic: Why does the quotation fit in place x and how should the writer, hypothetically speaking, elaborate on the significance of the quotation to the essay’s argument?

·         Whether it is the TV shows he watches, the books he reads, the shoes he wears, the color of his socks, the length of his shorts, the cut of his hair, the sound of his laugh, or the length of his stride, anything a boy says or does that’s different can and will be used against him. The physical changes of this age, in height, musculature, voice, and facial hair, for insistence, only add to a boy’s self-consciousness. And they all look to make preemptive strikes when possible—to divert attention from themselves and onto others. In this psychological war no boys are truly protected, and there are no real ‘winners’.


·         Among themselves boys engage in continuous psychological warfare. Older boys pick on younger boys—dominating them by virtue of their greater size—and younger boys mimic them, creating an environment that pits the strong against the weak, the popular against the unpopular, the power brokers against the powerless, and the conformity-driven ‘boy pack’ against the boy who fails in any way to conform with pack expectations.


·         With every lesson in dominance, fear, and betrayal, a boy is tutored away from trust, empathy, and relationship, This is what boys lose to the culture of cruelty. What they learn instead is emotional guardedness, the wariness with which so many men approach relationships for the rest of their lives.


·         This is a culture that offers no security. Some boys are more frequently targeted than others, some more often lead the assaults, but all boys know they are vulnerable. As a self-possessed and popular boy confided: ‘Everybody things you’ve got it so easy when you’re on the top, but being on top just means that you have to worry all the time about slipping or somebody gaining on you. All it takes is one mistake for a bad day, and all sorts of people are waiting to take you down.’ For a boy not so high in the pecking order, life can be brutal—physically and psychologically… Boys are cruel, in part because they are afraid, and their need to defend against that fear is ironclad.


·         [A] real man requires something more than simple anatomical maleness, … a boy must rise to a performance challenge that will earn him that manly status.